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How to work with your Twilio Free Trial account (US only)

So you want to give Twilio a spin, or you’ve already signed up for your trial account and want to understand what you can and can’t do? If you're a user in the U.S, you’re in the right place!

Sign up for your free Twilio trial

  1. First, sign up for your free Twilio trial account. The signup process includes verifying your personal phone number: this is a security measure that is mandatory before you can try Twilio.
  2. Once you finish signup, you should see your Console Dashboard. This is your home for finding your Twilio credentials, checking your usage, and beginning your exploration of Twilio technology.
  3. We give you a small preloaded balance to test out Twilio’s functionality. You will not be charged for Twilio phone numbers or usage until you upgrade.

Console Dashboard Home Page

If you’ve indicated an interest in Twilio Messaging products during your Free Trial sign-up, upon completion of signup you’ll land on a page like the one shown in the screenshot below. This landing page presents three possible paths that you can take to begin with:

Path 1 - Explore Messaging Capabilities: take this path if you’d like to immediately start exploring how the Twilio Messaging API works, using the new Toll-Free number that comes with the Free Trial account. You can keep your Free Trial status and immediately apply to get your Toll-Free number verified. As soon as you've submitted the TFV application, you'll be able to use your Toll-Free phone number to message your own personal mobile device, and up to four other pre-designated mobile devices (see Appendix Two for details on designating other mobile devices as receivers while in Free Trial).

Path 2 - Ready to Upgrade?: Take this path if you’re ready to get your free Toll-Free number, submit a verification application AND upgrade to a paid account. This will allow you to begin building solutions that send automated messaging over the carrier network to any destination phone you specify.

Path 3 - Explore more products: Twilio is an omni-channel communication provider. Did you know that you can use your new TF number immediately, with no verification process, to make voice calls? Take this path if you’d like to explore Twilio’s voice, email and other communication channels.

Free Trial Screen One

Below the screen components shown above, you will find a further section with several crucial pieces of information about the account you’ve just created. The first of these is your Account SID, which uniquely identified your account and which you will use in all API calls you make to any Twilio APIs. These calls will also require your Auth Token. Both of these strings can be copied from the text fields and pasted into any API-calling code you wish to run.

Beneath these will appear your Twilio Phone Number, though not until you have provisioned it by clicking on the blue Get phone number button.

This account information will appear at the bottom of each of the three screens (or Steps) in the Free Trial workflow, and can always be found again by returning to your Twilio home page at

Account Info box in Free Trial workflow

Path One: Sending your first message via Twilio’s Messaging API

To begin Path 1, click on the blue Get phone number button shown in the first screen above.

To instead begin Path 2, click on the Upgrade my account button.

Clicking the Get Phone number button will reveal your new Toll-Free number:

new TFN revealed in Free Trial

This is a real, unique Toll-Free number and now it’s yours. It will show up in the Phone Numbers section of the Console, and as mentioned above, it can be used immediately to make automated Voice calls if you’d like to explore that possibility (see the Explore Products link in the previous screenshot). It cannot be used prior to verification for sending SMS messages, but as soon as you've submitted your application for verification, this restriction is lifted. See this guide for how to submit your verification, or simply click the Verify your phone number button on the 3rd screen below.

With the verification submitted, you are free to continue your exploration of Twilio messaging technology. To do this you will click the blue Next: Try it out button shown above. This will take you to the second full screen, as shown in the screenshot below. Here you will be able to access code samples for a variety of real-world use cases favored by developers:

Free Trial Step Two screen

For the first, featured use case, sending SMS notifications from a browser, the embedded video will walk you through the build process, and the Go to code sample button will take you to the full, multi-language code sample in our CodeExchange repository.

Other Go to code sample links on this page will take you to the CodeExchange code samples for several other popular use cases. You can also access ALL of the CodeExchange code samples through the Check out all code samples button at the bottom of the screen.

Note that the code samples found in CodeExchange are not just snippets; these code samples allow you to build a complete application in the framework of your choice that will call the Twilio Messaging API.

Upgrade Path: Expand your reach

When you are ready to start sending messages from one of your new applications across the carrier networks to an unlimited set of mobile phones, it’s time to upgrade your account. Click the Unlock more capabilities button to move to the next screen (Step 3).

Free Trial Step three screen

As this screen lays out, the Upgrade path begins with a Free Trial account and the single unverified Toll-Free number you received on signup.

As noted above, the next step is to get your Toll-free number verified. That process, detailed in this guide, involves providing business information including a business address and website, detailing the particular use case for which you will be messaging with this number, and detailing the opt-in process through which you gain your end-user’s consent to message them. Toll-Free Verification is an industry-wide regulatory requirement, whose purpose is to ensure that message senders can be trusted and that all messages are welcomed by end users.

If you're uncertain whether you qualify for Toll-Free verification, please see this support article for potential alternatives.

To proceed with Toll-free verification, click on the button Verify your phone number which will launch the TF verification console workflow.

Toll Free Verification is free, and can be completed while your account is still in Free Trial status. With a verified Toll-Free number in a Free Trial account, you will be able to message up to five pre-designated cellphone numbers across the mobile network (typically, the first of these would be your own mobile phone). See Appendix Two below for details on how to add additional pre-designated numbers to your Free Trial account. See Appendix One for a general overview of restrictions on Free Trial accounts, including those on making voice calls, sending messaging internationally, and others.

