Most of us don’t spend our time learning about internet faxing. But here you are. If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you need to send a secure fax over the internet, but you don’t know how.
It’s a common problem, and we can help. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of internet faxing, essential things you need to know about faxing and how to choose a fax provider that meets your needs.
Internet Faxing Basics
You may know internet faxing as “online faxing,” “e-faxing,” “mobile faxing” or “digital faxing.” These terms all refer to the same thing: technology that allows you to send a fax through the internet.
Internet faxing is now over two decades old, as it was released to the public in 1997. Despite its age, however, it confuses many new users. Here’s a basic overview.
How Internet Faxing Works
When you send a fax online, you send it to your recipient’s device through your faxing provider. The process looks like this: your device → internet → your recipient’s device.
This is similar to traditional faxing, except traditional faxing uses fax machines instead of an internet-connected device and your phone line instead of the internet.
In short: online faxing is the digital age’s version of faxing.
How Internet Fax Numbers Work
Internet fax numbers work just like your phone number, as they have:
- A country code (like “61” for Australia)
- An area code (like “2” for Sydney)
- A local number (like “97823858”)
When you send a digital fax, you address your fax to the recipient’s full fax number. In turn, the faxes you receive come addressed to your full fax number.
You cannot use the same fax number for digital and traditional faxing simultaneously. However, you can port your number to your online faxing provider when you switch. Read this guide for more information.
How To Send And Receive Faxes Over The Internet
You will need to sign up with an online fax service like eFax to send a secure fax over the internet. Once you have signed up, follow these instructions:
How To Send A Fax
- Open eFax and click “new fax”
- Click the “recipient” box and type in your recipient’s fax number
- Press “attach” and select up to 10 files
- Fill in the cover sheet
- Press “send”
You will know when your recipient receives your fax because eFax will send you a confirmation email.
How To Receive A Fax
- Open eFax and click “inbox”
- Look for faxes with the subject line “Fax Received From (Sender’s Number).” All inbound faxes come from “[email protected].”
eFax stores all received faxes (though you can delete them if you like). You will receive your faxes in the file type the sender used, and you can download, sign and print your fax if you choose.
Internet Faxing Mediums
There are four mediums you can use when sending a fax with eFax:
Web Browser Faxing
You can fax through your browser using the eFax Portal. The eFax Portal is accessible from most browsers, including Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari.
When you sign up for eFax, you can use the email you signed up with to send faxes. To send a fax, follow the steps in the “how to send a fax” section and add “efaxsend.com” after the fax number (for example, “[email protected]“).
If you have a Windows computer, you can also send faxes via eFax Messenger for Windows. The app requires a 64-bit (x64) processor and Windows 10 to work. Download it here.
3 Things You Need To Know Before You Start Sending And Receiving Faxes Online
Before you start sending and receiving faxes, you’ll need to understand three key things that make online faxing unique from other forms of document sharing. Here they are:
#1. Internet Faxing Cost Breakdown
Internet faxing providers charge you a set fee for a plan that allows you to send and receive a certain number of fax pages per month.
If you need to send more than your plan, your provider will charge an extra fee per page. eFax charges $.10 extra per page (provided it takes less than 60 seconds or less to transmit your fax).
Receiving extra fax pages is free with eFax.
Some internet faxing providers charge setup fees to connect you to their service. Most eFax plans have no setup fees.
Some providers charge you a fee for each fax number you register. eFax gives customers one free fax number, and you can purchase additional numbers if you want them.
International Faxing Fees
If you need to send a fax internationally, you will need to pay an extra fee. International fees are calculated based on the country you want to fax and the faxing medium you will use (mobile, local or premium). Click here to view eFax’s international rates.
