We are looking to make the jump from our current cloud phone system “Nextiva” as they have been dropping the ball for at least 6 months now, and the service has just gotten worse.
I am considering FreePBX and 3CX to be hosted in the cloud, google, or digital ocean etc. Security and ease of use/management plus smartphone apps working correctly are my top priorities.
I am really looking for something that is not going to cost our small MSP a small fortune and kick us in the teeth every step of the way. I am looking for something that will ring an employees cell phone via their extension and let them know it’s a biz call incoming)
Please give me any insight you may have into the pro’s and cons of both. I need to do something by Monday as I can’t take Nextiva dropping calls or not even rining my smartphone app at all.
I haven’t used either, but if I was to stand up one over the other, I would go with 3CX. It looks more mature and it doesn’t require 3rd party software for smart phones or desktops. They offer a free version (25 users or less) that I’m sure can handle call forwarding.
Currently I use O365 E5 for my business and it just works. I have the app on my phone and desktop to answer calls. It’s all in one supported package which is good when trying to run a business.
I’ve deployed and used 3cx for about 5 years.
I just threw the free 3cx on an old windows box from our bone yard and setup a DID from flowroute yesterday as the MSP I was recently hired at wants to offer voip. It only took me about 30 minutes (true i have some experience but it goes to show that it is an easy setup). 3cx is a great solution and has come a long way in the past few years (it had some quirks in the early days).
AS to your question on the app: It works great but it’s only as good as your connection. I used it in our shop a lot, but where I live in Northern Michigan, there are a lot of cellular dead spots so when I was out and about I always had 3cx forward to my cellular number. You can set it up so that it takes the caller ID and prefixes it with (whatever you want) so that you know the call is coming from the office.
3cx is a real solid solution, but as with any software there is always a small to medium learning curve. It used to be $400, but now anything under 25 extensions is free - even better.
Hopefully this helps!
I am also considering 3CX. Interested in learning more.
Update: I have 3cx running on the cloud and for testing purposes with a DID from voip.ms.
So far it’s working great! I Have our main office line from phone.com forwarded to our test DID and everything is working as expected. I am moving from Phone.com because they keep raising our rates. What used to be $29.99 is now $42.00 and the service wasn’t that great.
I was considering self hosting the PBX, however, if the WAN goes down that means our phones also go down. But for a cheap $5.00 per month cloud instance, I think we are set up!
Thanks to everyone for your helpful insight so far!
I have been using 3CX for 7+ years and I recommend it.
I started out running it on a dedicated windows server back in 2013.
It has been nice to see them go from a Windows only PBX to running on Debian, all major cloud providers, and Raspberry Pi. They even offer a fully hosted solution now.
Their pricing has gotten much better over the years. They used to only do 4 simultaneous connections for free but now they do up to 8 simultaneous connections for free and you always get the latest version for free. You can also get the first year for free and then pay a yearly fee on the higher simultaneous connection packages.
For work I run their Debian image on one of our XCP-ng servers in our datacenter. We also use their Windows, Android, and iOS app for out of office communications. We recently started using their built in video conferencing stuff also which works well.
For my other clients I run 3CX in Amazon cloud for $5-$7 per month.
I have used it with 3 different SIP trunking companies without issues (Nexvortex, Twilio, & Telnyx).
Only 1 of them is on their officially supported list but all 3 work fine, they just make setup easier for supported providers by prefilling in a lot of settings.
The only issue I ever had was getting stuck on a certain version and having to create a new cloud instance and migrate the data in order to get on the latest version (v15 to v16) (whole process took less than 30 minutes).
I have tried FreePBX in the past but it just felt over complicated compared to 3CX.
The only issue I had was with voip.ms in the way they handled the outbound caller ID. I had set it up right in my 3cx instance, but apparently they handle the final say (unless you choose another option aside from their default option of OCID) That said, there is an option to let your PBX handle it in their dashboard. voip.ms’s support was phenomenal however, and put me on the right path via email on a Sunday. Kudos to both companies!!