However, if you are building for a true business use case, you will shortly need the ability to message an unlimited number of end-user cellphones, and you will very likely also want additional Twilio numbers to use as senders.

The final step, then, would be to Upgrade your account itself to a paid/funded account. A paid account will allow you to purchase additional Twilio numbers, and send your messages to unlimited mobile phone numbers. To launch the Upgrade console workflow, click the blue Upgrade account button in the Step 4 screen shown above.

If you choose to upgrade your project, your trial number will be carried over and charged monthly according to current Voice/SMS rates.

Appendix One: Trial Account restrictions and limitations

The processes for sending messages, making phone calls, and setting up an Elastic SIP Trunk are the same for a trial account as a full paid account. However, there are some restrictions and limitations imposed while you are in trial mode.

Making phone calls

  • Calls to and from your free trial phone number will play a short trial message before your TwiML runs. Within that message, we ask you to press any key to proceed with the call itself. Only after pressing a key will the code from your website will be requested. If you don’t press a key, the call will not connect to your code.
  • Calls are limited to 10 minutes while in trial mode.
  • Any non-Twilio phone numbers you want to place calls to must be verified first, or the call will fail. Additionally, any non-Twilio phone numbers you want to receive inbound calls from must be verified first, or the call will fail. These are security measures required for all trial accounts.
  • You can use either your Twilio number or a verified caller ID as your From number. You can add a verified outbound caller ID via the console. You may verify as many phone numbers to be used as your caller ID as you like.
  • You may make international calls from your trial account. However, you only have access to GA and Public Beta phone numbers. Check out the limited list of countries you can make calls to while in trial mode.

Sending SMS and MMS messages

You cannot send SMS messages from your personal phone number with Twilio, whether on a paid or a trial plan. You can only send messages from Twilio numbers.

  • As explained above, you will only be able to send SMS messages from your Trial Account’s Toll-Free number to cellphone numbers over the mobile network once that TF number has been verified.
  • When you send an SMS from your verified free trial phone number, it will always begin with “Sent from a Twilio trial account.” We remove this message after you upgrade to a paid account.
  • While in trial mode, you can only send messages to non-Twilio phone numbers that you’ve verified with Twilio.
  • While in trial mode, you cannot send messages using an alphanumeric sender ID

Sending messages internationally

You can send international messages from your trial project as long as you:

  1. Ensure your trial number is SMS-enabled and not restricted to sending/receiving messages and calls from local numbers. You can see your phone number’s capabilities on the Phone Numbers page in the Console:
    Number Capabilities
    This number is restricted to domestic calls and messages and has Voice, SMS, and MMS capabilities.
  2. Review your SMS Geo Permissions to make sure the target country you’re sending messages to is enabled.
  3. Remember, you can only send messages to verified phone numbers when you’re in trial mode. Make sure you verify the international phone number you’re sending to in the Console.

Elastic SIP Trunking

When you sign up for Twilio, you will get a free telephone number and a free trunk. You can fully configure this SIP Trunk for testing and placing actual calls to and from your business. Twilio Trial accounts can take full advantage of SIP Trunking services for testing, there are a few restrictions that apply only to trial accounts. Keep these in mind as you develop:

Trial Accounts have a maximum of:

  • 1 unique SIP trunk
  • 1 origination phone number
  • 1 Trunking termination call per second (CPS)
  • 4 concurrent calls

Note: Trial accounts may only place Trunking calls TO and FROM verified numbers. Be sure to verify any non-Twilio phone number first by having Twilio place a verification call to it. This is an extra security measure that we remove once you’re calling from an upgraded account. A purchased Twilio phone number also qualifies as a verified number you can use as the caller ID.

How to upgrade your account

If your Twilio needs expand, or you need to accomplish something that isn’t available to your trial account, you’ll need to upgrade your trial account to a full paid account. The easiest way to do this is via the Step 4 Screen shown above, by clicking on the blue Upgrade account button. At this point you'll need to provide payment information — your credit card details or Paypal account — on the billing page. You can have Twilio automatically charge you when your balance falls below a certain threshold that you set, or you can buy Twilio credits with individual payments.

Appendix Two: Verify any personal phone numbers you want to send messages to

When you signed up for your trial account, you verified your personal phone number. You can see your list of verified phone numbers on the Verified Caller IDs page.

You must verify any non-Twilio phone numbers you wish to send SMS messages or MMS messages, or place phone calls to while in trial mode. Additionally, you must verify any non-Twiio phone numbers you wish to receive inbound calls from while in trial mode. These are extra security measures for trial accounts that we remove once you upgrade your account. You may verify as many phone numbers as you like.

To make other non-Twilio phone numbers available to you in trial mode:

  1. Click the Phone Numbers dropdown on the side navigation menu:
    Click Phone Numbers
  2. Click Verified caller IDs under the Manage dropdown. Once on the Verified caller IDs page, click the Add a new Caller ID button to add a new number:
    Verified Caller IDs
  3. Enter the desired phone number to verify, select the desired verification method, and then click Verify Number:
    Add a Caller ID.png

    Note You will need access to this device to receive the call or text with your verification code.
  4. Enter the verification code. You’re now ready to text or call this number with your trial Twilio account.
    Verification Code.png
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We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd by visiting Twilio's Stack Overflow Collective or browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.

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