Difference between an SMS short code and SMS long code?

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Today, we’re discussing the two most popular ways of sending SMS messages for business — SMS short code and SMS long code. We’re really passionate about SMS marketing, and we’ve written extensively on the benefits and applications of text messages.

In this article, we’re going to look into the essential differences between sms short codes vs sms long codes and establish which one your business should consider.

SMS Short Codes

A shortcode is typically a 5- or 6-digit number which businesses use for marketing communications, large one-to-many mobile messaging campaigns and/or to allow customers to text a keyword to opt-in for text alerts. 

If you’re a retailer, you would have customers text “SAVE” to 70707 to receive text alerts.

There are a lot of reasons why so many companies choose to use short codes. It can handle impressive amounts of SMS messages – hundreds per second, which is vital for large businesses needing to send time-sensitive offers or messages. For example, medium and large-chain retailers are able to send discount codes, coupons, alerts, reminders, and confirmations to a large number of contacts quickly.

Short codes are more expensive than long codes and have to be approved by carriers. Fortunately, Raange offers shared short codes to remove the time required for approval by carriers, and substantially reduce the cost of using one.

What about SMS Long Codes?

Long codes differ from short codes in many aspects, the most obvious of which is their length — long codes are ten digits long. Long code messaging is designed for P2P (person to person) interaction. 

One of the most significant advantages that long codes have to offer is the seamless two-end communication between a business and its clientele, since a business can use the same number to send voice messages, SMS and make phone calls with your customers.

The only problem is that they’re not as memorable as short codes. There’s no mystery behind why ten digits are harder to memorize, compared to five, or six. 

While short codes can handle up to 100 SMS messages per second, long codes typically can only handle a single SMS per second, which is considerably slower. In addition, you’re unable to send large outbound messaging campaigns using long codes, as carriers tend to shut down campaigns once 20 or more messages are sent out from the same number.

Long codes are inexpensive and don’t need to be approved.

Which one should you choose?

If you’re looking to choose a code that will represent your business, you must make a decision based on your budget and the functionality you’re after. If your budget is limited and you’re looking at low volume messaging (think small business) — you should probably opt for a long code. 

The way we see it, short codes offer a set of benefits that is considerably broader than what long codes have to offer by any stretch of the imagination. More importantly, short codes are easy-to-remember, which will significantly benefit the extent to which your customers will engage with it. 


SMS marketing has proven to be among the most efficient channels for higher customer engagement, and both long codes and short codes are its essential components. Short codes are an excellent way for large businesses to stay in touch with their customers and establish a meaningful interaction.

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