Integrating Amazon Simple Email Service with postfix for SMTP smarthost relaying.

So, we’ve outgrown the 500 outbound messages/day limit imposed by Google Apps’s Standard tier. A wise friend suggested SendGrid, but I figured it was worth looking into what options Amazon provides. I found SES and am in the process of setting it up. Hopefully I can set it up as a drop-in replacement, obviating the need for code changes to use it. SES is attractive for us because:

Free Tier
If you are an Amazon EC2 user, you can get started with Amazon SES for free. You can send 2,000 messages for free each day when you call Amazon SES from an Amazon EC2 instance directly or through AWS Elastic Beanstalk. Many applications are able to operate entirely within this free tier limit.

Note: Data transfer fees still apply. For new AWS customers eligible for the AWS free usage tier, you receive 15 GB of data transfer in and 15 GB of data transfer out aggregated across all AWS services, which should cover your Amazon SES data transfer costs. In addition, all AWS customers receive 1GB of free data transfer per month.

Free to try? Sounds good.

After signing up, the first thing I did was download the Perl scripts. Create a credentials file with your AWS access key ID and Secret Key (credentials can be found here when logged in). The credentials file (aws-credentials) should look like this:

AWSAccessKeyId=022QF06E7MXBSH9DHM02
AWSSecretKey=kWcrlUX5JEDGM/LtmEENI/aVmYvHNif5zB+d9+ct

Make sure to chmod 0600 aws-credentials. To ensure it’s working, run:

$ ./ses-get-stats.pl -k aws-credentials -s

If it doesn’t return anything it should be working correctly.

Next, you need to add at least one verified email address:

$ ./ses-verify-email-address.pl -k aws-credentials --verbose -v support@example.com

Amazon will send a verification message to support@example.com with a link you need to click to verify the address. Once you click, it’s verified. It’s important to note that initially your account will only be able to send email to verified addresses. According to this thread, you need to submit a production access request to send to unverified To: addresses. I did this and got my “approval” email about 30 minutes later.

To send a test email:

$ ./ses-send-email.pl --verbose -k aws-credentials -s "Test from SES" -f support@example.com evan@example.com
This is a test message from SES.

(Press ctrl-D to send.)

The next step is integrating the script with sendmail/postfix. The first thing I did was move my scripts to /opt/ (out of /root/) and attempt to run them with absolute pathnames (rather than ./ses-send-email.pl) and I got perl @INC errors:

[root@web2 ~]$ mv amazon-email/ /opt/
[root@web2 ~]$ /opt/ses-get-stats.pl -k aws-credentials -s
-bash: /opt/ses-get-stats.pl: No such file or directory
[root@web2 ~]$ /opt/amazon-email/ses-get-stats.pl -k aws-credentials -s
Can't locate SES.pm in @INC (@INC contains: /usr/lib64/perl5/site_perl/5.8.8/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib64/perl5/site_perl/5.8.7/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib64/perl5/site_perl/5.8.6/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib64/perl5/site_perl/5.8.5/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.8 /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.7 /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.6 /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.8.5 /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl /usr/lib64/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.8/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib64/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.7/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib64/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.6/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib64/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.5/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.8 /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.7 /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.6 /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.8.5 /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl /usr/lib64/perl5/5.8.8/x86_64-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib/perl5/5.8.8 .) at /opt/amazon-email/ses-get-stats.pl line 23.
BEGIN failed--compilation aborted at /opt/amazon-email/ses-get-stats.pl line 23.

The problem is that SES.pm isn’t in perl’s include path. To solve this, I tried adding the directory to the PERL5LIB environment var:

[root@web2 amazon-email]$ PERL5LIB=/opt/amazon-email/
[root@web2 amazon-email]$ echo $PERL5LIB
/opt/amazon-email/
[root@web2 amazon-email]$ cd
[root@web2 ~]$ export PERL5LIB
[root@web2 ~]$ /opt/amazon-email/ses-get-stats.pl -k aws-credentials -s
Cannot open credentials file . at /opt/amazon-email//SES.pm line 54.
[root@web2 ~]$ /opt/amazon-email/ses-get-stats.pl -k /opt/amazon-email/aws-credentials -s
Timestamp               DeliveryAttempts        Rejects Bounces Complaints
2011-04-27T20:27:00Z    1                       0       0       0
[root@web2 ~]$

This worked for setting all users’ PERL5LIB … but didn’t allow postfix to send the message. After a couple more attempts at doing this “the right way,” I just ended up dropping a symlink to SES.pm in /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl and the @INC error went away.

After following Amazon’s instructions for editing main.cf and master.cf, I still was unable to send mail through Postfix, even though I could send directly through the perl scripts. I kept getting this error:

Apr 28 11:26:32 web2 postfix/pipe[27226]: A2AD33C9A6: to=, relay=aws-email, delay=0.35, delays=0.01/0/0/0.34, dsn=5.3.0, status=bounced (Command died with status 1: "/opt/amazon-email/ses-send-email.pl". Command output: Missing final '@domain' )

Google led me to this blog post which led me to this other blog post which illuminated the problem: apparently the Postfix pipe macro ${sender} uses the user@hostname of the mail sender. Since the hostname of an EC2 machine is usually something crazy like dom11-22-33-44.internal, this is not likely a validated sending email address. So the solution proposed by Ben Simon was to create a regex to map user@internal to user@realdomain.com and have postfix map everything. This didn’t work for me or the bashbang.com guys, who changed it to map from user@internal to validuser@realdomain.com. I found that you can eliminate the need for the mapping entirely by changing the master.cf entry to this:

  flags=R user=mailuser argv=/opt/amazon-email/ses-send-email.pl -r -k /opt/amazon-email/aws-credentials -e https://email.us-east-1.amazonaws.com -f support@example.com ${recipient}

The only difference between the above line and Amazon’s suggestion is that this replaces “-f ${sender}” with “support@example.com” which is a validated email address.

After this I was able to relay email successfully through SES. Whew!

Update 5/26/2011: We’ve been relaying through SES without issues for a few weeks now. I recently ran ses-get-stats.pl to see how many messages we’re actually sending and it’s a lot lower than expected. I’m still glad we moved to SES though, since it has no hard cap like Google Apps does:

$ /opt/amazon-email/ses-get-stats.pl -k /opt/amazon-email/aws-credentials -q
SentLast24Hours Max24HourSend   MaxSendRate
317             10000           5
Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Integrating Amazon Simple Email Service with postfix for SMTP smarthost relaying.”

  1. Thank you very much..
    this post is really useful !!
    i followed you tips but my mail still not coming
    my log error is:

    May 11 21:17:09 ip-10-202-251-92 postfix/pipe[31841]: 3672C3E0E9: to=, relay=aws-email, delay=1.3, delays=0.97/0/0/0.36, dsn=5.3.0, status=bounced (Command died with status 1: “/opt/third-party/amazon/ses-send-email.pl”. Command output: Illegal header ‘Organization’. )

    do you have any idea to solve my problem ?!
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!
    congrats for your website

    1. Maybe SES doesn’t allow the “Organization” SMTP header? That would seem strange to me. Can you send any email at all via postfix? E.g. from the bash prompt if you type “mail user@host.com” and send a message, does it relay at all?

      What’s in your master.cf?

  2. I think I found the “right” way to set the PERL5LIB path. Adding
    export_environment = PERL5LIB=/opt/thirdparty/amazon/bin
    to main.cf did the trick.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s