In a world where text messages are a major part of life, it might seem impossible that a message is unable to be delivered. SMS broadcasting is one of the most effective forms of marketing available and finding out that messages aren’t going through can be stressful. However, several reasons might come into play if you’re questioning “Why aren’t my messages delivering?”

A man in a black sweater next to a window looking down at his blue cellphone sad because his text messages arent getting delivered.

If you’re having issues with message undeliverable text, keep reading to find out 15 reasons this may be occurring and what you can do about it.

1. The Message Was Sent to the Wrong Number Type

Messaging can be person to person (P2P) or application to person (A2P) and for businesses, the most common choice is A2P. You need to use the right kind of number to ensure messages get through. SMS short codes, toll-free, and some local numbers ( SMS long codes ) can be used for sending through large numbers of messages.

If you are using a number that isn’t appropriate, such as a local number that isn’t sanctioned, and send out thousands of messages, many carriers will block them and lead to a text sent but not delivered message.

2. The Person Receiving the Message Has Opted Out

Best practices of the CTIA are guidelines that businesses need to adhere to when it comes to text messages. This includes giving anyone who gets messages from you the option to opt out at any time without stress.

If you are sending out text messages to someone who has opted out, these messages will not be delivered to them.

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3. Too Many Messages Are Being Sent Out

Additional guidelines exist around the number of messages you can send using the number you have. If you have a phone number designated for P2P messages, which includes most local numbers, the restriction is often one message per second. This provides a good balance of sending and receiving texts for people but may not be ideal for businesses.

If you use this sort of number to send out mass texts, it can lead to your messages being blocked. It’s important to use the right number if you are sending out many messages to people.

4. Network Issues Prevented the Message Being Delivered

In some cases, the carrier fumbles the ball, and the message is stuck in limbo. This could be due to congestion, network issues, or some other problem. There’s not much you can do in this situation. It happens on occasion and will either be delivered later or not.

5. Illicit Content Was Included in the Message

Any messages that have references to drugs, adult content, or criminal activities are a sure way to get your messages blocked. Avoid sending these messages to prevent having a text message sent but not delivered.

6. The Carrier Has Determined the Message is Spam

Whether you send spam or not, the carrier may think you do. Something about the way it was sent or worded got the mail caught up in filters. Many carriers are similar in this situation, but each has its own guidelines. Check the rules to avoid spam filters.

7. Links Were Included in the Message

If you’re wondering “why isn’t my message delivering” and it included a link, there’s the problem. Adding any kind of link may lead to being blocked. In most cases, a longer link is better than a shorter one for avoiding this issue. Add relevant text to have even less chance of problems.

8. The Number the Message Was Sent to Couldn’t Receive It

Landlines can’t get texts so sending to them will get you nowhere. Home phones haven’t added that technology to this point. If you send any text to those numbers, it isn’t going to be delivered.

9. A Shortened URL Sent in the Message Was Considered Risky

Links are tricky, especially when short. Some shorteners like goo.gl and bit.ly can get your messages blocked. If the shortener is associated with spam, likely, it won’t make it through to customers.

10. Complaints Were Sent About the Message Type to the Carrier

Even when you do everything right, someone can complain about your messages. This may happen if they forgot they signed up, don’t want to be signed up anymore, or for various other reasons. When complaints are made, your texts may stop being delivered.

11. Several SMS Apps Are Being Used

When a phone has several apps for SMS, it can get confusing. Texts may not end up delivered to any of the applications and you’ll be left wondering why would a message not be delivered? This is an issue that can only be handled by the recipient so there’s not much you can do on your side.

12. SMS Messages May Be Deactivated on the Phone

A lot of smartphones have messaging come through on another application. This can lead to turning off SMS notifications even if the recipient isn’t aware of it. With multiple apps, the message may not make it properly to any of them and lead to it never being delivered.

13. The Number Is Included on the Do Not Disturb List

Depending on location, some owners can mark themselves unavailable for A2P messages. This can be a problem when you send out important information like order updates or delivery information. The best way to handle this is by reminding customers to add you to their allowed list.

14. Local Regulations May Restrict Messages

Some local restrictions can prevent SMS messages as a way to avoid spam. For example, these messages may only be available during certain hours on weekdays. In this case, the solution to “why aren’t my messages delivering” is to send them at the appropriate times.

15. The Person’s Phone is Turned Off

When an SMS message isn’t delivered the first time, it resends until the phone is available. If the time passes a certain threshold, the carrier may stop trying to send the message. A failed message means you can try to resend to begin the process over again.

If you’re constantly wondering why aren’t my messages delivering, many things could be causing the issue. Think about which of the above problems might be in place and then find a solution that meets your needs. Try our programmable SMS API ( SMS Notify! API ) to easily connect with customers around the world.