As businesses grow, solutions also need to align to create ways for firms to be innovative. Since communications in business are essential, the technology required for the same is required to follow suit.
Seamless communication with employees located in varied locations is substantial. While communication is the pulse of a business, it turns out to be a boon for a hybrid business model.
Before diving into details, let’s start with the basics of what a VOIP hosting service is.
Table of Contents
What Is VOIP Hosting?
Hosted Voice-Over-Internet Protocol is a secure and cost-effective internet-based communication system. A third-party provider offers it to a business which makes up for unified solutions for the businesses’ communication needs. In the long run, this can lift firms' excess management burden.
A more straightforward way to understand the conventional and the VOIP system is that the VOIP system uses the internet rather than a telephonic network to make calls.
This replaces the traditional networks of communication with a cloud-based phone system. The calls are converted into digital data packets and are sent to the receiver via the internet. Firms are only required to subscribe to a VOIP hosting provider that already uses secure servers that are not set up on-site.
A server should be capable of handling all the data a business generates. For a non-hosted VOIP, the same should be installed on-site.
A VOIP system includes all the business requirements, making it perfect for businesses that want to scale.
What Is a VOIP Business Phone?
A VOIP business phone works with Voice over IP. It is available in the following forms:
An IP phone is similar to a standard landline but connects to a VOIP phone system instead of POTS.
Softphone or VOIP App
This software can be downloaded on a personal computer or a smartphone. It can also be accessed through the VOIP service on multiple mobile devices.
7 Main Features of Hosted VOIP
VOIP solutions offer an array of features. Advanced VOIP hosting provides multiple features that add more value. However, some are standalone solutions, and some are unified. You can customize your plan so you don’t end up paying more for services you won’t use. Unnecessary features on a business phone system might also complicate workflows.
That said, here are some basic features you should look for in a hosted VOIP provider.
- Advanced Call Management: This feature helps you manage incoming calls. You can route, hold, or prioritize calls to improve customer experience.
- Call Routing: With a hosted VOIP phone system, your business can choose how to direct incoming calls. You can route them based on customer type, the purpose of the call, or however you like.
- Auto Attendant: This is great for businesses that are swamped with calls. Having a virtual receptionist will help you save time, keep agents sharp, and increase customer satisfaction.
- Voicemail to Email: A good hosted VOIP provider provides this feature to help busy businesspeople as you keep on top of their messages. You don’t have to miss any messages since voicemails are automatically sent to your inbox for faster response times.
- Call Recording: Companies that operate in regulated industries will find this feature very useful. Oftentimes, you may also want to record phone calls for quality and training purposes.
- Toll-Free Number: A toll-free number is a number that your customers can call without adding to their phone bill. Taking this extra mile will let your customers know that you’re putting them first.
- Call Transfer: This is among the most useful features of hosting VOIP. Phone calls are transferred easily. You can either make a quick cold transfer or a warm transfer where you introduce the caller to the person you’re transferring them to.
These are only some of the many useful features of VOIP services. As technology advances, so will the solutions.
How Does VOIP Hosting Work?
A hosted VOIP works on similar methods and infrastructure as one that distributes information on the internet.
VOIP systems convert analog voice sounds into digital signals instead of radio waves. These signals are then delivered to the receiving end via data over a broadband connection.
The call connects to the internet via the router, which then transfers it to the remotely hosted VoIP servers. It processes and manages the call and connects it to the relevant digital destination. It is vice versa when receiving a call.
This can also be done with landlines, but it may include the additional step of PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to connect. The cellular connectivity that a traditional phone uses can have multiple factors affect its quality. One example is the distance between you and the closest cell tower.
Although, VOIP hosting comes with fewer connection issues, as it is much simpler and comes with lesser connectivity issues.
Since it requires a secure and stable internet connection, businesses must have a secure IP address for the best call quality and performance. Another vital requirement is high bandwidth. Being low on bandwidth results in difficulty in connections and low-quality calls.
Why Your Business Needs VOIP Hosting Services?
Business owners can benefit from a VOIP phone system in numerous ways. Here are some:
Hosting VOIP is generally cheaper than traditional phone calls. You can definitely find a plan or service that cuts your business’s phone expenses in half. If you’re looking to cut your company’s IT costs, VOIP is a great way to do that. Just make sure to read the fine print since some hosted VOIP providers increase their rates after the introductory period.
The huge advantage of VOIP solutions is that it works for any device with an internet signal. If you’re out and about, you don’t have to worry about missing important calls and appointments. Simply download the VOIP app designated by your VOIP hosting providers. Then, you can make and receive phone calls or check your voicemail anywhere as long as there’s cell service or internet.
3. Easy To Use
Aside from having a user-friendly design, VOIP solutions provide ease when technical issues arise. Companies have attested to how much easier it is to get ahold of tech support for VOIP services compared to traditional phone systems.
4. Advanced Features
With VOIP, you have access to traditional calling features and more. You can make, forward, hold, or transfer calls. You have a caller ID. Additionally, you can record phone calls easily. Because the call itself is already digitized, getting a digital copy of the call is easy. You can even integrate tools that are critical to your business. For example, you can add VOIP services like chats, email, and video conferencing.
Because hosting VOIP is internet-based, it’s easier to add new lines to your phone system when you hire new staff. You simply send a request online, the hardware (phone) arrives a couple of days later, you plug it into an Ethernet port, and you’re good to go!
