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A Guide to the Top 9 Best SMS APIs in 2024

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Best for Robust and Scalable SMS
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Global Reach
Two-way Communication
Media Support
Best for Robust bidirectional communication
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Global SMS Reach
Simple Integration
Multi-Channel Support
Best for Phone Number Verification
Abstract Phone Number Validation API
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Developer-friendly Documentation
Bulk Upload
Best for Complex, multi-touch marketing campaigns
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Rich Template Personalization
Smart Scheduling for Campaigns
Integrated Link Tracking
Best for Real-time trend and usage analysis
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Direct Network Access
Detailed Message Reporting
Support for MMS

A Guide to the Top 9 Best SMS APIs in 2024

At a glance:

  1. Twilio: Best for Robust and Scalable Platform
  2. MessageBird: Best for Robust Bidirectional Communication
  3. ClickSend: Best for Complex, Multi-Touch Marketing Campaigns
  4. Bandwidth: Best for Real-Time Trend and Usage Analysis
  5. Vonage: Best for Precise, Localized SMS Delivery
  6. AbstractAPI: Best for Phone Number Verification
  7. Plivo: Best for Easy-to-Implement 2FA Integration
  8. Telnyx: Best for Scalable Voice and Messaging
  9. Textedly: Best for Simple, Straightforward SMS API Integration

Marketing is all about reaching people where they are. For some of us, that’s email. For others like me who can’t go a minute without their mobile phones, text is the best way to get our attention. SMS has been a growing method of delivering relevant business messaging. For instance, a retail company might use SMS to send promotional offers to customers who have opted in, resulting in increased foot traffic during sales events. From multi-factor authentication to promotions to online check-ins, to customer service – SMS is deeply integrated into most customer-centric businesses.

If you’re a marketer, interested in exploring SMS tools, or a business owner wondering how SMS can enhance your business operations, this is for you. 

In this blog, we will take a look at the best SMS APIs.

What is SMS?

Short Message Service, commonly known as SMS, is a widely used communication technology that enables the exchange of short text messages between mobile phones. Originating as part of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, SMS has become a critical component of mobile messaging.

SMS allows you to send text messages consisting of up to 160 characters (including spaces) from one mobile device to another. The simplicity and universality of SMS have contributed to its enduring popularity.

What is an SMS API?

You can think of an SMS API as a set of protocols and tools that allows software applications to send and receive text messages (SMS) over a network. APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, serve as a bridge between different software applications. They enable these applications to communicate and exchange data by providing a common language and set of rules.

In the context of SMS, an SMS API allows developers to integrate SMS functionality into their applications, websites, or services. This integration can be used for various purposes, such as sending automated messages, notifications, alerts, or even two-way communication via text messages.

Different types of phone number formats play a role in SMS APIs:

  • Short Codes:
    • Short codes are typically 5 to 6-digit numbers used for sending mass SMS messages. They are often used for marketing campaigns or alerts.
  • Long Codes:
    • Long codes are standard phone numbers used for one-on-one communication. They are more suitable for personalized messages and are often used for customer support or two-way communication.
  • Virtual Numbers:
    • Virtual numbers, also known as virtual phone numbers, can be short or long codes that aren’t tied to a specific physical phone line. They are flexible and can be used for various purposes, including receiving SMS.
  • Dedicated and Shared Numbers:
    • Dedicated numbers are exclusively assigned to one user or organization, providing more control over message delivery and sender ID. Shared numbers are used by multiple users, often with a keyword to differentiate messages.

Use Cases: Ways Businesses Use SMS Messaging

Personal Communication: SMS is a popular choice for personal communication, allowing individuals to send quick messages and media to friends and family.

Business and Marketing: SMS has found extensive use in business communication and marketing. Companies leverage SMS for sending transactional messages, promotional offers, appointment reminders, and customer notifications. As mobile device usage has only increased, SMS is becoming a non-negotiable for business marketing.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): SMS is commonly employed as a secure method for two-factor authentication. It adds an extra layer of security by verifying a user’s identity through a code sent via SMS.

Emergency Alerts: Governments and organizations use SMS Services to broadcast emergency alerts and notifications, providing timely information to the public during critical situations.


1. Twilio

Twilio Image

Best for: robust and scalable platform for programmable SMS with versatile capabilities

Twilio’s messaging API has transformed my approach to messaging integration:

  • Reliability: The API’s impressive reliability ensures seamless communication.
  • Rich Feature Set: A comprehensive set of features makes Twilio my go-to tool.”

