There’s a little corner of last-century comms technology which has stood the test of time well into the new millennium – the fax. Despite the deluge of online communication options made possible by the internet – email, Skype, messaging and social networks – the humble fax has hung on in there. The reason has little to do with costs, ease of use or speed. It’s simply that fax has become entrenched as the electronic standard for moving important documents between businesses. That is especially the case with signed contracts or legal documents – faxes are still the only legally accepted electronic document.
But while faxes are still whizzing around in this internet age, the means by which we send and receive faxes has undergone a sea-change. Out, for many, have gone dedicated fax machines and fax lines. In has come the virtual-fax – using the web to get from A to B – along with software to make, send and store them. The fax has become digital, and now online fax services – many of which are completely free-to-use – mean you can live your life fax machine-free. And some of the brightest and best of these have new wave faxers been gathered together here, just below.
GotFreeFax is a free online fax service that works well for those with simple faxing needs. You send your faxes straight from the GotFreeFax website, which takes MS Word documents, Adobe PDF files or simple text files. You can send up to 2 faxes per day, of 3 pages each, to anywhere in North America. Unlike some free e-fax services, you won’t get ads on your cover page, or watermarks in the body (GotFreeFax apparently make their bucks from ads on their website). Obviously this helps makes your faxes look more professional. Just be aware the free service doesn’t include encryption, so don’t use GotFreeFax to send documents that are in any way sensitive.
Another North America-based fax sending service, FaxOrama adds a little extra – you can send 2 free faxes per day, but at up to 5 pages. And you can also choose from a wider range of files than GotFreeFax – most image formats are covered, as are Excel files. Because FaxOrama takes images in directly, you can use your scanner, digital camera or even phone like a fax machine. That comes in real handy if you need to fax a signed document, for example. It also integrates nicely with iGoogle, and, like GotFreeFax is ad-free. So FaxOrama is another excellent option for the light fax sender.
This free fax service promises to add a simple-to-use button to send faxes to over 71 countries, including the US and Canada – an impressive tally. But like other totally free fax sending websites, Free FAX Button limits you to two e-faxes each day. However, while the service on offer is basic – with only a simple text editor for input, and no delivery receipt – it is easy to use, giving you a solid hassle-free fast faxing option.
A little different this one – Vbuzzer isn’t primarily a fax service provider. They are better known for their messaging/ video-streaming/ voice-over-internet services. But Vbuzzer has recently added internet faxing to its many-feathered cap. And if sign up with them, you can now make use of this service for free. The faxing is worked through in a rather clever way – you send your faxes using the Vbuzzer Messenger tool itself. So faxing while you chat is as simple as hitting the fax tab in the main panel of Vbuzzer Messenger. What’s great about this set up is that the faxes sent are free for an unlimited number per day – provided they go to the US, Canada or China. Receiving faxes isn’t so simple though – for that you first have to get a virtual fax number from Vbuzzer, and then you will be charged for each fax you get. But if you’re already in the market for an internet voice service, then this free fax service could be a nice slab of icing on the cake.
FreePopFax is delivered via a website based in France. But that doesn’t stop you from making calls to North America, as well as to 43 other nations, across the world. This fax service is again aimed at the quick-and-cheerful end of the market. But whilst there is no security – and your faxes are plastered with ads – it does let you knock out faxes in a snap. Better still, there’s no limit to the number of faxes you can send each day. They can be sent as simple text messages, Word docs, PDFs, JPEGs or GIFs. And you do get an email receipt for each message. All-in-all a pretty good deal for something that won’t cost you a cent.
This nice little online faxing number – which is as free as the name suggests – only works within North America. That does include, however, Hawaii, along with the Lower48 and Canada. BestFreeFax allows you to send bigger fixes with ease ; up to two free faxes each day, which can be up to 14 pages in length. You also get the a fair service, with a simple email receipt and the ability to attach your own docs – though inevitably, it puts ads on the fax cover page. And unfortunately you don’t get any of the more sophisticated business-level features – such as fax logs, storage or retrieval. But, if that bugs you, the next online fax server may be of interest.
You might want to turn away now. MyFax service isn’t completely free; you do have to pay ten dollars a month for the basic package. But for that relatively low price, you do get to send 100 faxes – and receive 200 – for free. It works as a fax-by-email service, with incoming faxes arriving as attachments to emails. Most file formats are covered, and MyFax allows you to chose from a range of encryption options. So if you want to scale-up to a business-level of faxing, then MyFax could at least be a cheap – if not free – way forward.