A fax server is a system which is installed on a local network or in an Internet cloud environment, allowing computers connected to the network to send and receive faxes. The fax server makes it possible to fax from any internet-ready devices, including PCs, tablets or smartphones. The terminals do not require their own analog telephone line and can use existing email software or specific fax programs, such as eFax to send and receive the faxes.
When faxing by email, the actual fax document is sent as an attachment. The fax server is capable of sending faxes over the telephone network or over the internet to other fax machines or fax servers. When the server uses the Internet as its medium of transmission, this is called “online faxing”.
Software is installed onto the fax server which can control any fax-connected modems, integrated telephone interfaces or "fax over IP" interfaces which are connected to the server. Any documents transmitted to the server are converted into a fax format and sent via one of its interfaces. Received faxes are converted into an electronic format and delivered to the terminal connected via the network. Depending on the installation location of the fax server, the end users communicate with the server over the local network or over the Internet.
There are various different methods of sending faxes via a fax server. For example, a specific type of fax software or a fax app can be used. Frequently however, the faxes are sent directly from the email program. In such cases, no special software needs to be installed onto the terminals. Some solutions make use of a special virtual fax printer on the terminal. In this case, the user prints the out fax document from the printer. However, this does not create a paper printout, but sends the document to the fax server for storage. Another option is to provide your own web interface for sending and receiving faxes. The fax server provides incoming faxes in the form of file formats such as TIFF and PDF. They are then saved in a file folder to which the user has access. Alternatively, it is possible to retrieve the faxes by email or via a specific web page.
Using a fax server can significantly reduce the cost of faxing. The user does not need a specific hard-wired fax machine or a designated telephone line. This form of faxing is also completely paperless, allowing faxes to be accessed from virtually everywhere. If the fax server is publicly accessible via the internet, the installation and operation of a separate server is no longer necessary.