Archive for April, 2018

Monitoring sendgrid with Elasticsearch

April 20th, 2018 No comments

If you are using sendgrid as a service for your outbound email, you would want to monitor and be able to answer questions such as:

  • how much email are you sending
  • status of sent email – success, bounced, delayed, etc.
  • trends
  • etc.

We get questions all the time from $WORK customer support folks on whether an email sent to a customer got there (customer claimed they never got it).   There could be any number of reasons why customer do not see email sent from us.

  • our email is filtered into customer spam folder
  • email is reject/bounced by customer mail service
  • any number of network/server/services related errors between us and customer mail service
  • the email address customer provided is invalid (and email bounced)

If we have access to event logs from sendgrid, we would be able to quickly answer these types of questions.

Luckily sendgrid offers Event Webhook.

Verbatim quote from above link.

SendGrid’s Event Webhook will notify a URL of your choice via HTTP POST with information about events that occur as SendGrid processes your email. Common uses of this data are to remove unsubscribes, react to spam reports, determine unengaged recipients, identify bounced email addresses, or create advanced analytics of your email program. With Unique Arguments and Category parameters, you can insert dynamic data that will help build a sharp, clear image of your mailings.

Login to your sendgrid account and click on Mail Settings.

Then click on Event Notification


In HTTP Post URL, enter the DNS name of the service endpoint you are going to setup next.

For example, mine is (not a valid endpoint, but close enough):

Since I do not believe in re-inventing the wheel, Adly Abdullah has already written a simple sendgrid event listener.   This is a nodejs service.  You can install it via npm.

$ sudo npm install -g sendgrid-event-logger pm2

You want to install pm2 (nodejs Process Manager version 2).  Very nice nodejs process manager.

Next is to edit and configure sendgrid-event-logger (SEL for short).   If the default config works for you, then no need to do anything.  Check and make sure it is pointing to where your ES host is located (mine is running on the same instance, hence localhost).   I also left SEL listening on port 8080 as that is available on this instance.

$ cat /etc/sendgrid-event-logger.json
"elasticsearch_host": "localhost:9200",
"port": 8080,
"use_basicauth": true,
"basicauth": {
"user": "sendgridlogger",
"password": "KLJSDG(#@%@!gBigSecret"
"use_https": false,
"https": {
"key_file": "",
"cert_file": ""
"days_to_retain_log": 365

NOTE: I have use_https set to false because my nginx front-end is already using https.

Since SEL is listening on port 8080, you can run it as yourself.

$ pm2 start sendgrid-event-logger -i 0 --name "sendgrid-event-logger"

Verify that SEL is running.

$ pm2 show 0

Describing process with id 0 - name sendgrid-event-logger
│ status            │ online                                               │
│ name              │ sendgrid-event-logger                                │
│ restarts          │ 0                                                    │
│ uptime            │ 11m                                                  │
│ script path       │ /usr/bin/sendgrid-event-logger                       │
│ script args       │ N/A                                                  │
│ error log path    │ $HOME/.pm2/logs/sendgrid-event-logger-error-0.log    │
│ out log path      │ $HOME/.pm2/logs/sendgrid-event-logger-out-0.log      │
│ pid path          │ $HOME/.pm2/pids/          │
│ interpreter       │ node                                                 │
│ interpreter args  │ N/A                                                  │
│ script id         │ 0                                                    │
│ exec cwd          │ $HOME                                                │
│ exec mode         │ fork_mode                                            │
│ node.js version   │ 8.11.1                                               │
│ watch & reload .  │ ✘                                                    │
│ unstable restarts │ 0                                                    │
│ created at        │ 2018-02-14T23:36:06.705Z                             │
Code metrics value
│ Loop delay .    │ 0.68ms │
│ Active requests │ 0      │
│ Active handles  │ 4      │

I use nginx and here is my nginx config for SEL.

/etc/nginx/sites-available $ cat sendgrid-logger
upstream sendgrid_logger {

server {
  server_name slog;
  listen 443 ssl ;

  include snippets/ssl.conf;
  access_log /var/log/nginx/slog/access.log;
  error_log /var/log/nginx/slog/error.log;
  proxy_connect_timeout 5m;
  proxy_send_timeout 5m;
  proxy_read_timeout 5m;

  location / {
    proxy_pass http://sendgrid_logger;
$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/sendgrid-logger /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
$ sudo systemctl reload nginx

Make sure Sendgrid Event webhook is turned on and you should be seeing events coming in.   Check your Elasticsearch cluster for new indices.

$ curl -s localhost:9200/_cat/indices|grep mail
green open mail-2018.03.31 -g6Tw9b9RfqZnBVYLdrF-g 1 0 2967 0 1.4mb 1.4mb
green open mail-2018.03.28 GxTRx2PgR4yT5kiH0RKXrg 1 0 8673 0 4.2mb 4.2mb
green open mail-2018.04.06 2PO9YV1eS7eevZ1dfFrMGw 1 0 10216 0 4.9mb 4.9mb
green open mail-2018.04.11 _ZINqVPTSwW7b8wSgkTtTA 1 0 8774 0 4.3mb 4.3mb


Go to Kibana, setup index pattern.  In my case, it’s mail-*.  Go to Discover, select mail-* index pattern and play around.

Here is my simple report.  I see around 9am, something happened to cause a huge spike in mail events.


Next step is for you to create dashboards to fit your needs.