Internet Fax - Online Article

Internet or online faxing is a relative new invention that is quickly gaining in popularity with many fax users. Countless businesses, large and small, are switching their daily faxing chores over to this new online phenomenon. Likewise, many individual fax users are also switching their faxing needs over to an Internet fax service.

The major reason for this switch has to do with the savings you gain -- Internet Fax can be MUCH cheaper than using the old traditional method with a fax machine and an extra phone line.

Yet despite this growing popularity, many would-be customers still have many unanswered questions about this new way of faxing. Frequently asked questions that need to be answered in a simple and honest manner.

So here's a brief run-down of the most popular questions about Internet Fax:

What is Internet Faxing ?

Email or Internet fax is simply using your email system and the Internet to receive and send your faxes. Anytime. Anywhere.

Major advantage - instead of a bulky fax machine and an extra phone line; you can use your current email and an online fax service provider. The most popular Internet Fax Services are MyFax, eFax, Send2Fax, RapidFAX and TrustFax. These fax providers will charge you a small monthly fee for their services.

Just How Does An eMail Fax Work ?

Internet Fax works by using your email. You receive and send faxes by using your email system and the Internet.

First, you must set up a local or toll-free number with one of the Internet Fax Service Providers. Then you use this fax number to receive and send faxes via email.

Most, if not all, Internet Fax services will let you use an online site (Web Interface) to do your faxing. Or you can use an email program like Windows Outlook. Many Internet Fax Providers also give you a free desktop application download that you can place on your desktop to send and receive faxes. Most will also work with Windows Office Documents.

You can access your faxes wherever you have the Internet, this is great for busy mobile professionals, onsite workers, business travelers or just the ordinary person on vacation.

How Do I Read An Inbound Fax ?

Incoming or inbound faxes are delivered to you as an email, with the fax as a file attachment. This file attachment will usually be a TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), or it can be PDF, JPG or other formats.

To view these File Attachments or faxes you will need a viewer. Most computers have an Adobe Acrobat Reader which will read PDF files. Also, you should note, the latest version of Windows has a built-in viewer -- just double-clicking the file attachment will automatically pop-up the Windows Fax Viewer. Then you can then zoom in and out, move between the fax pages...

Please note -- most services recommend that you NOT use any Graphics program like Paint Shop Pro to read faxes.

Will Email Fax Work With My ISP ?

Yes, provided you have set up an account with one of the external fax service providers listed in the resource box link below. These fax services are well suited to work with DSL, ADSL and ISDN Internet Cable Broadband Connections.

Is Tax To Email Private ?

No and Yes!

While many Internet Fax Providers use SSL and PGP encryption when sending your faxes and most email service providers are compliant with privacy regulations as Gramm-Leach-Bliley & HIPAA in the United States and PIPEDA in Canada, you are still using email and the Internet to send your faxes.

While encryption does insure safe transmission, many fax services will store your faxes online in their systems for a period of time, your faxes will be as safe or as private as your Provider's security measures.

Therefore, it is always a good idea, if you're worried about sensitive faxes -- to delete these from any online storage system ASAP. Keep in mind, any online site, no matter how secure may be hacked - including governments and banks, as you frequently read about.

If you're careful and take the right steps, email faxing can be relatively safe. But you should also ask yourself, how safe or private are ordinary phone lines if you're faxing old school?

How Are My Faxes Tracked ?

Usually, your fax service provider will have a couple of ways of notifying you about the success or failure of your fax. They will send you an email or you can log into your Internet fax account and track the status of your fax.

Many providers will also report to you the cost of each fax you send. If you're new to Internet faxing, always keep track of how much your online faxing is costing you or your company. Rates vary and you can cut costs by choosing the most appropriate plan and service to perfectly match your specific needs. This is one case where a little homework done now, will save you money over the long haul.

What Is Fax Broadcasting ?

Fax broadcasting is sending a fax out to a large group of recipients at one time. Most Internet Fax providers offer this service, especially to businesses or organizations that have to send a document to a large group of contacts. This is very similar to sending an email to all your opt-in list subscribers.

You can use your email contact list to send a Fax Broadcast.

Are Free Fax Services Really Free ?

Be very cautious of free Internet Fax providers, many times it is free only to receive faxes, but you will have to pay to send them. This free service may be worth your while if you only receive a few faxes in a month. Don't confuse this with 'Free 30 Day Trials' that most of these services provide where you can try and test a service to see if it is suitable for your needs.

Remember, if your faxing needs are very modest, you can pay a very small yearly amount to get faxing services for yourself or your business.

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