Amazon Simple Email Service
Developer Guide

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Obtaining Your Amazon SES SMTP Credentials

You need an Amazon SES SMTP user name and password to access the Amazon SES SMTP interface. If you plan to use the SMTP interface to send email in multiple AWS Regions, you need to obtain a unique set of SMTP credentials for each Region.


Your SMTP user name and password are different from your AWS access key ID and secret access key. For more information about credentials, see Using Credentials With Amazon SES.

Obtaining Amazon SES SMTP Credentials Using the Amazon SES Console

When you generate SMTP credentials by using the Amazon SES console, the Amazon SES console creates an IAM user with the appropriate policies to call Amazon SES and provides you with the SMTP credentials associated with that user.


An IAM user can create Amazon SES SMTP credentials, but the IAM user's policy must give them permission to use IAM itself, because Amazon SES SMTP credentials are created by using IAM. Your IAM policy must allow you to perform the following IAM actions: iam:ListUsers, iam:CreateUser, iam:CreateAccessKey, and iam:PutUserPolicy. If you try to create Amazon SES SMTP credentials using the console and your IAM user doesn't have these permissions, you see an error that states that your account is "not authorized to perform iam:ListUsers."

To create your SMTP credentials

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Amazon SES console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose SMTP Settings.

  3. In the content pane, choose Create My SMTP Credentials.

  4. For Create User for SMTP, type a name for your SMTP user. Alternatively, you can use the default value that is provided in this field. When you finish, choose Create.

                        Create User for SMTP
  5. Choose Show User SMTP Credentials. Your SMTP credentials are shown on the screen. Copy these credentials and store them in a safe place. You can also choose Download Credentials to download a file that contains your credentials.

                        Create User for SMTP


    This is the only time that you can view your SMTP credentials. We recommend that you download these credentials and keep them in a location where they won't be deleted. If you lose these credentials, you have restart the process of creating your SMTP user.

  6. Choose Close Window.

If you want to delete your SMTP credentials, go to the IAM console at and delete the IAM user name that corresponds with your SMTP credentials. To learn more, go to the Using IAM guide.

If you want to change your SMTP password, go to the IAM console and delete your existing IAM user, and then go to the Amazon SES console to re-generate your SMTP credentials.

Obtaining Amazon SES SMTP Credentials by Converting Existing AWS Credentials

If you have an IAM user that you set up using the IAM interface, you can derive the user's Amazon SES SMTP credentials from their AWS credentials.


Don't use temporary AWS credentials to derive SMTP credentials. The Amazon SES SMTP interface doesn't support SMTP credentials that have been generated from temporary security credentials.

To enable the IAM user to send email using the Amazon SES SMTP interface, you need to do the following two steps:

  • Derive the user's SMTP credentials from their AWS credentials using the algorithm provided in this section. Because you are starting from AWS credentials, the SMTP username is the same as the AWS access key ID, so you just need to generate the SMTP password.

  • Apply the following policy to the IAM user:

    { "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "ses:SendRawEmail", "Resource": "*" } ] }

    For more information about using Amazon SES with IAM, see Controlling Access to Amazon SES.


Although you can generate Amazon SES SMTP credentials for any IAM user, we recommend that you create a separate IAM user when you generate your SMTP credentials. For information about why it is good practice to create users for specific purposes, go to IAM Best Practices.

The following pseudocode shows the algorithm that converts an AWS Secret Access Key to an Amazon SES SMTP password.

// Modify this variable to include your AWS Secret Access Key key = "wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY"; // Modify this variable to refer to the AWS Region that you want to use to send email. region = "us-west-2"; // The values of the following variables should always stay the same. date = "11111111"; service = "ses"; terminal = "aws4_request"; message = "SendRawEmail"; versionInBytes = 0x04; kDate = HmacSha256(date, "AWS4" + key); kRegion = HmacSha256(region, kDate); kService = HmacSha256(service, kRegion); kTerminal = HmacSha256(terminal, kService); kMessage = HmacSha256(message, kTerminal); signatureAndVersion = Concatenate(versionInBytes, kMessage); smtpPassword = Base64(signatureAndVersion);

Some programming languages include libraries that you can use to convert an IAM secret access key into an SMTP password. This section includes a code example that you can use to convert an AWS Secret Access Key to an Amazon SES SMTP password using Python.

#!/usr/bin/env python3 import hmac import hashlib import base64 import argparse # Values that are required to calculate the signature. These values should # never change. DATE = "11111111" SERVICE = "ses" MESSAGE = "SendRawEmail" TERMINAL = "aws4_request" VERSION = 0x04 def sign(key, msg): return, msg.encode('utf-8'), hashlib.sha256).digest() def calculateKey(secretAccessKey, region): signature = sign(("AWS4" + secretAccessKey).encode('utf-8'), DATE) signature = sign(signature, region) signature = sign(signature, SERVICE) signature = sign(signature, TERMINAL) signature = sign(signature, MESSAGE) signatureAndVersion = bytes([VERSION]) + signature smtpPassword = base64.b64encode(signatureAndVersion) print(smtpPassword.decode('utf-8')) def main(): parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Convert a Secret Access Key for an IAM user to an SMTP password.') parser.add_argument('--secret', help='The Secret Access Key that you want to convert.', required=True, action="store") parser.add_argument('--region', help='The name of the AWS Region that the SMTP password will be used in.', required=True, choices=['us-east-1','us-west-2','eu-west-1'], action="store") args = parser.parse_args() calculateKey(args.secret,args.region) main()