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Posted on January 22nd, 2018

Shortcodes vs. Longcodes

In the world of texting software, confusing jargon is used quite a bit. Two commonly used terms are 'shortcode' and 'longcode'. We use these terms as well out of necessity and are often asked what they are, and how they're used. Clearstream is one of just a few texting providers in the U.S. that offers both shortcodes and longcodes (and for very good reason), so we thought it may be helpful to clarify the differences between the two.

What are they?

Shortcode - a carrier-approved, 5-digit number that’s used for mass texting. People can join of your Lists in your Clearstream account by texting one of your Keywords to the shortcode for your account.

Longcode - a 10-digit, local phone number. Also referred to as a Dedicated Local Number. Every monthly plan we offer comes with 1 longcode. Each longcode is unique to it's account, so there's no need or use for Keywords.

How are they used?

Both shortcodes and longcodes are used to send and recieve text messages within your account. However, they have completely different use cases. For example, you would never want to send a mass text message through a longcode, as wireless carriers dissaprove of this, and you'd run the risk of your message being blocked by one or more carriers (we learned this the hard way years ago). Why is this important to know? Many texting providers only offer longcode texting, and not shortcode as well. Sending mass text blasts through a longcode is not only slow and unreliable, it's also likely to eventually get blocked without you even knowing.



Main Takeaways

Shortcodes Longcodes
Used for sending messages to large groups Commonly used as a help/feedback/prayer request text number
Connected and approved by wireless carriers for mass texting Great tool for two-way messaging
Used in conjunction with Keywords Never used with Keywords
Message throughput of 300mps Message throughput of 1mps

Clearstream offers both shortcodes and longcodes with every paid account. We also offer dedicated shortcode provisioning for larger organizations. If you have more questions about shortcodes or longcodes, just message us.