Get Started with Node.js Using Express

    Sign up for a Plivo Account

    When you sign up with Plivo, we give you a free trial account and free credits to experiment with and learn about our services. You can add a number to your account to start testing the full range of our voice and SMS service features.

    Follow these steps to get a free trial account:

    1. Sign up with your work email address.
    2. Check your inbox for an activation email message from Plivo. Click on the link in the message to activate your account.
    3. Enter your mobile number to complete the phone verification step.

    Sign up with your work email address

    Sign up with email addres

    If you have any issues creating a Plivo account, please contact our support team for assistance.

    To get started, try sending an SMS message either by using our API and XML documents, or via PHLO, our visual design tool, which allows you to create message flows using an intuitive canvas and deploy them with few clicks.

    Set up your Node.js and Express dev environment

    You must set up and install Node.js, Express, and Plivo’s Node.js SDK before you send your first message.

    You can check whether you have Node.js installed under macOS or Linux by running the command node --version in a terminal window. Under Windows, open a Windows command prompt or PowerShell and type node -v. If you don’t have Node.js installed or want a more current version, download and install it.

    Install the Plivo Node.js package

    Create a projects directory and change into it.

    $ mkdir mynodeapp
    $ cd mynodeapp
    

    Install the Plivo Node.js SDK using npm.

    $ npm install plivo
    

    Once you’ve set up your development environment, you can start sending and receiving messages using PHLO, our visual workflow design studio, or using our APIs and XML documents. Here are three common use cases to get you started.

    Send your first outbound SMS/MMS message

    You can create and deploy a PHLO to send your first outbound SMS message with a few clicks on the PHLO canvas, and trigger it with some simple code.

    Create the PHLO

    To create a PHLO, visit the PHLO page of the Plivo console. If this is your first PHLO, the PHLO page will be empty.

    • Click Create New PHLO.

    • In the Choose your use case pop-up, click Build my own. The PHLO canvas will appear with the Start node.

      Note: The Start node is the starting point of any PHLO. It lets you trigger a PHLO to start upon one of three actions: incoming SMS message, incoming, or API request.
    • From the list of components on the left-hand side, drag and drop the Send Message component onto the canvas. When a component is placed on the canvas it becomes a node.

    • Draw a line to connect the Start node’s API Request trigger state to the Send Message node.

    • In the Configuration pane at the right of the canvas, configure the Send Message node with a sender ID in the From field. Enter the destination number you wish to send a message to in the To field. Put your message in the Text field.

      Note: You can define a static payload by specifying values when you create the PHLO, or define a dynamic payload by passing values through Liquid templating parameters when you trigger the PHLO from your application.
    • If you’d like to send an MMS message, configure the Media URLs field with the media files you’d like to send.

    • Once you’ve configured the node, click Validate to save the configuration.

    • After you complete the configuration, give the PHLO a name by clicking in the upper left, then click Save.

    Your PHLO is now ready to test.

    Trigger the PHLO

    You integrate a PHLO into your application workflow by making an API request to trigger the PHLO with the required payload — the set of parameters you pass to the PHLO. You can define a static payload by specifying values when you create the PHLO, or define a dynamic payload by passing values through parameters when you trigger the PHLO from your application.

    In either case, you need your Auth ID and Auth Token, which you can get from the overview page of the Plivo console.

    AUTHID

    You also need the PHLO ID, which you can copy from the PHLO list page.

    PHLO List

    With a static payload

    When you configure values when creating the PHLO, they act as a static payload.

    With Static Payload

    Code

    Create a file called TriggerPhlo.js and paste into it this code.

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    var express = require('express')
    var app = express()
    
    app.post('/trigger_phlo/', function(req, res) {
        var plivo = require('plivo');
        var PhloClient = plivo.PhloClient;
        var authId = '<auth_id>';
        var authToken = '<auth_token>';
        var phloId = '<phlo_id>';
        var phloClient = phlo = null;
    
        phloClient = new PhloClient(authId, authToken);
        phloClient.phlo(phloId).run().then(function(result) {
            console.log('Phlo run result', result);
        }).catch(function(err) {
            console.error('Phlo run failed', err);
        })
    })
    
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 5000));
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function() {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    

    Replace the auth placeholders with your authentication credentials from the Plivo console. Replace the phlo_id placeholder with your PHLO ID from the Plivo console.

    With a dynamic payload

    To use dynamic values for the parameters, use Liquid templating parameters when you create the PHLO …

    With Dynamic Payload

    … and pass the values from your code when you trigger it.

    With Dynamic Payload

    Code

    Create a file called TriggerPhlo.js and paste into it this code.

