Online Fax Service Frequently Asked Questions
FaxCompare has compiled a web fax service FAQ based on inquiries and comments submitted by FaxCompare users. Please contact us if you have a question that is not listed here.
Web Fax Contents
- Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Internet Faxing Questions
- What equipment do I need for online faxing?
- Does there need to be an Internet connection at both sending and receiving ends for web faxes to work?
- What email programs can you use to email fax?
- How do web fax services charge?
- If a web fax service includes more than one user, does that mean they give you more than one fax number as well?
- How do I add an additional user to my plan?
- Do web to fax providers support color faxes?
- Which web fax providers offer international fax numbers?
Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Web to Fax Questions
1. Can I port my current fax number to a web fax service?
If you currently have service with a local telephone company, then you should have no problem porting your number or taking that number with you if you decide to change carriers later. However, if you were issued your fax number through an web fax service or VoIP service, then you might have a problem.
Web fax services and VoIP services have to lease numbers from telecommunications service providers, who control the switches used to route calls from the Internet to analog phone lines. Therefore, you don't own a web fax number like you do when issued a number by a local service provider. The good news is that if you port your number to a online fax service, you can keep it no matter where you move.
Tips for Porting Your Number
- Sign up for the service you're porting the number to via the phone (not the Internet).
- Allow 2-3 weeks for the porting process to be complete.
- Pay outstanding balances.
- Be prepared to pay a porting charge (about 1/3 of the email fax providers charge anywhere from $20-$50).
- Read the terms and conditions of the service you're porting the number to. Sometimes there are egregious ownership terms.
2. How do I send an email fax?
First, you need to sign up for an email fax service. View our email fax comparison grid to select a service. Second, you will need to scan the document you want to fax and save it on your computer (skip this step if the file is already saved on your computer). Third, you simply attach the document to an email and address the email to the fax number you're sending it to. For example, if you have a MyFax account and you want to fax something to the number 222-555-6666, you would type firstname.lastname@example.org in the "To" field of an email, and the email and attachment would go to that fax number.
3. Which web fax providers are Mac-compatible?
All of the online fax services we've reviewed on this site are compatible with Macs, except for ClickFax, which requires you to download Windows-only software to use the service. Some services that are Mac-compatible may offer additional software downloads that are only available on Windows. For example, MetroFax works on both Windows and Mac, but their Fax Button and Fax Printer functions are available as Windows downloads only.
4. How do I block junk faxes?
Junk faxes waste your time and money. There are three ways a web fax service addresses junk faxes:
- Spam/Junk Fax Filters - Most web fax providers offer "junk fax" filters free of charge with their service. These filters recognize "junk" faxes and will move them to a junk folder. However, since these filters only have the ability to organize and NOT BLOCK faxes, this feature is pretty useless if you receive a high number of unsolicited faxes. You still have to pay for these junk faxes because you technically received them.
- Block Lists - Several web fax providers offer block lists. You can curb unsolicited faxes by entering in phone numbers you want to block. These contacts will NEVER be able to send you a fax again. The downside to a blocked list is you can't always guess the phone number of the next solicitor. Once you obtain the number and block it, they can change it and spam you again.
- Approve/Block List Combination - This is the only method FaxCompare has found that truly blocks junk faxes. RingCentral is the only provider (so far!) that has this feature. You can opt to "block all numbers" on your blocked list and then manually enter in contacts' phone numbers into your approved list. This way, no solicitor will be able to fax you again. The only downside to this method is that you will need the flexibility to approve people on the fly. (If you're receiving a fax from a new contact, you will need to log into the system and manually add them to the approved list. But, if you have a smartphone, this shouldn't be a problem).
5. How do I electronically sign my faxes and send them back?
Some email fax providers, such as RingCentral and eFax, include an e-signature feature with their service. If your email fax provider does not have an e-signature, follow the process below to e-sign your faxes.
- Scan and save a digital version of your signature (.jpg, .gif or .png).
- Download a .PDF editor, such as Adobe Acrobat.
- Open your fax with the .PDF editor.
- Insert your signature image file.
- Re-save the file.
- Upload new file; send back as a signed fax.
What equipment do I need to web fax?
The only set-up required to web fax is a computer, a browser of your choice and an Internet connection. A scanner is optional and only necessary if you don't already have the documents saved on your computer.
Does there have to be an Internet connection at both sending and receiving ends for web faxes to work?
No. You can send a web fax to someone with a traditional fax machine and no Internet connection. Your provider will convert your attachments to a fax and then transmit it to their number.
What email programs can you use to email fax?
Email fax services work with all web-based email programs (e.g. Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.), and they work with most email software programs (e.g. Outlook and Novell). Email software programs have plug-ins specifically designed for email faxing, but you are not required to use the plug-ins.
How do web fax services charge?
A web fax service will charge you either by number of pages or number of minutes. Fax providers bill by pages with the assumption that one page takes 60 seconds to transmit. So, if your web fax provider advertises that they include 300 pages, you can think of it as 300 minutes. Approximately 90% of all pages take less than 60 seconds to transmit. Graphic-intensive fax pages may take longer than 60 seconds, and may be charged as multiple pages.
Exceptions: MetroFax bills per page, not per minute no matter how long the page takes to transmit. MaxEmail bills per 30 seconds of transmission time, rather than 60 seconds like most email fax providers.
If a web fax service includes more than one user with their service, does that mean they give more than one fax number as well?
More users do not mean more fax numbers. A user is simply an email address that is authorized to send/receive faxes through that email account. For example, if you have 5 users (email accounts) with your web fax service, then all email accounts would receive notifications when a fax is sent or received. Also, each email address tied to the account would be able to send faxes directly through their email program (e.g. Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) as opposed to the web fax provider's online interface.
How do I add an additional user to my plan?
If giving multiple users access to your fax service is important to you, then we recommend looking for an email fax plan that offers a high number of users, such as FaxAGE and eXtremeFax, which offers unlimited users.
If you need to add another user to your account without switching or upgrading your service, you can do one of two things:
- Delete a current user and replace them with the new user
- Give the new user the log-in information to the email fax provider's online interface, and let them send/receive faxes from there.
Do web to fax providers support color faxes?
At this time, web to fax providers do not support color faxes. Like graphic-intensive faxes, color-intensive faxes have longer transmission times, and web fax services do not have the resources to secure enough bandwidth to support this feature. This is the direction in which they're heading, so don't be surprised to see a color fax soon.
Which web fax providers offer international fax numbers?
To see a current list of providers that offer international fax numbers and which countries are covered, click here.