Blog Home
Texting 101

A quick guide to SMS gateways: What they are and how to choose the right provider

Fatima Puri
minute read
Table of contents:

SMS gateways enable text messages to be sent between different types of devices. They are especially useful for companies that want to send texts from a computer to communicate with many customers, patients, or employees. 

Our SMS gateway guide will cover the definition and purpose of SMS gateways, the different types of gateways, and how to choose the right provider for your needs.

What is an SMS gateway?

SMS and MMS gateways are enabling technologies that allow computers and software applications to send and receive text or multimedia messages to and from a recipient’s cell phone. 

SMS and MMS gateways act like language translators between the different devices and applications.

What is the purpose of an SMS gateway?

The purpose of an SMS gateway is to make it possible for different communication platforms to speak to each other. Messages sent from computers are not understood by a recipient’s mobile device, which means that a translator is needed. This is where gateways come into play. For example, a gateway would translate a message sent from a computer to a customer’s cell phone, and help translate a customer’s text message back to a format the computer would understand. 

3 types of SMS gateways

There are several types of SMS gateways. Below we describe three:

1. SMS to Email

SMS to email is a gateway that enables organizations to send text messages from a mobile phone to an email inbox. 

2. Web to SMS

Web to SMS is an SMS gateway that allows users to send text messages to recipients’ mobile phones via a web application. Web to SMS has more functionality than other SMS gateways. 

3. SMS to Messenger

SMS to Messenger is an SMS gateway that enables organizations to send text messages from a mobile device to different messenger applications. 

How to choose the right SMS gateway provider

1. Identify your SMS needs

The first step to choosing an SMS gateway provider is understanding how you want to use SMS for your business. For example, identify whether you want to use SMS for marketing campaigns, customer support, or internal communication. Identifying your use case will help you select the best provider for you. 

For example, healthcare organizations that want to send appointment reminder texts to their patients may want to select an SMS gateway provider that allows them to automate these messages and is HIPAA-compliant.

2. Understand how SMS fits in your workflow

Once you identify your SMS needs, you must consider how SMS fits into your general workflow. One good practice is to make a complete list of other communication tools and applications you use in your business, then find an SMS gateway that works seamlessly with them.

For example, if you use Zendesk Sell and want to add texting as a communication method for your sales team, find an SMS gateway provider that integrates with it.

3. Ask for a free trial

The best way to understand if an SMS gateway provider is right for your business is to test it. Most companies, including Textline, offer a free trial period for businesses looking to implement texting. With a free trial, you can see how an SMS gateway provider’s platform fits into your workflow and if it’s the right solution.

Look for a company that grants users an extended trial period and has a helpful onboarding process to ensure you make the most of the application.

The bottom line

SMS gateways enable companies to text their customers through the convenience of their laptops or PCs. If you’re looking for a compatible SMS gateway provider, consider Textline. Text us at +1 415-849-4349 or contact us here to start your free two-week trial.

Start texting now

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