Protocol providers

Protocol providers define how xMatters accesses servers for outgoing notifications. While user service providers restrict protocol selection at the company level, the super administrator can configure protocol providers that are available throughout xMatters.

Supported protocols

xMatters supports the following industry-standard protocols:

HTTP Protocols

These protocols are used to send notifications or create conferencing sessions over a cloud-computing provider:

  • HTTP Conference: Protocol used to create conferencing sessions using a voice cloud provider other than xMatters.
  • HTTP Generic: Protocol used to send SMS notifications via a cloud SMS provider other than xMatters.
  • HTTP xMattersConference: Protocol used to create conferencing sessions using the xMatters voice cloud.
  • HTTP xMatters SMS: Protocol used to send SMS notifications via the xMatters SMS cloud.
  • GCM: Used to send messages via the Google Cloud Messaging service, including push notifications to the xMatters Android application.
  • Voxeo: Protocol used to send voice notifications via the Voxeo online service. This protocol currently supports only events injected using an xMatters communication plan.
Email protocols

These protocols are used for two-way email message communications to any desktop computer or email-capable hand-held device:

  • SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the de facto standard for transmitting email over the Internet.

These protocols are not recommended for sending SMS messages to mobile phones as there is no guarantee that the message will ever arrive on the intended device. If the message does arrive, it will usually result in a one-way message where no response is ever returned to xMatters. No tracking information is returned to xMatters during the notification process, and a succession of email servers can be involved in each transmission.


These protocols are the latest two-way network-based protocols for use with pagers and SMS text providers:

  • SNPP: Simple Network Paging Protocol, used to send notifications to a pager over the Internet.
  • WCTP: Wireless Communication Transfer Protocol, used to send and receive responses over the network.

These protocols are recommended as the first protocols to use when xMatters is communicating with text devices as they provide a receipt ID for each notification and, if the provider supports two-way notifications, xMatters can check for responses from the target user on their device.

Some providers also provide xMatters with additional information, such as read receipt information that can be logged when the user reads the message on the device, even if they do not respond.

Other options

Another option when configuring protocols is to use an SMS text message aggregator company. xMatters can communicate with these companies via a two-way protocol (typically SMPP/SNPP/WCTP) and will guarantee delivery of the text message to a target mobile phone; in most cases, the aggregator will also handle all responses back into xMatters. These aggregators charge for this service, but will provide service-level agreements for the message delivery and response.

Any combination of the above protocols can be used with xMatters, and for each service provider, the administrator can define the preferred order of the protocols. xMatters will attempt to send the message out using the first protocol; if it fails, the attempt is logged and xMatters moves on to the next protocol. The key to configuring xMatters for your text message service providers is to find out what protocols they support, and to implement as many of them as possible so that you have redundancy in place.

Manage protocol providers

Super administrators can manage the available protocol providers using the web user interface.

For details on configuring each Protocol Provider, see Protocol provider details reference.

Set maximum session size

You can help optimize the throughput of your xMatters node deployment by adjusting the maximum session size for protocol providers.

The session size represents the number of notifications transacted within a single session. For example, if you set the maximum session size of an email protocol provider to 20, and there are at least 20 notifications to dispatch, the device engine connects to the email server, sends 20 notifications, and then disconnects.

To tune the performance of protocol providers, ensure that the session size is as large as possible for each protocol provider in use. For email providers in particular, a session size of 20 to 50 is recommended.

Set maximum message length

Protocol providers that support text messages include a Maximum Message Length setting. This setting specifies the maximum number of characters in a single notification the protocol provider will handle before truncating the remaining text.

There are two separate portions to the message text: the message body and the appended text. The message body is the actual notification content and the appended text contains the notification key, response choices, etc.

If the Maximum Message Length setting is less than the total number of characters in the appended text portion of the message, the recipient will not be able to reply to the notification. In effect, the notification becomes one-way. Consider the following examples:

Example One

  • Maximum Message Length setting: 100 characters
  • Message body length: 50 characters
  • Appended text: 150 characters

In this case, the appended text is discarded because it exceeds the maximum message length setting. The user will receive the entire message body of the notification because it is less than the maximum message length, but will be unable to reply because the appended text portion of the notification is missing.

Example Two

  • Maximum Message Length setting: 350 characters
  • Message body length: 150 characters
  • Appended text: 300 characters

In this case, the entire appended text portion of the notification will be included, but the message body will be truncated to 50 characters. The user will receive the notification and will be able to reply because the entire appended text portion was included in the notification.