Obtaining Amazon SES SMTP credentials - Amazon Simple Email Service

Obtaining Amazon SES SMTP credentials

You need Amazon SES SMTP credentials to access the SES SMTP interface.

The credentials that you use to send email through the SES SMTP interface are unique to each AWS Region. If you use the 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.


SMTP endpoints are not currently available in Africa (Cape Town), Asia Pacific (Jakarta), Europe (Milan), Israel (Tel Aviv), and Middle East (Bahrain).

Obtaining SES SMTP credentials using the SES console

When you use the SES workflow below to generate SMTP credentials by using the console, you are taken to the IAM console to create an user with the appropriate policies to call SES and provides you with the SMTP credentials associated with that user.


An IAM user can create SES SMTP credentials, but the user's policy must give them permission to use IAM itself, because 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 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. Choose SMTP settings in the left navigation pane - this will open the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) settings page.

  3. Choose Create SMTP Credentials in the upper-right corner - the IAM console will open.

  4. (Optional) If you need to view, edit, or delete SMTP users you’ve already created, choose Manage my existing SMTP credentials in the lower-right corner - the IAM console will open. Details for managing SMTP credentials is given following these procedures.

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

  6. Select Show under SMTP password - your SMTP credentials are shown on the screen.

  7. Download these credentials by choosing Download .csv file or copy them and store them in a safe place, because you can't view or save your credentials after you close this dialog box.

  8. Choose Return to SES console.

You can view a list of the SMTP credentials you've created using this procedure in the IAM console under Access management and choosing Users followed by using 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 Managing IAM Users in the IAM Getting Started Guide.

If you want to change your SMTP password, delete your existing SMTP user in the IAM console. Then, to generate a new set of SMTP credentials, complete the previous procedures.

Obtaining SES SMTP credentials by converting existing AWS credentials

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


Don't use temporary AWS credentials to derive SMTP credentials. The 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 SES SMTP interface, do the following.

  • Derive the user's SMTP credentials from their AWS credentials by using the algorithm provided in this section. Because you're starting from AWS credentials, the SMTP user name is the same as the AWS access key ID, so you only 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 SES with IAM, see Identity and access management in Amazon SES.


Although you can generate 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's 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 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 SES SMTP password using Python.


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.

#!/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) "eu-south-1", # Europe (Milan) "eu-north-1", # Europe (Stockholm) "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 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, run 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.