What it Does Well

  • Global Reach: Twilio’s SMS API excels in reaching users globally, ensuring reliable reach to diverse audiences without geographical constraints.
  • Two-Way Communication: The ability to not only send but also receive SMS in real-time is a standout feature. This bidirectional communication opens doors for interactive applications, such as surveys, user feedback, and verification processes.
  • Media Support: The API goes beyond text, allowing me to send multimedia messages with images and videos. This capability has been pivotal in enhancing the engagement and visual appeal of my messages.
  • Message Queues and Delivery Reports: Twilio’s support for message queues and detailed delivery reports empowers me with insights into message status and performance, crucial for maintaining a streamlined and informed communication strategy.


  • Cost Transparency: While Twilio provides a pay-as-you-go model, navigating and understanding the pricing structure can be intricate. Achieving complete cost transparency sometimes requires careful monitoring and analysis.
  • Initial Learning Curve for Advanced Features: While the basic integration is straightforward, diving into advanced features like message queues and media support may incur a steep learning curve for developers new to the Twilio ecosystem.


Twilio SMS API Pricing is based on the location and type of message being sent.

Twilio SMS Pricing

2. MessageBird

Messagebird Image

Best for: robust bidirectional communication

MessageBird’s SMS API has been a valuable addition to my development toolkit, offering a reliable and feature-rich solution for integrating messaging capabilities into my applications. Once you sign up for a workspace, it’s as simple as purchasing a number, and installing SMS by MessageBird. After that, you can start sending rich automated messages.

What it Does Well

  • Global SMS Reach: Like Twilio,  MessageBird’s expansive network ensures global reach, allowing me to connect with users worldwide.
  • Simple Integration: The API’s simplicity in integration has saved me valuable time. The documentation is clear, making the learning curve smoother for developers of varying experience levels.
  • Multi-Channel Support: Beyond SMS, MessageBird supports multiple channels like Voice and Chat, providing a unified platform.
  • Built-in Number Lookup: The API offers a built-in number lookup feature so that you can increase message delivery and reduce the chances of miscommunication.


  • Limited Free Tier: Unlike some competitors, MessageBird’s free tier is relatively limited. For developers on a tight budget, this might be a consideration when choosing an SMS API.


MessageBird pricing is very simple. You pay for the phone numbers themselves, which range from $1-$2 per month. Then, pay a flat $.0069 per send.

3. ClickSend

ClickSend Image

Best for: Complex, multi-touch marketing campaigns

ClickSend’s SMS API elevates the norm experience by adding a potent mix of unique features like a bulk SMS API and a text-to-voice call gateway. Its distinctive capabilities have significantly diversified the ways users can engage with others through messaging.

What it Does Well

  • Rich Template Personalization: ClickSend’s SMS lets you leverage template personalization. I can dynamically tailor messages by incorporating user-specific data, offering a personalized touch.
  • Smart Scheduling for Campaigns: The API’s smart scheduling feature allows me to optimize message delivery times based on user behavior patterns, hitting users’ inboxes when they are most likely to engage.
  • Integrated Link Tracking and Analytics: ClickSend integrates link tracking and analytics, providing important insights into user interaction with links within my messages. This feature lets you refine communication strategy based on real-time user behavior.
  • Dynamic Sender ID Configuration: The ability to dynamically configure Sender IDs adds an extra layer of customization. This feature allows me to maintain brand consistency and fosters a sense of trust by displaying recognizable sender information.


  • Customization Complexity for Beginners: The high level of customization, while powerful, might be a bit complex for developers new to the ClickSend ecosystem. A more streamlined approach to customization for beginners could enhance the onboarding experience.


clicksend Pricing

4. Bandwidth

Bandwidth Image

Best for: Real-time trend and usage analysis

Bandwidth offers a simple SMS API with extensive documentation. Since Bandwidth is also a carrier, they’re able to hit a higher deliverability rate than most competitors, offering instant responses.

What it Does Well

  • Direct Network Access: Bandwidth’s SMS API boasts direct access to the carrier network, ensuring a high level of reliability and reducing the likelihood of message delays or disruptions.
  • Detailed Message Reporting: Bandwidth’s API provides detailed reporting on message delivery and open rates.  I have comprehensive insights into the status of each message. This transparency is crucial for monitoring and optimizing communication strategies.
  • Support for Multimedia Messaging (MMS): Going beyond traditional SMS, Bandwidth’s API supports MMS, allowing me to send multimedia messages with images, videos, and audio. This feature has been pivotal for creating engaging and dynamic content in my messages.


