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What is an SMS Short Code?

A short code(link takes you to an external page) is a special telephone number designed for high-throughput, two-way messaging. Short codes are used to send and receive SMS and MMS messages to and from mobile phones. Twilio currently offers short codes in multiple countries(link takes you to an external page). Their name is derived from the fact that they are shorter (usually five to six digits) than their ten-digit long code counterparts.

When to use a short code

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If you're sending more than a few hundred messages a day from a long code, your messages run the risk of being marked as spam. Short codes are pre-approved by carriers to have a high throughput and are not subject to carrier filtering. This makes them perfect for sending those high-volume or time-sensitive messages. Here are some ways they're being used by developers:

  • Marketing and promotions.
  • Alerts and notifications.
  • Two-factor authentication.

How do I find out who owns a short code?

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Receive an SMS message and don't know who it's from? Want a short code, but find out it's unavailable? Use a short code lookup tool(link takes you to an external page) to find the owner. It'll tell you when it was registered and who registered it. It'll also tell you what to text to unsubscribe from their messages.

How much does a short code cost?

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There are two costs to consider when planning to use a short code:

  1. The cost to lease(link takes you to an external page) a short code.
  2. The volume cost of sending messages(link takes you to an external page) from a short code.

How to get a short code for business text messaging

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You can obtain a short code from Twilio or migrate an existing one(link takes you to an external page) to our platform.

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