Blog Home
Texting 101

Understanding SMS gateways

Alia Paavola
minute read
Table of contents:

SMS gateways play a crucial role in enabling efficient and reliable communication through text messages. Whether it's for businesses reaching out to customers or individuals staying connected with loved ones, SMS gateways serve as the backbone of SMS communication. 

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of SMS gateways, exploring their working mechanisms, different types, benefits, choosing the right provider, and more.

What is an SMS gateway?

An SMS gateway is an enabling technology that allows a software application or computer to send text messages to mobile phones. In a sense, SMS gateways serve as translators and connectors between the different devices.

The purpose of a gateway is to make the message content compatible for delivery over a mobile network. SMS gateways are used by application-to-person messaging platforms, which allow businesses to text customers en masse from a computer.

How do SMS gateways work?

Modern SMS gateways help properly route text messages from a software application to mobile networks. SMS gateways typically connect to mobile networks using protocols like HTTP or SMPP. This allows you to send messages to recipients no matter the network used and no matter where they’re located. It also enables faster send times for bulk messaging campaigns.

Say, for example, you want to send a mass marketing message to your customer base. Chances are your customers are located throughout the U.S. and have different mobile networks, like AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile. Instead of connecting individually with each mobile network, an SMS gateway lets you connect just once and send the message to all customers simultaneously. 

Check out the visual below to see how SMS gateways work:

A visual of how an SMS gateway works
A visual of how SMS gateways work.

Types of SMS gateways

There are different types of SMS gateways. These two are the most common concerning bulk SMS messaging campaigns. 

  • Email to SMS. This gateway allows email messages to conform with the technical requirements of SMS. It enables businesses to send text messages from a mobile phone to email inboxes and vice versa.
  • Web to SMS. This gateway is commonly used by application-to-person SMS platforms to bridge the gap between mobile phones and web applications. It enables businesses to send SMS and MMS messages to recipients’ mobile phones via a web application. Web to SMS has more functionality than other SMS gateways.

Benefits of SMS gateways

Here are some of the key benefits of SMS gateways.

  • Bulk messaging. SMS gateways enable bulk application-to-person text messaging. This has allowed businesses to send mass texts to many mobile users at once for important updates, marketing texts, and more. 
  • Messaging from convenient devices. SMS gateways allow businesses to text from their computers and other internet-connected devices like tablets. This can be more convenient for teams and businesses.
  • Improved connectivity. SMS gateways help you connect messaging between otherwise disparate software and devices.
  • Increased throughput and speed. SMS gateways allow businesses to reach more customers with a text message quickly and efficiently. 

How to choose the right SMS gateway provider

Most business texting platforms can serve as SMS gateway providers as they use cloud-based technology to allow companies to text customers from a computer. So, it really comes down to picking an SMS service provider that’s best for your business. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Coverage and international reach. Make sure your SMS platform provides the reach you need. For example, some platforms don’t have the ability to deliver text to certain international numbers.

  • Scalability and reliability. You’ll want to pick an SMS platform that works for your business now but can also support a growing message volume as your business scales.

  • API availability and integrations. Pay attention to what existing integrations an SMS provider has, as well as their API documentation. This will enable your business to add SMS to existing workflows and tools.

  • Pricing and cost structure. Understand how much the SMS platform costs, including message cost, user cost, monthly fees, and more. This will help you ensure it fits within your budget.

  • Delivery speed and throughput. You want your text messages to send at the right time. Pick a provider that can support high throughput and delivery speed to ensure messages are delivered in a timely manner.

  • Security and data privacy. The right SMS platform will protect your data and your customer’s data as if it’s their own. Make sure you understand your SMS provider’s security and privacy protections.

  • Customer support. If you run into an issue, you want it solved quickly. Check to understand the quality of support offered by different SMS providers. A good place to gather this information is online review websites such as Trustpilot or Capterra.

  • SMS compliance. Make sure your SMS provider takes SMS compliance seriously. SMS is highly regulated, and you want to ensure your business follows these rules. Pick a provider that provides compliance updates, registers your phone number, and helps you meet these requirements.

  • UX and ease of use. Another big decision-making factor should be the overall user experience and ease of use. If a platform offers a free trial, take advantage of it.

  • Features and capabilities. Take a look at the features offered by an SMS provider. Make sure they offer the features your business wants to use. For example, do you need two-way messaging, mass texting, group messaging, or HIPAA-compliant texting?

Unlock the benefits of SMS gateways with Textline

Ready to add business texting and reach your customers at scale? Consider Textline as your SMS gateway provider and ensure your messages are delivered from our software to your recipient’s mobile devices. There are many things that set Textline apart, including our growing feature list, ease of use, customer support, and steadfast commitment to security and compliance.

Give Textline a try today for 14 days free

Start texting now

Sign up for a free 14-day trial today
Get Started
No credit card required

Earn commission for referrals

Get paid for each customer you bring to Textline.