Alright, I've been curious about making a code that can send a text message. I figure if it's possible to send emails with php, there's probably a way to do the same with a text message. I did come across this thread which seems to be using a gateway to handle the actually sending of the message. However, I've also heard you can send a text message by using the email address provided by the phone company, such as ATT uses [10-digit number] or Verizon using [10-digit phone number]

Is there a benefit of one over the other, or possibly a better option? Preferably I'd like a free option if at all possible.

I've heard the latter sometimes isn't reliable, and that the message might not get there quickly. I was hoping to use it to alert people who want to be notified when the site is updated so, in case they want to do more then get an email, they have an option. I don't really need the option to send mass texts to hundreds of people or anything, it's more of a "you got chosen, come look" thing.

Any help is appreciated since my php knowledge is rather lacking and I've never attempted anything like this before.

When sending sms's with php, you need to sign up to an online provider and they will provide you with a php api if available for that provider. Also there is no such thing as a free sms provider as they must change you for the use of the bandwidth and broadcasting on mobile towers. But generally I have found that the cheaper options are in India and geographically other rich countries near that area can also provide cheap plans. However when I did some research I found that some common countries such as America and Australia can get quite expensive especially when converting currency. Also note when signing up to a provider their are usually two methods to pay. You can get a cap on so many sms's you can make and you pay a static monthly fee or you can pay per sms. There is however controversy of how you can setup your own sms server but this is not true because you still need to pay a provider to allow you to use the network just like you pay your isp for using the internet. So if you have the money you can setup your own sms server and sign up to a provider to provide access to the sms network but still it is not free.

Hope that helps

This pops up alot.
Could a mod make this thread a sticky.