What is the difference between short and long codes?

Many SMS-based services use short codes. These short codes are typically four or five digit numbers that are easier to remember than the standard 10 or 11 digit long numbers (or long codes).

Short codes are obtained either through a specialist company directly or through a telecommunications service provider. These short code providers use corporate infrastructure (like web aggregators) to send SMS and they can deal with larger volumes of messages than is possible using a device. Short codes can be expensive to buy and can take some time to set up.

Customers have the option to set up additional services, such as making the number free to text in to or charging the sender a premium SMS rate (e.g. for advice or donations). The major benefits of using short code are the flexibility in adding premium services and of course that the number is more memorable.

If you are interested in using short codes, we recommend you contact your local telecommunications service provider as the process is quite different and varies by country and provider. Setting up FrontlineSMS or FrontlineCloud with a short code requires our software to be integrated with their API or messaging protocol. Please contact us directly for this level of support: services@frontlinesms.com.

Unless you are certain you need a short code, we recommend setting up FrontlineSMS with a long number, or long code, because you can avoid the expense of negotiating with a telecommunications service provider or web aggregator to acquire the number.

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