Many believe faxing to be outdated and obsolete. And although the fax machine now has its place in technological nostalgia, the need to send documents securely over the internet remains. The good news is that you can now leverage modern technology to fax without a fax machine.

Faxes are still the go-to method of sending important documents quickly and securely. With the internet, you can now send them directly from your computer.

In this article, we give you five simple steps to get started.

Send Faxes Over the Internet in 6 Easy Steps

Without the need for paper, ink, a phone line, or a fax machine, sending faxes has never been easier. Here are six steps to take to start sending faxes via the internet.

  1. Choose the best online faxing service for your needs
  2. Set up the service with your chosen provider
  3. Get up-to-date on online faxing best practices
  4. Compose your documents and prepare them for sending
  5. Start sending and receiving faxes
  6. Manage your sensitive documents and properly store your records

Step 1: Choose the best online faxing service for your needs

If you want to send faxes over the internet, there are several different options for doing so. But they aren’t all created equal.

There are several reasons to use an online faxing service:

  • Ease of Use: You don’t need a fax machine, phone line, printer, or extra hardware. All you need is a subscription to your chosen software provider and a WiFi connection, and you’re ready to start.
  • Security: Online faxing is a secure and reliable way to send documents online. The data transmission is encrypted, which makes it almost impossible for hackers and unauthorized users to intercept your information.
  • Cost Savings: Using an online faxing service saves money on hardware and recurring phone line costs. You also save time, as you don’t have to wait for the document to print out and be physically sent via a fax machine.
  • Going Green: You can send and receive faxes without paper or ink. Since it is much less resource-intensive than traditional methods, online faxing is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint.

But the right faxing service for you will depend on the size of your business and its needs. Take some time to research the different options available and decide which one best suits your requirements.

RingCentral's faxing landing page
RingCentral makes it easy to start sending faxes over the internet today.

To choose the right vendor for your needs, consider the following:

  • Assess your faxing needs. Knowing the volume of documents you need to send and the level of security required is vital. If you send sensitive documents (e.g., healthcare records), you’ll need a HIPAA-compliant service like Sfax. You’ll also want to consider the industry you’re in and the specific features that are important for your business.
  • Look at the features offered. Different providers have different features like cloud storage integration, mobile app support, and recurring faxes. If your company already uses VoIP phone services, you may want a fax/phone bundle like Ooma.
  • Compare costs. Prices vary widely between vendors, so compare to find the best deal for your budget. If you plan to use the service less, you can use a per-fax pricing plan. If you plan to use it more than a few times a month, you’re probably better off paying for the monthly service.
  • Look at multiple vendors. It’s important to shop around and evaluate multiple providers to find the best fit for your business.
  • Read user reviews. Online faxing services can be hit or miss, so read what other customers have to say before making your decision.

Once you’ve chosen the right provider, you can set up your service and send faxes in no time.

Step 2: Set up the service with your chosen provider

Once you’ve decided on a provider, setting up the service is easy. All you need to do is sign up for an account and configure the settings.

Most providers offer both a free trial and a paid plan, so you can test out the service before committing to it.

If you opt for a paid plan, the setup process usually involves verifying your credit card information and signing up for a subscription. Most providers also allow you to test out their services with a limited number of faxes during the trial period.

When you sign up for a service, you will also get a dedicated fax number, which you can use to send and receive faxes.

Once your account is set up, you can access the provider’s dashboard and start sending faxes over the internet.

Step 3: Get up-to-date on online faxing best practices

When it comes to online faxing, there are some best practices that you should be aware of.

Make sure that your computer is protected by up-to-date anti-virus software. As the documents you’re sending and receiving are sensitive, you don’t want them to be exposed to malware or viruses.

When you’re sending documents, make sure to encrypt them. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it much harder for unauthorized users to access your information. To do so, you will need to use a secure file format like PDF.

Delete any sensitive documents that you no longer need. As online faxing does not require a physical paper trail, it’s important to make sure that all sensitive information is securely deleted once you no longer need it.

