Try the #1 online fax service

Start faxing instantly with our free trial.

How it works

Step 1

Select your 800 or local number.

Step 2

Download the app or login online.

Step 3

Start sending & receiving faxes — from any device!

Why sign up for RingCentral Fax?

Experience the freedom of sending and receiving faxes anytime, anywhere, from any device.
Flexible faxing

Send and receive faxes from computers, smartphones and tablets with ease.

Security first

Rest easy knowing cloud fax securely transmits over an encrypted internet connection.

Advanced functionality

Send faxes online to groups, block faxes without caller ID, and receive notifications of all activity.

Online account and fax logs

View faxes that you have received and sent and see detailed electronic fax logs via your online account.

Diverse choice of numbers

Keep existing fax numbers or choose toll-free or local numbers.

No work interruptions

Don’t worry about being on the phone, you’ll still seamlessly receive your online fax messages.

Solutions for every type of business

Enjoy customized packages and send sensitive documents in a breeze.

Built to empower every team

Expand your fax plan as needed

Frequently asked questions
24/7 customer phone support available for RingCentral MVP customers with two or more users.*

Facsimile, more commonly known as faxing, is the transmission of documents (whether graphics or text) over phone lines. The process involves phone numbers and a means of inputting and receiving the delivered files.

Traditionally, faxing required users to employ fax machines (sometimes known as telecopiers). When sending copies of files, these devices scan and process a document, turning all its components into a single bitmap image before transmitting it through the phone system as audio frequency. When receiving files, the specialized hardware interprets the frequency and recreates the image, printing it out on paper.

More contemporary incarnations of faxing use fax servers instead of fax machines. A fax server is a technological setup that allows people to use computers as fax machines. This setup generally includes a computer with fax software (usually with a number associated with it), a fax modem, and a means of connecting to a network (either a phone line or an internet connection). When sending files, the fax servers process the document the way a traditional telecopier does. The only difference is that the file in question doesn't necessarily have to be a print document that the technology scans; it can be a digital copy. Similarly, receiving faxes via this setup entails decoding data and recreating an image—except this time, the file doesn't need to be printed. Instead, it can be sent via email or stored on the cloud as a PDF document.

Both traditional and computer fax are being used today, though faxing from your computer—online faxing, in particular—has become more popular.

There are different ways you can approach faxing from a computer, and it all starts with how you set it up.

Computers connected to a phone line: There are computers that have phone jacks, and you can use them to connect an active phone line to the hardware. From there, you can open the fax software on your computer (most computers that come with an OS include this type of software) and create your fax message by typing into the text fields or attaching a document the way you would from an email. Fill out the other fields in the program—this may vary depending on the OS—and then send your fax.                     

Through an internet fax service: If you sign up for an internet fax service, you won't need to worry about connecting a phone line to your computer. You just have to make sure it's connected to the internet. There could be some variations with regards to how you can send fax depending on the provider, but they generally allow you to use email-to-fax. Simply open your email client, attach the documents you want to send, enter the recipient's fax number followed by "@[onlinefaxprovider.com]" (in the case of RingCentral Fax, this would be [recipient fax number]@rcfax.com) and click send. With RingCentral, you can also use your mobile phone to send faxes—you just need to sign up for a plan that includes the faxing feature, download the RingCentral app, and send and receive faxes from there.                     

Faxing from a computer is exactly what it sounds like: you use a PC or Mac instead of a traditional fax machine to send and receive faxes.

This means you don't need to print out a document just so you can scan it using special hardware in order for it to be sent to your contacts, You won't need to wait right next to a fax phone for several minutes while it prints a message sent to you. Instead, you can transmit and get faxes from the comfort of your working area without having to take too much time away from your other work. You can just forward and view digitized documents through your email or fax software.

The only possible downside to this setup is that you'll need the computer and its fax program to stay on all the time if you don't want to miss incoming fax messages—but this is only true if you're still relying on a phone line connection. If you're signed up for a service like RingCentral Fax and use the internet to send and receive faxes, then the provider ensures that your faxes will be stored in a cloud-based inbox whether or not your computer is on.

Traditional faxing as we know it—that is, transmitting copies of text and image documents through telephone lines—made its first appearance in 1924 as an innovation by AT&T. They demonstrated its potential by transmitting 15 photos from Cleveland to New York through telephone networks. Some four decades later, Xerox Corporation introduced Magnafax Telecopiers to the world. These fax machines, which can be easily connected to regular phone lines, are quite user-friendly and made faxing more popular than it ever was before. The popularity of this method of communication, especially among businesses, continued until the early 21st century.

