Faxing is a very old communication method and was invented even before telephony.
First fax machines
The first fax machine was very rudimentary and was created by a Scottish inventor by the name of Alexander Bain. His contribution made it possible to transmit content through wires. His invention was further improved in the next decades.
In 1865 the first commercial telefax service appeared and the beginning of the 20th century brought a lot more improvements to this technology.
The Japanese company Canon was the first to manufacture a compact fax machine. That was happening in the 1980s.
Faxing is basically a type of communication that is based on telephony and it allows you to send text or images to a certain phone number. That number is connected to a printer.
Online faxing and its advantages over conventional faxing
Online faxing is called in a lot of ways: internet faxing, digital faxing, virtual faxing, PC faxing and more. But they really refer to the same thing: the type of technology that allows you to send and receive faxes using the internet instead of regular telephony.
While faxing is not as popular as it used to be, it is still widely used nowadays. The reason for that is that there are a lot of scenarios in which you have to deal with legal documents, papers that require signatures, etc. and the best, most secure and fastest way to share them is by faxing.
How do you send a fax over the internet?
In order to send a fax online, you need to sign up for an online faxing service and receive a fax number from the provider. You can send faxes over the internet to a conventional fax machine or to a computer.
Online faxing only needs a hosted fax server. You can fax over the internet just by using your computer, as long as you have an internet connection. And instead of the actual fax machine, you’ll have a web interface. You have to use an email address whenever you want to send a fax this way.
Online faxing allows you to send both images and text files, in all the common formats. Some online fax services support more formats, some support fewer. But you’ll most likely be able to send PDF, DOCX, TXT, JPEG, PNG files, no matter what service you use.
Benefits of internet faxing
Internet faxing is more affordable on the long run than traditional faxing. It doesn’t require special equipment in terms of software or hardware, so you don’t necessarily need to buy a fax machine to be able to send faxes online. You also eliminate additional costs associated with traditional faxing, such as paper, ink toners and others.
Online faxing is better for the environment, because fewer trees will get cut for paper needs.
Internet faxing is also more versatile than conventional faxing, because you can send faxes using any computer and even mobile devices. As long as you have an internet connection, you’re all set.
And since you don’t need a fax machine and paper to send a fax through the internet, you also save a lot of space in your office, etc. Fax machines are bulky and take up a lot of space. Same goes for all the paper files you have to store.
What is Nextiva vFax?
Nextiva is one of the most popular communication services companies in the United States. The company was founded in 2006 and it is based in Arizona.
Nextiva is mostly renowned for its VoIP (voice over the internet protocol) services, but it also offers internet faxing through their own brand, vFax.
More than 150,000 businesses use Nextiva and th number continues to grow.
When it comes to their online faxing service, Nextiva has some of the most attractive prices on the market.
Here are your options:
Nextiva vFax has three plans to choose from: Single User, Small Business, Business Pro.
When you sign up for any of the plans, you can opt for monthly or annual billing. Annual billing will of course be more affordable than monthly billing.
The Single User plan costs $8.95/month with monthly billing and $4.95/month with annual. It includes 500 pages/month.
The Small Business plan is $17.95/month with monthly and $12.95/month with annual billing. It includes 1000 pages/month.
The Business Pro plan is $34.95/month with monthly billing and $29.95/month with annual billing. It includes 3000 pages/month.
Here are some of the features of Nextiva vFax:
- You can use the service to send faxes even from your traditional fax machine, with the help of their Nextiva Fax Bridge, which is an extra $150. It is just a one-time fee
- With Nextiva you can port your number easily. With this service you can get a local number for the entire US and Canada or a toll free number. Unfortunately, there are no international numbers available
- There are a lot of formats supported with this internet fax service. You can send/receive docx files, PDFs, txt, rtf, html, xml, pcl, eps, tiff, jpeg, gif, png and others. There are approximately 20 formats supported
- Your faxes are stored in the cloud for up to 6 months
- You can use most browsers to send faxes: Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome and others
- There is a free 30-day trial included with this service, which gives you the oportunity to test it before you actually pay a fee
- vFax is secure, it uses strong 256-bit SSL encryption and password protection as well
- The web interface is really user-friendly so even the less tech-savvy users will be able to figure out within minutes how to send a fax
- There is a scheduling feature so you don’t have to always keep your computer on
There is a shortcoming as well when it comes to Nextiva’s vFax service and that is the fact that it doesn’t include a mobile app. A lot of internet fax services offer mobile apps, too, so that’s definitely a drawback.
All in all though, vFax is one of the most affordable and user-friendly fax services you can find. While you don’t get as many features and integrations as with other internet fax services, Nextiva is a reliable, cheap and secure option.