  • Support: Users have complained that Bandwidth support is lacking.


Pricing for Bandwidth is consultative only. In order to get a quote, you need to talk to sales.

5. Vonage

Vonage Image

Best for businesses requiring precise, localized SMS delivery.

Vonage has become a communication linchpin in the development world, introducing a dynamic and feature-rich solution for integrating text messaging. 

What it Does Well

  • Rich Message Content with Concatenation: Vonage’s API shines in supporting message concatenation, allowing me to send longer messages seamlessly. This feature is invaluable for delivering comprehensive information without compromising user experience.
  • Smart Sender ID Management: The API’s smart sender ID management enables me to dynamically set and customize sender IDs based on specific campaigns or user interactions. This flexibility adds a layer of personalization to messages, fostering user engagement.
  • Delivery Receipts with Message Status Updates: Vonage’s API provides detailed delivery receipts with real-time message status updates. This level of transparency ensures that I stay informed about the delivery progress of each message, enhancing overall communication reliability.
  • Localized Timezone Delivery: Leveraging localized timezone delivery, the API optimizes message sending based on recipients’ time zones. This thoughtful feature ensures that messages are received at times when users are most likely to be engaged.


  • Limited MMS Support: While excelling in SMS, Vonage’s API has limited support for Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS). For developers looking to incorporate richer media content in messages, this could be a constraint.
  • In-depth Analytics Complexity: While the API provides analytics, delving into more in-depth insights may require additional effort. Simplifying the analytics interface or providing more intuitive tools could enhance the user experience in this aspect.


  • Sending Message: $.0078 per send
  • Receiving Message: $.0062 per receive

Phone Numbers

  • Virtual Phone Number: $.98 Per Month
  • Toll-Free Numbers: $1.09 Per Month
  • Short Code: Random ($1,000/Month) Dedicated Vanity ($1,500/Month)

6. AbstractAPI

Monosnap Free Phone Validation API 180 countrie

Best for: Phone Number Verification

If you’re looking to add phone verification to your SMS API, AbstractAPI is a great companion. Having multiple highly dependable APIs from email verification to web scraping, AbstractAPI is a developer’s best friend.

What it Does Well

  • Developer-friendly documentation: AbstractAPI makes it easy for developers to quickly understand and get started with their range of APIs. You can even test out calls for free directly through their web app.
    "phone": "xxxxxxxxxx",
    "valid": true,
    "format": {
        "international": "+14805141270",
        "local": "(480) 514-xxxx"
    "country": {
        "code": "US",
        "name": "United States",
        "prefix": "+1"
    "location": "Arizona",
    "type": "landline",
    "carrier": ""
  • Bulk Upload: You can also verify phone numbers in bulk before adding them to your contact list with AbstractAPI’s bulk upload tool.
  • Integrations: AbstractAPI has a variety of prebuilt integrations with popular SaaS tools like Salesforce, Zapier, Marketo, and AWS. This makes it easy to start working with other applications.


  • Not an SMS provider API. Although AbstractAPI doesn’t have a Messaging API, phone validation is an important first step.


AbstractAPI Pricing

7. Plivo

Plivo Image

Best For: Easy-to-Implement 2FA integration

Plivo distinguishes itself as a versatile and user-friendly solution, offering seamless integration for messaging services. Its commitment to enhancing user experience and engagement is evident through features such as dynamic Sender ID configuration, simplifying two-factor authentication (2FA) integration, and implementing smart message queueing for reliable delivery.

Things It Does Well:

  • Dynamic Sender ID Configuration: Plivo allows users to dynamically set Sender IDs, enabling businesses to customize and display a recognizable sender name. This feature is particularly advantageous for maintaining brand consistency in SMS communications and fostering trust and recognition among recipients.
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Simplification: Plivo streamlines the integration of two-factor authentication (2FA) by providing a straightforward implementation process. Developers can easily incorporate secure and reliable 2FA processes into their applications, enhancing user security without the complexity often associated with such features.
  • Smart Message Queueing and Delivery: Plivo employs intelligent message queueing and delivery mechanisms, optimizing the delivery of messages even in challenging network conditions. This feature ensures that messages are reliably and promptly delivered, crucial for time-sensitive communications in applications like real-time alerts or notifications.


  • Complex for Non-Developers: Some users found that implementation was a little complex for non-developers.


