Text messaging is an ideal way to reach customers with marketing campaigns, making it a desirable option for organizations of every size. On average, text messages are opened and read 98% of the time, allowing a business to build a relationship with consumers. It is also cost-efficient and convenient. An SMS API is a time-efficient and inexpensive option for integrating text messaging into an organization’s app or CRM. If you are trying to stretch your budget, you may wonder, “are there any good free SMS APIs?”
While free text messaging APIs exist, they are typically not a good choice for businesses and other organizations. If you are a developer working for an organization or client, you may think a free SMS API is worth trying if it saves time and money. This blog will help you answer the question of whether there are any good free SMS APIs. We will explore the options and help you make the best decision for your client or organization.
Are There Any Good Free SMS APIs to Integrate SMS Into a Business App?
Free SMS APIs may seem like a cost-saving option over an API from a cloud service provider, but they may actually cost your client or organization more in the long term. The questionable reliability of free API options can result in lost customers. It can also cause security incidents and even legal issues for the organization.
The Problems With Free SMS APIs
A Free SMS API can cause everything from minor challenges that an organization must overcome to serious risks to user privacy and security. Evaluate your options from reputable platforms before taking a chance on free software. The following issues are commonly associated with free API options.
Good free SMS APIs may not offer the reliability your organization expects. The path a message takes over the carrier or provider network affects deliverability and speed. Unfortunately, many free APIs do not use the shortest or fastest path, resulting in slower and less reliable delivery.
It can also risk unwanted fees like long-distance and carrier charges. A free API may send messages using wholesale routes. The errors and inconsistencies associated with wholesale traffic make it the least efficient and reliable routing method.
When you rely on a reputable SMS API provider, your organization or client’s text messaging traffic travels on direct or semi-direct routes, lowering the hops to the operator to one or fewer. Your client or organization will experience high reliability when sending and receiving SMS.
Communications are highly regulated in the United States and throughout the world. Are there any good free SMS APIs that are legal? The legality of a free SMS API can be questionable. It may breach international regulations and is unlikely to keep up with legal changes.
If you choose to use a free API for your client or company, they may be responsible for ensuring the privacy of communication under regulations like GDPR. An excellent text messaging provider will ensure that your organization or client complies with local and international laws and regulations.
Grey routes can also reduce the reliability of your SMS deliveries. While high-quality providers avoid grey routes, a free SMS API may use grey routes. They can cause an organization’s high-volume application-to-person (A2P) traffic to appear as person-to-person (P2P) traffic intended for low-volume messaging.
High volumes of messages detected as P2P can cause carriers to flag your organization or client’s phone number as spam, resulting in a drastic reduction in received messages. Choosing a reputable API provider will help you avoid the spam filter.
APIs are a rapidly growing attack vector, with 20% of developers and security specialists seeing incidents monthly. When you use a free SMS API, you can’t be sure how much time the developer spends securing it from attackers. While reputable providers ensure your organization or client’s software is secure from API-based attack vectors and may conduct third-party security audits, few free API developers provide similar scrutiny. Your organization or client assumes all risks.
Related: Telecom Fraud: Tips to Protect Communications
Developing Your Own SMS API
If you cannot find a free SMS API that meets your client or organization’s needs, you may decide to develop the software from scratch. Coding an API can take months of development, making your organization or client wait needlessly. It can also distract you from other projects or your daily tasks.
Your organization or client will also need to buy the equipment and infrastructure or use a third-party cloud service to integrate text messaging. Developing your own SMS API can be costly and time-consuming.
When you use a reputable provider, you can reduce your workload to a few lines of code. You can integrate SMS into your client or organization’s software and make adjustments and configurations from a web portal. Many platforms also have helpful resources like SDKs, articles, quickstarts, and libraries.
