Fog Creek Software
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Fax reception providers

OK, a little off topic here, but I figure some of you small shop / home office folks have this all figured out.

Has anyone looked into one of those services where you pay some small fee each month and in return get a (1) dedicated direct fax number (not a number with a mail box) that goes into some server someplace, and then (2) you can retrieve your faxes via email or a web interface?  I know some of these services offer voice mail as well.

Looking for some company that offers this that is reliable, reasonable, and won't go out of business next week.

Two "gold" Glengarry leads for the best suggestion, delivered by Ricky Roma himself.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Hi Mitch & Murray,

I went through this search about six months ago. I tried, but they were pretty terrible. I then tried, who I have been very happy with. I just need them for recieving faxes, not sending them, so their $15/year package is what I'm using. Meets my needs perfectly, is reasonably priced, and has worked great for the last 6 months for me.


Tuesday, April 8, 2003

I've also been using for a little over a year.  I have been very pleased with them.  I have the Plus plan because I wanted to choose my own number.  I was able to get one in my same area code but not local to me.  It has worked out well considering that I only get about 10 faxes a year.

Jonathan A.
Tuesday, April 8, 2003


Its free, but may not necessarily be fit for purpose.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

We use the email<->fax service and I've heard no complaints so far.

Jamie Anstice
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

I can second the recommendation for

If you need to both send & receive faxes, their service is great. To receive a fax, you've got a dedicated fax number. To send a fax, you attach your document (pdf, doc, txt, xls, etc) to an email and send it to It's really convenient to use, and as a side effect, you can keep an archive of all the faxes you've ever sent.

Benji Smith
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

(The email address for sending efax documents is the fax number your sending to (not always 18015551212)).

Pretty obvious. But I didn't want to be ambiguous.

Benji Smith
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Third vote for efax - absolutely painless and transparent to outside senders. Faxes just show up in my inbox.


Tuesday, April 8, 2003

I know about Efax.  I thought I had read someplace somewhere that they had major funding problems and were a likely candidate for The Tank.  Anyone know if they are cash flow positive?

Anyone try

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

eFax is now owned by j2.  Right now, the second story on the front page of is about j2.

j2 also owns

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Upon perusing their web site, I note with dismay that the same j2 that owns eFax also markets a product that appears to be designed primarily, if not solely, for junk faxing.  It's worth questioning whether you want to be involved with a company like this.  Of course, if you only want to receive faxes, it's free, but then you have the same caveats as with other free services.

Have you considered a fax modem on your PC and a second phone line, along with software to collect the faxes?  This might be a more stable route to go, as you won't have to worry about your modem going out of business...

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

We have a full-time fax machine and a dedicated phone line for it.  My interest in this subject is for something a little different ...

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Sorry.  I have a bad habit of answering the question I think someone should have asked rather than the question they actually asked.  It's going to get me into trouble someday, I have no doubt.

Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Until just today I had an 'Accessline' PBX account. Accessline provides a virtual PBX service that lets you basically rent the ability to maintain a fax and voice mail message box, along with real time call forwarding and diversion to alternate numbers based on the number of rings. The advantage is that you can set up Accessline with multiple extensions that are directed to individuals' greetings. The price of the full blown PBX service was about $24/mo through a partnership with Costco. One disadvantage for small virtual operations is that they only support one PIN so everyone has to share the same PIN.

Accessline also has a simpler individual 'message' account that only provides a fax and voicemail account with no forwarding. The price for this through Costco is $4.99/month.

I've found their service to be generally very reliable, and the $4.99 probably can't be beat by too many other services, even Maxemail. The only lack is that voicemail can only be downloaded through their web interface - they do not currently have an option for delivery of voice messages.

All I ask when I get that gold lead is that Ricky Roma doesn't ransack my office or sell me swamp land in Florida. :-)

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, April 9, 2003

I've used faxwave by callwave (see with great success over the past couple of years.

+ free (but see below)
+ no spam that I can trace to them
+ fax via email is readable with standard Windows progs
+ reliable - never missed a fax, very fast -- but I receive ~1 fax/week on average

+ free means the phone number is somewhere else
+ free means will they survive longer term
+ no paid version to get a local phone number
+ minor: each email with the attached fax does have an ad in it - but I only read the fax not the email so I don't notice except it gets flagged by my spam checker (which I could probably special case)

Your mileage may vary :-).

Michael Mee
Thursday, April 10, 2003

I've used efax in the past as well, but was not impressed enough to switch providers (it was more expensive for our needs and I was getting more junk faxes).

Our current provider is Canadian provider - Protus ( They are cheap and reliable in our experience.  They are also a local Ottawa company, so since we are too I figure I could always go hassle them in person if something went wrong.

We've had a Protus fax number since 1998.

I highly recommend them, especially if you are located in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary or Vancouver.  Those are the locations for which they provide a local phone number (although you can also forward your existing fax number or get a North America-wide toll free number).

My two cents, anyway.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

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