Traditionally, when a business wanted to create a phone system including an automated answering message and routing tree, they would have to deploy a private branch exchange (PBX) system. This was usually a physical server that lived on premises (where the business was based). Think space, noise, hassle—and equipment to maintain and troubleshoot.
These days, companies don’t need to even deploy a true phone system to take advantage of amazing phone connectivity or advanced features, including intelligent call routing. Voice over IP (VoIP) means that voice traffic can travel through the internet—the same one you’re using to read this article. If you’ve ever held a call on Skype or WhatsApp, then you’ve used VoIP. But it’s also available as mature, business-scale solutions. Cloud-based VoIP systems bring all the benefits of the best VoIP systems, but are hosted entirely in the cloud—on someone else’s infrastructure. Think no space, noise, hassle—but all the benefits of VoIP (including cost savings).
Cloud-based VoIP systems can provide the same functionality as traditional PBXs. There’s no messy infrastructure to maintain. And better yet, somebody else can be put in charge of maintenance. Here are some of the best choices on the market.
- Reliable connections built on global infrastructure
- End-to-end encryption on every call
- Sophisticated integrations
- 24/7 dedicated support
Price (per month, per user, plus taxes and fees)
$19.99 - $34.99
$29.99 - $44.99
$39.99 - $59.99
Unlimited calls and SMS in US/Canada
Unlimited video and audio meetings with screen sharing
4 people per meeting
100 people per meeting
200 people per meeting
Integration with Salesforce, Zendesk, and Desk.com
RingCentral is a large VoIP provider that works with clients across a range of types and sizes. This could be due to the fact that it offers a highly flexible range of packages—from an Essentials package offering the absolute basics, to a standard package designed for growing SMBs, to Premium and Ultimate packages stacked with features.
The Essentials and Standard plans include most basic functions, such as dedicated iOS and Android apps, unlimited video conferencing with screen sharing for up to 4 users, and integration with Microsoft and Google. If what you’re looking for is a no-frills virtual PBX that does the job, look no further than these packages.
Being a cloud-hosted VoIP, the infrastructure supports scalability. The price structure also favors growing businesses, with different prices for businesses with 2-99 employees, 100-999 employees, and 1,000+ users. Once you’re a RingCentral customer, it’s really simple to switch between RingCentral’s virtual cloud VoIP packages according to your immediate needs.
- No. of users: Unlimited
- Pricing: From $19.95
- Best for: Contract-free service
Ooma provides a range of VoIP services for small business and enterprise. Its Ooma Office phone system results in an average 50% saving versus using traditional telephony—and includes more than 35 features.
These include a desktop app so that users can access the tool, and make calls, from their desktop, mobile apps, SMS messaging, and a virtual receptionist which automates the routing of internal calls.
Users can also avail of automatic call recording; ring groups to allow callers to easily reach specific departments within the business; and features to make the calling experience more enjoyable for users including hold and transfer music.
There’s unlimited calling in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico plus low international rates and free number transfer.
The small business service costs $19.95 per user per month (minus calling charges). Users can receive custom quotes for the enterprise tier.
Grasshopper is a cloud VoIP provider that allows users to keep their personal and business calls separate.
- Call blasting: Inbound calls can be dialed on up to 15 lines simultaneously in order to reduce waiting times for customers.
- Voice studio: Grasshopper works with a team of experienced voice actors who can create polished and professional greetings for phone systems. Want your small business to get that large business look and feel? Tapping into Grasshopper’s talent pool is an easy way to do that.
- Ruby Receptionists: Grasshopper also maintains a network of live US-based receptionists waiting to handle calls and route them through your VoIP system. New uses even get a 35% discount on this service that is sure to wow your customers.
Grasshopper also offers: simultaneous call handling, VoIP / WiFi calling, and call transfers. It’s a mature system designed for businesses that want all of the benefits of VoIP but none of the infrastructure.
4. GoToConnect (Jive)
- 11 global data centers
- Host conference calls with up to 10 attendees
- Integration with top business software
- Easy to set up and migrate contacts
Price (per month, per user, plus taxes and fees)
Number of users
All-inclusive 80+ features
Unlimited calls to US, Canada, and 51 other countries
While most cloud-hosted VoIP providers offer different prices for different features, GoToConnect, formerly known as Jive, works in a simpler way. All packages include access to all 80+ features, and the per-user price keeps dropping as your business gets larger. This makes it a good solution for growing SMBs because you can just move over to the next pricing package once you hit a certain number of users.
Key features include unlimited free calling to the US, Canada, and 51 other countries; an online portal to control and update your phone from any device with an internet connection; and time-based routing and custom schedules to accommodate for day/evening hours, weekends and holidays.
This all-inclusive package comprises many features that customers of other VoIP providers must pay for separately. These include the ability to host conference calls with up to 10 attendees, as well as fax-to-email and voicemail-to-email functions.
- Reliable solution with 99.999% uptime
- Conferencing for up to 100 people
- Installation and setup included
- 24/7 US-based support team
Vonage Business Cloud is a cloud-hosted VoIP system targeted at the needs of small and medium businesses. All packages comprise more than 40 features, including a virtual receptionist, call logs, and admin portal. All packages include a 14-day free trial period.
For an extra cost, businesses can add an array of additional features, including video conferencing for up to 100 people, call recording, and more. The most expensive package includes orange-glove setup. This means that a dedicated team will help with on-boarding. CRM integrations include: Salesforce, G Suite, Office 365, Clio, Zoho, and a half-dozen other types of software. In addition, customers can add any of around a dozen paid add-ons, such as virtual mailbox and paperless fax.
Vonage is a very flexible solution. All its packages include unlimited calls and SMS service throughout the United States and Canada, making it the perfect solution for North American-based businesses. It also offers cheap international calls and a bunch of mobile-friendly functions to support SMBs with a high number of remote employees or plans to branch out and grow abroad. And being a cloud-hosted VoIP, Vonage’s infrastructure is highly scalable and able to support growing businesses of all sizes.
Take VoIP To The Cloud!
Selecting a cloud VoIP system for your business is a great way to take advantage of 2 innovations at once: cloud computing (no infrastructure to maintain!) and VoIP (lower priced calls and many more features versus traditional PBX solutions). Check out one of our top cloud-hosted VoIP providers to see how it can help your business.