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    var express = require('express')
    var app = express()
    
    app.post('/trigger_phlo/', function(req, res) {
        var plivo = require('plivo');
        var PhloClient = plivo.PhloClient;
        var authId = '<auth_id>';
        var authToken = '<auth_token>';
        var phloId = '<phlo_id>';
        var phloClient = phlo = null;
        var payload = {
            From: '<sender_id>',
            To: '<destination_number>'
        }
        phloClient = new PhloClient(authId, authToken);
        phloClient.phlo(phloId).run(payload).then(function (result) {
            console.log('Phlo run result', result);
        }).catch(function (err) {
            console.error('Phlo run failed', err);
        });
    })
    
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 5000));
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function() {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    

    Replace the auth placeholders with your authentication credentials from the Plivo console. Replace the phlo_id placeholder with your PHLO ID from the Plivo console. Replace the phone number placeholders with actual phone numbers in E.164 format (for example, +12025551234).

    Test

    Save the file and run it.

    $ node TriggerPhlo.js
    
    Note: If you’re using a Plivo Trial account, you can send messages only to phone numbers that have been verified with Plivo. You can verify (sandbox) a number by going to the console’s Phone Numbers > Sandbox Numbers page.

    Receive your first inbound SMS/MMS message

    You can create and deploy a PHLO to receive an inbound text message with a few clicks on the PHLO canvas, without writing a single line of code.

    Prerequisite

    To receive incoming text messages, you must have an SMS-enabled Plivo phone number. You can rent numbers from the Numbers page of the Plivo console, or by using the Numbers API.

    Create the PHLO

    To create a PHLO, visit the PHLO page of the Plivo console. If this is your first PHLO, the PHLO page will be empty.

    • Click Create New PHLO.

    • In the Choose your use case pop-up, click Build my own. The PHLO canvas will appear with the Start node.
      Note: The Start node is the starting point of any PHLO. It lets you trigger a PHLO to start upon one of three actions: incoming SMS message, incoming call, or API request.
    • From the list of components on the left-hand side, drag and drop the HTTP Request component onto the canvas. When a component is placed on the canvas it becomes a node.

    • Draw a line to connect the Start node’s Incoming Message trigger state to the HTTP Request node.

    • In the Configuration pane at the right of the canvas, configure the HTTP Request node. Specify the address of your web server and specify that from, to, and text fields should be passed along with the request.

    • Once you’ve configured the node, click Validate to save the configuration.

    • After you complete the configuration, give the PHLO a name by clicking in the upper left, then click Save.

    Assign the PHLO to a Plivo number

    Once you’ve created and configured your PHLO, assign it to a Plivo number.

    • On the Numbers page of the console, under Your Numbers, click the phone number you want to use for the PHLO.

    • In the Number Configuration box, select PHLO from the Application Type drop-down.

    • From the PHLO Name drop-down, select the PHLO you want to use with the number, then click Update Number.

    Assign PHLO to a Plivo Number

    Test

    You can now send a text message to your Plivo phone number and see how the inbound text is handled.

    For more information about creating a PHLO application, see the PHLO Getting Started guide. For information on components and their variables, see the PHLO Components Library.

    Forward an incoming SMS/MMS message

    You can create and deploy a workflow to implement text message forwarding with a few clicks on the PHLO canvas.

    Prerequisite

    To receive incoming text messages, you must have an SMS-enabled Plivo phone number. You can rent numbers from the Numbers page of the Plivo console, or by using the Numbers API.

    Create the PHLO

    To create a PHLO, visit the PHLO page of the Plivo console. If this is your first PHLO, the PHLO page will be empty.

    • Click Create New PHLO.

    • In the Choose your use case pop-up, click Build my own. The PHLO canvas will appear with the Start node.
      Note: The Start node is the starting point of any PHLO. It lets you trigger a PHLO to start upon one of three actions: incoming SMS message, incoming call, or API request.
    • From the list of components on the left-hand side, drag and drop the Send Message component onto the canvas. When a component is placed on the canvas it becomes a node.

    • Draw a line to connect the Start node’s Incoming Message trigger state to the Send Message node.

    • In the Configuration pane at the right of the canvas, configure the Send Message node with the phone number to which you want to forward the message.

    • Once you’ve configured the node, click Validate to save the configuration.

    • After you complete the configuration, give the PHLO a name by clicking in the upper left, then click Save.

    Assign the PHLO to a Plivo number

    Once you’ve created and configured your PHLO, assign it to a Plivo number.

    • On the Numbers page of the console, under Your Numbers, click the phone number you want to use for the PHLO.

    • In the Number Configuration box, select PHLO from the Application Type drop-down.

