How to Fax Over the Internet (in 5 Easy Steps)

January 20, 2020 6 min read

Gaetano DiNardi

Gaetano DiNardi

This is an illustration of a fax machine in the cloud

Internet faxing involves sending and receiving fax documents using your internet connection.
This is quite different from the original way of faxing, which required a traditional fax machine and a phone line to connect it to.
Simply put, even if your recipient still uses a standard fax machine, you don’t need one. You can fax over the internet and eliminate the need for expensive, complex technology.
Online faxing essentially turns your documents into a format that a fax machine can read—and vice versa. Luckily, there’s no learning curve involved to get started with this.
All you need is an internet connection and a solid online faxing setup. And if you’re still unsure what that setup looks like or how faxing over the internet even works, you’re in the right place!

How to Fax Over the Internet:

  1. Sign up for an online faxing service
  2. Choose your fax number
  3. Attach your document(s) to your email or a new fax message
  4. Your faxing service translates the attachment and sends it
  5. The recipient’s fax machine decodes the data and prints the fax

Faxing Online Overview: The Transition From Fax Machines to Online Faxing

Checklist: What you need to fax online

As the business world decreases its dependence on paper, email has grown so much. Attaching PDFs, text documents, and graphics to an email and sending them takes seconds.
Unlike with standard faxing, there’s no printing or waiting by a machine involved.
However, faxing is still among the most secure ways to send and receive sensitive information and confidential documents. Many industries rely on it for that exact reason—emails are often too exposed to security issues and cyber threats.
This is where faxing over the internet comes in. It makes the most out of both worlds. It sends documents securely as fax pages, but it doesn’t require you to own and maintain a physical fax machine, fax servers, special fax modem, or additional software. Forget about replacing the toner in your fax machine!

Here’s what you need to fax online:

  • An internet connection
  • An email account
  • A subscription to an internet fax service

With this setup, you can easily send faxes and receive incoming faxes. The best part? You can get started in a matter of minutes.

How Does Online Faxing Work? 5 Steps to Fax Over the Internet

Ready to start sending and receiving faxes over the internet? You’ll get to learn how internet fax works and the steps you’ll take to start using it.
An online fax service uses the same technology in the backend, but instead of a traditional fax machine, it works from an online dashboard.

Step 1: Sign up for an online faxing service

To get access to such an online interface to send and receive faxes through, you need to sign up for an internet fax service. Our vFAX service is one example of it.
Creating your account shouldn’t take longer than a minute or two. It usually involves entering your name, company name, email, and phone number, as well as address and payment details.
Many services will give you free pages to send and receive (or a time-based free trial) before starting your paid plan.

Step 2: Choose your fax number

When creating your account, you’ll also choose your fax number.
If you already have a fax number, your fax service of choice should let you transition it over easily.
If you don’t have a number, you’ll be assigned a toll-free or a regular fax number. You can usually choose your area code and select from multiple available fax numbers.
You can then provide this number to anyone that wants to send you faxes—they’ll simply enter it as the recipient’s fax number.

Step 3: Attach your document(s) to your email or a new fax message

You can use your online fax service in two ways:

  • Through its dashboard
  • Using your standard email service

In your dashboard, you’ll simply follow the prompts to enter your recipient’s fax number and attach your text documents, PDFs, or images to your fax message.
In your email, you can attach your documents to a new email. Then, you’ll enter your recipient’s fax number in the To: field, followed by the name of the service you’re using. For Nextiva, it looks like this: [email protected].

Step 4: Your faxing service translates the attachment and sends it

Your fax message is then converted into a format that a fax machine can read on the receiving end of your message.
The fax service sends it over the phone line. This process can take up to a few minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the documents you sent.

Step 5: The recipient’s fax machine decodes the data and prints the fax

…or they’re using one of the online faxing services and gets an email or a smartphone ping that a new fax is waiting for them.
Either way, the document is now in their hands or on their computer, and they can view it immediately.

Fax Over Internet With Nextiva

When you’re choosing between online faxing services, you want faxing to become easier—not more complex or time-consuming.
This is exactly why Nextiva vFAX is super simple to use. Here’s how you can use online faxing in two ways with Nextiva.

How to use Nextiva’s vFAX

Once you’ve signed up for vFAX, you’ll have your login information, and you’re good to go. Here’s where to start:

  1. Log in from Nextiva vFAX login page with your login credentials
  2. Click Send a Fax
  3. Enter the recipient information, such as recipient’s fax number, name, as well as sender name and fax subject
  4. Add attachments to your fax, such as images, PDFs, Microsoft Office files, text files, and cover page formats (up to ten files per fax)
  5. Review your fax and assign its type and folder, so it’s easy to find in the future
  6. Send!

If you want to receive a fax, all you need to provide to your sender is your fax number, which you can find your vFAX settings.
When you receive a fax, you’ll receive an email notification. You’ll also be able to view all your incoming faxes from your vFAX dashboard.

How to Fax via Email

Faxing over email is extra handy if you’re on the go and need to send a fax. Your email service is probably already open, so if you want to skip logging into your online faxing dashboard—you can.
Here’s how to send a fax via email with your Nextiva vFAX subscription:

  1. Retrieve the fax number you’re looking to send a fax to
  2. Open your usual email service and start creating a new email
  3. In the To: field, enter the fax number followed by ([email protected])
  4. Add up to ten files as email attachments
  5. Add text to the body of the email if you want to add additional notes
  6. Send!

Related: How to Send and Receive Faxes Online Without a Fax Machine

Advantages of Faxing Online

You now know how to fax online. But if you’re still not convinced on the ‘why’ part of it, check out these advantages.

  • Send and receive faxes anywhere, anytime: It’s a great addition to a remote team. And if you have multiple offices, you’ll benefit from online faxing whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise.
  • You no longer have to pay a small fortune just to fax: From equipment maintenance to long-distance charges, all extra costs disappear thanks to the flat-fee nature of internet faxing.
  • Secure documents: Traditional fax machines print out a fax, which stays there until someone picks them up. Online faxing delivers documents to the correct recipient immediately.
  • Do all of this and more without any actual fax machines: Faxing used to be slow due to busy signals and required training your staff. You can now skip all that without losing the benefits of traditional faxing.

Start Faxing Online—It’s Easy

Online faxing doesn’t have to be expensive, tedious, or complicated.
Nextiva vFAX isn’t just easy to get used to—it’s also affordable and packed with features you’ll love.
Plans start at $4.95 for 500 pages per month (that’s plenty!), and you can try vFAX out for free for 30 days. There’s no contract required, so there’s no risk to you.
With vFAX, you can:

  • Easily send faxes to anyone with a physical fax machine or online faxing service
  • Keep your current fax number or pick a new one from the area code of your preference
  • Set up online faxing plans for your entire company
  • Use your mobile device, PC, or tablet to send and receive faxes

Sounds good? Head over here to grab your free 30-day trial of Nextiva vFAX. You’ll be ready to use online faxing within minutes.

Free yourself from the fax machine.
Send 500 faxes for only $4.95!
Fax Now
Gaetano DiNardi


Gaetano DiNardi

Gaetano DiNardi led demand generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker, and Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter. He’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy, and loves making music to stay turbocharged.

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