Send Email with aws-sdk on Node.js Example

Here’s an easy example of how to send email using the aws-sdk on Node.js.

Install SDK

You have the full power of Amazon’s AWS SDK as soon as you install it for Node/JavaScript:

npm install aws-sdk

Get Authorized

Make sure you setup a user in Amazon’s IAM service that has access to the SDK. You’ll need a key id and a secret access key. You can set these AWS credentials for your whole system in ~/.aws/credentials or you can apply them only in the project that will use them. We’ll choose the latter.

To store credentials, we’re going to use environment variables. To load them we’ll use the venerable dotenv library:

npm install dotenv

Create a gitignored file .env in your project root:


First thing in our new server.js app file, let’s load these variables making them available to the aws-sdk. Let’s run:


Verify Email Addresses in SES Sandbox

When you first sign up for Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), you’ll want to verify your sending domain and email address (both to and from). Amazon requires this, as well as keeping you in a non-prod sandbox with plenty of limits, in order to protect its users, the Internet, and your own email’s trustworthiness to other mail servers. Take care of this verification before trying to send any email. If you don’t, it’ll just error out. Later once this is all setup and working, you can request prod access.

SES in Node

Since we have the aws-sdk already installed, it’s ready for us to use. Let’s require it and instantiate an SES instance:

const AWS = require('aws-sdk')

const ses = new AWS.SES()

This instance has all the top-level APIs for SES that we need, notably ses.sendEmail. All ses.sendEmail needs is some config for the to and from addresses and email content that you want to send. Set it up, and press send:

const params = {
  Destination: {
    ToAddresses: [[email protected]']
  Message: {
    Body: {
      Html: {
        Charset: 'UTF-8',
          'This message body contains HTML formatting, like <a class="ulink" href="" target="_blank">Amazon SES Developer Guide</a>.'
      Text: {
        Charset: 'UTF-8',
        Data: 'This is the message body in text format.'
    Subject: {
      Charset: 'UTF-8',
      Data: 'Test email from code'
  ReturnPath: [email protected]',
  Source: [email protected]'

ses.sendEmail(params, (err, data) => {
  if (err) console.log(err, err.stack)
  else console.log(data)

The params can take a formatted email body (Message.Body.Html) and an alternate text body (Message.Body.Text). The ReturnPath is the place where bounce-backs will be sent back to. Also note that the asynchronous method takes a callback. The data that is returned in the callback to the callback will have the shape of:

{ ResponseMetadata: { RequestId: 'f96abf23-5108-11e7-a0d8-5fe3d188b3b6' },
  MessageId: '0101015ca6e24030-7913ca02-de24-42d4-9a5d-83f877114974-000000' }

That’s the shape you’ll see if it sends once you run node server.js. If it didn’t work, you’ll get one of a number of possible error codes console logged instead.

For a full example, see this hello-ses repo.

Pretty easy, huh? Is this how you send email over SES in Node? What cool tricks have you learned while doing this?