Gone are the days of fax machines. You can now send and receive faxes over the internet. It’s a straightforward method to send confidential and critical documents through a quick and secure channel. And it’s particularly handy for sending documents to government agencies and slow-moving businesses.
In this article, we’ll show how you can send and receive faxes over the internet using web-based services.
Why Faxing Over the Internet Is Worth It
Email and other forms of electronic communication have largely replaced faxing, but the method still isn’t obsolete—and for good reason.
We live in a world where data breaches and cyberthreats are seemingly lurking around every corner. So, when you need to send a legally binding document with a very high level of security, online faxing is still the most reliably secure option.
Or, perhaps you may need to get an agreement or contract signed quickly, where faxing again is the most efficient option to send forms and get them filled out and returned to you in short order.
Here are some other reasons why sending a fax over the internet is worth the effort.
Save Time and Money
Internet faxing allows you to send and receive files from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to a device with a strong internet connection.
In terms of money, you don’t have to buy an actual fax machine that typically costs over $300, plus you save money on toner, paper, and storage space to store the paperwork.
Easy Organization and Record Keeping
Faxing over the internet has another key advantage: hassle-free storage and organization.
With digital storage of the faxes you send over the internet, you don’t have to worry about losing important paperwork, damaging a high-priority file, or not receiving the fax at all—everything’s taken care of.
How? Internet faxing enables you to save your sent and received faxes online. So if you want a particular file or fax, you can simply look it up on your computer or phone instead of sifting through endless piles of paper.
What’s more, many online fax services allow you to sort all documents by date, sender/recipient, or even specific keywords, which further removes headaches.
Signing Documents Electronically
An online fax service also allows you to sign documents electronically. You don’t have to print and fill out anything manually and can quickly sign important material.
Open the attachment to the fax you’ve received or click on the file to sign the document, add your electronic signature to it, and then proceed to fax the document to the intended recipient. Some online fax services let you write your signature on your mobile device instantly or sign a PDF and attach the file.
Faxing over the internet makes it easier than ever for businesses to go green. Your office can go paperless with little to no need for you and your staff to print hard copies anymore. Not only does this save you a great deal of physical storage, but you also do your part to reduce the strain on our environment.
HIPAA and Other Forms of Compliance
Many businesses have invested in cloud storage and internet faxing to comply with established security and privacy standards, like in terms of HIPAA compliance in healthcare.
Sending faxes on the internet is an encrypted process. In other words, an additional layer of security is automatically added to your faxing and document control activities to make them less accessible to hackers.
And some online fax providers specialize in solutions for highly regulated industries and use cases. Healthcare and legal professions need to be mindful of HIPAA, GDPR, and other regulations for safe faxing.
The Investment Needed to Fax Over the Internet
Compared to traditional faxing, internet faxing is cheaper for several reasons.
For starters, you only pay a flat fee every month instead of paying as you go and having to spend on materials like paper and toner. Besides the monthly charges, you’ll have to pay for WiFi, but you’re likely already doing that.
Signing up for an online fax service costs money, but this will differ depending on the company and plan you choose. Generally, prices start around $4.95 for 400-500 pages and go up to $400 for over 20,000 pages. Extra pages that go beyond the allowed amount can be $0.03-$0.10 per page, but can be much higher if you choose a toll-free number instead of a local number to fax.
A few services also offer free plans to cover very basic faxing needs (think no more than 10 pages per month). Be sure to read the fine print carefully, as some services only offer incoming faxes for free and charge for outgoing faxes.
Although rare, some companies bill per minute rather than per page, with the average fax taking less than 40 seconds per page.
4 Steps to Fax Over the Internet
Are you ready to learn how to fax over the internet?
Below we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to help you understand how internet faxing works. Let’s take a look.
#1 — Create an Account with an Online Fax Service
Before you can start sending and receiving success over the internet, you have to sign up with an online fax service like Nextiva or Ooma.
Signing up shouldn’t take longer than two minutes and usually involves entering your name, company name, address, email, phone number, and credit card information.
If you’re confused about which service is worth your money, you can see our top picks for the best online fax services. We’ve reviewed some of the best options on the market that offer reliable service and affordable plans.
#2 — Pick a Business Number for Faxing
After creating your account, you have to select your fax number.
In most cases, you can choose your area code and select from multiple available fax numbers. But it’s also possible for the online fax company to assign a toll-free or a regular fax number to you. Give this number to anyone who wants to send you faxes.
#3 — Attach Documents
Once you get your online fax number, you can send a fax over the internet in two ways:
- Through the online fax service’s dashboard – In your dashboard, follow the prompts to enter the recipient’s fax number. Then, attach the documents, PDFs, or images you want to fax.
- Using your standard email service – In your email account, attach your documents to a new email. Enter the recipient’s fax number in the ‘To: field,“ followed by the service’s name you’re using. For example, it’ll be [fax number]@nextivafax.com for Nextiva fax users.
Once you’re done, your fax message will be converted into a format readable by a fax machine on the receiving end of your message.
#4 — The Recipient Receives the Faxed Documents
Give it a few minutes after you’ve sent the fax and the recipient will have what you sent in hand. If the recipient also uses an online faxing service, they’ll receive an email or a notification on their smartphone about the incoming fax.
If you want to make your office paperless and efficient, internet faxing is a no-brainer.
All the documents you send and receive get automatically stored on the cloud. Plus, anyone on your team with the right login information can access it from anywhere, at any time.
But if your documents are sensitive and of higher priority, make sure your team follows diligent data security practices to protect your documents.
You can also consider using the best document management software and the best cloud storage services to streamline and organize your document and materials. Not only do these services keep files safe from prying eyes, but they also ensure anytime-anywhere access.