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  1. #1
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    *SOLVED* Sending SMS Text Messages Programmatically

    I have created a website that allows the tracking of your bowling score average online (http://www.pin300.com). One of the features that I have just set up is the ability to text message your scores to the website. So for example, you are at the bowling alley and you just got scores of 215, 190, and 185. You then send the message "scores 215 190 185" to a specific email address and those scores are automatically entered into your account on the website. This part is working well.

    The part I am running into difficulties with is sending messages back to the phone from the website. For example, when someone sends in some scores, I would like the website to send a confirmation text message back to the phone. I have not found an easy way to do this yet, and was wondering if any of you knew of some options. I know there are some business level services out there that make you pay per message, but I was hoping someone knew of a free service with an API (preferrably php) that would allow me to programmatically send SMS messages to users' phones.

    Have any of you done something similar? If so, what approach did you take?

    Any help/advice/feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Aaron
    Last edited by forgueam; Feb 23, 2006 at 08:57.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru MikeBigg's Avatar
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    Not free, but pretty cheap per message and no upfront set up fees:

    http://www.bulksms.com .

    Mike

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict jtresidder's Avatar
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    I used a couple of free SMS sending service a couple of years back - I got what I paid for I haven't seen any around for a while though, do they even still exist? (Not that I'd ever use one again, just out of interest).

    What I'm planning to do for an upcoming project is send notifications as email, but have an option that lets people also/instead recieve SMS to a predefined number if they want to, and if they stump up in advance.

    Clickatell look good, they're my first choice at the moment - Nice API or URL-send system, quite cheap (0.03/$0.05 per credit and 1 or 2 credits per message to the UK networks, 1.5 credits to US networks).

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the sites, I will check them out. It seems like I can expect to pay anywhere from 5 cents to 25 cents per message.

    How hard would it be to create a homebrew solution? Do the phone carriers provide technical specs on how to form and send messages to their subscribers' phones? For example, I believe Verizon will let you send regular emails to PHONENUMBER@vtext.com and it will be sent as a text message.

    There are two websites that I useof that handle text messaging very well:
    http://www.billmonk.com
    http://www.textpayme.com (If you are nice and want to give me a referral, use this link instead: https://www.textpayme.com/us/secure/...g4MTU3ODNlN2Vk)

    I have talked with one of the Bill Monk developers in brief and he told me that they developed an in-house solution. He metioned to me that you have to be very careful when forming your header information when sending messages to a phone. Does anyone have experience with this?

    TextPayMe actually has an IVR system call a phone back once a text message is received. This is above and beyond what I need, but does this mean that there are APIs to allow callbacks as well?

    Thanks again for any help.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Member
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    Looks like I may have found a solution:
    I found this CodeWalkers.com article: http://codewalkers.com/tutorials/90/1.html
    Which uses this company: http://www.tm4b.com/
    From their website: "If you only want to send SMS, we provide an API for application/website integration, an Email-to-SMS facility and a highly advanced web-based application for bulk broadcasts. Access to these services is completely free and you only have to pay for the messages that you send."

    Thanks for the help everybody!!

  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru MikeBigg's Avatar
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    All the sms sending services have an API of some sort to make it easy (possible) to automate the sending process from a desktop computer or a webserver. Also, most don't charge a setup fee, like tm4b that you mention.

    As an alternative, depending on your setup and volume, you could send messages via a mobile phone. This thread:

    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=333532

    discusses this and someone has had success doing this with Gammu.

    Regards,

    Mike


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