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Amazon SNS vs Twilio

This Amazon SNS vs Twilio comparison was created based on reviews from developers and our best attempts to perform analysis by looking at documentation and other publicly available resources.

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Amazon SNS

Twilio

Getting started and developer experience

Time to "hello world"

Reviewed by 3+ independent developers

Ratings were given based on the average amount of time it takes to sign up to a new account and publish the first message.

4 / 5

5 = <30 min
4 = 30 min - 1 h
3 = 1-2 h
2 = 2-4 h
1 = 4+ h

View code example
4 / 5

5 = <30 min
4 = 30 min - 1 h
3 = 1-2 h
2 = 2-4 h
1 = 4+ h

View code example

Demos / Tutorials

A selection of online demos and tutorials so you can test and see the code in action.

Explore Ably's tutorials for our pub/sub messaging platform

Documentation

Reviewed by 3+ independent developers

Explore Ably's documentation for our pub/sub messaging platform
4 / 5

Getting started guides4 / 5

Information architecture and developer journey4 / 5

API reference documentation4 / 5

Readability, design and navigation5 / 5

Quality of code5 / 5

Breadth and quality of tutorials2 / 5

"The Amazon documentation is comprehensive and, unlike many other products, clearly states what you can use Amazon SNS for. Several pages are dedicated to explaining in detail how FIFO topics (which provide superior quality of service) work. Overall, the developer guide might not deserve its name since it’s mostly a product guide. Its primary focus is on explaining things conceptually and performing operations in the AWS console. There’s a limited number of code snippets embedded in the dev guide, and only in a couple of languages. Fortunately, the API documentation is very detailed, although it’s inconsistently presented across languages, and you won’t always find code snippets in your language of choice. The official tutorials are poor, only cover some basics, and focus almost entirely on the AWS console."

4.83 / 5

Getting started guides5 / 5

Information architecture and developer journey4 / 5

API reference documentation5 / 5

Readability, design and navigation5 / 5

Quality of code5 / 5

Breadth and quality of tutorials5 / 5

The documentation is quite comprehensive and well detailed, with easy access to code samples while you read through it.  There are quickstart tutorials for all the products using different SDKs. However, I feel some developers may get lost while trying to find references or while trying to navigate the various pages, especially around the API reference.

Dashboard or dev console

Reviewed by 3+ independent developers

Sign up for free and explore Ably's pub/sub messaging platform
4 / 5

Ease of use3 / 5

Stats and reports4 / 5

Functionality5 / 5

"Getting started with the SNS console as a new user can be a confusing and slightly painful experience (unless you look at the documentation in parallel). That’s because the website itself is clunky and not very easy to navigate. On the other hand, the console allows you to configure your pipeline down to the smallest details, so it’s hard to wrap up all the existing features in an easy to use package. The reporting available is good, but there’s always room for improvement. Analytics on message origin would be beneficial."

4.33 / 5

Ease of use4 / 5

Stats and reports4 / 5

Functionality5 / 5

The dev console allows you to manage and configure all things Twilio. This includes SMS, Chat, Notify, Sync, Voice, Video, etc. The stats and reports gives its users a general overview of what goes on with their account. This includes API accessed, cost, exact time of access. Besides the general overview, I like the fact that every product has its page where users can view a better breakdown of the activities. I also like that activities are being viewed in monthly ranges. This means you get a detailed report for activities in a month. This way, the report isn’t clumsy or cumbersome.

SDKs

Note: Only official SDKs were taken into account.

Explore Ably's 25+ SDKs for our pub/sub messaging platform

9 SDKs

Including:

  • Ruby

  • .NET

  • JavaScript

6 SDKs

Including:

  • C#

  • Java

  • Node.js

API structure

Reviewed by 3+ independent developers

3.75 / 5

API consistency across SDKs4 / 5

Well structured4 / 5

Intuitive4 / 5

Simple3 / 5

"The API has a good naming convention, which makes it intuitive. Syntactically, the API structure is mostly uniform across different programming languages. The extensive API reference is an invaluable resource for getting started with Amazon SNS. It’s not the most straightforward service to use - for example, the opt-in process for e-mail and SMS notifications is cumbersome, and there aren’t enough debugging options."

