Web APIs for sending email are transforming the way that companies communicate with customers, users, and prospects. With just a simple API, any developer can enable their organization to send email at scale. Let’s take a closer look at what an email API is and when you should use a web API to send email.
What is an email API?
An email API (application programming interface) enables developers to easily access features and functionality that are made available by an ESP (like SocketLabs). An email provider that is developer focused, will provide you with a range of APIs to help you accomplish a number of different objectives. For example, you can use an API to:
- Send transactional email like password resets, shipping notifications, and receipts
- Get real-time engagement notifications with webhooks
- Receive inbound email with webhooks
- Query statistics about your mail stream
- And perform email marketing functions like managing lists
For this article, we’re focusing only on the Send Email API. To see a full list of email APIs, visit our Developer Hub.
When it comes to sending email, many applications use basic SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) for sending email. This is the industry standard for sending outgoing email.
However, sometimes developers need to access additional capabilities. This is when an email API becomes very useful. The API allows developers to gain programmatic access to basic email sending, and also additional capabilities not offered by traditional protocols like SMTP.
Use cases for using an email API
What are some common use cases for using an API to send email?
Generally speaking, an email API is perfect for when you need to send notifications and transactional emails. Typical examples that we see at SocketLabs include:
- Password reset emails
- Error messages
- Shipping notifications
- Receipts and order confirmation
- Account creation and welcome messages
- Password verification emails
- Event based notifications
The majority of the examples in the list above are time-critical notifications that a customer expects to receive. Just imagine requesting a password reset from your online banking system, only to receive it two days later… for this reason, make sure to use a reputable email platform that will help you achieve and maintain great deliverability.
What are the benefits of using a web API to send email?
The advantages of using an API are often difficult for the average person to imagine, but to developers and those close to the subject, the benefits are unmistakable.
- The Web API is the fastest and most efficient way to send email.
- An API gives developers programmatic access to email sending and additional capabilities, like capturing detailed statistics on all facets of email performance.
- Compared to SMTP, the Web API provides an extra layer of security to your email program by utilizing API keys. While an email API doesn’t necessarily expand the security of email itself, it does allow you to generate authenticated credentials separate from your account username and password, therefore reducing the risk of a malicious individual using your account to send spam.
An email API tends to be best suited for developers who are creating their own product, such as a software as service (SaaS) or mobile application.
How to enable your application to send email using an API
In the past, sending email was a grueling process that was susceptible to many issues. Sending email required the creation and maintenance of physical servers and multiple people well-versed in the technical requirements of email. It was a process that didn’t scale well.
However, cloud email delivery services like SocketLabs made the process of sending email easier. Rather than building your own infrastructure and hiring a separate team just to send email, developers can simply plug their code into an existing API. At SocketLabs, we call this our Injection API.
As we strive to make email more developer-friendly, we provide developers with a number of flexible libraries, including those for .NET, PHP, Node.js, Java, Python, and more! You can enable your application to send email by simply copying one of our pre-built libraries and pasting it into your application.
To learn more about our email API and libraries visit our Developer Hub.