Build an SMS-to-email gateway using Plivo and Mailgun API
We'll show you how to set up your free Email-to-SMS gateway that will give you the power to receive free SMS notifications in your email inbox and allow you reply to that SMS directly from your email. We've partnered with our friends at Mailgun so that you can build this entirely free of charge using your free Mailgun account and your free Plivo account.
What you can do with this app:
1. Forward emails as SMS (sent to your Plivo number) to your email address.
|Your friend sends you an SMS to your Plivo Number||You receive the SMS in your email inbox|
2. Reply back to that SMS from your email
|You reply to the SMS using your email||Your friend receives your email reply via SMS|
Building the app
1. Get a Free Plivo Trial Account: upon signup and verification, you will receive a SMS enabled
Plivo Number, your
Plivo Auth ID, and your
Plivo Auth Token.
2. Get a Free Mailgun Account: here is where you will receive your
Mailgun Access Key.
3. Get a Free Heroku Account: Once you get your account, create a new app and install the free redistogo add-on. If you're new to Heroku, you can visit the Heroku Getting Started page for all the info on setting up your account. In our example, we will call our app
4. An email address where you will forward your SMS messages. In our example we will use
Push the app to heroku
1. Get the sample code: download the sample code (https://github.com/plivo/apps/tree/master/plivomessenger) for the app. Here, we will use Git.
2. Git push the app to Heroku: if you’re not familiar with Git, Pro Git is a free online resource covering all of Git.
Configure Your Plivo Credentials
1. Add your Plivo Credentials
<p>Your Email-to-SMS gateway will first require you to configure your Plivo Credentials. You can set these config variables in Heroku using your console. Check out Heroku’s <a href="https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/config-vars" target="_blank">variable configuration tutorial</a> if you need help.</p>
You can get your
PLIVO_AUTH_TOKENfrom your Plivo Dashboard.
Use any of your Plivo phone numbers found on your Numbers tab in the Plivo Dashboard to
PLIVO_NUMBER. If you don't yet have a number, you can claim your free local US phone number in the Numbers tab if you click on the "Claim your free local US number" link.
2. Let Plivo know where your Email-to-SMS gateway app is and what to do with it
Create a Plivo application and point it to the Plivo number you purchased. Open the Applications Tab in your browser. Click on the New Applicationbutton to create an application. Give a name to your application (next to Application Name), lets call it 'SMS Forward'. Fill out the following Application credentials and click “Create”. Be sure to set your
Assign a Plivo phone number to your app: attach your SMS Enabled Plivo phone number to your newly created “ SMS Forward” application. Go to the Numbers tab and select the phone number you want to use for this app. Then select the name of your app next to Plivo App Click 'Update' when done.
Your phone number set up should now look like this:
Testing your App Locally (optional)
This is an optional step, but it's always good practice to ensure that all your code is correct. So before we go any further, let's run the app locally and make sure everything is working properly.
Test if your app is running by pasting the link below in your browser (be sure to insert your own heroku app URL and your email address): http://your-heroku-app.herokuapp.com/forward/?Emailsemail@example.com&From=1000&To=1000&Text=Test
It should display an empty
Configure Your Plivo Credentials
1. Add your Mailgun Credentials
You can get all of your Mailgun info from your Mailgun Control Panel.
2. Let Mailgun Know Where to Send Your Emails
First, set up your DNS (Domain Provider or 3rd Party) to allow Incoming emails of your domain (i.e., my.yourdomain.com) to Mailgun. For us, we are showing how to set up our record values on Amazon Web Services EC2 Route53. In this example, the domain is plivo.com and we have set up my.plivo.com as the email domain for this service. A zone editor is similarly available for most domain providers, where the values are set as per the example.
3. Add your Mail Domain to Mailgun
4. Add your Route to Mailgun
After the domain is added, click on Route tab in Mailgun. Now add a new route with the following parameters:
<img class="bottom-spacing" src="http://lucyzhao.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Mailgun-Routes.png" alt="Add your Route to Mailgun">
That’s it! You're now free to use your Email-to-SMS gateway!
Testing SMS to Email
Try sending a SMS to your SMS enabled Plivo number, it should arrive to firstname.lastname@example.org, as configured in the app. The email will have originated from
Testing Email to SMS
Now try replying to that email, the reply should go back to your phone. In our app, we only let emails forward to numbers we receive an actual request from.
Contributed by: Karthik