How to send emails without a server

August 1, 2020
5
-minute read
 
No-Code, Email, Messaging

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So, you have a business and need to be able to send emails to maintain and grow that business, but you’re not sure what your options are. If you have a static website, you can’t send an email directly from the frontend via Angular, React, or JavaScript, so what do you do?

Let’s go through the basics

In order to send an email without having your own email server requires a couple of things. You have to be able to “talk” to a server, and that server then communicates with a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server, which is what’s called a “push protocol,” meaning that it’s used to send messages. If this all seems like a lot, don’t be discouraged; you don’t have to build your own server and you don’t have to know how to write server-side code just to send email to clients. Read on to learn about three server-side email options that will allow you to send emails without a server.

Emailing Services

If you’re using an email service like Mailchimp or its transactional emailing service (Mandrill), you can make API calls to their server directly through your frontend code. There are several email services, but not all provide an API that can be called directly from the frontend.

Some services like AWS Simple Email Service (AWS SES) provide a REST call, but you have to sign the request to prove the account ownership. If you’re not an experienced JavaScript developer, it can be difficult to get the signing logic correct. So, when you’re deciding on a service, be mindful of the coding skills required.

Low-Code Platforms

A low-code development platform (LCDP) is software that provides a framework programmers use to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration instead of traditional computer programming.

You can use a “low-code” (or no-code) platforms like byteline.io to send the email. All you have to do is log in to the platform, configure your email server details, get an API key, and then call it from your frontend code using simple code.

This low-code server platform is not exclusive to just sending emails; it allows you to execute any server-side logic by using its website to make the appropriate configurations. It’s a great choice if you’re trying a new business idea and need to build server-side execution quickly. (Disclosure: I have an interest in byteline.)

Writing Your Own Server

If you want to bite the bullet and write your own server-side code, you have to do a few things before you start:

  1. Pick a programming language
  2. Pick a developer
  3. Pick a framework

What Programming Language Should I Use?

Java, Node.js, and Python all are very evolved languages, have great community support, and a vast pool of developers who know the language(s) well. So any of them is an excellent choice.

Pick the Right Developer

Whether you’re using an in-house resource or hiring a consultant/freelancer, make sure to interview the developers. You want to be sure that they understand the problem and can articulate a solution to you that is easily extensible for future needs.

How to Choose the Right Programming Framework

After you choose a developer, it’s important that the developer choose the right programming framework. You might be wondering how a programming language and a framework differ. Simply put, you use a programming language to create programs that solve problems. Think of a framework as a collection of programs, like a skeleton, that work collectively to solve problems. For example, Microsoft developed the .NET framework in C# to make it easier for coders to quickly develop C# applications. Frameworks provide developers with canned solutions to common problems, which means that the developer doesn’t have to re-invent the wheel and develop algorithms from scratch; they can simply reference the framework or library that contains the code they need.

For Java, Spring Boot is a great framework to use, Node.js has Express.js, and for Python, Flask is an excellent choice. If you’re a coder, while searching for JavaScript code online, you may find both server-side code (Node.js), and frontend code. If you are copying a code snippet, remember that for sending emails, you need frontend code.

I hope this blog was helpful. Let us know in the comments!

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