January 28, 2019 | Matt Gerchow We exist in the most technologically advanced century known to man. From sending hand-written messages through writing letters to telegram services at the post office, communication has come a long way. Then came the Fax machine, a device that was initially an efficient way of sending documents. Then the Internet happened and sharing files became easier and faster. But many people are unaware you can actually send a fax online.What Is a Fax?A fax (short for “facsimile”) is a scanned printed document that is sent through a telephone line to an output device such as an all-in-one printer/copier/fax machine. Originally this was done with dedicated fax machines, but many printers and copy machines eventually had the ability to send and receive faxes. In the 1980s and 1990s, faxes were the fastest way to deliver a document. Then the Internet happened and took over document transmission. There are still industries that use fax for document transmission, especially the medical world, which views faxes as more secure than online.What Is a Fax Machine?This is a device that uses a telephone network to electronically encode a scanned document so that it can be reproduced (printed) at the receiving end. Most modern fax machines are multi-use devices that also print computer documents and produce photocopies.How Does Sending a Fax Work?When using the traditional fax machine, you must first make sure that the device is connected to a telephone line. You then place your printed document into the fax machine's document feeder. The fax machine then dials the receiving fax machine. Once the two machines connect, the sending fax machine scans the document, then transmits the scan to be printed by the receiving machine. When you send a fax online, computers replicate this same process over the Internet.Do People Still Use Fax?Sending fax used to be a convenient way for businesses and government agencies to send important documents from one place to the other. Some still prefer using the old fax machine method, but most organizations that still have to fax will send a fax online.Online Faxing FAQWhat Is Online Faxing?It is a way of sending faxes between computers rather than having to resort to using a fax machine. It also works when one party has a fax machine, but the other party has a computer or smartphone.What Does Online Faxing Do?It uses fax servers on the internet to send a fax online rather than through telephone lines. The online fax servers can connect to a telephone line if that is what the receiving party has available.How Does Online Faxing Work?You need to have an Internet connection to send a fax online. Since internet faxing is a hosted service, you must subscribe to a third-party online service provider that will convert your e-mails to faxes and vice versa. Using the online services for online faxing is more convenient compared to doing it on your own. This is because you have to have a dial-up fax modem and special software in your computer to send faxes directly from your machine.Is Online Faxing the New Way to Send Information?It is an alternative way to send documents, which replicates an older, pre-Internet communications technology. Though some industries view it as more secure than attaching documents to email or sharing via virtual folders (such as Dropbox), it requires extra steps to send a fax online. Most people only resort to send a fax online when the recipient (such as a hospital) insists on receiving information by fax.Online Faxing Basics to KnowBefore sending and receiving faxes over the internet, there are basic and simple steps involved:The first step is they will assign you a toll-free or regular fax number by the Internet-fax service provider you have subscribed to.To receive your fax, the sender will have to dial the number they gave you and send it to you through a regular fax machine.Your fax-service provider will then receive the fax on your behalf before converting it to an e-mail attachment and send it to your email address, allowing you to view your fax through your computer or smartphone.What are the Advantages of Online Faxing?Advantages when you send a fax online:Using the internet is a cheaper alternative compared to the traditional fax machine where a separate telephone line is required just for the fax machine. With online fax, you will not have to bear extra costs in your business such as subscribing to a telephone line.Online faxing is cost-efficient as you do not have to purchase fax papers and toner which can be expensive.There is less hardware involved with online faxing. All one needs is their computer. It helps with saving office space in organizations as they do not have to accommodate bulky fax machines.Online faxing is an eco-friendly method as it requires no faxing papers. They will not cut trees down just to get a fax paper, therefore, it helps us conserve our environment.How We ReviewedWe noticed that some businesses still prefer using fax to send and receive important documents. We conducted online research to find out the best services offered for online faxing. Affordability, accessibility, and reliability were among the aspects we reviewed when coming up with this article. An online survey helped us determine the sites that businesses use most of the time to send and receive a fax.What We ReviewedaFax Online FaxFaxZeroGotFreeFaxFaxBetter FreeeFax FreePamFaxMyFax-Free TrialMs Word, Excel, Outlook, or PowerPointaFaxThis online fax service provider is among the best as they have an app that allows you to add faxing from Gmail. They give you a fax number that works like any other phone line so you will receive your fax from anywhere in the world.Your Gmail becomes a fax machine and you can use it to fax anywhere there is a good internet connection. With aFax, you can create a custom cover page for your fax if want to and they also alert you via message when you get new fax.aFax offers a first-30 day's free trial for anyone who wishes to use their app and for more information on their charges please visit the website given below.aFax.com – Send aFax from Gmail, Hotmail or OutlookFaxZeroFor this service provider, the key features include free 3 pages plus cover/ 5 faxes per day and additional pages will cost you around $2 per page. You can send and receive international faxes with them but they do not have on-site storage. Unlike aFax, they don't give you a dedicated fax number.GotFreeFaxLike FaxZero, they do not give you a free dedicated fax number but you get 3 free pages/ 2 faxes per day; you pay for additional pages. For up to 10 pages you will pay around $1, for 20 pages the cost will be around $2 and for 30 pages it will be around $3. They also have add-free cover pages but no on-site storage.FaxBetter FreeKey features of this service are; an add-free cover page with a free dedicated fax number. They allow up to 20 free pages per month with no cost for additional pages. This site allows international faxes and has on-site storage. You can subscribe for around $6 per month.eFax FreeYou can send and receive international faxes with eFax Free with a monthly subscription of around $17. You get to send 10 pages for every month but they do not provide you with a free dedicated fax number or an add-free cover page.PamFaxWith this provider, you get 3 free pages per day with around $5-$7 monthly subscriptions. However, you will not get services such as on-site storage and international faxes but they offer add-free cover pages. No free dedicated fax number.MyFax Free TrialHere you will enjoy features such as free dedicated fax number, add-free cover page, international faxes, and on-site storage. You can subscribe for around $10 per month.MS Word, Excel, Outlook, or PowerPointUsing these services will give you access to an unlimited number of free pages, add-free cover pages, international faxes, and on-site storage. There is no cost for additional pages but incur costs for your telephone service. For those who want to occasionally send a fax online, we recommend MyFax while RingCentral Fax for those who send powerful faxes regularly.What Is the Easiest Way to Send a Fax Online?The easiest way is to subscribe to an online fax service where your documents will be converted and sent for you.How Simple Is It to Receive a Fax Online?All that is needed is the sender to send you a fax via your online fax number which will then be received by your fax service provider and sent to you as an email attachment.ConclusionIt is easy for one to send a fax online provided they choose a good online fax service provider. We have only mentioned a few options you can take but there are more on the internet. We urge you to consult and research on your own too besides the information we have provided.Matt GerchowMatt Gerchow is an author, marketer, inventor, husband, father and yoga enthusiast. He enjoys travel to distant lands , fine wine, time with his family and dinner with friends.