How to Build Your Own Virtual Phone in Minutes

Looks like you’ll need to whitelist calls to Madagascar. See:

I just received an email from Plivo saying that my account violates the Terms of Service.
I only have two numbers there that I used (since a month) as described in the article.
It worked really well so far (maybe around 20sms).

Does anyone else have issues with Plivo?
I asked what the problem was, but no answer yet.


Very strange. I’ve been using them for years with no issue. Curious to know what they tell you…

@wischi I use Zoiper for SIP calls and it works well enough (on Android).

Basically they just wanted a proof of address and of my business registration. Once I´ve sent that in, and they approved it, it was all sorted.
Strange tho that they didn´t ask for it at any point, just sent me an email with the title “Notice: Termination of Plivo account”.

All good now tho.

Thanks for posting this - you just solved my phone problem - next time I go to Denmark, I can set this up and save my clients a lot of grief! :+1:

1 Like

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the issues with using Plivo to receive SMS. Maybe it’s due to recent changes from after the author wrote this article, but basically it won’t work for SMS verification in many cases.

I set up a Plivo number and got the email forwarding working, but when I tried to add the number to my Paypal account it wouldn’t work.

I asked Plivo support and got this reply:

“We would like to inform you that receiving verification codes on virtual numbers from various websites like Google, Instagram, Twitter etc., are not guaranteed as they get blocked by the providers. We would recommend you to use a valid mobile sim card number for receiving verification codes.”

So, basically, it’s useless for SMS two-factor authentication, which is my main issue. Any other solutions out there?

1 Like

I have a problem merely signing up with Plivo with my valid e-mail address of my own business. Any suggestions?

Someone else had success signing up with a address. To get one (it’s free), go here:

thanks, actually all africa was blocked, i think it will work now

A solution - not to use 2FA.

Iv’e had a lot of issues wit 2FA and tried many different services. So far the only one that never failed me is Line2. A bit expensive but damn, reliability is 10 times worth it.


Line2 does not work for Danish numbers =(
Darn this world ain’t geared for fulltime travelers from all over the world!

Many chat apps (e.g. Signal) still require you to log in with a phone number, which is annoying when you rarely keep the same number for long. Of course you could travel with an extra phone

You only need the phone number as an identifier to register for Signal, not to login. Same for WhatsApp. I no longer have the original phone # I signed up with for these services, but have been logging in just fine for months. They never used SMS 2FA (perhaps because it’s a terrible security practice, and Signal developers certainly know better).

I changed all the geopermission blocks and I even try changing my final number in a thai and then an Australian number, but nothing happened, i tried to call the virtual number, but nothing… i don’t have anything in logs neither. All that happen is a mute call
I can’t really understand why
anybody can help me to fix it

For sms number used to receive code autentication i ve use this comp. Few usd/month.
They offer some numbers in dif countries. Sms code can be routed to your email in few seconds…
Be aware that this Does not work with ALL countries or all numbers + support is slow but …they could make it work for me after various chats…now it works steadly.
I never use it for voice call or to reroute call though.

Plivio often blocks an account right after signing up. And then asks stupid questions: who are you? why do you need an account? Proof me that you’re a good guy.

Also, they told me that only companies were allowed. Is that true?

You no longer your sim-card, right? What will you do if you buy a new smartphone? I want to see how you’ll be able to login to your Whatsapp account on your new smartphone if “phone number is only to register once, not to actually login”.

I need to retract that about WhatsApp - had to reactivate it on an old phone, and the PoS insisted on validating my phone number again.

Signal might pose the same problem - it’s a whole mess to move Signal from one phone to another.

IMO, any service that forces you to use a phone number should be avoided. Besides the obvious leak in privacy, SIM swap attacks are becoming more and more common.

If you are about BOTH security and convenience, use an encrypted chat service that you can log into using a simple username and password. That’s been working very well for 20+ years since the days of AOL. You can log in from multiple devices, and losing your phone won’t block your account like with WhatsApp or Signal.

Here’s a comparison of open-source secure messaging software. I’ve been using Wire and have been very happy with it. The call quality has been even better than that of Signal. I no longer recommend Signal (and never recommended WhatsApp, but everyone’s using it in LatAm).


Just wanted to say thank you for such a great article. It appears that Zapier have moved their Webhook application over onto their premium tier which makes this solution significantly more expensive (the premium tiers start at around USD$230 /year.

Do you have any recommendations on alternative options?