5 / 5

API consistency across SDKs5 / 5

Well structured5 / 5

Intuitive5 / 5

Simple5 / 5

The Twilio API is well structured, intuitive, and consistent across all SDKs. The methods are also easy to understand.  The documentation provides different pages for each programming language and platforms, making it easy to set up on the backend server for production use with different platforms.

Amazon SNS

Twilio

"Hello world" code example
//PUBLISH MESSAGE
// Load the AWS SDK for Node.js
var AWS = require('aws-sdk');
// Set region
AWS.config.update({region: 'REGION'});

// Create promise and SNS service object
var createTopicPromise = new AWS.SNS({apiVersion: '2010-03-31'}).createTopic({Name: "TOPIC_NAME"}).promise();

// Handle promise's fulfilled/rejected states
createTopicPromise.then(
  function(data) {
    console.log("Topic ARN is " + data.TopicArn);
  }).catch(
    function(err) {
    console.error(err, err.stack);
  });

//SUBSCRIBE TO A TOPIC
// Load the AWS SDK for Node.js
var AWS = require('aws-sdk');
// Set region
AWS.config.update({region: 'REGION'});

// Create subscribe/email parameters
var params = {
  Protocol: 'EMAIL', /* required */
  TopicArn: 'TOPIC_ARN', /* required */
  Endpoint: 'EMAIL_ADDRESS'
};

// Create promise and SNS service object
var subscribePromise = new AWS.SNS({apiVersion: '2010-03-31'}).subscribe(params).promise();

// Handle promise's fulfilled/rejected states
subscribePromise.then(
  function(data) {
    console.log("Subscription ARN is " + data.SubscriptionArn);
  }).catch(
    function(err) {
    console.error(err, err.stack);
  });
// Obtain a JWT access token: https://www.twilio.com/docs/sync/identity-and-access-tokens
var token = '<your-access-token-here>';
var syncClient = new Twilio.Sync.Client(token);

// Open a Document by unique name and update its value
syncClient.document('MyDocument')
  .then(function(document) {
    // Listen to updates on the Document
    document.on('updated', function(event) {
      console.log('Received Document update event. New value:', event.value);
    });

    // Update the Document value
    var newValue = { temperature: 23 };
    return document.set(newValue);
  })
  .then(function(updateResult) {
    console.log('The Document was successfully updated', updateResult)
  })
  .catch(function(error) {
    console.error('Unexpected error', error)
  });

Amazon SNS

Twilio

Realtime features

Pub/Sub messaging

Pub/Sub is a design pattern that lets any number of publishers (producers) push messages to channels (also known as topics). Multiple subscribers (consumers) can subscribe to a channel to consume published messages.

Explore Ably's pub/sub messaging implementation

Message queues

A message queue is a form of asynchronous service-to-service communication. Messages are stored on a queue until they are processed. Note that each message is only consumed by one subscriber (consumer).

Explore Ably's message queues implementation

Limited

Amazon SNS integrates with Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) in order to offer traditional message queue functionality. However, Amazon SNS does not provide message queues by itself.

Presence

Presence enables you to track the online and offline status of devices and end-users in real time and to store their state. Essential for chat apps and multiplayer games.

Explore Ably's presence implementation

Message history

Message history provides a means to retrieve previously published messages. For this to be possible, message data must be stored (persisted) somewhere.

Explore Ably's message history implementation

Limited 

The maximum message retention duration is 13 months. In October 2020, this was one of three key changes Twilio made in the way it stores message records:

1. Message log history will only be available from the last 13 months via Twilio Console and the Messages API Resource. Messages logs older than 13 months will still be accessible via the Bulk Export API, or the Bulk Export Message Log Archives in Console.

2. All Media Objects (e.g. MMS and WhatsApp message file attachments - pictures, audio, etc.) from Messages older than 13 months will be permanently deleted.

3. Deleting a Message log will also automatically remove any Media objects associated with that message.

This applies to all Twilio products.

Connection state recovery (stream resume)

In the case of unreliable network conditions, clients may suddenly disconnect.Connection state recovery ensures that when they reconnect, the data stream resumes exactly where it left off.

Explore Ably' s connection state recovery implementation

N/A

Guaranteed message ordering

Ordering ensures that messages are delivered to consumers in the same order that producers publish them.

