Do you need a second number for texting and/or calling? Or do you need a way to call and text landline numbers while only using Wifi, without an active mobile phone plan?
TextNow is one of the most popular texting apps that allows you to text and call real numbers over the internet, using a unique internet-based number.
You don’t need an active mobile plan to use TextNow; just sign up with your email address or Facebook account, and you will get your very own number.
TextNow is not like Whatsapp, which requires an existing mobile number and only allows you to call other Whatsapp numbers.
With TextNow, you can call any number, and you can text any mobile phone number. Your text will appear as a regular text on the other person’s phone.
However, TextNow is not perfect. For example, one of the disadvantages of TextNow is that if you don’t use TextNow for a certain amount of time, they will take your number away from you and assign it to someone else.
Also, TextNow has ads. That’s how it can provide a free service, but there are other options out there that don’t have as many ads.
Today, I will go over the 10 best TextNow alternatives for calling and texting over the internet for free. Let us get into it.
Best TextNow Alternatives
1. Google Voice
Google Voice is, without a doubt, my top recommendation if you need a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone number for personal or business use.
VoIP is just a fancy way of saying that the phone number is internet-based and that calls and texts are sent over an internet connection.
Google Voice is free to use, and the number will be linked to your Gmail account.
You can have a new Google Voice number for every Google account you open.
The best part about Google Voice is that it has its own website, not just an app.
The app allows you to make and receive calls on your phone, but you can also do that on a desktop by going to voice.google.com.
Not only can you make outgoing calls from the desktop site or app, but you can also receive calls and texts.
Also, voicemails are automatically transcribed, so you can read voicemails instead of listening to them. However, I’ve found that transcriptions are not always accurate, depending on how clear the caller was talking.
Google Voice, like TextNow, gives you options when it comes to choosing your area code. Also, like TextNow, it is free to make domestic calls.
However, if you want to make an international call to a number in Europe or elsewhere, you may need to top up your account balance.
You can top up $10 at a time or more.
Unlike TextNow, the Google Voice app doesn’t have ads. While TextNow lets you pay to remove ads, Google Voice has no ads in the first place.
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Another cool feature of Google Voice is that if you do have a mobile plan, you can link your real number to your Google Voice number.
When people call your Google Voice number, you can have it rerouted to your mobile phone number and answer it from your phone – even if you don’t have an active internet connection.
Why would you want to do that? One reason is that when you have it routed to your mobile number, calls will be made over your mobile phone connection, not over the internet.
The call quality of calls made over the internet will only be as good as your internet connection.
Two common problems I have when making calls over the internet are dropped calls and lack of call clarity, which can be a big problem if you need to make an important business call.
In addition, if you are on the go, using an internet connection will use up your mobile data, which will cost you money if you don’t have an unlimited data plan.
You get to decide which linked phone numbers will ring when someone calls your Google Voice number. You can also choose which devices you want your Google Voice account to ring on when someone contacts you.
However, as I said before, this is optional, and you don’t need to link a mobile phone number to use Google Voice.
Google Voice also lets you port existing numbers to Google Voice.
In addition to the Google Voice app, there are the Hangouts and Hangouts Dialer apps, which are linked to your Google Voice number. You can install them both to make calls from your mobile device via Wifi.
While Google Voice is free, you can also sign up for a premium Business plan.
You can add more users and integrate with business tools like Google Meet and Google Calendar.
2. TextPlus (Text+)
TextPlus, or Text+, is a great TextNow alternative that I have personally used. Many people I know also use it.
Sign up with just a username. You don’t need to add an email address, but I would recommend doing so if you want to be able to recover your account in case you forget your password or username.
TextPlus has ads, just like TextNow. However, I really liked how you can remove ads for a day for only $0.05.
Yes, that’s five cents! This is not a recurring subscription, so if there are days when you don’t need to use your TextPlus number, you don’t have to pay; on the day you do need to use it, just spend those five cents to remove ads.
If you want to remove ads for an entire week, it will cost only $0.25. If you want to remove ads for a whole month, it will cost just $0.99/month.
And, if you want to keep your number for an entire month, even without using it, it will cost only $0.10!
You have to renew that every month manually, but it still comes out to only $1.20/year. That’s why I love TextPlus – it really makes it cheap to keep the same number and remove ads.
You can also earn credits for free by completing the offers on the offer wall or watching videos.
TextMe is another terrific alternative to TextNow. It has over 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store, so it must be quite popular.
