Make Outbound Phone Calls with Node.js
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In this guide, we'll show you how to use Programmable Voice to make outbound phone calls from your Node.js applications. It's pretty easy - all you'll need is the Twilio module for Node.js, a voice-capable Twilio phone number, your account credentials, and five minutes to have a boatload of fun at your keyboard. Let's get started!
Purchase a voice-enabled Twilio phone number
In the Twilio console, search for and purchase an available phone number capable of making outbound calls. You'll use this phone number as the "From" phone number when you initiate an outbound call.
Retrieve your Twilio account credentials
First, you'll need to get your Twilio account credentials. They consist of your AccountSid and your Auth Token. They can be found on the home page of the console.
Make an outbound phone call.
Now that we have everything we need, let's make an outbound phone call using the Twilio node.js module.
There are a few key parameters to drill into when making the outbound call.
- "From" - the voice-enabled Twilio phone number you added to your account earlier
- "To" - the person you'd like to call
- "Twiml" - Instructions in the form TwiML that explains what should happen when the other party picks up the phone
- "Url" - Optionally, instead of passing the
Twimlparameter, you can provide a Url that returns TwiML Voice instructions.
What is TwiML?
TwiML is the Twilio Markup Language, which is just to say that it's an XML document with special tags defined by Twilio to help you build your SMS and voice applications. TwiML is easier shown than explained. Here's some TwiML you might use to respond to an incoming phone call:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Response> <Say>Thanks for calling!</Say> </Response>
And here's some TwiML you might use to respond to an incoming SMS message:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Response> <Message>We got your message, thank you!</Message> </Response>
Every TwiML document will have the root <Response> element and within that can contain one or more verbs. Verbs are actions you'd like Twilio to take, such as <Say> a greeting to a caller, or send an SMS <Message> in reply to an incoming message. For a full reference on everything you can do with TwiML, refer to our TwiML API Reference.
Of course, the TwiML you use to make the outbound call doesn't need to be a static file like in this example. Server-side code that you control can dynamically render TwiML to use for the outbound call. Check out our inbound call guide to see an example of a Node.js server which generates TwiML.
Where to next?
Great work! In a few lines of code, you've placed an outbound phone call from your Node.js code. If you're using Programmable Voice with Node.js, you might enjoy these other guides as well.
- Record Phone Calls in Node.js
- Gather User Input via Keypad (DTMF Tones) in Node.js
- Create Conference Calls in Node.js
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.