Be aware of security risks. Online faxing is a convenient way to send documents, but missent information, lost data, and hacking can all be real risks. To protect your data, make sure to keep track of who you’re sending documents to and confirm with the recipient that they’ve received the documents.

Have a backup plan for emergencies. Make sure that you have a backup plan in case your provider experiences technical issues or outages.

Step 4: Compose your documents and prepare them for sending

Creating your faxable document is easy. Most fax services allow you to upload documents from your computer or drag and drop them into the online service.

Depending on the document type, there are several different ways you can do this:

  • Branded PDF Files: Larger companies have branded PDF files that they use as templates for faxes, which you can easily upload to your fax service.
  • Word Documents: Word documents are the simplest type of document to send and receive. Simply save your file as a PDF and upload it to the fax service.
  • Images: If you need to send an image, make sure it is in a high-resolution format like JPG or PNG.
  • Fill-In Forms: Forms that require filling in can be scanned and uploaded as a PDF to the fax service.
  • Private Records: Especially for sensitive documents (e.g., medical records, tax forms), make sure to encrypt the document before sending.

The process for composing your faxable documents will be different depending on what exactly they are. But in general, you should make sure that the documents are small enough to be sent as one fax.

If you’re sending a document from an online source such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word, you should make sure to download it in a PDF format first. This will help ensure the integrity of your files and reduce file size.

Once you’ve downloaded the document, you can then prepare it for sending by adding a cover page. A cover page is like an envelope for your fax and will help to ensure that the recipient knows what documents you’re sending them before they even open the file.

Step 5: Start sending and receiving faxes

After you have prepared your documents, you can start sending and receiving faxes.

Faxing wirelessly and faxing over the internet are fairly similar—both processes involve sending documents through the web. When you are faxing over the internet, your documents will be sent via an online protocol such as FTP or secure file sharing. This means that they won’t be transmitted through a physical phone line like traditional faxes.

There are two ways to send faxes over the internet:

  • On your mobile phone
  • Via a computer or laptop

If you choose to send a fax from your mobile phone, you can use your providers for iPhone or Android to do so. Alternatively, if you’d rather send a fax from your laptop or computer, there are several online services that offer faxing solutions. Usually, you will also have the option of sending it to their email address.

In any case, you will need a secure WiFi connection to send the fax successfully.

When you’re ready to send a fax, all you need to do is enter the recipient’s fax number, upload your documents, and hit send. Depending on your provider, you may even be able to send multiple files in one instance.

If you’re expecting faxes from other people, simply provide them with your online fax number and let them know where they can find the documents they need to send.

Once a fax has been successfully sent, you’ll receive an email notification. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to keep track of important documents and make sure that they have reached the intended recipient.

And once a fax has been received, you can easily view or print it from your online account.

Step 6: Manage your sensitive documents and properly store your records

Data privacy is important to your company and the people you work with. Thus, using a strong encryption system is essential to keep your sensitive documents secure. This will help protect the information from unauthorized access and prevent any data leakage or hacking attempts.

There are several different types of encryption you can use, such as AES, RSA, and PGP. Each of these systems will protect your documents with a unique key that only you know.

Also, make sure to store your faxed records properly. Depending on the nature of the information in them, you may need to store them for a set amount of time. You can easily keep track of all your records using an online document management system. This will help you easily access them should you ever need to refer back to them in the future.

You should also organize them so you can easily find them when you need them.

Final Thoughts About Sending Faxes Over the Internet

Although fax machines are a thing of the past, the use of fax technology has only become more commonplace in the modern office—especially with the rise of digital documents. This is why learning how to send faxes over the internet can be so helpful in helping you stay organized and efficient.

When setting up online faxing for your business, make sure to choose a reliable provider that suits your specific needs and take the necessary steps to protect your sensitive documents. And most importantly, make sure to follow the steps outlined above for a successful experience.