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How to Get Short Codes for Text Messaging

Short Codes Text Messaging Featured Image
December 19, 2022
David Kovacs
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Congratulations. You’ve decided text marketing is a game-changer for driving sales and engagement for your business and now you have to put together a plan.

But how do you actually get a short code? And what do they cost? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.


How to Get an SMS Short Code

First, a quick refresher on short codes.

Remember, all short codes are typically five to six characters in length and are often paired with a simple Keyword phrase, like SUBSCRIBE.

Short Code Example Signage

There are two types of short codes: shared short codes and dedicated short codes. Shared short codes are being left behind by the carriers to strengthen consumer protection and message deliverability. Dedicated short codes, on the other hand, offer more security, brand building opportunities, and message deliverability.

There are two types of dedicated short codes: Vanity short codes and random short codes.

Still want to see different short codes in action?
See short code examples.

Ready to get started with EZ Texting?

No credit card required.

How to Purchase a Short Code

You lease (not buy) short codes from the U.S. Short Code Administration, the governing body of all short codes available to businesses and brands. You first have to apply for approval when you purchase a short code, and different short codes have different rules. But it’s not complicated with EZ Texting.

Searching for short codes right now?
You can look available short codes here.

1. How to Get a Dedicated Vanity Short Code or a Random Short Code

If you want to purchase dedicated codes, you’ll have to apply for one. When you use EZ Texting, our expert support team works with you in the process of provisioning a dedicated or vanity short code and getting it approved.

Learn More about Short Code Pricing


2. How Long it Takes to Get a Dedicated Vanity Short Code or a Random Short Code

The approval process for dedicated short codes and random short codes usually takes several weeks. Our experts will help you navigate potential roadblocks that can slow down approval.

SMS Short Code Examples

Here’s a quick primer on short code types with additional resources you can use to determine which one is right for your business.

Dedicated Short Codes

Dedicated Short Code Example


  • Used and paid for exclusively by one brand
  • Gives your brand the ability to choose any keyword and use it exclusively
  • May spell out a word related to the business
  • Must be approved through a cellular network before being used

Learn More about Dedicated Short Codes


Random Short Codes

Random Short Code Example


  • Truly "random" and cannot be reviewed in advance
  • Can be less memorable, like 82637 or 98253
  • Lower code lease costs than dedicated short code

Learn More about Random Short Codes


Ready to get started with EZ Texting?

No credit card required.
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SMS Texting for Marketing & Sales

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