Do you need a phone line to fax?

Last Update: August 9th, 2021

No, you do not need a phone line to fax. An online fax service hosts all of a fax machine’s infrastructure and can send a fax without a phone line.


  • Fax machines (and computers with fax software) need a landline phone line to fax.
  • VoIP & internet phone lines are not compatible with a fax machine (or computer with fax software).
  • An online fax service does not need a phone line. It lets you send and receive a fax over email or the web.

Why do you need a phone line to fax?

Before the internet and email, the fax was the fastest method for sending a document.

A fax machine will scan a fax and change it into an audio signal that transmits over the phone. The fax machine at the other end decodes the signal and prints a facsimile (copy) of the document.

What kind of phone line is needed to fax?

Fax requires an analog (traditional) phone line.

VoIP, or internet, phone lines do not work with fax as they cause the fax signal to become distorted. If you have ever used a VoIP phone line, you’ve heard the call become digitally choppy. This choppiness is an example of a call that would not have a good enough connection to send a fax.

Many big-name phone companies sell telephone lines that are VoIP phone lines. Even a VoIP phone line from a major telephone company will not work with a fax machine.

Why does an online fax not need a phone line?

An online fax service hosts the phone line (as well as the modem, computer, and software) on your behalf. It is still using a phone line. However, that phone line is not directly in your house or office.

When you access an online fax, you are connecting (via the internet) to a computer that acts as a fax machine.