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Programmable Messaging Quickstart - Python

Ahoy there! All messaging transmitted using Twilio’s messaging channels is treated as Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging and subject to Twilio’s Messaging Policy. For detailed information on policy rules to ensure you remain compliant while using Twilio’s services, please see our Acceptable Use Policy.

With just a few lines of code, your Python application can send SMS messages with Twilio Programmable Messaging.

This Programmable Messaging Quickstart will walk you through the entire process step-by-step, starting with setting up your Twilio account all the way through sending an SMS using a Messaging Service.

In this Quickstart, you will learn how to:

  • Sign up for Twilio and get your first SMS-enabled Twilio phone number
  • Set up your development environment to send outbound messages
  • Send your first outbound SMS
  • Set up your first Twilio Messaging Service
  • Send a second SMS from that Messaging Service

By the end of this Quickstart, you’ll have a solid foundation for building and scaling with Twilio’s Programmable Messaging for your specific use cases.

Show me how it's done!

Sign up for - or sign in to - Twilio

Already have a Twilio account? Go ahead and skip this section.

If you are sending SMS to the U.S. or Canada, before proceeding further please be aware of updated restrictions on the use of Toll-Free numbers for messaging, including TF numbers obtained through Free Trial. Please click here for details.

You can sign up for a free Twilio trial account here.

  • When you sign up, you'll be asked to verify your personal phone number. This helps Twilio verify your identity and also allows you to send test messages to your phone from your Twilio account while in trial mode.
  • Once you verify your number, you'll be asked a series of questions to customize your experience.
  • Once you finish the onboarding flow, you'll arrive at your project dashboard in the Twilio Console. This is where you'll be able to access your Account SID, authentication token, find a Twilio phone number, and more.

If you don't currently own a Twilio phone number with SMS functionality, you'll need to purchase one. After navigating to the Buy a Number page, check the SMS box and click Search.

Buy a twilio phone number.png

You’ll then see a list of available phone numbers and their capabilities. Find a number that suits your fancy and click Buy to add it to your account.

Select an SMS-enabled phone number

I've got an account! What's next?

Install the Twilio CLI

We'll use the Twilio CLI (command line interface) for a few tasks, so let's install that next.

The suggested way to install twilio-cli on macOS is to use Homebrew. If you don’t already have it installed, visit the Homebrew site for installation instructions and then return here.

Once you have installed Homebrew, run the following command to install twilio-cli:

brew tap twilio/brew && brew install twilio

The suggested way to install twilio-cli is by using Scoop, a command-line installer for Windows. If you don’t already have it installed, visit the Scoop site for installation instructions and then return here.

Note PowerShell will need to be run as an administrator to avoid common permission issues when installing via Scoop.

  1. Add the twilio-cli Bucket:
    scoop bucket add twilio-scoop
  2. Install the app:
    scoop install twilio​

twilio-cli can be installed using the Advanced Package Tool (apt) on most distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, and Mint.

To do so, run the following commands in your terminal:

wget -qO- \
  | sudo apt-key add -
sudo touch /etc/apt/sources.list.d/twilio.list
echo 'deb /' \
  | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/twilio.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y twilio

For other installation methods, see the Twilio CLI Quickstart.

Log in to the Twilio CLI

Run twilio login to get the Twilio CLI connected to your account. Visit the Twilio Console, and under Account Info, you’ll find your unique Account SID and Auth Token to provide to the CLI.

Once you have your SMS-enabled Twilio phone number and the Twilio CLI, you can proceed to install Python and the Twilio Python Helper Library.

No problem! Take me through the setup.

Install Python and the Twilio Helper Library

If you’ve gone through one of our other Python Quickstarts already and have Python and the Twilio Python helper library installed, you can skip this step and get straight to sending your first text message.

To send your first SMS, you’ll need to have Python and the Twilio Python helper library installed.

If you’re using a Mac or Linux machine, you probably already have Python installed. You can check this by opening up a terminal and running the following command:

python3 --version

Install Python

You should see something like:

$ python3 --version
Python 3.7

Windows users can follow this excellent tutorial for installing Python on Windows, or follow the instructions from Python's documentation.

Twilio’s Python server-side SDK supports Python 3.

For a full list of which versions of Python are supported, refer to our Helper Library documentation.

Install the Twilio Python Server-side SDK

The easiest way to install the library is using pip, a package manager for Python that makes it easier to install the libraries you need. Simply run this in the terminal:

pip install twilio

Depending on how Python or pip are configured in your operating system, you may need to run pip3 install twilio instead.

If you get a pip: command not found error, you can also use easy_install by running this in your terminal:

easy_install twilio

If you'd prefer a manual installation, you can download the source code (ZIP) for twilio-python and then install the library by running:

python install

in the folder containing the twilio-python server-side SDK library code.

All set! Let's send a text message.

Send an outbound SMS with Python

Now that we have Python and twilio-python installed, we can send an outbound text message from the Twilio phone number we just purchased with a single API request. Create and open a new file called and type or paste in this code sample.

Loading Code Sample...
        This code creates a new instance of the Message resource and sends an HTTP POST to the Message resource URI.

