Monday, June 24, 2013

How to use Amazon SES to Send Email from PHP

Sending mail using Amazon's SES (Simple Email Service)

I couldn't find too many good examples for this online and the Amazon AWS PHP SDK had incomplete documentation for a SendEmail function when I was researching this topic.

NOTE: One pitfall with this is using the SMTP username and password instead of your AWS credentials.  Use your AWS credentials when sending emails using the SDK.

Otherwise, you may get this error:
SignatureDoesNotMatch, Status Code: 403, AWS Request ID: xxxxx, AWS Error Type: client, AWS Error Message: The request signature we calculated does not match the signature you provided. Check your AWS Secret Access Key and signing method. Consult the service documentation for details. The Canonical String for this request should have been



It's easy to install the Amazon SDK using PEAR (per Amazon documentation): 
sudo pear -D auto_discover=1 install

  1. Install the SDK
  2. Know if your account is sandboxed or not - If you account is sandboxed, you will only be able to send emails to the email addresses in the verified senders list.
  3. Make sure your source email's sending address is listed as a verified sender - Verify an email address that you own and use that in your sample code.  Check this email and the ReturnPath address in your AWS console if you are getting the "Email address is not verified" error.
  4. If you use the ReturnPath parameter (not shown here) to receive bounced emails, then that email address or domain must be verified as well

When you have the right credentials, sending Email using the SDK is very easy.


Sample Code:

require 'AWSSDKforPHP/aws.phar';

use Aws\Ses\SesClient;
$client = SesClient::factory(array(
    'key'    => 'aws_key',
    'secret' => 'aws_secret',
    'region' => 'us-east-1'

//Now that you have the client ready, you can build the message

$msg = array();
$msg['Source'] = "";

//ToAddresses must be an array
$msg['Destination']['ToAddresses'][] = "";

$msg['Message']['Subject']['Data'] = "Text only subject";
$msg['Message']['Subject']['Charset'] = "UTF-8";

$msg['Message']['Body']['Text']['Data'] ="Text data of email";
$msg['Message']['Body']['Text']['Charset'] = "UTF-8";
$msg['Message']['Body']['Html']['Data'] ="HTML Data of email<br />";
$msg['Message']['Body']['Html']['Charset'] = "UTF-8";

     $result = $client->sendEmail($msg);

     //save the MessageId which can be used to track the request
     $msg_id = $result->get('MessageId');
     echo("MessageId: $msg_id");

     //view sample output
} catch (Exception $e) {
     //An error happened and the email did not get sent

//view the original message passed to the SDK 



Run the above code using the correct information and your emails should be on their way.  Make sure to set the SenderID, DKIM, and SPF on your domain and Amazon properly to prevent your emails getting marked as spam.


Because of a request from Mohit Singh, I've updated the code to allow for adding a single attachment to the email.  See below for the details.

Using Attachments:

Use this example code in your program to send an email with an attachment using Amazon SES.


$subject_str = "Some Subject";
$body_str = "<strong>Some email body</strong>";
$attachment_str = get_file_contents("/htdocs/test/sample.pdf");

//send the email
$result = SESUtils::deliver_mail_with_attachment(

    array('', ''),       
    $subject_str, $body_str, 'sender@verifiedbyaws', 

//now handle the result if you wish

Complete Source for PHP Solution for sending mail using SES

Update #2 - (2015-01-27) Michael Deal was kind enough to provide additional features and enhancements in this new version

Update #3 - (2015-03-03) Code has been updated to properly handle plaintext with HTML and multiple attachments.  It's not handled quite the way you would think.  Thank you RFC-2046!



use Aws\Ses\SesClient;

 * SESUtils is a tool to make it easier to work with Amazon Simple Email Service
 * Features:
 * A client to prepare emails for use with sending attachments or not
 * There is no warranty - use this code at your own risk.  
 * @author sbossen 
 * Update: Error checking and new params input array provided by Michael Deal
 * Update2: Corrected for allowing to send multiple attachments and plain text/html body
 *   Ref: Http://
class SESUtils {

    const version = "1.0";
    const AWS_KEY = "YOUR-KEY";
    const AWS_SEC = "YOUR-SECRET";
    const AWS_REGION = "us-east-1";

     * Usage:
        $params = array(
          "to" => "",
          "subject" => "Some subject",
          "message" => "<strong>Some email body</strong>",
          "from" => "sender@verifiedbyaws",
          "replyTo" => "",
          "files" => array(
            1 => array(
               "name" => "filename1", 
              "filepath" => "/path/to/file1.txt", 
              "mime" => "application/octet-stream"
            2 => array(
               "name" => "filename2", 
              "filepath" => "/path/to/file2.txt", 
              "mime" => "application/octet-stream"
      $res = SESUtils::sendMail($params);
     * NOTE: When sending a single file, omit the key (ie. the '1 =>') 
     * or use 0 => array(...) - otherwise the file will come out garbled
     * ie. use:
     *    "files" => array(
     *        0 => array( "name" => "filename", "filepath" => "path/to/file.txt",
     *        "mime" => "application/octet-stream")
     * For the 'to' parameter, you can send multiple recipiants with an array
     *    "to" => array("", "")
     * use $res->success to check if it was successful
     * use $res->message_id to check later with Amazon for further processing
     * use $res->result_text to look for error text if the task was not successful
     * @param array $params - array of parameters for the email
     * @return \ResultHelper
    public static function sendMail($params) {

