Internet Fax: What is a Virtual Fax?
The age of the Internet fax is upon us. Into a burgeoning world of paper-free offices and digitized documents, it was only inevitable that the archaic fax machine was headed the way of mimeographs and answering machines. Enter – internet fax.
To best answer the question of what a virtual fax is, let’s first examine what it is not, or rather – what it does not require. Internet fax does not require:
- a phone line
- a fax machine
- toner cartridge
- service and repair contracts
- waiting in line to use the “machine”
All that internet faxing requires is:
- an account with an virtual fax service
- access to the internet
Internet fax or virtual fax is the ability to send faxes over the internet (whether a broadband or dial-up connection) much like an attachment to an email.
You can send and receive internet faxes whether or not the party to whom you’re sending them uses internet fax or not. Even the faxes people with traditional fax machines send to you can be received as virtual faxes. And, likewise, you can send an internet fax to people with traditional fax machines who can still receive it like they would any other fax.
When people with regular fax machines call your virtual fax number, they will hear a pre-recorded message (either a default message provided by your internet fax service or your own personal message) letting them know that they’ve reached your virtual fax and that they can proceed to send over their fax as normal.
Internet fax services typically charge you a flat rate for unlimited incoming faxes from anywhere and outgoing faxes to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. International virtual fax rates are typically charged if sending to countries other than those, but they’re very inexpensive. Get the best internet fax rates now!
Many virtual fax companies will even offer to give you an incoming internet fax number for free, so that you can try out their service risk-free before you decide to sign up fully. This permits you to receive virtual faxes but not to send them.
It is quite easy to get set up to virtual fax. Whichever internet fax service you use, the steps are “virtually” the same:
- Register with the virtual fax service that you have determined is right for you. (In the case of some internet fax providers, this step might come third rather than first..)
- Download the virtual fax software (typically free) provided by your chosen internet fax service.
- Choose your virtual fax number:
- toll -free
- or a vanity number
- Send & receive your faxes!
Sending and receiving internet faxes is just as easy – certainly easier than wrangling with all that pesky fax paper and those unbearable toner cartridges, not to mention waiting in line to get to use the monstrous machine.
In summary, sending faxes over the internet using virtual fax or internet fax is faster, cleaner, cheaper, and easier than its traditional (and outdated) alternative.