What Is Twilio and What Does it Do? [For Beginners]

Aditya Rayaprolu
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Updated · Feb 27, 2023

Aditya Rayaprolu

Joined February 2023

As a cloud architect at McKinsey with experience handling Fortune 500 clients, this individual has c... | See full bio


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One of the most important things about any business out there is communication. 

There are numerous options —texts, calls, emails, etc. It can get a little chaotic, however. 

There’s a platform that can help with that. 

First question on the list: What is Twilio?

What Is Twilio?

Twilio is a cloud communication platform as a service (CPaaS). It helps software developers create customer experiences via building blocks—APIs. This makes the whole communication process easier.

Twilio is trusted by over 200,000 active corporate customers, among which companies like Spotify, Twitter, Netflix, and Airbnb. It gained lots of popularity in 2020, due to the pandemic.

What Does Twilio Do?

Twilio has numerous use cases. Here’s how it can benefit you:

Twilio Flex

Twilio Flex is a cloud contact center platform. It is programmable – allows you to update things like channels, workflows, and UI design. It supports customer service on messaging channels like WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook Messenger, and WebChat. The platform also helps with performance monitoring and guidance.

Twilio Frontline

It allows any sales team to connect with customers. It integrates with any customer database or CRM and helps create relationships through messaging, audio notes, voice and more.

Marketing Campaigns

Twilio helps your business with email mkarketing campaigns, too. Thanks to its powerful segmentation engine, large contact lists can be synced in minutes. 

In addition, you can optimize email performance and engagement through tracking the analytics that are important to you.


The Lookup API allows you to get information on phone numbers like validation and formatting, as well as carrier information and caller names. It helps you improve message delivery and reduce fraud.


The Twilio app prevents fraud through user verification and phone number validation. The verification happens via SMS, voice, email, TOTP and push.


This API helps strengthen your security through push authentications and makes your login experience more flexible through soft tokens. It lets customers use email, SMS and Voice, instead of just password, to login securely.

Twilio Conversations

It lets you build cross-channel messaging across the likes of SMS, WhatsApp and Chat. You can use it to manage archives and analyze interactions.


The Twilio app offers a visual communication workflow builder. You can build interactive voice response systems, notification workflows and messaging bots through a drag-and-drop visual editor. This is a platform that is accessible to all departments within a business, because it does not require using code.


An API that allows you to route any type of interaction and helps you assign tasks to agents that can handle them best. It tracks the state of all tasks and all workers.

Trust Hub

This “Know Your Customer” Twilio platform attaches a trust level to customers. It requires information about its clients’ businesses—name, HQ address, representative, etc. Afterward, this information is vetted and then approved or rejected. 

Your business being approved means it can be trusted and you can benefit from accessing Trust Products.

Event Streams

Developers can use this API to build a single integration for all their data. It can help with: 

  • visibility into system performance, 
  • optimizing workforce, 
  • understanding customer interaction 

And more!

Twilio Programmable Messaging

This is an API for SMS, MMS and OTT messages. It allows you to create an automated messaging system that will answer your customers’ questions. It can also route them to your team if needed.

Twilio Programmable Voice

This feature lets you insert VoIP, PSTN or SIP calling into any website or application. You can scale and modify the voice experience. In addition, it has the option of interactive voice response, recording transcriptions and speech recognition.

Twilio Programmable Video

Great news - you can build your own video platform! You can do things like deliver an invitation to a video call through SMS, integrate live chat and phone dial-in, etc. 

Some of the possible applications are: 

  • organizing online appointments 
  • conducting video conferences 
  • providing customer service

And more.

Twilio SendGrid Email API

Another fully programmable option. It helps you send, receive and route emails while ensuring that they always reach your clients’ inboxes. That way Twilio eases your markeitng efforts.

WhatsApp Business API

You can easily send messages through WhatsApp using the Twilio Messaging APIs.

Phone Numbers

Twilio gives you access to local, national, mobile, and toll-free phone numbers in more than 100 countries. 

