PagerDuty Blog

No Hack Job, Just Simple Email to Text Alerts

Whether you’re a PagerDuty customer or discovering us for the first time, we’ve put together this post to highlight some of hacked workarounds that inspired us to create PagerDuty.


Many IT monitoring systems only send email alerts when a system fails. But if you’re away from your computer when a failure occurs, email won’t help you. You might not see the notification for several hours, resulting in an outage that lasts much longer than necessary.

Workarounds are available. Using SMS gateways you can hack a solution that will convert your email alerts to texts.  You can set up Gmail filters to get SMS alerts from specific email addresses, and you can even create a Google group with multiple phone numbers to alert your whole team.

These are some of the popular solutions. In theory, these email-to-text systems quickly send emails to your cell phone, so you can be immediately alerted when a failure occurs.

Grab the Advil, Email to Text Headaches

As promising as these solutions sound, they’re actually convoluted and sometimes catastrophic. Because different carriers require different SMS gateways, you will need to incorporate several gateways, each with its own API. This result is an unstable and inflexible mess. Even when the system is properly setup, gateways can be flaky. With so many steps along the way to your phone, emails may become delayed or get dropped.

With enough work, it’s possible to develop a fairly resilient system. To accomplish this, you will need to run each service inside an infrastructure that is more resilient than the gateway providers. You’ll also need to commit to frequent hands-on maintenance. Of course, even with the most resilient systems, you should be prepared to absorb significant operational costs to maintain these hacked solutions.

Thankfully, There is a Better Solution

PagerDuty provides a robust, customizable notification system that reliably alerts you by email and by SMS, as well several other communication methods.

PagerDuty employs a triply-redundant data center, which means we will always send you alerts reliably and on time. Our intelligent message routing system ensures that every notification will be delivered to you. If a gateway is having issues, the system automatically routes to another provider and safely delivers your alerts.


With PagerDuty, you can be contacted via a variety of methods, including email, SMS, phone, iOS push, and Android push. We can send SMS and phone alerts to over 170 countries. And each communication method can be customized to each of your team members’ preferences. No hacking or workarounds required.

Because PagerDuty’s on-call scheduling ensures that only the right person will be paged, your team can sleep easier knowing any incidents reported in your app will be addressed quickly by the person best suited for the job.

Try PagerDuty Free for 30 Days

Increase your options and reduce the risk of your hacked solutions failing, without any of the hassle. Sign up for a free 30 day trial of PagerDuty.

10/1/13 Update: Learn more about how PagerDuty gives you the power to send email to text alerts.