It was the rapid development and adoption of internet technology that eventually led to the rise of online faxing, which allowed people to use their personal computers and email accounts to fax rather than relying on specialized hardware.                     

Today, both traditional fax and internet fax are being used by businesses to send and receive copies of sensitive documents such as contracts, confidential patient data, and the like. But there is a continuous shift towards virtual faxing.

Internet faxing provides many advantages to users, making it an increasingly popular solution for today's businesses. Among other things:

Online faxing is more affordable: Because internet fax is a virtual solution that lets you use your personal computer for faxing, you won't need to get a fax machine. By extension, you also won't need to constantly spend money on after sales products like fax paper and toner (not to mention hardware maintenance). Instead, you'll only need to pay a monthly or annual fee. And that tends to be pretty low compared to the cost of keeping a specialized device.                     

Faxing via the internet is more efficient: Traditional fax requires you to print your document, walk over to your fax machine, dial the recipient's number, feed the printed file into the machine, and wait for it to transmit when you're sending a fax message. Receiving fax the traditional way is just as fiddly; you need to walk to the fax machine, accept the incoming fax, and wait for the file to be printed out. And that's if you don't run out of ink or toner or run into transmission issues. With online fax, you don't waste time. You can get some work done (no matter where you're working from) while sending and receiving faxes from your laptop or your mobile phone. In fact, you can even send a fax to multiple people at the same time and do it while you’re in transit. All you'll need is an internet connection or your cell phone service.                     

Confidentiality is less likely to be compromised: When you rely on a fax machine that's being used by everyone else in the office, there's a good chance that some of the faxed documents that are for your eyes only will be seen by people who shouldn't be seeing them. Virtual fax solutions like RingCentral send fax messages to an inbox (that only belongs to you) in the cloud or forward them to your email, ensuring that you're the only one who'll see the message.

It makes it easy to keep your faxes organized: Internet fax stores the faxes you've received in a virtual inbox, meaning you can sort through them more easily than if you needed to rifle through reams of printed paperwork. You can choose to not print any of the documents at all or only print the ones that require physical copies.                     

There are other advantages to using internet fax over traditional fax, but these are the most compelling.

At the most basic level, this is how a fax machine works when you're sending out a file:

  • The process is initiated when a user dials the recipient's phone number and feeds the file into the machine
  • It then proceeds to scan the document using light to detect color and white areas on the page.
  • The white and color patterns are translated into a binary signal that can be transmitted through a phone line.
  • It forwards the signal through the phone line.  
  • The binary signal is picked up by the fax machine.
  • The signal is decoded.
  • The information is forwarded to the device's printer.
  • The printer reproduces the image of the original document being sent.

The best online fax service is the one that serves your faxing needs most effectively—with an extra helping of providing the best value for your money.

If you're not running a company or if you have a business that doesn't need to send and receive faxes all that much, then you could be satisfied with pay-as-you-go types of internet fax solutions (or even free one-off solutions if you just need to forward and not receive files). But if your organization regularly deals with individuals and entities that rely on fax for security, legal documentation, and just plain compliance, you'll want to go with a subscription-based service. Either way, you won't have to spend as much on this as you would if you'd gone with a traditional fax service.

But how could you really know what's the best online fax service for your business, specifically? Here are a few things you'll want to look for:

Ease of use: While any virtual fax solution is infinitely better than sticking with an old-fashioned fax machine, some Software as a Service (SaaS) fax companies make faxing more intuitive and convenient for a broader spectrum of people. Almost all of the subscription-based providers have email-to-fax and fax-to-email functionality, but only a handful give you the ability to fax from your smartphones and tablets on top of faxing from your computer.

Security: One of the many arguments some still make in favor of traditional fax is that phone lines can be seen as more secure than internet connections and messages are less likely to be corrupted or intercepted with old-school faxing. And while this certainly could be true for some of the free and lower-priced options, this is rarely true for the providers at the top of their industry. These companies make it their mission to ensure optimum security and encryption for your private data. Each is met with varying degrees of success, though, so you'll really need to do your research on these providers.