TextMe Is also available on the iOS App Store and the Amazon App Store.
To get started, sign up with your email or Facebook account. The downside of TextMe is that it has ads, just like TextNow, and those ads can get annoying after a while.
However, I found the interface easy to use. In addition, you can remove the ads by upgrading your account; the price for that will vary by country.
Also, it lets you have multiple numbers at once, making it a great TextNow alternative for that purpose.
In addition to removing ads, upgrading your account will allow you to set up call forwarding so that incoming calls get routed to your mobile number, just like Google Voice does.
You can also buy credit packs. The more credits you buy at a time, the cheaper it will be, and those credits will allow you to make international calls.
Remember that domestic calls (calls from a US number to a US number) are free to make. Texting is free as well.
In addition to paying for credits, you can get credits for free by completing actions. For example, you can complete an offer to earn between 5 to 100 credits, or you can watch a short video ad to acquire one or two credits.
I really liked how TextMe gives you a list of places where you can get an area code from. For example, there were almost 30 California area codes to choose from!
You don’t need to get a US phone number either. TextMe is an excellent alternative to TextNow if you need an international number.
You might want an international number if you will be making a lot of international calls. For example, if you will be calling people in Australia, you might want an Australian number.
Here are the country phone numbers currently available on TextMe:
- USA (+1)
- Canada (+1)
- United Kingdom (+44)
- Australia (+61)
- Austria (+43)
- Belgium (+32)
- Colombia (+57)
- Czech Republic (+420)
- France (+33)
- Malaysia (+60)
- Mauritius (+230)
- Netherlands (+31)
- Poland (+48)
- Sweden (+46)
However, while all numbers let you send SMS messages and make calls, only USA and Canadian (+1) numbers let you send MMS messages in your texts.
I do want to mention that the international numbers are not free. Prices vary based on how long you want to keep your number.
You can pay for only three months, for example, if you will not need the international number longer than that. You can also sign up for a monthly subscription that recurs automatically so that you never lose your number.
A lot of TextNow alternatives seem to have the word “text” in them! When signing up to TextFree, the app will let you enter an area code; if the area code you want is not available, it will suggest nearby area codes that do have numbers available.
I noticed, however, that some of the area codes that had numbers available on TextNow did not have any available on TextFree. However, this may not always be the case.
To sign up for a TextFree account, you will need to use your email address to create an account. As of now, there is no signup option through Facebook, unfortunately.
While TextFree numbers are free forever, you must use them at least once every 30 days to keep them. Otherwise, your number will be reassigned automatically after 30 days of inactivity.
Nevertheless, you can keep your number forever by signing up for a $4.99 premium plan. If you do this, you will never lose your number, even if you go for a long time without using it.
I really liked the Textfree interface. I found it much easier to use than both TextNow and TextMe.
It has a lot of ads, just like TextNow, but they seemed less in your face.
However, when you sign up, you will only get 60 minutes of calling for free. After that, you can continue to send texts but will need to buy more minutes to make calls.
There are several plans available; I was able to buy 100 minutes for just $1.99. If you will be using TextFree over the long run, you can save money by buying 1,000 minutes for $18.99.
You can also get minutes for free by watching video ads and completing offers.
There are some other cool setting options. For example, you can change your ringtone, manage your greetings, opt to forward all calls to voicemail, and auto-reply to calls.
5. 2nd Line
I liked 2nd Line because it lets you enter any three-digit area code when setting up your account. For example, when I chose 715, I was given 10 different 715 area code numbers to choose from.
Bear in mind that 2nd Line is only available for Android phones.
2nd Line costs $9.99/month, but I recommend opting for the free trial when signing up so you can get a feel for the app before paying anything.
With your second number, you can set up a voicemail inbox or an auto-reply message. You can also set up call forwarding so that calls are sent to your main line.
I like 2nd Line as an alternative to TextNow because you can record your calls. You may want to have a record of a phone call for later, or perhaps you want to record a phone call with your tutor so you can replay the lesson afterward.
Regardless of your reasoning, being able to record your calls is a big plus. However, make sure you are not violating any laws.
In some states and countries, you are legally allowed to record a phone conversation without the other party knowing. In other areas, you are not allowed to do that.
6. AbTalk Call
AbTalk Call is an excellent TextNow alternative for Android users. Like the previous apps on this list, you won’t need a SIM card to get a number from AbTalk.
