An online fax service may be useful as this ancient tech fades from newsrooms

Is your fax machine sitting in the corner collecting dust while barely spitting out a fax per week, or is it pouring out troves of spam with only every hundredth page revealing anything useful?

Fax machine
Photo by Joanna Kopik from FreeImages

While most newsrooms have dropped fixed-line telephones for mobile devices, you can often find an ancient, yellowing fax machine sitting in the corner. But isn’t it time this too went the way of the landline?

An online fax service may be the way to retain this dinosaur communication technology while helping to sift through spam and direct useful messages to the right person.

It could also increase office security and save cash.

Many newsrooms still require fax capabilities on an irregular basis, and an online service can retain your ability to send and receive faxes without needing a physical machine and single point of distribution.

An online fax service means you can access the service from any desk in your office, store incoming and outgoing faxes in one searchable archive, integrate with mobile phones and remote staffers, filter spam easily and integrate with more modern communication systems.

But what should you look for in a fax service apart from the usual price point, customer service, and reliability factors?

Here at Real Press we’ve rounded up some lesser known advice for finding the best online fax offerings here, so if you are interested in dropping that old fax line rental and regaining a little office space, read on.

  • A free service is not going to cut it. While a free fax service may let you send faxes it is not going to receive them, at least not using a permanent and trustworthy phone number. And it is not likely to be as reliable and secure as you want, even if only sending.
  • Most online fax suppliers try to bundle with telephone and video conferencing services, and if this is their only fax offering you should look elsewhere. Let’s face it, the days of having to pay rental for an unused landline number in order to get a home internet connection is gone, so if you have untangled your office from the increasingly useless landline era, why go back to it?
  • Beware of hidden or extra charges. Setup fees and overuse fees are as antiquated as fax machines themselves. Also watch out for excessive fees for toll-free numbers.
  • Decide where you want you fax number to be localised to so you can rule out services that don’t supply these country codes. If you feel you need fax numbers in multiple countries you may be further narrowing your choice of suppliers.
  • Look for clear cancelation policies. You don’t want to spend hours on the phone cancelling a service that failed to live up to its promises.
  • Check the integrations and apps fit all of your needs. At the very least you need Windows, Android and IOS suitability. But you may also need MacOS. Look for email integration as an added benefit but beware of options that only work as an email integration as this narrows your options.
  • Look for multiple file formats. Receiving faxes only in old fashioned TIF format is annoying because of the larger file sizes. But more importantly, you will need to be able to send using multiple formats such as PDF, JPG.
  • Look for adaptability. You could easily find yourself wanting to change your fax number and this shouldn’t be a huge task.
  • Ensure that sending services will supply a delivery confirmation. This was always possible to see in old fashioned fax machines and you will still want that option for an online system.

Once you have considered these points it is time to start researching.

Beware of reviews that to focussed on a country you are not interested in as they will undoubtedly concentrate on services based there, which may not fit your needs.

There are many reviews of fax services out there, and some of them are easily recognised marketing ploys, so look for pages from reputable review sites.

Tom’s Guide has been around a long time and can be trusted more than most.

So has PC Mag UK.

And TechRadar.

Lastly, before you decide it may be worth looking up your shortlisted services in Trustpilot. Happy faxing!