Maximum efficiency: Sometimes, it's not enough that your online fax service is secure and easy to use. You want to ensure that it could fit seamlessly into your workflow, if not outright improve it. The very best internet-based fax service providers allow you to forward documents to multiple recipients at once, customize cover pages, and integrate your fax capabilities with your existing business tools.

Still not sure how to pick? You can try RingCentral Fax for free. It's one of the top internet fax providers in the industry.

Unless it's become a habit for you to refer to any internet-enabled device that you can use for faxing as a fax machine, you can't really say you do online fax with a fax machine. Strictly speaking, you don't need a fax machine when you're sending fax online—though you certainly could use your fax machine with your internet fax service if you want to. That said, if you're curious about all the ways through which you can fax files via the internet without having to rely on that good old piece of hardware, you could read about some of them below.

Through email:

  • Access your email account and start composing an email.
  • Attach the documents you want to fax.
  • In the "To" field, enter the recipient's fax number and append it with "@[yourvirtualfaxprovider.com]".
  • Click send.

Through software:

  • Make sure you have your service provider's software installed on your device and launch it,
  • Navigate to the fax composition window, and enter the information required in the fields.
  • Attach the files you want to fax.
  • Send.

Through integration of your business applications:

  • Make sure your online fax service is already integrated into the business app.
  • Find your fax provider's icon (alternatively, click the printer icon and choose fax as your printer).
  • Enter the information required in the fields.
  • Send the fax.

Want to send a fax online? Don't forget to sign up for an internet fax service. The majority of providers offer better than reasonable monthly or annual fees for their service with options for organizations based on the volume of faxes they expect to send and receive. This is ideal if your company needs to use fax regularly. If you're not 100% sure about committing to an online service just yet, don't worry--providers like RingCentral Fax offers free trials of their service.

That said, if you need to send a one-off fax right this minute, there are plenty of free browser-based faxing solutions out there. The quality of the experience can't be guaranteed, though.

There are many reasons why you, as a business owner, should send a fax online instead of using telephony. Here are some of the best ones:

It costs less: You can use your existing computers, smartphones, and tablets to send faxes to your contacts. There's no need for you to invest in a fax machine that not only takes up precious office space but also incurs after-sales and maintenance costs.

It lets you be more productive: Because it requires an internet connection and not a physical phone line, online faxing gives you the ability to fax from wherever you are (as long as you're connected to the internet). It also has the added bonus of allowing you to forward faxes to multiple recipients at once; fax machines only let you transmit to one recipient at a time.


It lets you do more: A traditional fax machine is only good for the old way of faxing, which involves processing the image of a physical document and translating it into data that can be delivered through a phone network. Internet-based faxing processes digital (soft copy) files and, depending on your service provider, can even give you the ability to fax directly from your favorite business and cloud storage apps through integrations.

So if you haven't tried sending fax online, we highly recommend that you do so.

Anyone can fax over the internet! All you'll need is an internet-capable device, an internet connection, and access to an online fax service.

Depending on your needs, you can go for a free browser-based faxing service or a paid service that includes software and dedicated fax numbers. Either option is very user-friendly compared to using the traditional fax machine.

With a subscription-based internet fax service, you get a virtual fax number that doesn't need to be assigned to a specific device. This means you can use any internet-connected device you have on hand—your computer, your smartphone, or your tablet—to check for fax messages. By extension, this also means that you can view, download, and organize your faxes no matter where you are because your faxes aren't stored in a physical location; they're all saved in a cloud-based inbox you get as part of your online fax service.

RingCentral Fax is an especially good option, because apart from providing you software for managing faxes from your computers and mobile devices (on top of access to a browser-based dashboard), you also have add-ons like fax alert options, group faxing capabilities, and integrations with cloud storage services like Box and Google Drive.

While email is certainly a more popular method of communication for business these days, there are reasons why some still prefer fax—traditional or virtual—for sharing critical files and information with clients and co-workers. Sometimes, it's because they're more comfortable and familiar with it. Other times, it's because faxing is part of their compliance processes. But the most important reason businesses still use fax is because it's considered more secure than email.

This isn't to say that email isn't secure at all. But in general, fax networks are encrypted from the get-go while applying encryption to your email service can take a bit of effort. Unencrypted connections are more vulnerable to data hacking, corruption, and interception—not a good thing when you're exchanging confidential or sensitive information.

In other words, until built-in encryption becomes a norm for emails, fax is definitely the safer option for sending and receiving private documents.