        $to = self::getParam($params, 'to', true);
        $subject = self::getParam($params, 'subject', true);
        $body = self::getParam($params, 'message', true);
        $from = self::getParam($params, 'from', true);
        $replyTo = self::getParam($params, 'replyTo');
        $files = self::getParam($params, 'files');

        $res = new ResultHelper();

        // get the client ready
        $client = SesClient::factory(array(
                    'key' => self::AWS_KEY,
                    'secret' => self::AWS_SEC,
                    'region' => self::AWS_REGION

        // build the message
        if (is_array($to)) {
            $to_str = rtrim(implode(',', $to), ',');
        } else {
            $to_str = $to;

        $msg = "To: $to_str\n";
        $msg .= "From: $from\n";

        if ($replyTo) {
            $msg .= "Reply-To: $replyTo\n";

        // in case you have funny characters in the subject
        $subject = mb_encode_mimeheader($subject, 'UTF-8');
        $msg .= "Subject: $subject\n";
        $msg .= "MIME-Version: 1.0\n";
        $msg .= "Content-Type: multipart/mixed;\n";
        $boundary = uniqid("_Part_".time(), true); //random unique string
        $boundary2 = uniqid("_Part2_".time(), true); //random unique string
        $msg .= " boundary=\"$boundary\"\n";
        $msg .= "\n";

        // now the actual body
        $msg .= "--$boundary\n";

        //since we are sending text and html emails with multiple attachments
        //we must use a combination of mixed and alternative boundaries
        //hence the use of boundary and boundary2
        $msg .= "Content-Type: multipart/alternative;\n";
        $msg .= " boundary=\"$boundary2\"\n";
        $msg .= "\n";
        $msg .= "--$boundary2\n";

        // first, the plain text
        $msg .= "Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8\n";
        $msg .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit\n";
        $msg .= "\n";
        $msg .= strip_tags($body); //remove any HTML tags
        $msg .= "\n";

        // now, the html text
        $msg .= "--$boundary2\n";
        $msg .= "Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8\n";
        $msg .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit\n";
        $msg .= "\n";
        $msg .= $body; 
        $msg .= "\n";
        $msg .= "--$boundary2--\n";

        // add attachments
        if (is_array($files)) {
            $count = count($files);
            foreach ($files as $file) {
                $msg .= "\n";
                $msg .= "--$boundary\n";
                $msg .= "Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64\n";
                $clean_filename = self::clean_filename($file["name"], self::MAX_ATTACHMENT_NAME_LEN);
                $msg .= "Content-Type: {$file['mime']}; name=$clean_filename;\n";
                $msg .= "Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=$clean_filename;\n";
                $msg .= "\n";
                $msg .= base64_encode(file_get_contents($file['filepath']));
                $msg .= "\n--$boundary";
            // close email
            $msg .= "--\n";

        // now send the email out
        try {
            $ses_result = $client->sendRawEmail(
                'RawMessage' => array(
                    'Data' => base64_encode($msg)
                    ), array(
                'Source' => $from,
                'Destinations' => $to_str
            if ($ses_result) {
                $res->message_id = $ses_result->get('MessageId');
            } else {
                $res->success = false;
                $res->result_text = "Amazon SES did not return a MessageId";
        } catch (Exception $e) {
            $res->success = false;
            $res->result_text = $e->getMessage().
                    " - To: $to_str, Sender: $from, Subject: $subject";
        return $res;

    private static function getParam($params, $param, $required = false) {
        $value = isset($params[$param]) ? $params[$param] : null;
        if ($required && empty($value)) {
            throw new Exception('"'.$param.'" parameter is required.');
        } else {
            return $value;

    Clean filename function - to be mail friendly 
    public static function clean_filename($str, $limit = 0, $replace=array(), $delimiter='-') {
        if( !empty($replace) ) {
            $str = str_replace((array)$replace, ' ', $str);

        $clean = iconv('UTF-8', 'ASCII//TRANSLIT', $str);
        $clean = preg_replace("/[^a-zA-Z0-9\.\/_| -]/", '', $clean);
        $clean = preg_replace("/[\/| -]+/", '-', $clean);
        if ($limit > 0) {
            //don't truncate file extension
            $arr = explode(".", $clean);
            $size = count($arr);
            $base = "";
            $ext = "";
            if ($size > 0) {
                for ($i = 0; $i < $size; $i++) {
                    if ($i < $size - 1) { //if it's not the last item, add to $bn
                        $base .= $arr[$i];
                        //if next one isn't last, add a dot
                        if ($i < $size - 2)
                            $base .= ".";
                    } else {
                        if ($i > 0)
                            $ext = ".";
                        $ext .= $arr[$i];
            $bn_size = mb_strlen($base);
            $ex_size = mb_strlen($ext);
            $bn_new = mb_substr($base, 0, $limit - $ex_size);
            // doing again in case extension is long
            $clean = mb_substr($bn_new.$ext, 0, $limit); 
        return $clean;

class ResultHelper {

    public $success = true;
    public $result_text = "";
    public $message_id = "";



Sending multiple attachments using SES - Completed!

The above is a more complete and robust version of the sending email attachments with Amazon SES.  The one above now lets you have more than one attachment to send from the previous version.  Hope you enjoyed this and thanks to all for participating! 


  1. You are my hero. Thank you so much for this post!

    1. You're welcome! Glad I could help. If you wouldn't mind adding a +1, I'd appreciate it.

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