        Send an SMS Using Twilio

        This code creates a new instance of the Message resource and sends an HTTP POST to the Message resource URI.

        You’ll need to edit your file a little more before your message will send.

        Replace the placeholder credential values

        Swap the placeholder values for account_sid and auth_token with your personal Twilio credentials. You can find these values in your Twilio console, as described previously.

        Open and replace the values for account_sid and auth_token with your unique values.

        Please note: it's okay to hardcode your credentials when getting started, but you should use environment variables to keep them secret before deploying to production. Check out how to set environment variables for more information.

        Replace the from_ phone number

        Remember that SMS-enabled phone number you bought just a few minutes ago? Go ahead and replace the existing from_ number with that one, making sure to use E.164 formatting:

        [+][country code][phone number including area code]

        Replace the to phone number

        Replace the to phone number with your mobile phone number. This can be any phone number that can receive text messages, but it’s a good idea to test with your own phone so you can see the magic happen! As above, you should use E.164 formatting for this value.

        If you are on a Twilio Trial account, your outgoing SMS messages are limited to phone numbers that you have verified with Twilio. Phone numbers can be verified via your Twilio Console's Verified Caller IDs.

        When you send an SMS from your free trial phone number, it will always begin with "Sent from a Twilio trial account." We remove this message after you upgrade.

        Save your changes and run this script from your terminal:


        That's it! In a few moments, you should receive an SMS from your Twilio number on your phone.

        In this code sample, we are making a POST request to the Programmable Messaging API’s Message endpoint in order to create a new outbound message. We are using the twilio-python library’s built-in create method, but you could make this request using the Twilio CLI (that you already installed), curl, or a request module of your choosing.

        Check out the code samples to send an SMS with the Twilio CLI and curl. Don't forget to update the body, to, and from parameters!

        Loading Code Sample...
              This code sample makes a request to the Message resource using the Twilio CLI

              Use the Twilio CLI to send an SMS

              This code sample makes a request to the Message resource using the Twilio CLI
              Loading Code Sample...
                    This code sample makes a request to the Message resource using curl

                    Use curl to send an SMS

                    This code sample makes a request to the Message resource using curl

                    Are your customers in the U.S. or Canada? You can also send them MMS messages by adding just one line of code. Check out this guide to sending MMS to see how it's done.

                    I got the message. What's next?

                    Set up a Twilio Messaging Service

                    Congratulations, you’ve sent your first SMS with Twilio Programmable Messaging and received it on your personal device.

                    At this point, we have acquired one Twilio phone number and used it to send one outbound SMS. You can imagine a time in the not-so-distant future where you'll need a more robust, feature-rich way to send messages, such as:

                    • Sending many messages over a short period of time
                    • Handling opt-ins and opt-outs
                    • Ensuring that your customers always receive a consistent messaging experience with the same phone number.

                    In the next part of the Quickstart, we’ll walk through setting up your first Messaging Service. You can think of a Messaging Service as a container to hold all of your available phone numbers (and other senders) and comes with features that you may need along your messaging journey.

                    Create a Messaging Service with your phone number

                    Run the following Twilio CLI command to create a Messaging Service that we will use to send our first programmable SMS.

                    twilio api:messaging:v1:services:create --friendly-name "My first Messaging Service"

                    Take note of the Messaging Service SID (It starts with “MGXXX...”). We'll need it to send our next message.

                    Next, add the phone number you just purchased. Forgot the number already? No worries, you can list it with the Twilio CLI:

                    twilio phone-numbers:list
                    # Grab the SID ("PNXXXX...") of your number

                    Add your phone number to your newly created Messaging Service with the following command:

                    twilio api:messaging:v1:services:phone-numbers:create --service-sid MGXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX --phone-number-sid PNXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
                    Okay, I'm ready to send from my service.

                    Send an SMS from your Messaging Service

                    Sending an outbound SMS from a Messaging Service is similar to sending from an individual Twilio phone number. The primary difference is replacing the from_ parameter with the messaging_service_sid to indicate that you are sending from a phone number within your Messaging Service’s sender pool. (Currently, there is only one phone number in your sender pool, so we'll be sending from that one.)

                    Loading Code Sample...
                          This code creates a new instance of the Message resource, this time with a messaging_service_sid parameter

                          Send an SMS using a Messaging Service

                          This code creates a new instance of the Message resource, this time with a messaging_service_sid parameter

                          Replace the messaging_service_sid parameter

                          Remember that Messaging Service you just created? We will modify the code from the first example to use your Messaging Service to send a message. Go ahead and open the file you used for that example. In that file, instead of the from_ parameter and your phone number, use the messaging_service_sid parameter with the "MGXXXX..." of your Messaging Service SID. Save your changes and run this script from your terminal:


                          And that’s it to send an SMS using a Twilio Messaging Service! In a few seconds, you should receive a second SMS on your phone from your Twilio phone number. The Messaging Service seamlessly selected your number from its Sender Pool to send that second outbound message.

                          It worked! All done - what's next?

                          Where to next?

                          Now that you've sent your first SMS messages, check out the following resources to continue your messaging journey with Twilio:

                          We can't wait to see what you build!

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                          Need some help?

                          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.

                          Loading Code Sample...

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