Short Code Texting Service

Welcome to the easier, less stressful way of getting an SMS short code. We’ll take care of everything for you from beginning through launch so that your first campaign is a breeze!

What Are Short Codes?

An SMS short code is a unique 5-6 digit phone number that can send and receive SMS and MMS messages at high volumes in a short period. These numbers are shorter than the usual 10 digit phone number we’re all so used to for our personal cellphones.

An SMS short code service is the best choice for companies large and small looking to brand their mobile messaging campaigns to all their customers and leads. Watch our video to learn more about what an SMS short code is.

When Should I Use Short Codes?

The best time to use a short code is when you want to send mass SMS to a large audience quickly. You should also use them when sending text messages containing promotional content. This way they won’t get flagged or marked as spam like they normally would with Long Codes. Overall, short codes are perfect for:

  • Emergency Notifications
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Two-Way Texting
  • Two Factor Authentication
  • SMS Marketing
  • Autoresponders

Shared vs. Dedicated Short Codes

Due to such high detections of spam with shared SMS short codes, many companies (including Esendex), have stopped offering them as a product.

Shared Short Codes

A shared short code, also known as a common short code is a 5 or 6-digit phone number that’s used by multiple organizations to send text messages, hence its name shared.

One of the main reasons organizations use this type of number when sending texts is because they’re less expensive than their counterpart, dedicated short codes. Shared SMS short codes can range anywhere from $500 – $1,000 per month and are a great match for anyone looking for an affordable shortcode service.

Dedicated Short Codes

Dedicated short codes are 5 or 6-digit phone numbers that are used by only one organization to send their text messages.

They’re the perfect solution for established companies looking to brand their text messaging campaigns with unique mobile keywords that capture customers’ attention and boost conversion rates. There are two types of dedicated SMS short codes: vanity codes and random codes.

The Different Types of SMS Short Codes

Random Short Codes

Random short codes, also known as non-vanity short codes, are random 5 or 6-digit phone numbers that are assigned to organizations by the phone carriers after they’ve completed the entire short code provisioning process.

Remember, you have no control over what number you receive once your applications been approved. Most organizations use this type of short code in today’s market because they’re a lot less expensive than their counterpart, vanity codes.

Vanity Short Codes

Vanity short codes are 5-6 digit phone numbers that you can customize. This means you have the power to choose what number your customers see when they open your text messages if they aren’t already taken by another organization.

Vanity SMS short codes are much more beneficial in the sense that they’re more memorable than random SMS short codes, and they give you the best chance at branding your organization/business.

SMS Random Code vs. SMS Vanity Code

SMS Vs. MMS | What’s the Difference?

Short Code Service Benefits

Unlimited Mobile Keywords

Mobile keywords boost customer engagement, conversions, sales, and revenue. With dedicated short codes there’s no limit to how many keywords you can have for your SMS campaigns.

Branded Phone Number

Dedicated short codes give you the power to customize your SMS campaign’s 5 or 6-digit phone numbers. This is extremely useful and can boost your organizations’ sales and branding.

Text Messaging

Dedicated short codes give you the power to build optimized SMS campaigns without all the spam violations and brand confusion of shared short codes.

Quality Network Throughput

It doesn’t matter whether it’s inbound or outbound text messages your organization is sending or receiving. Dedicated short codes have what it takes to scale to all your business’s texting needs.

MMS & SMS Short Codes for Texting

Short codes have the capability to send mass SMS messages and multimedia messages (MMS). It’s important to remember when dealing with SMS short codes is that they can send and receive SMS and MMS messages at very high volumes, and the messages being sent can contain promotional content. Keep in mind, before your SMS short code can ever send a multimedia text message, the content must first be preapproved by the phone carriers during the short code provisioning process.

Short Codes, Toll-Free, and 10DLC

There are a few differences between short codes and the other numbers types you can choose between as an alternative. Short codes are 5-6 digits long, whereas the other options (toll-free and 10DLC) are 10 digits long and send messages at lower speeds per second.

