FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Good day!

I'm having trouble with FrontlineSms. It's my first time and i'm working on a Price Monitoring System. All goes well except that when I inquire from my mobile by texting the keyword "PRICE" to get the list of prices of the crops, FLSMS returns an empty reply. Hope you can help me with this. I've researching for solutions for the past 4 days.


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Hi Jey,

Thanks very much for getting in touch, and welcome to the FrontlineSMS forum! \o/

A few questions in follow up to your post - Have you read through the information in our help files on setting up keywords? Have you double checked that the keyword is formatted correctly (e.g. spelling correct, start and end dates set, all saved in system etc)? Are you sending price information directly by typing it into the auto-reply box, or are you trying to query an external database? And have you ensured their is credit on your SIM card in the modem/ phone connected to FrontlineSMS to send reply back?

Sorry for all the questions, but with some further information we can hopefully help you to get to the bottom of the issue you're facing here.



Hi Florence,

Thank you so much for responding. I've already read the info about keywords. I have also checked on the spelling of the keyword and set the dates. Yes, i am trying to query an external database and always checking on the credits of my sim as I test on the system. What really bothers me is that I have followed all the instructions completely and double checked it but everytime I inquire using the keyword, it responds with a blank reply instead of the prices that I have expected to receive. Hope you can help me with this.


Hi Jey!

I think that maybe we can start by looking at your db query. I found a couple previous posts about querying an external db using keywords (and one of them is also on market prices!). Ill post them below for you to take a look. I know that you might have already tried some of the things suggested in these posts. If these do not help, please send me the script that you are using and let me know what is the external db that you are using.

See the post on sharing fruit prices and then also see these instructions below that I grabbed from a another post:

To Set up an external command to process an incoming keyword message, query some database info, and then send that in the reply SMS to the user, you will need to do the following

1. go to keyword tab

2. click "New" and create a keyword called "query"

3. click once on QUERY in the left pane, and then on the right pane click "click here to go to advanced view"

4. right-click in the Action pane, and select "add action" and then "external command"

5. select "command line execution"

6. fill in the command (preferably with the full path) of the program or script that you will write to do the SQL query

7. add to the end of the command the paramaters that you wish to pass to your command on the command line, using the "click to include" buttons, which will auto-add the placeholders for the message data at the location of the cursor.
(In the case of "query tomatoes" the message contents would be "tomatoes")

8. you have several options in how the response data (the console output) from your external program will be handled by frontline, and these are the "what to do with Response" options.

9. The plain text option is probably what you want, so click that and say "current market price: " then click the "Include response" button to add the text output from your program. This message will be sent back to the original message sender by frontline if you leave the "send an autoreply" checkbox ticked.

10. You could format the entire response message in your program if you like, or even send a series of messaages to other people in response... to do that you would need to use the "FrontlineSMS Commands" option to specify a list of messages and recipients in your reply, but I don't think that's required in your use case.

Let me know how this works out!


Hi Kavita,

Thank you so much for that response. I will check on it and update you for any progress soon.


Hi Kavita,

I'm back from vacation and I'm continuing my study about price monitoring system using frontline sms which is now our thesis. I still have the same problem even after following your instruction. Do you have any possible solution to the problem. Looking forward for your help. Thanks.


Hi Jey,

It seems like your query to the external database is not returning results as expected which might be the reason why the response messages are empty. Please go through this link  and try follow some of the instructions shared there in implementing external commands.



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