is it okay to use gmail to send automated emails for your website via SMTP? i know there are services like Amazons SES, but i don't know if i need it.

I want to only send the following types of automated emails:

  • Payment receipts
  • Password reset codes
  • Anything related to the user's money or security

I do not want to send newsletters or any types of mass emails. I have no idea how many emails i'm potentially going to send.

My concerns:

  • Is this reliable?
  • Is it allowed by google's TOS? i am using a free google apps account

anything else i should know? thanks

  • 2
    How do you get Gmail to send "automated" emails?
    – MrWhite
    Apr 30, 2013 at 8:45
  • 2
    Ha, nice one. If a solution is posted on here, this will easily become the most viewed question on Pro Webmasters. All spammers worldwide will want to see how that works ... But perhaps Jonathan just misspelled and meant "to send automated emails FROM his website" ...
    – David K.
    Apr 30, 2013 at 9:48
  • Lol yeah from my website. Apr 30, 2013 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


It's absolutely allowed, and I would definitely recommend it rather than setting up a separate SMTP server just for this purpose.

The only issue you may run across is that Google's SMTP servers require SSL/TLS authentication. So, for example, the default PHP mail() function will not work. You'll need something like the PEAR Mail package

If you are in fact using PHP, there's a good question on Stackoverflow about this subject: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/712392/send-email-using-gmail-smtp-server-from-php-page

  • cool. so basically these email services are just for mass emails then? May 1, 2013 at 0:35
  • I wouldn't say their "just" for mass emails. But they are for emails. The authentication requirements for Gmail's SMTP servers make it easier for them to track spam, also makes it tougher for automated spam bots to get access, since they need to create a Gmail account (which is a tough process to automate). May 1, 2013 at 14:03

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