Short codes (vanity & random) are also more expensive than 10 digit numbers (toll-free and 10DLC). It can also take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to get a short code number approved, whereas l0 digit numbers, AKA SMS long code numbers, take 1-2 days. Also, it’s essential to keep in mind that 10 digit phone numbers are subject to carrier spam/content filters, where short codes typically aren’t.


5-6 Digits

$1,000-1,500 per month

600+ messages per second

Approval Process Required

6 to 8 Week Approval Time


10 Digits

$4-10 per month

50+ messages per second

Approval Process Required

1-3 Day Approval Time


10 Digits


Maximum Throughput Available

Approval Process Required

1-7 Day Approval Time

Opting In & Out of Short Codes

Opting out of short code messages is simple and easy for all recipients. They have to respond with “STOP, UNSUBSCRIBE, etc.” and the short code API will remove them from your SMS campaign. When recipients opt into your messaging campaign, they’ll also be welcomed with a confirmation SMS to let them know they will receive your messages whenever you send them out.

Moving a Short Code

Do you already have a short code but looking for a better short code provider? PERFECT! You can move your short code over to Esendex without issue, and network carriers don’t mind it at all. Contact one of our helpful sales representatives to begin the process. Your customers won’t even notice the difference. Expect faster speeds, better security, and most importantly, world-class customer and technical support.

Short Code Coverage

Our short code services enable you to leverage your business communication globally without interruptions. Don’t worry about the distance! Get connectivity in more than 190 countries. One of our dedicated account managers will walk you through the provisioning process for each country you’d like to send and receive messages to. We help you every step of the way to make sure you have the most success. Check out our short codes coverage.

How to Get an SMS Short Code?

Lease a Short Code

Before you can acquire an SMS short code you must lease it first. Esendex can lease short codes for you, which is known as hosting. Overall, before leasing a short code you need to know whether or not you want a random code or a vanity code. Once you’ve made your decision you can then contact an SMS service provider such as ourselves and get expert advice on whether or not an SMS short code is a right fit for your business and SMS campaign type. Chat with an expert now.

Submit a Short Code Application

Once our team has answered your questions and approved the purpose of your short code, we will then send you a short code application to fill out. This application defines your business/brand and the reason for the SMS short code. Once finished, Esendex will submit this document to the phone carriers on your behalf and it will then go through what’s known as the short code provisioning process.

Complete the Short Code Provisioning Process

The short code provisioning process is when each of the phone carriers goes through your short code application and decides whether or not they’re willing to approve your short code for their network. This process takes anywhere from 4-12 weeks. Once all phone carriers approve your application you will then be able to send SMS and MMS messages from your short code phone number.

Esendex Handles Everything

  1. Speak to sales for a new account.
  2. An Esendex account representative will contact you.
  3. Add payment information to your account.
  4. Choose a unique area code for your long code.
  5. Customer support will process your request.
  6. You’ll receive an email containing your license key.
  7. You can now send SMS from your long code

SMS Short Code Pricing

It’s important to know that you can’t buy SMS short codes, because they aren’t sold. They’re leased, and what you’re actually paying for is the right to use it and send text messages from its number. SMS short codes can vary in price depending on multiple factors like whether you want a vanity code or a random code. Random SMS short codes cost $1,000, whereas vanity SMS short codes cost $1,500.

Another factor is the setup fee, also known as the provisioning fee. This is the fee you pay for SMS service providers such as ourselves to handle the entire short code provisioning process for you with each of the phone carriers. It’s a one-time payment. Our setup/provisioning fee is $3,200. Keep in mind, we’re 100% transparent about our pricing and will never hit you with hidden fees ever. We’re a company you can trust and have been leaders in the SMS industry since 1999.

Short Code Pricing

Random Short Codes

  • $1,000/month
  • $3,200 setup fee

Vanity Short Codes

  • $1,500/month
  • $3,200 setup fee

SMS Long Code Rules & Regulations

CTIA Short Code Compliance

CTIA stands for Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. This non-profit association maintains best practices for organizations/businesses using short codes. Overall, their job is to audit SMS campaigns and ensure they’re following CTIA guidelines required when sending text messages.