Explore Ably' s guaranteed message ordering implementation

Limited

Amazon SNS guarantees message ordering via FIFO topics. However, ordering is only guaranteed when sending messages to Amazon SQS FIFO queues.

Exactly-once semantics

Exactly-once is a system-wide data integrity guarantee that ensures each message is delivered to consumers exactly-once.

Explore Ably' s idempotent publishing implementation

Limited

Amazon SNS guarantees exactly-once semantics via FIFO topics. However, it only supports exactly-once when sending messages to Amazon SQS FIFO queues.

Message delta compression

Message delta compression enables you to only send the changes from the previous message to subscribers each time there’s an update, instead of the entire message. Useful for use cases where there is a significant degree of similarity between successive messages.

Explore Ably' s message delta compression implementation

Native push notifications

Native push notifications can be used to deliver messages even when clients are offline. Useful for geolocation updates or news alerts.

Explore Ably's push notifications implementation

Webhooks

Webhooks provide a mechanism to get messages and other types of events (such as clients entering or leaving channels) pushed to your servers over HTTP.

Explore Ably's webhooks implementation

Serverless functions

A serverless function is essentially an isolated, single-purpose piece of code that is only executed when it’ triggered by an event. For example, you can use serverless functions to send a welcome message to clients when they become present on chat channels.

Note that serverless functions are usually fully managed by cloud vendors.

Explore Ably's serverless functions implementation

Limited

Can only invoke AWS Lambda Functions. Amazon SNS does not support other serverless platforms, such as Azure Functions or Google Cloud Functions.

Built-in integrations

Which popular services & systems are Amazon SNS and Twilio integrated with?

Explore Ably's library of integrations

Webhooks

  • Custom
  • IFTTT
  • Zapier

Serverless functions

  • AWS Lambda
  • Cloudflare Workers
  • Google Cloud Functions
  • Microsoft Azure Functions

Streaming

  • Apache Kafka
  • Apache Pulsar
  • Amazon Kinesis
  • Amazon SQS
  • RabbitMQ
  • AMQP

Webhooks

  • Custom
  • IFTTT
  • Zapier

Serverless functions

  • AWS Lambda
  • Cloudflare Workers
  • Google Cloud Functions
  • Microsoft Azure Functions

Streaming

  • Apache Kafka
  • Apache Pulsar
  • Amazon Kinesis
  • Amazon SQS
  • RabbitMQ
  • AMQP

Known limits and constraints

Find out practical limits, such as the maximum message size, or the maximum number of concurrent connections.

Explore the practical limits of the Ably pub/sub messaging platform

Publisher throughput

Default quota of 20 SMS messages per second, and 10 email messages per second. 

Maximum message size

256 KB

Maximum number of topics

Default quota of 100.000 standard topics/account and 1.000 FIFO topics/account

Maximum number of subscriptions

Default quota of 12.500.000 subscriptions / standard topic and 100 subscriptions / FIFO topic

Publisher throughput 

Unknown

Maximum message size

Unknown

Maximum number of topics

Unknown

Maximum number of connections

Unknown

Supported development platforms, languages, open protocols and cloud models

Development platforms & operating systems

Which popular development platforms and operating systems do Amazon SNS and Twilio support via official SDKs?

Explore the development platforms supported by Ably
  • Android
  • Java / JVM
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • iPadOS
  • tvOS
  • watchOS
  • Mono
  • .NET
  • Android
  • Java / JVM
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • iPadOS
  • tvOS
  • watchOS
  • Mono
  • .NET

Languages

Which popular programming languages do Amazon SNS and Twilio support via offical SDKs?

Explore the programming languages supported by Ably
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
  • TypeScript
  • Java
  • Objective-C
  • Swift
  • Go
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Flutter
  • Clojure
  • Scala
  • JavaScript
  • Node.js
  • TypeScript
  • Java
  • Objective-C
  • Swift
  • Go
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Flutter
  • Clojure
  • Scala

Open protocols

Which popular open protocols do Amazon SNS and Twilio support?