Programmable Wireless

Programmable wireless is developed in partnership with T-Mobile USA. It provides cellular connectivity access for IoT devices and allows you to manage them. The Programmable Wireless SIMs add 2G, 3G or LTE cellular connectivity to your devices.

Short Codes

Those are special phone numbers made for high-throughput, two-way messaging. Twilio offers them whenever you need to send high-volume or time-sensitive messages.

Super SIM

Super SIM is a cellular connectivity platform that provides you with access to elite global carriers. You can choose the networks you want to connect to. Another great addition to the Twilio phone system.

Elastic SIP Trunking

You get global PSTN connectivity and communication agility. The calls are routed on Twilio’s Super Network, which makes them more reliable. 


This Twilio service enables access to T-Mobile’s US Narrowband Network. It improves the consumption of energy of devices that send small or infrequent packets of data.


In order to work with Twilio, you need a network connection. It can be routed either through the open internet or through a private connection. 

Since the first option doesn’t guarantee quality or security, Interconnect is a better alternative. It offers private connections between your network and Twilio and guarantees security and quality.


Basically, that’s a serverless environment for your Node.js code and static files. It lets you build and run apps and handles scaling, hosting, and maintenance of your server for you. Runtime sends you error notifications when needed, so you can quickly fix any issues or bugs.


Another tool offered by Twilio. It’s a state synchronization service which helps you sync application state across apps and websites.

How Does Twilio Work?

Here’s how the software works

The Twilio Super Network is at the foundation of everything. It’s a connection between the Internet and traditional communication infrastructure. 

A global operations center is managed 24/7 in order to ensure the carrier networks’ best performance. The software’s engineers constantly receive feedback through carrier services and work on optimizing traffic patterns.

How To Use Twilio?

Here are the steps you need to take in order to get started with the Twilio software:

  1. Get Twilio Credentials.
  2. Create an account. Since the cost of Twilio depends on your usage, charging is determined by use case. You can also get started with a free trial.
  3. Get the API. Go to “Account Details” to do so.
  4. Choose a Twilio phone number.
  5. Get a messaging SID.
  6. Find Twilio API at RapidAPI.com or go to the Twilio Package Page.
  7. Make connections by using your credentials.
  8. Access Code Snippets through logging in to RapidAPI.
  9. Customize Fields and Language and select the code you need.

Wrap Up

Twilio is incredibly trustworthy and it’s made to help you create a great custom communication system within your business. It has products that cover all important ways of communication and also solutions to possible problems. 

The software is constantly optimized and you pay only for the time you’ve actively used it. It can help you grow your business the same way it has helped numerous big companies.


What is the use of Twilio?

Twilio benefits mostly developers. It provides a backbone for telephone services. It makes it easier for them to create and customize a quality customer communication experience.

Is Twilio owned by Amazon?

Jeff Lawson (CEO, co-founder), Evan Cooke (CEO, co-founder) and John Wolthuis (co-founder) are the owners of the Twilio software.

They are partnering with Amazon. Twilio is hosted on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Amazon uses Twilio’s APIs.

Does WhatsApp use Twilio?

Twilio offers WhatsApp Business API. Through this feature, you can integrate WhatsApp into your website or application.

Is Twilio Free?

No, Twilio isn’t free. There’s a free trial available if you’d like to test it out, but it comes with limitations. 

Who uses Twilio?

You first need to know what Twilio is. It’s a software created by developers for developers. That means that any IT department could benefit from it. It is used by some big names, such as AirBnB, Spotify, Netflix, Twitter, and Lyft.


Aditya Rayaprolu

Aditya Rayaprolu

As a cloud architect at McKinsey with experience handling Fortune 500 clients, this individual has comprehensive expertise in cutting-edge technologies and tools such as cloud computing, virtualization, network security, data storage, and disaster recovery. They have a wealth of experience in creating and executing virtualization solutions for both on-premise and cloud-based systems, with a primary focus on enhancing efficiency, dependability, and security.

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