Learn more

TCPA Short Code Compliance

TCPA stands for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, and it regulates SMS messages. These are a set of laws passed by Congress to stop the increasing number of consumer complaints about spam SMS to recipients that either didn’t want to receive marketing SMS or opted out of them.

Learn more

Can I Migrate/Move A Short Code?

Yes, and it’s a very simple process. Just find an SMS service provider that uses the same SMS aggregator as your current SMS service provider. The process could take as little as a few minutes, to hours. On the other hand, if you can’t find an SMS service provider with the same SMS aggregator this could be a long, time-consuming process. Contact sales today if you need help with this issue.

What’s the difference between a random short code and vanity short code?

Random SMS short codes are 5 or 6-digit phone numbers that are given to you at random by the phone carriers after the short code provisioning process is complete, whereas vanity SMS short codes are the same but they’re custom 5 or 6-digit phone numbers you get to choose.

How long does it take to get a short code?

The average short code provisioning process takes anywhere between 6-8 weeks for Esendex. The shortest we’ve seen it take for an organization to get approval is 4 weeks. The longest we’ve seen it take is 12 weeks. During this process we’ll always keep you updated on what’s going on with your short code.

Do short codes get filtered by carriers for spam?

Yes. Esendex, as well as all the other phone carriers, have multiple security parameters set in place to stop organizations/businesses from sending spam or breaking compliance guidelines.

How much does an SMS short code cost?

A random short code and vanity short code both cost $3,200’s to set up, whereas a random short code costs $1,000’s per month, and a vanity short code costs $1,500’s per month.

What are the alternatives to using a short code?

The perfect alternative for a short code is a 10 digit long code. You can choose between a 10DLC or toll-free phone number.

How do you text a short code number?

Texting a short code is no different than what you do for any other number you’re sending a message to. The only difference is a short code is a 5-6 digit number.

Can any business get an SMS short code?

Most industries can use short codes; however, carriers prohibit specific niches, also known as “SHAFT,” which stands for sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, and tobacco. Before launching your campaign, ensure that none of your messages contain information about or closely related to these subjects.

How fast can short codes send text messages?

Esendex’s short code API has no limits. At 600 text messages per second, we can reach as many of your contacts as fast as you need without any issues.

What is a short code audit?

A short code audit is when a network carrier views your short code request to see if your use case, message content, etc. pass their requirements.

How do I unsubscribe from a short code?

All of your recipients can easily remove themselves from your SMS campaign by responding to one of your messages with STOP, CANCEL, QUIT, UNSUBSCRIBE, or CANCEL.

What are short codes?

An SMS short code is a unique 5-6 digit phone number that can send and receive SMS and MMS messages at high volumes in a short period. These numbers are shorter than the usual 10 digit phone number we’re all so used to for our personal cellphones.

Can I send MMS from a short code?

Yes! Short codes can send and receive mass SMS and multimedia messages (MMS).

What countries do you offer SMS short codes in?

Our short codes enable you to leverage your business communication globally without interruptions. Don’t worry about the distance! Get connectivity in more than 190 countries. To view these countries, check out our coverage page.

How many digits can a short code be?

A short code can only be 5-to-6 digits long.

Why do I need a dedicated short code?

Due to shared short codes being eliminated due to high SPAM rates, a dedicated short code is the only way companies can send mass text messages from a 5-6 digit phone number.

How to get short codes for text messaging?

You can get short codes for text messaging your contacts by submitting your short code application, then going through the short code provisioning process. To begin the journey, please contact our helpfule sales team.

Products for a range of use cases


Texting API designed to send & receive SMS & MMS globally using a short code or 10DLC number.

SMS Software

Easy to use SMS software that can send & receive SMS & MMS using a short code or 10DLC number.

Voice Broadcast

Powerful voice API that sends mass automated phone calls quickly to mobile & landline devices.

Phone Verification

Verify mobile & landline numbers, find service providers, & define time zones to restrict calling.

Let’s start sending, together.