I really liked how you can get a bonus of 1,000 points for just signing up with Google or Facebook. You can still sign up with your email address, but you will earn fewer bonus points.
Another reason to use AbTalk instead of TextNow is its built-in VPN! Using a VPN while making your phone calls and browsing the internet will help you stay safe and keep your information private.
You don’t have to use the VPN, but the option is there, and it is free. You will even get bonus points for using the VPN.
You will also get credits for inviting friends. You will earn 200 points for each referral, with bonus credits of 100-1,500 points when you have referred a certain number of friends.
You can earn up to 700 points a day by just checking in.
Points are also available for purchase, and they are cheap. You can get 16,000 points for just $0.99, and 60,000 points for only $3.99.
So, what can you do with the points? You can make international calls.
Calling rates are listed on the app. Calling a number in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for example, costs only 330 points (I believe that is per minute).
You might be thinking, “Wait, what? Isn’t GoDaddy a domain registrar company?”
Yes, but while GoDaddy is mostly known for its domain names and hosting plans, it does have a service called SmartLine.
SmartLine is a VoIP service targeted towards website and business owners. For example, if you own a small blog or eCommerce store and it is a one-man team, you might want to give your readers/customers/email subscribers a way to call you without giving away your real, personal number.
In that case, you can use SmartLine. SmartLine uses call forwarding to forward calls to your personal number; however, you will be able to see that a call coming through is coming from SmartLine, so if you are with the family and not in the mood of answering a business call, you won’t have to.
Call forwarding allows you to make important business calls with clarity.
You can even port your existing phone number to SmartLine.
When you make a call or send a text, the number that will show up on the other end will be the SmartLine number, not your personal number.
SmartLine is free for seven days. After that, it costs $9.99/month.
However, SmartLine also lets you get a toll-free number! This is a service that is not offered by TextNow and most of the other phone apps, which are targeted towards casual users, not business owners.
A toll-free number will cost more – $19.99/month. However, it will allow people to call you for free, without paying for the calls on their end.
A toll-free number also makes you look more professional and authoritative.
SmartLine has both an Android and an iOS app. The app and phone service comes with some cool features, like automatic spam call filtering and voicemail transcriptions.
All in all, GoDaddy SmartLine is an excellent alternative to TextNow if you need a second number of business purposes.
Hushed is a TextNow alternative with a focus on privacy. The goal here is not to keep your Hushed number forever but to use numbers for Craigslist ads, on dating sites, and for other purposes, with the ability to “burn” your number later.
Hushed allows you to pick from over 300 area codes in the USA, Canada, and the UK. You can sign up for various prepaid plans for seven days, 30 days, 90 days, or 365 days.
US/Canada numbers can call/text other US/Canada numbers, while UK numbers can call/text other UK numbers. However, you can also purchase a worldwide plan for international calling and texting.
Another reason to choose Hushed over TextNow? It integrates with Slack and Dropbox.
You can backup your message history and your voicemails to your Dropbox account so you can access them later, even if you delete the Hushed app. You can also send and reply to messages via Slack.
9. Numero eSIM
Numero eSIM lets you get a number from over 70 countries! If you’ve tried to use TextNow to get a number in a specific country only to find it was unavailable, Numero eSIM might be the right solution.
Also, over 3,000 area codes are available.
Not all numbers will be free, but you can get free credits.
You can set up call forwarding so you can answer calls even when you don’t have an internet connection, and you can even make your number anonymous. That way, when you call people, your Numero eSIM phone number won’t show up on the screen.
Numero eSIM also lets you get an international toll free number for business purposes.
However, one of the downsides of Numero eSIM is that you do need an existing phone number to sign up. You can’t just use your email or a Facebook account.
Rebtel is an excellent TextNow alternative if you need to make international calls for cheap. You can call over 50 countries, including landline phone numbers.
You can also place calls using your mobile phone plan so that you don’t have to use the internet.
Rates are affordable, and you can pay as you go. If you just need to make one phone call, for example, you can pay less money.
Rebtel will give you $5 of calling credit for every friend you refer who makes a purchase.
Wrapping It Up: What Is The Best TextNow Alternative?
I believe the best TextNow alternative is Google Voice, especially for business purposes as well as personal purposes, such as calling friends and family.
However, I also recommend TextPlus, especially if you are having trouble making calls from the Google Voice app, as can sometimes happen. TextPlus has ads, but it is cheap to remove those ads, and it is also really cheap to keep your number even if you are not actively using it.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.