    • From the PHLO Name drop-down, select the PHLO you want to use with the phone number, then click Update Number.

    Assign PHLO to a Plivo Number

    Test

    You can now send a text message to your Plivo phone number and see how the inbound text is forwarded.

    For more information about creating a PHLO application, see the PHLO Getting Started guide. For information on components and their variables, see the PHLO Components Library.

    More use cases

    We illustrate more than a dozen use cases with code for both PHLO and API/XML on our documentation pages.

    Install Node.js and the Plivo Node.js Server SDK

    You must set up and install Node and Plivo’s Node SDK to send your first SMS. Here’s how.

    Install Node.js

    Operating SystemInstructions
    macOS & LinuxTo see if you already have Node.js installed, run the command node --version in the terminal. If you don't have it installed, you can install it from here .
    WindowsTo install Node.js on Windows you can download it from here and install.

    Install Plivo Node.js Package

    • Create a project directory, run the following command:

      $ mkdir mynodeapp
      
    • Change the directory to our project directory in the command line:

      $ cd mynodeapp
      
    • Install Plivo SDK & Express framework using npm

      $ npm install plivo express
      
    • For features in beta, use the beta branch:

      $ npm install plivo@beta
      

    Send your first Outbound SMS/MMS

    This section will guide you through how to use Plivo APIs to Send SMS from your application. First, let’s make sure you meet these prerequisites before we dive into the code.

    • Plivo Auth Id and Auth Token: You will find your Plivo Auth Id and Auth Token on the home screen of your Plivo Console. Click here to sign-up for a Plivo account if you haven’t already!

    Find Your Auth Credentials on Plivo Console

    • Plivo Phone Number: You must have a SMS-enabled Plivo phone number to send messages to the US and Canada. Purchase numbers from the Numbers section of your Plivo Console. It is also possible to purchase numbers using the Numbers API.

    Buy a New Plivo Number

    Now, create a file called SendSMS.js and paste the following code.

    Code

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    const express = require('express');
    const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
    const app = express();
    
    app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({
        extended: true
    }));
    app.use(function(req, response, next) {
        response.contentType('application/xml');
        next();
    });
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 3000));
    app.all('/outbound_sms/', function(request, response) {
        let client = new plivo.Client('<auth_id>', '<auth_token>');
        client.messages.create({
                src: '<sender_id>',
                dst: '<destination_number>',
                text: 'Hello, from Node Express!'
            }
    
        ).then(function(message_created) {
            console.log(message_created)
        });
    });
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function() {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    
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    const express = require('express');
    const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
    const app = express();
    
    app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({
        extended: true
    }));
    app.use(function(req, response, next) {
        response.contentType('application/xml');
        next();
    });
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 3000));
    app.all('/outbound_mms/', function(request, response) {
        let client = new plivo.Client('<auth_id>', '<auth_token>');
        response = client.messages.create({
            src: '<sender_id>',
            dst: '<destination_number>',
            text: 'Hello, MMS from Express!',
            type: 'mms',
            media_urls: ['https://media.giphy.com/media/26gscSULUcfKU7dHq/source.gif'],
            media_ids: ['801c2056-33ab-499c-80ef-58b574a462a2']
        }).then(function(response) {
            console.log(response)
        });
    });
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function() {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    
    Note:
    • Replace the placeholders auth_id & auth_token with your credentials from Plivo Console
    • Replace the placeholder plivo_source_number with the Phone number which you have purchased and +14157654321 with the phone number you will be sending SMS text messages to
    • Both plivo_source_number and +14157654321 should be in E.164 format

    Test and validate

    Save the file and use the below command to run it.

    node SendSMS.js
    
    Note: If you are using a Plivo Trial account for this example, you can only send sms to phone numbers that have been verified with Plivo. Phone numbers can be verified at the Sandbox Numbers page.

    Set up a Express server for Incoming Messages & Callbacks

    In this section, we’ll walk you through how to set up a Express server in under five minutes and start handling incoming messages & callbacks.

    Plivo supports receiving SMS text messages in several countries (see complete SMS API coverage). When an SMS is sent to a Plivo phone number, you can receive the text on your server by setting a Message URL in your Plivo app. Plivo will send the message along with other parameters to your Message URL.

    Set up a Express server

    Use the following code snippet to start a local server.

