Obtaining your Amazon SES SMTP credentials - Amazon Simple Email Service Classic

This is the user guide for Amazon SES Classic. Updates and new features are only being documented in the new Amazon SES Developer Guide which we recommend to use.

Obtaining your Amazon SES SMTP credentials

You need an Amazon SES SMTP user name and password to access the Amazon SES SMTP interface.

The credentials that you use to send email through the Amazon SES SMTP interface are unique to each AWS Region. If you use the Amazon SES SMTP interface to send email in more than one Region, you must generate a set of SMTP credentials for each Region that you plan to use.

Your SMTP password is different from your AWS secret access key. For more information about credentials, see Types of Amazon SES credentials.

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.

Requirement

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 https://console.aws.amazon.com/ses/.

  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. Download or copy these credentials and store them in a safe place, as you cannot view or save your credentials after you dismiss this dialog box.

    
                        Create User for SMTP
  6. Choose Close Window.

You can view a list of existing SMTP credentials that you've created using this procedure by going to the IAM console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/iam/. In the navigation pane, under Access management, choose Users. Use the search bar to find all users that you've assigned SMTP credentials.

You can also use the IAM console to delete existing SMTP users. To learn more about deleting users, see https://docs.aws.amazon.com/IAM/latest/UserGuide/Managing IAM Users in the IAM Getting Started Guide.

If you want to rotate your SMTP credentials, complete the procedure above to generate a new set of SMTP credentials. Then, test the new credentials to ensure that they work as expected. Finally, delete the IAM user associated with the old SMTP credentials in the IAM console. For more information about deleting users in IAM, see Managing users in the IAM User Guide.

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.

Important

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 user name 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.

Note

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 an 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"; version = 0x04; kDate = HmacSha256(date, "AWS4" + key); kRegion = HmacSha256(region, kDate); kService = HmacSha256(service, kRegion); kTerminal = HmacSha256(terminal, kService); kMessage = HmacSha256(message, kTerminal); signatureAndVersion = Concatenate(version, 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.

Note

The following example uses f-strings that were introduced in Python 3.6; if using an older version, they won't work.

Currently, the Python SDK (Boto3) officially supports 2.7 and 3.6 (or later). However, 2.7 support is deprecated and will be dropped on 7/15/2021, so you'll need to upgrade to at least 3.6.

Python
#!/usr/bin/env python3 import hmac import hashlib import base64 import argparse SMTP_REGIONS = [ 'us-east-2', # US East (Ohio) 'us-east-1', # US East (N. Virginia) 'us-west-2', # US West (Oregon) 'ap-south-1', # Asia Pacific (Mumbai) 'ap-northeast-2', # Asia Pacific (Seoul) 'ap-southeast-1', # Asia Pacific (Singapore) 'ap-southeast-2', # Asia Pacific (Sydney) 'ap-northeast-1', # Asia Pacific (Tokyo) 'ca-central-1', # Canada (Central) 'eu-central-1', # Europe (Frankfurt) 'eu-west-1', # Europe (Ireland) 'eu-west-2', # Europe (London) 'sa-east-1', # South America (Sao Paulo) 'us-gov-west-1', # AWS GovCloud (US) ] # These values are required to calculate the signature. Do not change them. DATE = "11111111" SERVICE = "ses" MESSAGE = "SendRawEmail" TERMINAL = "aws4_request" VERSION = 0x04 def sign(key, msg): return hmac.new(key, msg.encode('utf-8'), hashlib.sha256).digest() def calculate_key(secret_access_key, region): if region not in SMTP_REGIONS: raise ValueError(f"The {region} Region doesn't have an SMTP endpoint.") signature = sign(("AWS4" + secret_access_key).encode('utf-8'), DATE) signature = sign(signature, region) signature = sign(signature, SERVICE) signature = sign(signature, TERMINAL) signature = sign(signature, MESSAGE) signature_and_version = bytes([VERSION]) + signature smtp_password = base64.b64encode(signature_and_version) return smtp_password.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 to convert.') parser.add_argument( 'region', help='The AWS Region where the SMTP password will be used.', choices=SMTP_REGIONS) args = parser.parse_args() print(calculate_key(args.secret, args.region)) if __name__ == '__main__': main()

To obtain your SMTP password by using this script, save the preceding code as smtp_credentials_generate.py. Then, at the command line, execute the following command:

python path/to/smtp_credentials_generate.py wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY us-east-1

In the preceding command, do the following:

  • Replace path/to/ with the path to the location where you saved smtp_credentials_generate.py.

  • Replace wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY with the secret access key that you want to convert into an SMTP password.

  • Replace us-east-1 with the AWS Region in which you want to use the SMTP credentials.

When this script runs successfully, the only output is your SMTP password.

To use this script, first save the preceding code as smtp_credentials_generate.py. Then, at the command line, execute the following command:

python path/to/smtp_credentials_generate.py wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY us-east-1

In the preceding command, do the following:

  • Replace path/to/ with the path to the location where you saved smtp_credentials_generate.py.

  • Replace wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY with the Secret Access Key that you want to convert into an SMTP password.

  • Replace us-east-1 with the AWS Region in which you want to use the SMTP credentials.

When this script runs successfully, the only output is your SMTP password.