Fax machines still remain common in many offices, but the best online fax services have given physical machines a run for their money in recent years. This involves sending an email to be printed out by a fax machine at the end of the fax number.
While fax technology may seem a little outdated to some, it does offer the advantage of security, as well as providing print communications directly so they can be read rather than forgotten in someone's email box, and then printed anyway.
The result is that faxes are still very much alive in the modern business world, and remain an essential tool for many businesses and other organizations – in particular for transactions that require a signature such as legal contracts or real-estate deals.
In this article, we’ve looked at the best online fax services, evaluating their respective features and factoring in costs to pick out the best offerings for your small business.
Best online fax services - at a glance
Fax.Plus is an online fax service that offers cross-platform flexibility and a mobile-friendly interface. Even though it's an online service you can keep your normal fax number, and you can be assured it's secured through compliance with HIPAA and PCI protocols. The service is built to be easy to use, and faxes can be signed at the touch of a button.
A free tier allows up to ten pages a month, but that's only for sending and there's no option to receive, and is only recommended for light users and individuals. Paid plans start from $4.99 per month when billed annually, though this only includes 100 pages with each additional page charged at $0.10 per page, though it does include the ability to use electronic signatures.
The Business tier is good for small teams of up to 5 members, and also allows you to export fax logs as CSV files. There's also an admin panel for team management and Slack integration for communications. Up to 800 pages per month are provided within this plan, with anything over costing $0.05 per page.
SRFax is an affordable and efficient way for any business to send and receive faxes online. Considering its features and pricing, it’s one of the best overall online fax services.
With SRFax, you can send faxes online either through the website or using email to fax. Additionally, the SRFax Printer Driver makes it easy to fax a document from any program. The driver is currently only available on Windows, but Mac users can still fax documents from other applications through the SRFax Client.
Furthermore, the SRFax Xfer application downloads every fax you receive to your computer, giving you convenient access to all documents. SRFax comes with unlimited online storage, so you can keep faxes online if you’d prefer. You can add contacts to your SRFax account manually or by importing a .csv file.
Faxage is an impressively comprehensive online fax service that allows users to both send and receive. While it’s not especially cheap, this provider stands out for offering an unlimited number of users on every account and a wealth of administrative features.
Faxage includes a number of useful features with every plan. To start, you can add an unlimited number of online accounts to any plan, including plans marked for individuals. That’s a huge advantage for small businesses.
Faxage also makes it very easy to send faxes. You can create new faxes through your online account and attach any documents or images from your computer. Alternatively, you can send faxes directly from your email. Windows users also get access to the Faxage print driver, which enables you to send a fax right from most Microsoft Office programs.
Another big plus for Faxage is that all accounts get access to the API. This system enables you to integrate sending and receiving capabilities into your existing workflows. Faxage also puts more emphasis on security than many of its competitors, using SSL and TLS for every fax sent from either the web-based interface, the API, or your email.
While some of the best online fax services are standalone, RingCentral Fax can work in that way, or as an integrated part of its call center platform.
The RingCentral Fax service is cloud-based so it takes minutes to set up, and that also means that you can access it from any device using a web browser or mobile app.
One of the biggest advantages of the RingCentral Fax services isn't just the pricing, but the fact that it can be upgraded to use the RingCentral call center platform. This means enjoying all the advantages of all-in-one and omnichannel communications, so you can easily switch between fax, phone, email, text, and social media messaging to maintain your contacts with business partners and customers.
Additionally, the RingCentral call center is a powerful platform with a host of available integrations, not least with Salesforce, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. This makes it an incredibly versatile solution to work for your business.
The fax service itself has two different pricing levels. The Fax 1500 plan offers up to 1500 free faxes per month and charges 4.9c per fax after, while also including cloud storage integration with Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft.
FaxBetter has a very simple interface that at times looks too basic, but it's also an online fax service that offers the ability to receive faxes for free, something we have yet to see from any serious competitors.
There's a complete record of your sent and received faxes in your dashboard, and though you can't drag and drop faxes to categorize then, you can select multiple documents to tag them with a label or delete them from your inbox. The ability to search your fax history also includes being able to search for text within a specific document.
Generally, though, FaxBetter is functional rather than brilliant as a service. It does what it needs to do well enough, but it lacks the more advanced features that competitors offer.
On saying that, pricing plans reflect this which makes FaxBetter ideal for anyone who doesn't need all the extras that other online fax services offer, and just needs a simple but reliable fax service.
Also consider these online fax services
Narrowing down our list of the best online fax services proved tricky, so here are some additional notable mentions.
Faxburner stands out from the competition with a usable free tier, and less restrictive, higher page limits than their competitors in the paid tiers. Their app provides additional functionality, such as the ability to receive, sign and send documents, all from a mobile platform.
Metrofax is a good online fax provider if having a mobile app and 24/7 support is important to you. But, it doesn’t emphasize security and the features could be more robust.
Hellofax is a great online fax provider if you value integration with your cloud storage spaces, security, and privacy. But, plans are expensive compared to HelloFax’s competitors.
Gotfreefaxstands out for enabling small business users to create prepaid accounts. While we’d like to see more file types supported, we also like that you can upload up to 10 files per fax.
FaxZero is a great choice for sending an electronic fax if you only need to send documents on occasion. The interface is extremely simple, and the service is inexpensive even if you can’t take advantage of the free faxing option.
Key features to consider when buying an online fax service
We’ve highlighted five key points to bear in mind when picking the right online fax solution to suit your needs.
1. Archiving of documents
Yes, we are all still waiting for the paperless office we were mistakenly promised decades ago. However, we are slowly inching our way towards it, with the digital archiving of documents. With an online fax service, the faxed documents, rather than being on paper, are automatically digitized. Furthermore, some fax services offer digital archiving, so as long as you stay with the provider, all of your sent and received faxes will be available in an online database, giving you a neat storage solution.
2. Integration with cloud storage services
Cloud storage is an important business tool these days. Using this, you can not only archive existing files, but also create new documents with the likes of word processing and spreadsheet apps built into the service (just look at Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google’s G Suite, which are quickly becoming business essentials).
Therefore, look for an online faxing service that easily integrates with these cloud solutions to enhance your workflow, making creating and then faxing documents a seamless process.
3. Multi-platform support
Most online fax services have mobile apps (iOS and Android) for use while on the move via a smartphone or tablet. Also look for a service that has software to support desktop platforms as well, as who wants to use their smartphone for a business task when sitting in front of their desktop computer?
4. Higher page limits
Page limits are a significant downside of some online fax services. Be sure to adequately estimate your needs in this respect, and look for plans that count the monthly total, and don’t divide it up into send and receive categories (which could feasibly cause you to go over the limit without realizing).
In short, look for a plan offering an appropriate amount of pages, and a reasonable page overage fee. Also look for a service with multiple tiers – including an unlimited one – so there is no danger of your business outgrowing your fax service.
5. Availability of fax phone numbers
While cloud faxing marries the fax to the internet, the forward-facing part of the fax service is the fax number. Better fax services allow for a greater number of options when choosing a fax number, and these include local, toll-free numbers, and even vanity choices.
There can also be options to have an international number located in a country that you do business with to give your company more of a local presence. Finally, there should be an option to port an existing fax number for an affordable cost.
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