Twilio Tutorial: Sending an SMS with the PHP REST API

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Twilio Logo
Twilio Logo

Update: One day after publishing this post, Kevin from Twilio suggests in the comments to use the last version from Github instead the 3.2.3 twilio-php library zip archive from the Twilio page. That fixed an SSL certificate validation issue. This is what we call great support!

In a recent project, we used the Twilio REST API to send SMS messages. Here is a very simple tutorial about it.

If you need help integrating Twilio in your application, you can contact us.

1. Register your phone number with Twilio (or get  a production account).

At the time of writing this post, Twilio offers a trial account with $30 free credit. Just go to the Twilio site and create a new one. The trial account requires verification of the phone numbers you want to use with their service. You can do this, at no extra cost, by going to Numbers → Verify a number in their control panel. You will then receive a call to that number asking for confirmation.

For your caller ID, you can use the sandbox number you will find after logging in to, buy a number from them or use a verified number. Alternatively, you can upgrade your account to a production one, which will allow you to use any phone number (you have to register a credit card with them, but you don’t need to make a payment until you spend the initial $30 credit).

2. The configuration file

Now, download the twilio-php library from their site (I used version 3.2.3 for this tutorial), or get it from Github  and install it in your server (I used the twilio-lib directory). In the root of your site (or in your test dir) create a twilio.config.php file with the following:

require_once("twilio-lib/Twilio.php");

$AccountSid = "Your Account SID";
$AuthToken = "Your Auth Token";

Replace the values with the ones you will find after login into Twilio.

3. Send an SMS.

This is pretty straightforward:

require_once("twilio.config.php");

try {
    // Instantiate a new Twilio Rest Client
    $client = new Services_Twilio($AccountSid, $AuthToken);

    /*
     * If you get an "Services_Twilio_TinyHttpException: SSL certificate problem [...]";
     * exception, uncomment the two lines below. More about this issue at
     * http://unitstep.net/blog/2009/05/05/using-curl-in-php-to-access-https-ssltls-protected-sites/
     *
     * UPDATE: using a twilio-php library version newer than 3.2.3 or the last version
     * from Github fixes this issue, making the two lines below unnecessary.
     */

     // $http = new Services_Twilio_TinyHttp("https://api.twilio.com", array("curlopts" => array(CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER => false)));
     // $client = new Services_Twilio($AccountSid, $AuthToken, "2010-04-01", $http);

    /*
     * The number we are sending from, it must be a valid Twilio number
     * You can use the default number which you will find in the sandbox,
     * buy a number from them or port your own number to Twilio.
     */
    $from = "415-599-2671"; // this is the default sandbox number
    // The number we are sending to - any phone number
    $to = "A Phone Number";
    // The SMS body
    $message = "Testing the Twilio SMS REST API";

    // Send a new outgoing SMS
    $response = $client->account->sms_messages->create($from, $to, $message);

    // Get the delivery status
    echo $response->status;
} catch (Exception $e) {
    echo "Caught exception: " . $e->getMessage();
}

4. Check the results.

If everything went well, you will receive an SMS message in your phone. You can also go to Logs → SMS in the Twilio site and see the results there:

Twilio SMS Logs
Twilio SMS Logs Screen

Any questions? Feel free to post a comment.

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