Ok, I'll admit, I don't really get the whole text messaging phenomenon. If I want to talk to somebody or ask them a question, I'll just call them! Over 90% of my phone calls consist of 30 second conversations that go like this:
Friend: Hey Goob, what's up?
Goob: Hey mate, got a quick question. You know what time we need to show up at Bob's tomorrow night?
Friend: Yeah, be there around 6.
Goob: Great, thanks, take it easy.
I don't care how fast you type on a phone, you can't beat that in terms of time spent! But whatever, I digress. 🙂 I've got friends all over the country and world at this point. And while I might want to call them from time to time, the nitty gritty is that I end up texting them thanks to the prices of phone calls. But seeing as how text messages cost money too, I figured there had to be a way around paying. I mean, if e-mail is free, why shouldn't 150 character messages be?! And thankfully, many other websites out there agree with me!
Below I've put together some of the best sites on the net that allow you to sent 100% free text messages. I tried most of them out by texting my own phone to see if they worked, how fast it went, etc. Many of these offer world-wide messaging, or at least texts to certain countries abroad. So chances are though that no matter where your friends or families are in the world, you'll be able to text them using one of the sites below. Many times you'll need to know the country code of the number you're trying to message, but for some reason most of these sites don't provide a list of the freaking codes! Luckily, this is when Wikipedia really comes in handy. Even more annoyingly, sometimes you'll need to know the cell phone service provider of your friend. If you have no idea what it is, then have a look at Fone Finder and thank me later!
And as always, if you know of a good site I missed, please leave a comment and let us know about it!
Anon Txt – A simple and easy interface to use is provided by AnonTxt.net, which is for US and Canadian numbers only. I noticed this is one of the few free sms sites out there that allow for a “name” field, which is helpful since you don't have to use any of your limited characters in your message telling your friend who you are. The downsides? It takes about 10-15 minutes for the message to be delivered and the text comes with an ad.
– This site lets you download widgets to be used on your Google or Yahoo Homepage, Apple, or Windows Vista machine. It lets you IM anybody in the US and it should work with all major and more minor cellular carriers in the country.
Cardboard Fish SMS – For UK users only, so I haven't been able to try it out myself, but I've read nothing but glowing reviews about it. Looks like there isn't a user signup or login required, which is nice.
Chikka – You have to download a small program (which is basically just an IM platform, but built on sending text messages to your buddies instead of IMs). Your friends can then respond to you from their phone and it'll show up on your computer. Works in the Philippines, US, Japan, India, and Thailand. Here in the US, the site claims to be compatible with AT&T, Alltel, Cingular, Sprint, and Verizon.
– I really like the look of this US-only free texting site. In fact, it's probably one of the best out of all the sites on this list. The site isn't really that big, as it's being run off a smallish server, so the messages take a few minutes to send.
Fun Text Flirts – This site is more of a novelty free sms service, as you can only send a “flirty” message to somebody. Basically, what this does is allow you to anonymously send a message to whoever you have a crush on and then they can reply to your e-mail if they want to. It's cool, but only if you have a crush and want to send them a sleazy message 😉
– Yet another great worldwide free SMS service. I've used it extensively to send text messages to my friends here in the states, but I've never tried it out in other countries. Pretty much every major country in Europe, Asia, South America, as well as Australia are listed as being available. I highly recommend this one!
Joopz – Ok, this site is awesome. In fact, I think it's my favorite on this list! You have to create a free account, but after you do so, it's nothing but awesome features from there. To start with, the website is actually nice to look at and doesn't blind you with flashy ads, which is much appreciated by people like myself. But beyond that, here are some of the great features. For starters, you can text message anybody in the world (and I've tried it out!) BUT, it doesn't just stop there. Your friend can reply to the text message and you will be able to read it via your Joopz.com account. Then you can reply again, etc. Also, Joopz keeps a log for you to read through of all the messages you've sent out. Pretty dang nifty, huh? The only downside is that after a month, you're downgraded to the “basic” package, which limits you to 50 free text messages a month.
Send SMS Now – Even though you have to sign up for a free account for this one, this is actually a pretty good service as well. Not only can you send free text messages worldwide, but since you have a free account, your friends can text back to your message and you'll get it on the computer. The only downside is what countries this works in. They have a large list, which is good, but most of the countries are of the likes of Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. Yet no Britain, Australia, or France? Eh, whatever, I'm just happy I can now prank text message people in rural Kenya!
SMS Everywhere – Another great US-only site that will send free text messages without any registration. One thing I noticed about this site is that the texts go through SUPER fast, usually within seconds.
Text 4 Free – While this site requests that you know the cell service provider of the number you're texting, I can overlook that small annoyance. Why? Because not only can you text people in the states for free, but there are literally dozens of places worldwide you can text AND you don't have to sign up for a free account. Not too shabby if you ask me!
Text For Free – Not to be confused with the site above, Text For Free.net offers almost the exact same features as Text4Free.net with only a few small exceptions. The range of places you can send free text messages is a bit smaller with this site, but the tradeoff comes in the form of a small widget that you can place on your Myspace profile or website which lets your friends text you for free!
Text Pet – Yet another fantastic site that lets you send worldwide free sms as long as you know the cell provider. What makes this site even better, IMHO, is the clean and nice layout. No flashing ads or annoying messages all over the place. Just a box for you to send your free text message from and that's it.
Text Your Buddy – Like the text4free site above, Text Your Buddy.com can message your friends worldwide as long as you know the service provider. I did notice that the messages were a bit slow in coming through, but you can't really complain since it's free.
Txt Drop – Txtdrop.com is awesome, in that not only can you send free text messages to anybody in the US, but you can also download widgets for Windows and Mac computers which enable you to send free text messages straight from your desktop!
Yahoo Messenger India – India is a booming market and Yahoo is doing its best to try and snag as much of it as possible. Therefore, their Indian version of Yahoo Messenger offers an awesome array of countries that you can text for absolutely free. For no cost whatsoever, you can message people in Argentina (Telecom Personal), Australia (Vodafone, Telstra, Orange), Bolivia (Entel Movil), Canada (Rogers), Hong Kong (Hutchison), Indonasia (Telkomsel, Excelcom), Kuwait (Wataniya), Malaysia (Tmtouch, Maxis), Philippines (Smart, Globe Telecom), Singapore (M1, Starhub), Thailand (Dtac, AIS Thailand), and the United States (AT&T, Cingular, Verizon, T-Mobile). The program itself is in English and it's no different than the one you'd download from the English version of Yahoo, other than the fact that with this one you can send a ton of free text messages around the globe!
So there you have it! Those are some of the best free text messaging websites I found on the net. No matter where you or your friends are in the world, hopefully you'll be able to stay in touch with nothing more than a couple of cell phones and a few of the websites from this list.