4 ways we learned we are building the right thing


Setting up a virtual pbx with Twilio, OpenVBX and PHP Fog

by Colin Nederkoorn

We’ve been reading that adding a phone number increases conversions. When people sign up and pay us, we give them our cell phone numbers. But, we wanted to have a way for people to get in touch with us pre-sales for us to answer any questions.

If you’re looking for the easiest option, you can exit here and go to Grasshopper.

We like experimenting with software (a lot). So we built our own Virtual PBX. It was insanely easy thanks to a few great tools:

Here’s how you can do it too:

Create a shared cloud app on PHP Fog

This is the free tier. It’s just two of us, and it seems to be working great after a day. Your mileage may vary. They have a slick interface for setting up new apps.

PHP Fog admin

You can clone the repo that gets created and drop OpenVBX in there.

Download OpenVBX

Check it out on github, or download from the site.

One thing we needed to do is remove the config.php from OpenVBX/config/.gitignore. Because the deploy process for phpfog uses git, you can’t ignore the config file.

Copy the OpenVBX files into the directory containing your cloned PHPFog app repo.

a simple git push should deploy the app.

Set up your Twilio account

You’ll need a Twilio account and the Account SID and Auth Token to get set up with OpenVBX.

You may also want to get your 800 number at this point. It’s only $2 a month.

800 number on twilio

Connect everything together

Follow the instructions on OpenVBX and put in your database info from PHP Fog, and your Twilio info.

Then, the cool stuff happens.

You can set up a flow for what should happen when people call your number.

Here’s ours:

Inbound call flow

We’re looking forward to hacking around and seeing what magic we can make our phone system do - including using Customer.io to trigger phone calls and text messages.

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