Explore the open protocols supported by Ably
  • WebSocket
  • HTTP / REST
  • AMQP
  • MQTT
  • STOMP
  • SSE
  • Webhooks
  • WebSocket
  • HTTP / REST
  • AMQP
  • MQTT
  • STOMP
  • SSE
  • Webhooks

Cloud models

Which popular cloud models do Amazon SNS and Twilio support?

  • Self-hosted
  • Cloud-managed
  • Serverless
  • Globally-distributed
  • Self-hosted
  • Cloud-managed
  • Serverless
  • Globally-distributed
Global and reliable edge service

Edge messaging network with latency-based routing

Latency-based routing ensures that clients are always routed to the nearest datacenter and point of presence.

Explore Ably's routing mechanism that mitigates network and DNS issues

Multi-region data replication (message durability)

Multi-region data replication (storage) protects against single points of failure and ensures message data durability.

Learn how Ably ensures message durability

Uptime SLAs

Here’s what the most common SLAs amount to in terms of downtime over a calendar year:

99.999% SLA = 5m 15s downtime per year

99.99% SLA = 52m 35s downtime per year

99.95% SLA = 4h 22m 58s downtime per year

99.9% SLA = 8h 45m 56s downtime per year

99% SLA = 3d 15h 39m 29s downtime per year

Source: https://uptime.is/

99.9%

99.95% uptime

99.99% uptime for Twilio Services

99.99% uptime for SendGrid Services

Find out more about Twilio SLAs

Quality of Service

What QoS guarantees do Amazon SNS and Twilio provide natively?

Explore Ably's availability and uptime guarantees for our pub/sub messaging platform
  • Multi-region data replication (storage)
  • Exactly-once semantics
  • Guaranteed message ordering
  • Connection state recovery (stream resume)
  • Multi-region data replication (storage)
  • Exactly-once semantics
  • Guaranteed message ordering
  • Connection state recovery (stream resume)
Security

API key authentication

The simplest way to authenticate. Involves using private API keys that you can usually create and edit via a dashboard. Recommended to be used server-side, as private API keys shouldn’t be shared with untrusted parties.

Explore Ably's implementation of API key authentication

Token-based authentication

Which popular token-based authentication mechanisms do Amazon SNS and Twilio support?

Note that token-based authentication is usually the recommended strategy on the client-side as it provides more fine-grained access control and limits the risk of credentials being compromised.

Explore Ably's implementation of token-based authentication
  • Ephemeral tokens
  • JWTs
  • Ephemeral tokens
  • JWTs

Configurable rules and permissions

Which types of configurable rules and permissions do Amazon SNS and Twilio support?

Explore Ably's configurable rules and permissions
  • API keys rules and permissions
  • Operation rules and permissions
  • Admin rights
  • API keys rules and permissions
  • Operation rules and permissions
  • Admin rights

Message encryption

Which types of message encryption do Amazon SNS and Twilio support?

Explore Ably's message encryption mechanisms
  • Encrypted at rest
  • Encrypted in transit
  • Message payload encryption
  • Encrypted at rest
  • Encrypted in transit
  • Message payload encryption

Formal certifications

Which formal certifications are Amazon SNS and Twilio compliant with?

Explore Ably's security and compliance for our pub/sub messaging platform
  • SOC 2 TYPE I
  • SOC 2 Type II
  • HIPAA
  • ISO 27001
  • EU GDPR
  • SOC 2 TYPE I
  • SOC 2 Type II
  • HIPAA
  • ISO 27001
  • EU GDPR
Pricing & Support

Free package

What do the free packages offered by Amazon SNS and Twilio consist of?

Explore Ably's free package for our pub/sub messaging platform

Each month, Amazon SNS offers the following for free, but only for Standard topics: 

- 1 million requests per month

- 100 SMS notifications (sent to US phone numbers)

 -1.000 Email/JSON notifications

- 100.000 HTTP/s notifications  

Note: with the exception of SMS messages, each 64KB chunk of delivered data is billed as 1 delivery. For example, a single notification with a 256KB payload is billed as four deliveries.

Not bad 

On Twilio Sync, your first 200 endpoint-hours for each month are free:

“Endpoints are unique devices or browser tabs and are counted once for each wall-clock hour during which they interact with Sync. Each unique endpoint will incur charges of at most $0.01 per calendar day.”

