SES - I am seeing "Unknown error" in SES Dashboard and unable use SES APIs



I have been using SES in us-east-1 for transactional emails. Recently, the service stopped working for me and I am unable to use the dashboard as a red banner shows me an error that reads:

Unknown error

Request failed with unknown error, ensure that you have the necessary permissions and that all fields have correct values.

Server-side message: Network Failure

This happened a few days ago, then randomly fixed itself. Now it is happening again.

Aditionally, I am unable to use the AWS SDK for SES. For example, if I want to update an email template, I get TimeoutError


My user has AdministratorAccess. To debug, I added AmazonSESFullAccess, AmazonSESReadOnlyAccess, and ViewOnlyAccess(based on a response I saw on this forum for a similar issue) -- but nothing worked.

I would appreciate any assistance as my app relies on SES for emails, and it has come to a halt.

1 Answer
Accepted Answer

There are a few things you can try to troubleshoot the "Unknown error" issue with SES:

  • Check your AWS service limits for SES in the region. Make sure you haven't hit any limits around maximum send rate, maximum number of identities, etc. Request limit increases if needed.

  • Try the SES calls from the AWS CLI or a different SDK like Boto. This can help determine if it's an issue with the specific SDK version.

  • Enable SES API call logging and check CloudTrail to see if there are any 4xx or 5xx errors returned from the API calls. This can provide more details on the underlying error.

  • Check if there are any AWS service health events impacting SES in your region like an outage.

  • Verify your IAM credentials are valid and have the necessary SES permissions. You may try creating a new IAM user just for SES troubleshooting.

  • Switch to a different region to see if the issue persists. Try us-west-2 for example.

  • As a last resort, you can open a support ticket with AWS to escalate the problem if it seems to be an account or service issue.

Hope this gives you some ideas on things to test! SES issues can be tricky to pin down the cause sometimes. Let me know if the problem persists after trying these troubleshooting steps.

answered 3 months ago
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reviewed 15 days ago
  • Thanks Saad. Not convinient, but I ended up re-creating my SES email stack in us-east-2. The emails seem to work there. It is concerning that us-east-1 is virtually unusable for me (it just went offline without warning, and I'm not sure this affects all SES account in us-east-1) -- and my hope is the same doesn't happen in us-east-2

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