Paperless documents - emails, Google docs, and so on - have become the lifeblood of today's businesses. Faxing, nevertheless, is still a reliable way to share information.
But even faxing is taking the paperless route. There are a number of online fax services that allow users to send and receive faxes without requiring them to use a physical fax machine or printer paper.
No more busy signals. No more lost documents. And no more cutting your fingers on paper you just don't need.
We sorted through the pack of online fax services and picked a few that stand out from the bunch.
How It Works
Online fax services generally strive to make sending faxes as simple as using email, and they tend to use interfaces that are very similar to popular email clients. Users are given a dedicated fax number from which they can send and receive faxes, and the only hardware required to run the service is a computer or mobile device.
All faxes are stored online in a centralized admin portal. Some services allow users to send paper fax messages along with paperless faxes, and the ability to port old fax numbers is universally offered.
With a great price and an abundance of features, MetroFax is hard to beat. Plans start at $6.63 a month for 500 total pages. Each account comes with ten users per plan. MetroFax offers apps for iOS and Android, so you can send and receive faxes directly from your mobile device.
Incoming faxes are received as PDF or TIFF files. MetroFax offers international faxing and cloud storage for files. Users have the option of sending faxes to multiple recipients at once, the ability to upload contact lists, fax scheduling, and text or email confirmation that the fax has been sent.
Unlike some companies, MetroFax does not set limits on how your fax pages can be used. You can send 400 and receive 100, or receive 400 and send 100.
Nextiva's vFAX service starts at $4.95 per month for up to 500 pages. The plan supports fax by email, mobile device faxing, number porting, and a Fax Adapter for paper faxing support. Faxing to multiple recipients, auto re-send, and toll-free/local numbers are all available.
Faxes can be sent through Image Files (TIFF, GIF, PNG, JPEG), Adobe Acrobat Files (PDF), Microsoft Office Files (DOC, XLS, PPT), Printer File Formats (PCL, EPS, PS), and Text Files (TXT, RTF).
Nextiva's online fax service does not come with mobile apps, international faxing, or cloud storage. However, as far as pricing goes, Nextiva is the best on the market. At less than 5 dollars a month, this plan works for those who want a basic package with a great page sharing ratio.
RingCentral Fax plans start at $7.11 per month for 500 pages. The service offers the ability to fax multiple recipients, auto re-send, international faxing, sending multiple documents in one fax, password protection, and SSL encryption. Faxes can be received in multiple email accounts for communication amongst your team.
Toll-free and local fax numbers are available for each account. Faxes sent/received over the limit come out to $.06 per page - a slightly higher price than others on the market. Unlike MetroFax, RingCentral Fax allows faxes to be stored indefinitely.
RingCentral is the option for those who want all the features available on the market at a reasonable price.
eFax may not have the most competitive pricing, but it offers some features that other platforms lack. At $16.95 per month for 150 incoming pages and 150 outgoing pages, eFax's quantity/price ratio pales in comparison to the other three services we've profiled.
But eFax can do everything the other platforms do, and the service really distinguishes itself with its large file sharing capabilities and mobile access. With an eFax account, you can send and receive files that are too large for emails. Like MetroFax, it also has a solid iPhone and Android app so you can send faxes directly from your smartphone. And eFax boasts an intuitive interface that gives it a sterling usability rating.
With the high price tag, eFax might only make sense if you need to send/receive a large volume of files that cannot be sent through email. Otherwise, the less costly options will work just fine.
GotFreeFax is the best free online fax service on the market. This is one of the few free web fax programs that lets you fax at no charge without attaching an advertisement or unwanted insignia to the faxed page. The free portion of the service allows you to send 3 pages per fax, with a maximum of 2 faxes per day (total max of 6 pages). Its paid service offers the faxing of 10 pages at $0.98, 20 pages at $1.98, and 30 pages at $2.98. Then there's the credit based service - pages that can be stored for use at any time- which are 100 pages for $9.95, 300 pages for $19.95, and 1000 pages for $49.95.
The benefits of using the paid version of GotFreeFax include the simple interface and non-binding account terms. However, GotFreeFax cannot receive faxes - it can only send them. For inbound faxes, they recommend RingCentral. But GotFreeFax is there for business owners who want to send out a fax quickly without an involved signup process, allowing them to perhaps do it at no cost.