Temporary phone numbers - Roasted.email

Last week I launched roasted.email. Read more about it here.

Check out the service in https://roasted.email

A friend suggested me I should also implement temporary phone numbers. I was already familiar with Twilio so I knew that was totally fine. One thing kinda stopped me there in the tracks which was the cost to buy a phone number. It depends on the country and Portuguese numbers go for $15/month which is quite a bit for a personal project. So I changed the approach :)

Most of us have old Android phones stored in a drawer somewhere. And so do I! I had an idea of when the android phone receives an SMS, it could send it to the roasted.email server. I had to look for a very cheap pre-paid SIM card (which only has maintenance fees for about €1/month) and make it available for everyone.

Cool diagram of the general process of receiving SMS

By using a very cool Android app called Tasker I could automate the SMS process. Every time the phone receives an SMS, Tasker gets notified and runs a task which is basically a HTTP POST to an endpoint available on Roasted.email server. From that point onwards, it's just Ruby on Rails.

Since the project is opensource, the webhook endpoints are protected in different ways, by token, IP and signature validations. I also implemented a Twilio endpoint and bought a US phone number just for the sake of having two different numbers to offer. Since a US number is very cheap @ $1/month, there is no problem offering it for now.

And that's it! Feel free to use the service: https://roasted.email/phones

Tasker HTTP post