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    const express = require('express');
    const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
    const app = express();
    
    app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({
        extended: true
    }));
    app.use(function (req, response, next) {
        response.contentType('application/xml');
        next();
    });
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 3000));
    app.all('/receive_sms/', function (request, response) {
        let from_number = request.body.From || request.query.From;
        let to_number = request.body.To || request.query.To;
        let text = request.body.Text || request.query.Text;
        console.log('Message received - From: ' + from_number + ', To: ' + to_number + ', Text: ' + text);
    });
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function () {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    
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    const express = require('express');
    const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
    const app = express();
    
    app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({
        extended: true
    }));
    app.use(function (req, response, next) {
        response.contentType('application/xml');
        next();
    });
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 3000));
    app.all('/receive_sms/', function (request, response) {
        let from_number = request.body.From || request.query.From;
        let to_number = request.body.To || request.query.To;
        let text = request.body.Text || request.query.Text;
        let media_url = request.body.Media0 || request.query.Media0;
        console.log('Message received - From: ' + from_number + ', To: ' + to_number + ', Text: ' + text+ ', Media: ' + media_url);
    });
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function () {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    

    Test and validate

    Save this code in any file (let’s say the file name is receive_sms.js). To run this file on the server, go to the folder where this file resides and use the following command:

      node receive_sms.js
    

    And you should see your basic server app in action on http://localhost:3000/receive_sms/

    Exposing your local server to the internet

    To receive Incoming Messages and to handle callbacks, your local server should be able to connect with Plivo API service, Ngrok is a tunneling software used to expose a web server running on your local machine to the internet. Using Ngrok you can set webhooks which can talk to Plivo server.

    ngrok block diagram

    You can download and install ngrok from here. Follow the detailed configuration instructions to get started.

    Run ngrok on the port which currently hosts your application. For example, if your port number is 80, run the following command:

    ./ngrok http <port_on_which_your_local_server_is_running>
    

    This will give you a UI with links that look like ngrok.io/* which you can use to access your local server using the public network.

    Sample ngrok CLI

    Create an Application

    1. Create an Application by visiting the Application Page and click on New Application. You can also use Plivo’s Application API.
    2. Give your application a name. Let’s call it Receive SMS. Enter your server URL (e.g. http://example.com/receive_sms/) in the Message URL field and set the method as POST. See our Application API docs to learn how to modify your application through our APIs.
    3. Click on Create Application to save your application.

    Create Application

    Assign a Plivo number to your app

    1. Navigate to the Numbers page and select the phone number you want to use for this app.
    2. Select Receive SMS (name of the app) from the Plivo App dropdown list.
    3. Click on Update Number to save.

    Assign Phone Number to Receive SMS App

    Test and validate

    Send an SMS to your Plivo number using a regular mobile phone. Plivo will send a request to your Message URL with the parameters listed in the Messages Documentation.

    Reply to an incoming SMS/MMS

    When an SMS is sent to an Plivo phone number, you can receive the text on your server by setting a Message URL in your Plivo app. Plivo will send the message along with other parameters to your Message URL. You can reply back using the Plivo Message XML.

    Note: In order to reply to a US or Canadian phone number, the src (source) phone number must be a Plivo US or Canadian phone number that is SMS-enabled. You can purchase a Plivo number from the Buy Numbers tab on your Plivo Console and filter the Phone Numbers by selecting SMS in the features option to buy SMS enabled numbers.

    Create a file called reply_to_sms.js and paste the following code.

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    const plivo = require('plivo');
    const express = require('express');
    const bodyParser = require('body-parser');
    const app = express();
    
    app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({
        extended: true
    }));
    app.use(function(req, response, next) {
        response.contentType('application/xml');
        next();
    });
    app.set('port', (process.env.PORT || 3000));
    app.all('/reply_sms/', function(request, response) {
        let from_number = request.body.From || request.query.From;
        let to_number = request.body.To || request.query.To;
        let text = request.body.Text || request.query.Text;
        console.log('Message received - From: ' + from_number + ', To: ' + to_number + ', Text: ' + text);
    
        //send the details to generate an XML
        let r = plivo.Response();
        let params = {
            'src': to_number,
            'dst': from_number,
        };
        let message_body = "Thank you, we have received your request";
        r.addMessage(message_body, params);
        console.log(r.toXML());
        response.end(r.toXML());
    });
    app.listen(app.get('port'), function() {
        console.log('Node app is running on port', app.get('port'));
    });
    
    Note: Create an application in the Plivo console with your Server URL in the message_URL field and assign the app to a Plivo number.

    Test and validate

    To run this file on the server, go to the folder where this file resides and use the following command:

      node receive_sms.js
    

    And you should see your basic server app in action on http://localhost:3000/receive_sms/

    Send an SMS to your Plivo number using a regular mobile phone and an automatic response will be sent from your Plivo number to your mobile phone. Also, Plivo will send a request to your Message URL with the parameters listed in the Messages Documentation.