If you use internet faxing, then you can definitely fax without a phone line. That's because it relies on IP protocol, not telephone lines, to transmit fax messages.

It's actually as easy as sending an email: fill in the fields, compose the message (or attach the relevant documents), and send it out. Your internet-connected device processes the file's visual information, translates it, sends it through a fax gateway, and delivers it to the recipient.

With the exception of free and browser-based online faxing, which typically only allows you to do one-off faxing and doesn't give you a dedicated fax number, most internet fax service providers give you the ability to use your email client to send faxes.

All you need to do is open a new email message, input your recipient's phone number appended by your provider's designated fax email suffix (for example - RingCentral requires you to use "@rcfax.com") in the "To" field, fill in the subject line to generate a fax cover page, and then type your message in the message field or attach the documents you want to fax before clicking send.

It's quick, easy, and intuitive for a workforce that's more familiar with email than with fax.

There are two main ways by which you can send and receive fax online with RingCentral:

Fax from the RingCentral online account dashboard:

  • While logged in, look for the "FaxOut" icon (it looks like a piece of paper being printed out) on the upper right-hand corner of the window.
  • In the "To" field, enter the fax number you're sending a fax to. Make sure you're following the Country Code + Area Code + Phone Number format. Alternatively, you can just click the "Plus" icon and add the recipient from your contact list.
  • Attach the file or files you want to send. RingCentral lets you upload files from your computer and from cloud storage solutions like Box and Google Drive.
  • Click "Send Now".

Fax from your email:

  • Make sure your account is set up so that it associates your email with your RingCentral account. To do this, log in to your online dashboard and update your user details.
  • Open a new message on your email client.
  • Enter your recipient's 10-digit fax number in the "To" field followed by "@rcfax.com". If your recipient is using an international number, don't forget to add a plus sign at the very beginning.
  • Type a description in the "Subject" field if you'd like to add a fax cover page to your message. Alternatively, attach your custom fax cover page.
  • Attach the documents you want to send. You can attach up to 20MB of files.
  • Ensure that there is nothing in the email body. No signatures, images, or footnotes.
  • Click "Send".

BONUS method—fax directly from your favorite business apps:

  • Make sure you've activated integrations for your RingCentral account. To do this, log in to your dashboard and navigate to the “Tools” section.
  • Open the file you want to fax and find the print option.
  • Choose RingCentral Internet Fax as your printer and click "Print". That will initiate the RingCentral faxing program.

If you want to send a fax to more than one recipient using RingCentral Fax, input the details of all your recipients in the "To" field. This works for both faxing from your dashboard and email-to-fax.


This only works if you're sending the document to a maximum of 50 people. If you need to forward it to 51 or more individuals, send the fax in batches. This can be tedious, though, so you may want to use Fax Broadcasting instead.

This is how Fax Broadcasting with RingCentral works

  • Make sure Fax Broadcasting is enabled on your account. To do this, you will have to reach out to your system's administrator so that they can start the process of getting it enabled.
  • Once that's enabled, you can send faxes to more than 50 individuals at once.

Faxing with the RingCentral app for desktop is incredibly easy. Just do the following:

  • Launch the RingCentral app on your computer.
  • Click on "Phone" in the left side menu.
  • Click on the "Faxes" tab.
  • Look for the compose fax icon (it's the one that looks like a piece of paper being printed out), and then click it.
  • In the pop-up window, enter the fax number or, if you're faxing to someone in your address book, your recipient's name in the first field.
  • Choose a fax design from the drop-down—if you want to see what the designs look like, just click the eye icon next to the dropdown after selecting a design.
  • Type in a company name and cover page note in the relevant fields if you want to include them in your message.
  • Attach the document you want to fax.
  • Click “Send".

If you're signed up for a RingCentral Fax account, you can get integrations for applications like Box, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft Outlook®.

You'll only be able to integrate RingCentral into more business apps if you upgrade to a RingCentral MVP account.

Recognized as the industry leader
Synergy Research Group logo
Omdia logo
Forbes logo
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited logo
PC Magazine logo
Frost & Sullivan logo
TMCnet logo
Get started with a 7-day free trial
A sales advisor will contact you for a personalized, informative demo on the key features and benefits of a cloud phone system.
Thank you for your interest in RingCentral Fax
A solutions specialist will contact you within 1 business day

Important details and disclaimers