Online Faxing: The Best Fax Machine Alternative

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fax machine feeding paper

If you’re reading this post, we’ll assume your business needs to maintain faxing capability.

Maybe it’s because key customers, vendors, or partners still prefer to communicate with your company by fax. Or maybe your industry’s regulators view faxing as a more secure communication protocol than email for transmitting personal client information, so using fax helps keep you compliant with data-privacy laws.

Whatever the reason, you’re facing the same dilemma as millions of small businesses today: As difficult as it is to believe in the era of high-speed internet and cloud file sharing, your staff still needs the ability to send and receive faxes on a regular basis.

But does that mean you need to keep supporting a traditional fax machine in the office? Maybe. But you do have options.

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What is Electronic Faxing?

One of those options is to sign up for a service that lets you fax without a fax machine. In fact, without paper, ink, or even a fax phone line. All you’ll need is an email address and an internet connection. This solution goes by several names: electronic faxing, digital faxing, or an online fax service. We call it eFax.

Here’s how it works.

When you sign up for an online fax service like eFax, you’ll be able to send and receive fax documents digitally — from your email account, through a user-friendly website, or even using a mobile fax app.

Because you’ll have a virtual fax number, it will appear to the other parties that they’re communicating with your company’s fax machine. In reality, though, your staff will be sending faxes as email messages and receiving faxes in their inboxes as well.

Woman working faxing on laptop

eFax vs. Fax: A Side-by-Side Comparison

But is the eFax approach actually better than traditional fax equipment? More to the point: Is online faxing a better solution for your company than maintaining a fax machine? Let’s compare the key traits of both technologies.

Cost of Faxing

Fax machine eFax
  • Fax machine
  • Ink or toner cartridges
  • Fax paper
None. The service is entirely cloud-based.
Setup costs Varies; could require installation from telephone service provider.
No infrastructure to install; could include $10 setup fee.
Recurring fees Monthly bill for fax phone line. Maintenance agreements. Monthly or yearly service fee.

Faxing Flexibility

Fax machine eFax
Mobility None. Can fax from fax machine only — one fax at a time. Fax anywhere — from any internet device, even a phone.
Scalability None. If volume grows, you’ll need more machines and lines.
Infinite. Scale fax bandwidth up or down anytime.
Pricing flexibility None. Your fax line and maintenance contracts are fixed. Pay only for what you use.

Faxing Security and Compliance

Fax machine eFax
Doc security Limited. Sensitive documents can be left on office fax machine. Faxes are held on secure server for your access only.
Compliance Not compliant. Paper faxes with sensitive data be viewed by unauthorized personnel.
Electronic faxes transmitted and stored securely.

Faxing Efficiency

Fax machine eFax
Fax process

Time consuming and inefficient:

  • Scanning and/or printing doc
  • Feeding doc into fax machine
  • Dialing recipient fax number
  • (Possibly redialing if busy)
  • Waiting for transmission confirmation
  • File or shred faxed pages

Simple and efficient:

  • Open new email message
  • Enter recipient’s number in “To:” field
  • Type message in body for cover page
  • Attach fax file
  • Hit send
Documentation Inefficient and prone to error.

Maintaining accurate records of faxes (for record keeping or audits) requires filing and storage of each fax.

This requires employee time, and physical storage space for the files.
Simple and effective.

All electronic faxes sent from or to your business are stored on secure cloud servers, for the lifetime of your account.

Anytime your staff needs to retrieve an old fax (including its metadata), they can find it quickly and easily online by searching via keywords, date ranges, or other parameters.

Which Fax Technology Makes More Sense for You?

Your company might have its own reasons to continue supporting desktop fax machines for your faxing capability. But based on the feature-comparison showdown above, we’d have to give the edge to the online fax service. Whether you’re focused on costs, flexibility, mobility, security, efficiency, or regulatory compliance, eFax clearly gives businesses advantages that traditional fax machines just can’t.

Not ready to give up your business’s fax machine just yet? No problem. Keep your machine right where it is — and try eFax to experience firsthand all of the value-added features of online faxing, without any commitment.


Send and receive faxes in minutes.

Start Faxing Now