Users also get free access to their first 10,000 actions each month:

“Actions are defined as incoming requests from your application that read and write data. Resulting webhooks, updates to connected endpoints, and storage are included in the cost of an action.”

Pricing model

How are the Amazon SNS and Twilio pricing models calculated?

Explore Ably's pricing model for our pub/sub messaging platform

Amazon SNS pricing is usage-based.

Standard topics

Once you deplete the free tier usage, the pricing is:

- $0.50 per million Amazon SNS requests 

- $0.50 per million mobile push notifications

- $2 per 100.000 email/JSON notifications

- $0.60 per million HTTP/s notifications

FIFO topics

Pricing is calculated based on the number of published messages, the number of subscribed messages, and payload data:

- publish requests are $0.30 per 1 million and $0.017 per GB of payload data

- subscription messages are $0.01 per 1 million and $0.001 per GB of payload data

Data transfer out of Amazon SNS is also charged. Pricing varies depending on the volume of data. For example, the first 1 GB per month is free, while the next 9.999 TB costs $0.09 per GB. 

Note that we have used US East (Ohio) as a reference point, but the pricing values differ across regions.

Pricing varies on what service you intend to use.

Specifically for Twilio Sync, the pay-as-you-go model is employed and pricing depends on the endpoint-hour. Here is the breakdown:

Accessing 201 and 12,000 endpoint-hours costs $0.00250/endpoint-hour

Once the 12,000 endpoint-hours threshold is crossed, users begin to pay a lesser amount. Between 12,001 and 72,000 users pay $0.00200/endpoint-hour

Find out more about Twilio Sync pricing

Enterprise package

What benefits do the Amazon SNS and Twilio enterprise packages offer?

Explore Ably's enterprise package for our pub/sub messaging platform

There is no Amazon SNS-specific enterprise package.

Twilio offers a Premium Support package.

Key benefits

  • Bulk Export

  • Single sign-on

  • Account Insights

  • Public Key Client Validation

Find out more about the Twilio enterprise package

Community

Reviewed by 3+ independent developers

Explore Ably's community support channel for our pub/sub messaging platform
4 / 5

Presence on multiple channels4 / 5

Size and activity4 / 5

“The global AWS community is present on a multitude of platforms, ranging from Stack Overflow and GitHub to Medium, Discourse, and even Reddit. Of course, the SNS community is significantly smaller in size, but objectively speaking, still pretty big. To be more specific, there seem to be a lot of people interested in the product. If you look at the AWS SNS forum, you can see that some of the threads have even 20.000 or 30.000 views. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of questions without an answer. You can find some cool stuff on GitHub, such as an extended client library for Java that enables you to publish messages bigger than 256 KB.“

4.50 / 5

Presence on multiple channels4 / 5

Size and activity5 / 5

Twilio has moderate online presence. I could not find an online presence on Slack, but I was able to find Twilio-related engagements on Discourse and Stackoverflow. There are other recognized channels like Twilio Developer Community, and Twilio on Dev.to, where Twilio organizes hackathons and where you can find tutorials. The community there is active and generates content like new projects, articles, and answers to questions. You are likely to get or find an answer to your question, regardless of how complex it is. Twilio repositories have over one thousand stars on GitHub.

Support

What types of support options and response times do Amazon SNS and Twilio offer?

Explore Ably's support options for our pub/sub messaging platform

General support options

Email, support ticket, phone, technical documentation, community support (e.g. forums or Stack Overflow). 

Enterprise support

Amazon offers an enterprise package, which includes 24/7 phone, email, and chat access to Cloud Support Engineers, Infrastructure Event Management support, and a designated technical account manager.

Response time

< 24 hours for general guidance queries

< 1 hour for Production system down incidents (only applies to Business & Enterprise support packages).

Twilio's support options include:

* Help Center

* 24/7 phone and email support (for premium customers).

Typically it takes about 1-3 hours to get support.

Disclaimer: The information presented for Amazon SNS was last updated on 30 November 2020 and on 28 February 2021 for Twilio. It is possible that some details may now be out of date. If you think that’s the case, please let us know so we can update them. In any case, you should not rely solely on the information presented here and must check with each provider before deciding to integrate or buy any of these two solutions.