Using Notify

Trial mode

When you create a GOV.UK Notify account, you’ll start in trial mode. This lets you try out the service, but has some restrictions in place.

You can remove these restrictions by going live.

Restrictions in trial mode

In trial mode, you can:

  • send up to 50 text messages and emails per day
  • send messages to yourself and other people in your team
  • draft letters (but not send them)

Sending messages

When you send a message, it moves through different states in Notify.

A picture of the sending flow of messages in Notify, showing the three states of Sending, Delivered, And Failed. Also shows the next
             steps when messages fail, deleting data and trying a new channel for permanent failures, and trying again or trying a new channel for
             temporary failures

Message statuses – emails and text messages


GOV.UK Notify has sent the message to the provider. The provider will try to deliver the message to the recipient. GOV.UK Notify is waiting for delivery information.

Sent internationally (text messages only)

The message was sent to an international number. The mobile networks in some countries do not provide any more delivery information.


The message was successfully delivered.

Notify will not tell you if a user has opened or read a message.

Phone number or email address does not exist

The provider could not deliver the message because the email address or phone number was wrong.

You should remove these email addresses or phone numbers from your database.

You’ll still be charged for text messages to numbers that do not exist.

Inbox/phone not accepting messages right now

The provider could not deliver the message after trying for 72 hours.

This can happen when the recipient’s inbox is full or their phone is off.

You can try to send the message again.

You’ll still be charged for text messages to phones that are not accepting messages.

Technical failure

Your message was not sent because there was a problem between Notify and the provider.

You’ll have to try sending your messages again.

You will not be charged for text messages that are affected by a technical failure.

Message statuses – letters


GOV.UK Notify has sent the letter to the provider to be printed.


Sending cancelled. Your letter will not be printed or dispatched.

Technical failure

GOV.UK Notify had an unexpected error while sending to our printing provider.

Read our documentation for a detailed list of API statuses.

Receiving messages

Email replies

You can choose an email address you want replies to go to.

Text messages

You can contact us if you want to be able to receive text messages.

When you’ve done this, users will be able to reply to text messages you send them. They’ll also be able to start an interaction by sending you a text message.

You’ll be able to see and reply to text messages you receive. You can also create automated processes to manage replies.

You’ll still need to have a manual process in place for any messages that can’t be dealt with automatically.

Multiple services in one organisation

If your organisation offers multiple services, you can have a different Notify account for each of them.

Each service:

  • gets its own free message allowance
  • has to request to go live separately


Letters can be up to 10 pages long (5 sides of paper, double-sided).

Notify sends letters in C5 size envelopes, with a window.