How to Choose a Hosting VOIP Provider?
If you’re looking for a hosted VOIP provider but aren’t sure which one suits your needs, we’ve got you covered. Follow the steps below to pick the right provider for your business.
1. List Down the Voip Needs of Your Business
What features do you need? Do you need three-way calling, video conferencing, call recording, or just the basic call features? If you plan on making international phone calls, you can take a look into VOIP hosting providers that include free minutes to countries you frequently call. Alternatively, you can get an international calling plan upfront instead of paying for your international calls by the minute.
2. Come Up with a Budget
With every purchase you make in a business, you always have to consider your budget. VOIP solutions usually cost $10 to $20 per month, which is much cheaper than traditional phone services.
3. Look for VOIP Providers
Once you know what features you need in your phone system and what your budget is, you can search for VOIP solutions that fit your specifications. You can read reviews about the VOIP plans that interest you and compare them. You should look into their customer support, sound quality, and service reliability. If you can’t find a plan that checks all of the boxes that you need, at least find one that comes really close.
4. Read the Fine Print Before Signing Anything
Before committing to any plan, make sure you read the terms and conditions to avoid any surprises. You can also contact customer service and gather as much information as you can before signing up.
For example, you can ask about the cost of the equipment and if it’s provided for free by the provider.
Top 5 SSE Platforms for Hosted VoIP Solutions
Since using VOIP solutions means your business correspondence is cloud-based, you’re going to need an extra layer of security to prevent sensitive information from leaking out. An SSE (Security Service Edge) will help with data security, network monitoring, access control, and threat protection.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the top SSE platforms you can rely on.
Based in San Jose, Cisco created this unified and cloud-based security solution that provides a secure web gateway, firewall, CASB, and DNS-layer security. Cisco provides a dashboard where users can see any emerging threats.
It also scans IPs and internet domain files to help detect anomalies and future threats. Lastly, Cisco Umbrella provides additional security by blocking malicious domains, cloud applications, and IP addresses before a connection is even established.
Pricing: The pricing for this SSE solution is available upon request as it depends on your business needs. However, Cisco does provide a 14-day free trial.
Cloudflare has implemented SASE through Cloudflare One. It delivers two out of three core SSE components: ZTNA and SWG.
The cybersecurity features you get with Cloudflare One include application control, web content filtering, remote browser isolation, DNS security, SSL inspection, and DDoS mitigation.
Cloudflare One extends to 250 cities around the world and offers a 100% uptime SLA.
Pricing: Cloudflare provides a free plan for a maximum of 50 users. However, you can also get a pay-as-you-go plan at $7 per user or a custom contract plan.
This is an all-in-one, cloud-native SSE platform that simplifies cybersecurity. It combines ZTNA, CASB, and SWG. Its top features include remote browser isolation, Content Disarm and Reconstruction, and zero-day sandboxing. The platform also boasts a 99.99% uptime, low latency, a patented and agentless reverse proxy, and global connections.
Pricing: This information is not disclosed on their site. You can contact Forcepoint ONE directly to get information on current pricing.
This is another San Jose-based SSE platform that unifies CASB, SWG, and ZTNA together via a cloud-first architecture. This solution brings together Zscaler Internet Access and Zscaler Private Access to provide APIs that offer policy creation automation and machine learning technology.
Other noteworthy features include cloud sandboxing, digital experience monitoring, firewall, and cloud browser isolation. Admins can also control the access of users and monitor what is being accessed by who via user logs.
Pricing: You can get quotations upon request via the website.
This single SSE solution enables users to apply a consistent threat protection and web security policy on devices. Skyhigh SSE combines SWG and CASB technologies to protect sensitive data from device to cloud and prevent cloud-native security breaches that aren’t always visible to the corporate network. The platform also ensures service availability of 99.99%.
Pricing: Unfortunately, Skyhigh SSE’s pricing isn’t readily available on its site. You can contact them to get a quote.
VOIP Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a VOIP Host?
Certain servers and algorithms are necessary to route incoming phone calls to business phone lines via VOIP. A VOIP host is a platform that provides the infrastructure to make this happen. However, they also help with integrating existing software with your VOIP phone system.
Can I Host My Own VOIP?
It's possible to host your own VOIP phone system, but it's a lot of work. You can host your own VOIP by purchasing a dedicated server. If you already have a web hosting provider, they may offer free VOIP hosting as part of their package. If you're hosting a business, it's probably not worth the time required to set up and manage your own server for your phone system.
Does VOIP Need a Server?
Yes. A VOIP server is necessary to connect calls to telephone networks. It’s generally built on dedicated servers and helps to store, receive, and distribute data
VOIP Hosting – Key Takeaways
Despite the requirements, the endless options that VOIP hosting has to offer can make businesses spoiled for choice.
Private and public businesses are heading towards VOIP hostings due to the significant benefits it has to offer. Taking insights from your stakeholders, IT and data security professionals, before choosing plans can significantly help. This ensures that everyone in the workspace feels comfortable using the service.
Some providers even offer free trials before businesses make the final purchase. Hence, it is best to look for services with no hidden costs, reliable customer service, and an excellent brand reputation.
With the introduction of Artificial intelligence, Network Mobility, and 5G integration, VOIP will further improve in the coming times.
Professional web development agencies can also help you with this process, so we advise looking for the right agency to partner with for your project.