6 Ways to Send Free Online Text Messages

A free texting app lets you send real texts to any cellphone or smartphone

Close-up of three girls' hands using smartphones

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Lots of free messaging apps let you send text messages to others. Unfortunately, most of them only work if the other person also has that same app.

For example, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are very popular messaging services, but they can send free online texts only if the recipient has the app, too. For instance, those apps can't send a free text to an older basic cellphone that doesn't run modern apps.

Another way to send free texts is to use an app or web service that sends real text messages. When you message someone's phone, they'll receive it as an SMS. This is perfect if you need to text from your computer or send texts from a tablet, phone, or iPod that doesn't have a phone plan.

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TextNow: Unlimited Free Texting App

TextNow is one of the best free text messaging apps. It lets you send an unlimited number of texts per month, regular texts as well as pictures. Because this app gives you a true second phone number, you can text any phone and the recipient can text you back.

One thing that sets this free text messaging app apart from the rest is that you can use it from your phone and your computer.

What We Like
  • Unlimited free texting

  • Lets you set up custom texting sounds

  • Connects to your contacts for seamless integration into your phone

  • You choose the area code for your second number

  • Supports free phone calls

  • Runs on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS

What We Don't Like
  • Shows ads

  • You'll lose your number if you're inactive for too long

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FreedomPop: Send Free Online Texts to Any Mobile Phone

FreedomPop is much like TextNow in that you can text real phones for free using nothing but your data plan or Wi-Fi. When you use FreedomPop, you get a second number that works just like a real one, supporting not only texts but also calls.

What We Like
  • Really easy to use

  • You can pick a number from the U.S., U.K., or Spain

  • Runs on both Android and iOS

What We Don't Like
  • You're limited to 500 texts per month when texting nonusers

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Email: Send a Free Text Right From Your Email Account

You can also text for free from Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, and other email providers. The way it works is that you send an email to the recipient's phone number. The only downside to this method of free texting is that you have to know the person's cell phone provider.

For example, if you know that your friend uses Verizon Wireless, then you can text for free from your email by sending the message to 5555555555@vtext.com. Just put their number in the To box and instead of adding a regular email domain at the end, put @vtext.com.

A different domain is required for other carriers. You can see which carrier your friend uses and how to address the email by looking up their phone number on Free Carrier Lookup.

What We Like
  • You don't need a special app; it works from any email client

  • Sending the free text is as easy as sending an email

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work for all carriers

  • A different email domain is needed for multimedia messages

  • You have to know the person's cell phone provider

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Google Voice: Text Free From Your Google Account

Google Voice lets users get a free, virtual phone number. With it, you can send texts to any phone that accepts text messages, and you can do it from your computer or your phone/tablet.

Google Hangouts is closely related to Google Voice, so you can also start video and audio calls with other users from your phone or computer. All your Google Voice text messages can be read from your Google Voice account or your Google Hangouts account.

What We Like
  • Works with existing Google accounts

  • You can send a free text from your computer

  • Free online texts can be sent to any texting-enabled phone

What We Don't Like
  • Senders need a Google account

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Textfree Web: The Fastest Way to Text From Your Computer

Textfree Web lets you pick a number from any of the supported area codes, and within a minute, you can start firing away free text messages from your computer.

This free texting service supports sending texts, images, and a number of built-in emoji.

What We Like
  • Quick sign-up process

  • Lets you pick your number

  • Syncs with Google Contacts

  • Supports group texting

  • Lets you sign up for email notifications for new texts

  • Also works on Android and iOS (calls are supported in the mobile app)

What We Don't Like
  • Number will expire if you don't use your account for 30 days

  • Includes ads

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Globfone: Send Free Texts Anonymously and Without Logging In

Globfone is a web service that lets you send free text messages to any mobile phone in a variety of countries. Just visit the site, choose the country where the phone resides, enter the number, and send it off.

What We Like
  • You can send a free online text without making a user account

  • Texts are anonymous (your name isn't tied to them)

  • Supports sending free texts to lots of different countries

  • You can monitor the status of the message to ensure it gets delivered

  • Also supports free calling

What We Don't Like
  • Sending texts is much slower than with other free texting services

  • Recipients cannot text you back

  • Every text is sent with "/ globfone.com" at the end

  • Limits the number of texts you can send within every 24-hour period