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Programmable Messaging Quickstart for C# with .NET Framework

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.

Looking for .NET Core? We have a quickstart for that too!

With just a few lines of code, your .NET Framework application can send and receive text messages with Twilio Programmable SMS.

This C# SMS Quickstart will teach you how to do this using our Communications REST API and the Twilio helper library for .NET.

In this Quickstart, you will learn how to:

  1. Sign up for Twilio and get your first SMS-enabled Twilio phone number
  2. Set up your development environment to send and receive messages
  3. Send your first SMS
  4. Receive inbound text messages
  5. Reply to incoming messages with an SMS

Prefer to get started by watching a video? Check out our C# SMS Quickstart video on Youtube.

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.

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 need to 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 https://github.com/twilio/scoop-twilio-cli
  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- https://twilio-cli-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/twilio_pub.asc \
  | sudo apt-key add -
sudo touch /etc/apt/sources.list.d/twilio.list
echo 'deb https://twilio-cli-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/apt/ /' \
  | 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.

Run twilio login to get the Twilio CLI connected to your account. Visit https://www.twilio.com/console, and you’ll find your unique Account SID and Auth Token to provide to the CLI.

Next, we need to install Visual Studio and the Twilio C# Helper Library.

No problem! Take me through the setup.

Create a new project and add the Twilio NuGet package

If you have Visual Studio installed, you are ready to get going. Otherwise, you should download and install it now.

Once you have Visual Studio, open it up and create a new Console project. Click the Create a new project button:

CS2019-Create-a-new-project.png

And then choose Console App (.NET Framework) from the list of project templates:

VS2019-New-Console-Framework.png

Once you have Visual Studio, open it up and create a new Console project. Select the File menu and choose New then Project... and select Console App (.NET Framework).

Visual Studio - New .NET Framework Project

Install the Twilio REST API helper library

Then use the NuGet Package Manager to find and install the Twilio REST API helper library.

Twilio REST API helper library in Nuget  Package Manager (Visual Studio)

All set! Let's send a text message.

Send an Outbound SMS Message with C#

Now that we have .NET and the Twilio .NET library installed, we can send an outbound text message from the Twilio phone number we just purchased with a single API request. Open the file in your new project called Program.cs and type or paste in this code sample, replacing the template code that's already there.

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

        Send an SMS Using Twilio with C#

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

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

        Replace the placeholder credential values

        Swap the placeholder values for accountSid and authToken with your personal Twilio credentials. Go to https://www.twilio.com/console and log in. On this page, you’ll find your unique Account SID and Auth Token, which you’ll need any time you send messages through the Twilio Client like this.

        Edit Program.cs and replace the values for accountSid and authToken with your unique values.

        Please note: it's okay to hardcode your credentials when getting started, but you should use configuration to keep them secret before deploying to production. We recommend using environment variables to store your user secrets.

        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.

        Save your changes and run your project in Visual Studio.

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

        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 sending MMS tutorial to see how it's done.

        I sent the message! How do I receive messages?

        Receive and Reply to Inbound SMS Messages with ASP.NET MVC

        When your Twilio number receives an incoming message, Twilio will send an HTTP request to a server you control. This callback mechanism is known as a webhook. When Twilio sends your application a request, it expects a response in the TwiML XML format telling it how to respond to the message. Let's see how we would build this in C# using ASP.NET MVC for .NET Framework.

        Create a New ASP.NET MVC Project in Visual Studio

        In Visual Studio, click "Create a new project":

        CS2019-Create-a-new-project.png

        Select "ASP.NET Web Application (.NET Framework)" from the list of templates:

        VS2019-New-ASPNET-Framework.png

        Visual Studio 2019 0 Create a new ASP.NET Web Application

        When prompted, choose "MVC" as the project type:

        In Visual Studio, select the "File" menu and choose "New" then "Project..." and select "ASP.NET Web Application (.NET Framework)."

        Visual Studio - New ASP.NET MVC Project

        Next, choose the "MVC" template.

        Visual Studio New ASP.NET Web Application (.NET Framework) - MVC

        Install the Twilio.AspNet.Mvc Package

        Following Microsoft's instructions for your version of Visual Studio, find and install the Twilio.AspNet.Mvc package.

        Twilio.AspNet.Mvc in Nuget Package Manager (Visual Studio)

        Create a New Controller

        In the directory named Controllers, create a new Controller called SmsController.cs. (Right-click on the Controllers folder, then select Add > Controller... > MVC 5 Controller - Empty.)

        Paste the following code into SmsController.cs. This creates an action that can handle incoming messages. Be sure to use the entire code sample (note, for example, how the SmsController inherits from TwilioController).

              
              
              
              When your phone number receives an incoming message, Twilio will send an HTTP request to your server. This code shows how your server should respond to reply with a text message (using TwiML).

              Respond to an incoming text message

              When your phone number receives an incoming message, Twilio will send an HTTP request to your server. This code shows how your server should respond to reply with a text message (using TwiML).

              From Visual Studio, run the application (click the "play" arrow). This should open a web browser with the ASP.NET welcome page showing with a URL something like https://localhost:44360. Note: your port number may be something other than 44360.

              I'm getting excited now - let's connect our code to Twilio!

              Configure ngrok and your webhook URL

              We'll use ngrok to set up a tunnel from the public internet to your localhost. This will let us use a public URL as the webhook for your application.

              First, download and configure ngrok.

              Next, run this command to have ngrok set up a tunnel to your localhost:

              ngrok http 44360

              This will start an ngrok tunnel. Copy down the Forwarding URL that ends with ngrok.io.

              Then, you need to configure your Twilio phone number to call your webhook URL whenever a new message comes in:

              1. Go to Phone Numbers > Active Numbers in the Twilio Console.
              2. Select the SMS-enabled Twilio number you want to use.
              3. For the A MESSAGE COMES IN webhook, enter the ngrok URL you copied down earlier. Append /sms to the end of the URL.

              ngrok webhook configuration with SMS suffix

              Test your application with a text

              Make sure your project is running and your ngrok tunnel is running.

              With both of those servers running, we’re ready for the fun part - testing our new ASP.NET SMS application!

              Send an SMS from your mobile phone to your Twilio phone number that's configured with this webhook. Your ASP.NET app will process the text message, and you’ll get your response back as an SMS.

              It worked! All done - what's next?

              Where to next?

              Now that you know the basics of sending and receiving SMS and MMS text messages with C# and .NET, you might want to check out these resources.

              Happy hacking!

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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.

                    
                    
                    

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