By Alok Saboo on June 26th, 2010
In a short span of 2 years, Twilio has introduced some very cool products. At its core, Twilio provides web-based APIs enabling businesses to build scalable communication applications using the cloud that can make and receive phone calls and text messages (SMS). Today we are going to talk about Twilio’s latest offering – OpenVBX.
What is OpenVBX?
OpenVBX is a web-based open source tool to create phone systems for enterprises. In some sense, OpenVBX is a front end for Twilio’s APIs. OpenVBX extends Twilio’s API by providing a user interface and other primitives like voicemail that build upon Twilio’s core API stack. OpenVBX comes with applets for auto-attendants, call forwarding, voicemails (with transcription), receiving text messages and more. The video provides the genesis behind OpenVBX.
We will talk more about the features and benefits of OpenVBX later. This post is intended to get you started with OpenVBX – to help you setup and configure OpenVBX.
How to setup and configure OpenVBX?
Installing OpenVBX is not a very difficult task. This section will walk you through the entire process with a detailed video tutorial. If you do not want to read the whole stuff, you can watch the following video which provides a step-by-step tutorial on installing OpenVBX on any host (instructions after the video).
1. Basic Requirements
You need a web server running MySQL 5+, PhP 5.2 and a Twilio Account. If you can run WordPress on your server, you should be able to run OpenVBX. I am using Hostgator, but pretty much any webhost should work.
2. Download the OpenVBX Code
You can download the latest OpenVBX code here. Save the code in a convenient location (e.g., Desktop)
3. Create an account on Twilio
Although open-source, OpenVBX is designed to work with Twilio and hence you would need to create a Twilio account. You also get trial credits of $30 to try the setup. You can use this credit to purchase a local number, make calls, send and receive text messages (SMS), etc.
4. Create and configure MySQL database
You need to create a separate database for OpenVBX. You can use any method to create a database – Wizard, SQL, etc. Also, assign a user and assign all the privileges to modify the database. Remember these details, you will need them in the final step.
5. Upload OpenVBX files to your Webhost
Next, we need to upload the OpenVBX files to our webhost. You can extract the files on your computer and upload them via FTP or upload the zip file to your host and extract there. Either approach is fine. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using the cPanel file manager to upload the files.
6. Start the installation
Just navigate to the URL of your OpenVBX installation. It should be something like
If your system meets the minimum requirements, you should see a dashboard with all Green color.
You can then just follow the prompts from that point. You will see the following prompts:
It is a fairly straight forward process. Watch the video for more details. If all goes well, you should see…
7. Testing your OpenVBX setup
After you have setup OpenVBX, you can test it out by navigating the same URL as in step 6 above and you should see a login prompt. Enter the login details that you created in step 6.5 and you should see your account page
Great, now you have a successfully set up OpenVBX installation. Play around to explore the options and features. We will talk about some of the features in a subsequent post. Remember, you have $30 in your account, feel free to spend them!!
You can customize your OpenVBX installation and even resell to your customers, making some money on your way. If you are looking for other ways to make money off VoIP, read our earlier guide on how to start your own international calling card business and how to become a VoIP reseller.
If you found this post useful, do not forget to spread the good word…