Plivo pricing is simple to understand. They offer a flat price per send or receive.

Plivo Pricing

8. Telnyx

Telnyx Image

Best for: Scalable voice and messaging

Telnyx stands out in the realm of telecommunications with its comprehensive suite of services, catering to the communication needs of businesses and developers. Its global network infrastructure, coupled with innovative features, positions Telnyx as a reliable and flexible choice for those seeking advanced telecommunication capabilities.

Things It Does Well:

  • Global Elastic SIP Trunking: Telnyx offers a robust Global Elastic SIP Trunking service, providing businesses with a scalable and cost-effective solution for voice communication. With global points of presence, Telnyx ensures high-quality voice calls, making it an ideal choice for enterprises with international communication needs.
  • Mission Control Portal: Telnyx’s Mission Control Portal is a user-friendly interface that empowers users to manage and customize their communication services effortlessly. The portal provides real-time insights, enabling users to monitor usage, configure phone numbers, and adjust settings with ease, fostering a seamless user experience.
  • Intelligent Messaging API: Telnyx excels in messaging capabilities with its Intelligent Messaging API. Developers benefit from features such as programmable SMS, MMS, and message queuing, allowing for the creation of dynamic and interactive messaging experiences. This versatility is particularly valuable for applications requiring rich communication features.
  • Flexible Number Porting: Telnyx simplifies the process of number porting, enabling businesses to transfer existing phone numbers seamlessly. The flexibility in managing and porting numbers makes it convenient for businesses looking to maintain their established phone presence while leveraging Telnyx’s advanced telecommunication services.


  • Carrier Specific Reliability. Depending on your carrier, you may experience reliability issues.


Pricing is a little more complex for Telnyx as pricing largely depends on they type of number you use and your carrier. However, Outbound messages can cost from .004 to .007

For more information, check out their pricing page.

9. Textedly

Texedly Image

Best for: Simple, straightforward SMS API Integration

Texedly is a lightweight, simple platform that offers 2-way and bulk text messaging. They also offer cool features like native webforms that directly integrate with their platform.

What it Does Well

  • Intuitive Campaign Creation: Textedly excels in simplifying the creation of SMS campaigns. The intuitive interface allows me to quickly compose and schedule messages, minimizing the time spent on campaign setup.
  • Contact Management and Segmentation: The platform’s robust contact management system enables me to organize and segment contacts effortlessly. This segmentation feature is invaluable for delivering targeted messages to specific groups within my audience.
  • Link Tracking and Analytics: Textedly provides insightful link tracking and analytics. This feature allows me to monitor the effectiveness of my campaigns by tracking click-through rates and analyzing user engagement with the links included in my messages.


  • Limited Customization in Templates: While Textedly offers templates for quick campaign creation, the level of customization is somewhat limited. For marketers seeking highly tailored messaging, this could be a drawback.
  • Limited Scale: The top plan only allows for 18,000 text messages a month. If you’re a large company, this amount can seem pretty low.


Texedly is one of the only SMS API tools that offer a monthly subscription price, varying from the pay-as-you-go model.

Basic ($26/Mo) – 600 outbound messages a month, free incoming messages, unlimited contacts, and a toll-free phone number

Bronze ($38/Mo) – 1,200 text messages a month, plus everything in basic and live chat support.

Plus ($69/Mo) – 2,400 text messages a month, including all in bronze plus text-to-pay payments and Google business reviews.

Enterprise ($99/Mo) – 4,200 text messages per month, but nothing different from Plus

Elite ($139/Mo) – 6,000 messages a month

Business ($249/Mo) -12,000 messages per month

Silver ($349/Mo) – 18,000 text messages per month


At the end of the day, a reliable SMS API should allow for easy integration, robust security protocols, and efficient message delivery with good uptime. It should offer straightforward documentation for developers, so it’s easier to implement across your different applications. A dependable SMS API also includes features like message tracking and reporting, so users can monitor the delivery status of their messages in real-time.


What is an SMS API and how does it work?

An SMS API (Short Message Service Application Programming Interface) is a set of protocols that allows software applications to send and receive text messages programmatically. It works by providing a standardized way for applications to interact with the telecommunication network, enabling the automation of SMS communication. Developers use the SMS API to integrate messaging capabilities into their software, facilitating seamless and efficient text message exchanges.

How do I choose the best SMS API provider?