#2. Internet Faxing Features
Internet faxing and traditional faxing have vastly different capabilities. If you choose a provider like eFax, you will have access to the following faxing features:
- Digital signatures = which allow you to sign faxes electronically without downloading or printing them
- Fax templates
- Large file transfer = which allows you to send files up to 3 GB
- Unlimited cloud-based storage
- Microsoft Word app = which allows you to send faxes from Word
- An address book
- Multiple-recipient faxing
- A PDF converter = which can convert your faxes into TIFF, JPEG or PDF files without leaving the eFax app
- Fax Preview = which allows you to view your fax through your recipient’s eyes
- Tag and Search = which helps you sort and file faxes
- Send storage = which saves a copy when you send a fax
#3. Online Faxing Security Features
Online fax services offer unique digital security features. This includes Transport Layer Security (TLS), which encrypts your fax before sending it and only unencrypts it when your recipient gets it.
TLS makes it impossible for anyone who intercepts your fax to read it. Intercepting a fax is extremely difficult, as providers use Tier-3 secure servers to transmit your faxes.
The design of online faxing technology also protects users from malware, ransomware, database exposures and web application vulnerabilities. If you’d like to learn more about those, read “A Comprehensive Guide To Online Fax Security.”
Naturally, online faxing stacks up well against other document sharing technologies.
Online Faxing Vs Email
Email has its uses, but it’s not as secure or document-friendly as online faxing. Instead, email is vulnerable to social engineering techniques like phishing and spoofing and brute-force account hacking techniques.
Most email providers also impose file limits of 20 MB, which prevents you from sending movie, audio or image files. You can send all of these files and more with online faxing.
Online Faxing Vs Traditional Faxing
Traditional faxing is the backbone of many offices, but it’s also a productivity drain. For example, sending a fax by hand can take several minutes of feeding paper into the machine and waiting. If the paper crumples, the machine stalls or the line is busy, the process takes longer.
Traditional faxing also lacks online faxing’s cyber security features, as you can steal paper faxes by tapping the sender or receiver’s phone line.
How To Choose The Right Faxing Service For You
You can’t send a fax online without an online fax provider. A provider acts as the intermediary between you and your recipient — playing the role a telecommunications company plays in transmitting a paper fax.
Here’s how to choose a fax provider you can trust.
Research Your Faxing Options
There are dozens of online fax providers, but they aren’t equal by any means. So, before you sign a contract with a provider, vett them carefully.
Here’s what to look for:
- Positive reviews from customers
- Clear, transparent pricing (so you don’t get stung with extra fees)
- Documentation that teaches you how to use their system
- Best practice cybersecurity features (like Tier-3 secure servers and TLS)
If you need to transmit a lot of faxes, you’ll also want to look for a provider that can handle large volumes of documents. eFax, for example, transmits 1 billion faxes monthly.
Identify What You Need From A Faxing Service
Next, you’ll need to figure out your needs so you can choose a provider that meets them. Ask yourself:
- How many faxes do I need to send monthly?
- Do I need a provider that can work with Electronic Medical Records or other medical documents?
- Do I need to fax internationally?
- Do I need to sign documents electronically?
Eliminate any providers that can’t meet your needs.
Select A Plan
Finally, narrow down your options to a single provider and choose a plan that works best for you. eFax’s faxing service offers these non-corporate plans:
|Plan||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost||Number of Fax Pages|
|eFax Plus||$14.13||$169.50 (2 months free)||150 sent and 15 received|
|eFax Pro||$14.21||$170.55 (3 months free)||200 sent and 200 received|
|eFax Premium||$17.96||$215.55 (3 months free)||300 sent and 300 received|
To see eFax Corporate plans, click here.
Internet Fax Providers
Here are three internet fax providers you could use.
Launched in 2004, MyFax is a simple online faxing tool suited to small and large businesses. It allows you to send faxes to up to 50 people at once, fax internationally and fax through email or a fax number.
MetroFax is a trusted provider popular with small businesses in the US. It offers mobile and email faxing, a US-based support team and contract-free faxing.
eFax is one of the world’s best online faxing services. eFax currently supports over eleven million customers worldwide, including 30% of top law firms and 50% of Fortune 500 companies.
eFax offers many benefits for Australian businesses, as it: