Even though fax machines have been rendered obsolete by scanners and email for years, there are certain situations which necessitate a fax machine. If you only send a few faxes per year, it’s not worth having a phone line (approximately $25 per month) and buying your own fax machine (approximately $35) to send faxes. One popular solution is online faxing, whereby faxes can be sent using a web interface at a low cost (or in some cases, for free).
How to Send A Fax Online
Sending a fax online is just as simple as sending an email with an attachment. Since you are likely to be sending a document requiring a signature, you will need to scan the document on to your computer so that it can be “attached” to the fax online. Many online fax services provide an optional file attachment section on their fax-sending form. I recommend using the most widely accepted file format, Adobe Portable Document (*.pdf). If you do not currently have an option to print to PDF on your computer consider using PDF995 or Print2PDF, both are free programs. If you just need to send a written statement, many online fax services provide a free-form text box on a their fax-sending form. In this case, you can enter your message and send the fax in a matter of seconds.
Where to Fax Online
There are numerous sites which offer subscription-based fax services. Many of these sites offer a trial period or even better, the option to fax a few pages at no cost. I’ve reviewed the most popular online fax services and included my comments on each listed in alphabetical order.
The eFax PLUS subscription is marketed to individuals and small businesses to securely send faxes and receive them as email attachments. The plan is available for $16.95/mo. (month-to-month) or $14.13/mo. (if you sign an annual contract) and features include:
- Local or toll-free number
- 150 Included inbound fax pages per month
- 150 Included outbound fax pages per month
- $.10 per page overage charge
- $10.00 one-time setup fee
- Lifetime storage
FaxZero.com (FREE and Premium options)
FaxZero lets you send a free 3-page fax to any fax machine in the United States (including Puerto Rico) or Canada (limit of 2 per person, per day). All you need is a valid e-mail address. You may also send other international faxes for inexpensive rates. Attached files cannot exceed 10 megabytes.
The service is entirely financed by advertisements on their website. Additionally, they place a large FaxZero.com logo on the cover page of each fax (except the $1.99 premium faxes). The cover page does not count as part of the 3 (for free) or 15 (for premium) page limit. If you need to send more than 2 faxes per day, opt for the premium service, which doesn’t have any restrictions.
If you use the free FaxZero service, make sure to check your email for the confirmation link after sending your fax. All free faxes must be manually confirmed before they will be sent. The confirmation email will be sent to you by FaxZero within 30 minutes of submitting the fax form.
GotFreeFax.com (FREE and Premium options)
GotFreeFax has the same business model as FaxZero, with one big exception: they do not place advertisements on any faxes. Their free fax service and US/Canada premium service supports sending faxes to the US Continental 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada only (off-shore and other international destinations are not supported). However, GotFreeFax international fax service supports sending faxes to over 200 countries and regions.
GotFreeFax only supports PDF (.pdf), Microsoft Word 97-2003 (.doc), Word 2007 (.docx), and Rich Text (.rtf) file formats. Their “no-ad free fax cover page” is optional. If you prefer to use your own fax cover page or not to use their fax cover page, you can always uncheck the “Use No Ad Free Cover Page” option in their fax form. The free version is limited to 3 pages and 2 faxes per day.
MaxEmail.com (Paid Only)
MaxEmail has several tiers of service. The most basic service is their “Ultra-Light Package,” which costs $24 for the year, includes a unique Chicago-area number, 100 incoming fax pages per month, but does not include any free outgoing faxes (billed at $0.05-0.10 per page). Upgrading to $7 more per month “Plus Account” gives you the ability to pick what area code your fax number will be in, increases your number of incoming pages to 250, and adds in 100 pages of free outgoing faxes. Upgrading to the “Corporate Account” for $39.95 per month adds even more additional features like increased incoming faxes and multiple users on the account. All packages feature the following:
- Send faxes by email or through the web site.
- Faxes are delivered as PDF file attachments.
- Set your number to operate as a Fax or Voicemail number (or both).
- Receive voicemail by email as WAV files or listen by phone.
- Download any of your messages from the web site for 30 days.
- Manage all of your account settings online.
MyFax.com (Paid; Free Trial available)
MyFax offers more features than most of its competitors. The basic plan, which starts at $10 per month, offers a local or toll free number, 1 year archival of faxes, and the option to fax 41 countries with no additional charge. You can fax via email or directly from Microsoft Office applications with the MyFax plug-in. MyFax also includes scheduled delivery, delivery confirmation, and support for faxing of 178 document types, including PDF, Microsoft Office formats, and more. The basic package offers 100 pages sent and 200 received while the more expensive plans allow up to 400 pages sent and received.
PamFax.biz (Paid, No Subscription Required)
PamFax is free to join and offers faxing rates as low as $0.13 (without a monthly subscription). Once you create your account (after downloading and installing the PamFax software or directly on the PamFax website), you will get a credit of 3 free pages to fax. If you opt for the basic monthly subscription, which costs $5.77 per month, additional pages are sent at a rate of $0.09 per page.
- PamFax is available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Android
- Built in support for Dropbox, Box.net and Google Documents
- Professional and Basic Plans include personal fax number
- Fax reception is free and unlimited
- Send multiple documents in one fax
- Send to multiple fax recipients in one fax
- Use PamFax optionally with Skype
- Access PamFax on your computer or via your web browser
- Instant status notifications via Skype Chat, E-Mail and/or SMS
- Send any document you want, PamFax supports more than 100 formats
- Microsoft Office 2007/2010 integration
PamFax appears to give MyFax some serious competition with an abundance of features available at a lower cost.
PopFax.com (Paid; Free Trial available)
PopFax has three main types of plans: send only, send and receive, and send and receive plus option pack. PopFax does not appear to have quite as many features as its competitors. For example, only 21 file formats appear to be supported.
It offers a local fax number for $3.75 per month, which can be used with any of the other plans. Just as a reference, the “Send & Receive” annual plan costs $62.99 per year, includes 50 pages to send and unlimited fax reception. Faxes are kept in storage for 30 days. If you’re only sending a few pages per month and not looking for much in the way of features, PopFax is reasonably priced and worth a look.
It’s difficult to compare these services directly, as their strengths cater to different types of consumers. For the infrequent faxer who needs to send 1-3 pages, I recommend GotFreeFax.com. Companies or consumers with additional and ongoing faxing needs should consider each company listed above in terms of their features and price. I have not used all of these services before so if you have any experiences, please share them in the comments section!
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