Choosing the best SMS API provider involves considering factors such as reliability, global reach, scalability, pricing transparency, customer support, and compliance with regulations. Evaluate providers based on your specific needs, ensuring they offer a robust infrastructure, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service. Reading user reviews, understanding their service level agreements, and exploring their feature set will help in making an informed decision.

What are the benefits of using an SMS API for business?

Using an SMS API for business offers benefits such as instant communication, improved customer engagement, cost-effectiveness, automation of messaging processes, and the ability to reach a global audience. Businesses can leverage SMS APIs for various purposes, including marketing campaigns, transactional notifications, two-factor authentication, and streamlined internal communication.

Are there any free SMS APIs available?

While some SMS API providers offer free trials, you’ll still have to pay for a phone number – which may only cost a few dollars a month. Most providers operate on a pricing model based on the volume of messages sent. It’s essential to review the terms and conditions of free trials and choose a provider that aligns with your messaging needs and budget.

How to integrate an SMS API into my application?

Integrating an SMS API into your application involves obtaining API credentials from your chosen provider and incorporating the API calls into your code. Typically, providers offer comprehensive documentation and code samples to guide developers through the integration process. Following the step-by-step integration guide provided by your chosen SMS API provider ensures a smooth integration into your application.

What is the difference between an SMS API and an SMS gateway?

An SMS API and an SMS gateway serve similar purposes but differ in their implementation. An SMS API is a set of programming instructions that allows software applications to communicate with the telecommunication network for sending and receiving text messages. On the other hand, an SMS gateway is the infrastructure that facilitates the actual transmission of SMS messages. An SMS API often utilizes an SMS gateway to execute message delivery.

How secure are SMS APIs?

SMS APIs can be secure when implemented with proper encryption protocols and authentication mechanisms. Reputable SMS API providers prioritize security by employing HTTPS protocols, API key authentication, and other industry-standard security measures. It’s crucial to choose a provider with a strong commitment to data security, especially when handling sensitive information.

Can I send bulk SMS messages using an API?

Yes, many SMS APIs support bulk messaging, allowing businesses to send large volumes of messages efficiently. The ability to send bulk SMS messages is a valuable feature for marketing campaigns, announcements, and other scenarios where reaching a large audience is essential.

What should I look for in SMS API documentation?

ClickSend API Doc Image

Comprehensive and well-organized documentation is crucial when evaluating an SMS API. Look for clear API endpoints, authentication methods, code samples in multiple programming languages, and detailed explanations of parameters. Good documentation streamlines the integration process, reducing development time and potential issues.
For example, check out ClickSend’s detailed documentation. They include sample callouts and responses for cURL, PHP, C#, Java, Ruby, and more.

How do SMS APIs handle global text messaging and compliance?

Top SMS APIs typically offer global reach, allowing messages to be sent and received internationally. Compliance with local and international regulations, such as data protection and anti-spam laws, is a key consideration. Providers often outline their compliance measures in their documentation, emphasizing adherence to industry standards to ensure responsible and lawful use of their services.

How do you set up an SMS API for your Apps?

Every SMS API service is different. However, here are some general guidelines.
Sign Up and API Key: Register for an account with the chosen provider.
Retrieve your API key or authentication credentials from the provider’s developer console.
API Documentation: Study the API documentation thoroughly to understand available endpoints, request methods (usually HTTP POST), and required parameters.
Note any additional features, such as message tracking or delivery reports.
Integration in Code: Use the programming language of your choice (e.g., Python, Node.js, Java) to integrate the SMS API.
Install any necessary SDKs or libraries provided by the service.
Authentication: Include your API key in the HTTP headers or as parameters in each API request for authentication.
Some providers may use additional security measures like API tokens or OAuth.
Crafting API Requests: Construct HTTP POST requests with the appropriate endpoint URLs.
Include parameters such as sender ID, recipient number, and message content in the request body.
Handling Responses: Implement error handling in your code to manage HTTP status codes returned by the API.
Parse response data for details on message delivery status or any error messages.
Testing: Send test SMS messages to a designated test number to verify the integration.
Check the provider’s documentation for any sandbox or testing environments.
Scalability and Optimization: Optimize your code for performance, considering factors like asynchronous processing for handling a large volume of messages.
Monitor API usage limits provided by the service and plan for scalability.
Monitoring and Maintenance: Set up logging to track API requests and responses.
Implement monitoring tools to receive alerts for any issues with message delivery or API failures.
Security and Compliance: Utilize HTTPS for secure communication.
Ensure compliance with data protection regulations, especially when handling user phone numbers and message content.

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