Send an SMS message with Twilio from a CloudWatch Alarm via SNS (through serverless Lambda)


GRRRR my app just blew up, a CloudWatch alarm triggered! I need the alert on my phone. In this example we will use Twilio to send an SMS message to my phone with the details. (Source code:

In this walk-through we are going to ingest a CloudWatch Alarm from an SNS publish. From the SNS message we will use serverless AWS Lambda to send an SMS message using Twilio.

CloudWatch Alarms

If you are hosting apps/projects in AWS you will eventually find a need for CloudWatch alarms. With all things software there are a lot of different ways to elevate an alert from CloudWatch to messaging services (eg Slack, SMS, etc). When a CloudWatch alarms triggers it produces a JSON payload with the alarm info baked in the payload. We will use that JSON payload and Twilio to push the info to a phone via SMS (or several numbers).


You will need a Twilio account for this example and you’ll need a Twilio SID and Auth Token. I use Twilio for all of my SMS/Voice needs to it’s a natural fit to have them send me the SMS message via one of my numbers.

Serverless (

I use the environment for nearly all of my serverless management. The system is incredibly good and there are a lot of developers in the ecosystem to help out.

I also build all of my serverless using Typescript thus you will see me use the template for Typescript.

I am going to call this sns-to-twilio-sms so we can start with the following command(s):

cd /projects
serverless create --path sns-to-twilio-sms --name sns-to-twilio-sms --template=aws-nodejs-typescript
cd sns-to-twilio-sms
npm install
npm i twilio

Note: not only do we create the serverless project but we also install the assets and add Twilio’s SDK into the project

serverless.yml file

First, adjust the serverless file to manage the SNS directly. Typically you’ll already have an SNS topic for your alert structure so you’ll want to include the ARN for the SNS topic directly.

  name: sns-to-twilio-sms

    webpackConfig: ./webpack.config.js
    includeModules: true

  - serverless-webpack

  name: aws
  region: us-west-2
  runtime: nodejs12.x
  profile: isn
    TWILIO_ACCOUNT_SID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    TWILIO_AUTH_TOKEN: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    handler: handler.send
      - sns: arn:aws:sns:us-west-2:xxxxxxxxxx:AlertAllThePeeps


Next, we’ll adjust the handlers to call Twilio to make send the SMS message:

import { SNSHandler, SNSEvent } from "aws-lambda";
import "source-map-support/register";
import { Twilio } from "twilio";

export const send: SNSHandler = async (event: SNSEvent) => {
  await Promise.all( => {
    const subject = record.Sns.Subject;

    // CloudWatch Alarm Destructuring
    const {
      AlarmName: alarmName,
      NewStateValue: stateValue,
      NewStateReason: reason,
    } = JSON.parse(record.Sns.Message);

    const message = `[${subject}]: ${stateValue}: ${alarmName} (${reason})`;

    const client = new Twilio(

    return client.messages.create({
      body: message,
      to: "+1XXX5554321",
      from: process.env.TWILIO_PHONE_NUMBER,

After those files are complete you may need to bump tsconfig.json to allow for imports allowSyntheticDefaultImports. Now you are ready to publish the function via serverless.

Finish the job with:

sls deploy --stage=prod

Next time you publish a CloudWatch alert to your SNS topic it will send you a text via Twilio.

[ dev twilio aws serverless ]