If I ask you the last time you had to fax something to someone, chances are you’ll stare at me like I’m asking about the last time you rented a horse and carriage. But anyone who has dealt extensively with insurance or medical facilities or with certain legal organizations they will know that faxing has not disappeared.
So, suppose you suddenly find that you need to fax a copy of a document to a business, what do you do? You can find the nearest office supply store, many of which offer fax services. Or you can create a PDF of your document, assuming it’s not already a digital file, and send it via an online fax service.
There are several sites that will help you send and/or receive faxes online, some quick, simple and free for people who only need to send a few faxes, and others for those who may have more extensive faxing needs. . In this roundup, we assume that most of our readers fall into the first category, so we tested some of the free services. However, we also mentioned a few that you could try if you’re going to be sending more than a couple of faxes a month.
If you only send (or receive) a fax very occasionally, there are services that are completely free or only charge a small fee, depending on the number of pages being transmitted.
First, an admission: I’ve been using GotFreeFax for the past two years to send faxes, so I’m a bit biased in its favor. With that said, here’s how it works: You go to the main page and start entering your information, including your email. (Usually there are one or two ads at the top and/or bottom of the page.) The free service allows up to three pages (not including the front page, which is promised ad-free) and up to two faxes. per day. You will then receive an email with a verification link; once you click on that link your fax will be sent and you will receive another email once the fax is delivered.
If you have a longer fax to send, the fee (paid through PayPal) depends on how many pages you need to fax, starting at $0.98, which will allow you to fax up to 10 pages, $1.98 for up to 20 pages, and $2.98 for up to 30 pages. You can upload up to 10 PDF files per fax. There are also a variety of prepaid merchant services.
Just like GotFreeFax, FaxZero makes it very easy to send a single fax: just go to its home page and start typing: provide your name, email address and phone number and recipient’s name, company (optional) and the fax number. (You must also type a confirmation code to prove that you are human.) There’s a window for you to type any cover letter you’d like to include, and you can attach up to three files. You are limited to three pages (not including the cover page) and you can send up to five faxes a day; if you need to submit more than three pages, $2.09 will get you up to 25 pages.
A confirmation email is then sent to you; once you’ve clicked the link in the email, your fax will be sent. You also get a link to a confirmation page and an email will be sent to you once the fax has been successfully delivered.
It only took a couple of minutes for my fax to be delivered; because it was a free fax, the front page was decorated with a large FaxZero logo (the paid version does not have the logo). The page I had written the fax on changed to tell me the fax had been sent successfully, gave me the time and date, allowed me to make a copy of the confirmation, and invited me to contribute to a tip jar.
FaxBetter is unusual in that it does not offer free faxing. sending — offers free fax reception. When you sign up, you’re assigned your own dedicated toll-free fax number, which FaxBetter says you can keep as long as it’s used at least every seven days. If you miss that deadline, you won’t lose copies of your faxes, but you will have to wait 24 hours after you sign in to get a new fax number. Get notified by email when a fax arrives, and FaxBetter provides enough storage space for about 1,000 pages. You have a monthly limit of 50 pages.
Like many free services, there are ads, and some of the ads are somewhat misleading, so make sure you don’t accidentally install an unwanted app. That being said, FaxBetter offers an unusual and useful resource. I got a fax sent within about five minutes or so, which, for a free service, isn’t bad. And if you need to give someone a number so they can fax you a document, this is a convenient way to arrange it.
FaxBest Premium starts at $5.95 per month and adds the ability to fax 500 pages per month (additional pages at $0.02 each) with no seven-day deadline on your fax number.
Temporary free faxing
If you’re only hoping to send two or three faxes, period, you might as well try Dropbox Fax or Fax.Plus. These offer, respectively, five and 10 free faxes before you have to sign up for a paid subscription.
If you already have a Dropbox account, then you have a Dropbox Fax (formerly HelloFax) account (although you can also register separately). Once you sign in or register, you can send five faxes for free; after that, you pay $0.99 per fax for faxes up to 10 pages and $0.20 per additional page.
Unsurprisingly, Dropbox fax has a few more features than completely free services. You can upload a file to fax or pull from Dropbox (obviously), Google Drive, Box, Evernote, or OneDrive (for any of these, you need to link your account first). When you upload a PDF, you can fill in any field and sign in online before submitting. And while your fax will be sent in the usual black and white format, you can also request a high-resolution color version (your recipient will be sent a link to claim within 72 hours).
If you decide you like Dropbox Fax, pricing starts at $9.99 per month for up to 300 pages from up to five senders. This also gives you the ability to receive faxes and send them to multiple recipients.
Fax.Plus is a professional fax service that allows you to send up to 10 faxes for free before you have to choose a paid account. After signing up (which includes verifying on your phone), you’re presented with the main page (which lets you know right away that you can’t send a fax because you’re not a paying customer).
That being said, Fax.Plus offers quite a few options, which should come in handy, especially if you think you may send multiple faxes in the future. For example, when you send a fax, you can attach one or more files (up to 30MB), including those from Google Drive or Dropbox, or write a message right there. Your cover (if you create one) is included in the page count. You can also submit an image and choose which, the text or the image, should be optimized in terms of quality. You can send your recipients copies of the fax by email.
After the first 10 pages are free, Fax.Plus’ basic plan starts at $8.99/month / $89.99/year and includes 200 pages/month and $0.10 per additional page; you also get a fax number, multiple recipients, and unlimited storage, among other features. The company claims that it provides high security measures, including HIPAA compliance.
paid fax services
Speaking of which, there are a variety of other paid services, most of them geared towards businesses that need to send faxes for legal or other reasons. Various, like mFax and SRFax, specialize in HIPAA compliance and other specialty fax services. Others, like metrofaxoffer a variety of business functions.
But for most of us suddenly faced with the need to use a technology we thought was outdated years ago, one of the free or nearly free services like FaxZero or GotFreeFax will probably work just fine.