The Benefits of an SMS API From a Provider
Are there any good free SMS APIs that offer the benefits of a reputable provider? An SMS platform provides features, reliability, and scalability that a free API could never match. The primary benefits of a communications API provider include:
- Reliability: SMS from an API provider avoids long paths and grey routes that can reduce the reliability of your client or organization’s messages. They use only high-volume A2P traffic for vital SMS messages like authentication codes and one-time passwords to ensure the most reliable delivery.
- Scalability: API providers offer scalability in the cloud without a high cost. Your client or organization will not need to invest in new hardware and infrastructure to ensure they can keep up with demands. Quickly add phone numbers and users using a web portal.
- Documentation: While a free SMS API may have little documentation of use cases and guides, many platforms offer the resources developers need to integrate the SMS API without difficulty.
- Features: An SMS API from a provider comes with business-relevant features like 10-digit long code numbers for local SMS and toll-free messaging. You’ll be able to set up E911, proxy messaging, vanity numbers, two-factor authentication (2FA), and appointment reminders for your client or organization.
Related: The Benefits of Self-Service Telecom Models
Choosing an SMS API Provider
While most platforms will be a better choice than a free SMS API, here are some considerations to find the ideal provider for your client or organization.
When searching for the ideal SMS API provider, find a platform with flexible pricing. A flat-rate service provides a certain number of SMS messages at a monthly flat rate. Your organization or client may receive an overage charge when they exceed the limit.
Metered or pay-per-use plans are more scalable. Many small businesses and startups scale rapidly or go through seasonal spikes of high volumes of traffic during campaigns. A metered plan scales up with your client or company’s business, charging only for the messages sent or received.
Since your organization or client’s telecommunications are cloud-based, they won’t need to invest in costly infrastructure and devices. Providers allow the organization to send and receive SMS from a mobile phone or PC-based CRM or app using its own devices. Security and maintenance are also provided in the cloud, reducing IT expenses.
Many SMS API providers offer developer resources like use cases and articles. An SDK, libraries, and quickstart guides will help you get your API set up faster and help you integrate microservices like 2FA and E911 for your organization or client. The best providers offer resources for some of the most popular languages, like PHP, .NET, and Ruby, allowing you to integrate the API in the language of your choice.
Reliability and Scalability
An ideal SMS API provider will offer you a messaging network with uptime levels reaching 99.999%. Your client or organization’s app should always be ready for users to request 2FA or receive an appointment reminder, so 24/7 reliability is crucial. A cloud-based telecom API provider will offer high reliability with failover services and uses the fastest route possible to send traffic. It avoids grey routes that can cause the traffic to be flagged as spam and ruin the organization’s marketing campaigns.
The cloud also offers unlimited scalability. It accommodates large traffic volumes and lets you add users or phone numbers to your client or organization’s software application from a simple web portal. Cloud providers can quickly respond to failures and outages to ensure business continuity. As we mentioned earlier, the best pricing plan for flexible and scalable service is a metered plan.
Organizations want carrier-grade features included in their communications. The ideal SMS API provider allows access to carrier-grade features. As mentioned above, you can integrate 2FA, appointment reminders, and number masking on most platforms. You can also implement vital microservices like E911, a mandatory location service for 911 dispatch. Your client or organization may want to access records of SMS delivery. A convenient web portal can provide delivery receipts.
Get a Secure and Reliable SMS API From a Provider
Free SMS APIs are not worth the risk to your client or organization, no matter how tempting the savings may seem. An SMS API and service from a reputable platform provides scalability, security, reliability, and carrier-grade features at a low cost.
You can quickly get started with excellent documentation and set up the organization’s software for seamless communication in minutes. Avoid legal issues and poor reliability by using an established SMS API provider.
Flowroute is a software-centric cloud communications provider offering programmable solutions with carrier-grade service and features. Your client or organization will have 99.999% uptime and avoid costly and inefficient grey routes. Our simple programmable SMS API lets you get your client or organization’s software get up and running in minutes on a scalable metered payment plan. Get started with Flowroute’s reliable and inexpensive SMS service today.