Looking for the best residential VoIP services can be a tricky proposition when there are so many options out there. While, traditionally, business VoIP services are most popular, seeking out a residential VoIP provider is increasingly popular. That’s because how we use a home phone service has changed over the years, and a residential VoIP can prove much more convenient than a regular landline.
At its simplest, a VoIP provider works kind of like FaceTime or Skype, allowing you to make calls through the internet rather than having to rely on traditional landline or your cell phone. Many services also offer additional features as part of your subscription or for a small fee. Generally, a VoIP phone service is far more advanced and specialized than something like FaceTime. You need to know precisely what you require from a residential VoIP service, so you don’t end up spending more than you need to.
Most VoIP services involve a subscription fee on a rolling basis, but they often end up saving you money in the long term by providing you with free or low-cost calls for your home phone as part of a bundle deal. That’s particularly the case if you require international calling or unlimited calling services. Caller ID and great customer service are things to look for too, and VoIP services are often far more reliable.
If you’re looking for the best phone service for you, read on while we guide you through the best VoIP solution for your needs. We’re also here to solve some key queries about how the phone system works and why VoIP isn’t just for small businesses anymore.
Why are VoIPs necessary?
While you can still choose to use a landline to call loved ones, using a VoIP is typically far more reliable and also often cheaper. By transmitting your conversation through the internet, calls are usually crisper and more clear, meaning you can feel more in touch with the loved one than dealing with old-fashioned phone lines. Costs are also often much lower, especially when dealing with regular calls made long-distance or when taking an international call.
If you want to enjoy extra features like recording your calls, that’s often an option, too, through VoIP services. Basically, a residential VoIP gives you more functionality and flexibility than an average landline. Throw in better savings and it can be a more valuable alternative to the traditional method.
What’s the difference between a residential VoIP and a business VoIP?
Simply put, there isn’t really any difference. Most VoIP companies offer features that benefit both residential homes and businesses. It’s down to you to know what to look for and what is excessive for your home needs. Not that there isn’t some overlap in features that can be useful for both scenarios.
For instance, while unified communication might seem like an option only a business VoIP system needs, it can be useful when collaborating as a family and setting up a form of community phone network so you can all share messages, calls, and even files easily. However, there’s not much need for an auto attendant receptionist who answers your calls, so make sure to avoid those features when signing up for a home phone service.
What to look for when buying a VoIP service
It’s essential to think about what you need from your VoIP service. Do you simply want cheap calls with high quality? Or do you need voicemail features and automatic call recording? Would a mobile app help you or would desktop-based VoIP software suffice? It’s even possible to set up multiple phone numbers if you want but it’s unlikely to be needed when buying a residential VoIP service. With so many different VoIP services out there, it’s crucial to have an idea of what you want so that you don’t spend too much on unwanted features.
Another thing to consider is your budget. It’s possible to spend a lot on a VoIP service with many residential users rarely needing the advanced features that heftier subscriptions provide. Don’t overspend on features you don’t need. Some services may suggest adding an IP phone to your account but you may not need this if you feel comfortable using VoIP software on your smartphone or desktop instead.
Is there a free VoIP service?
There are quite a few different free VoIP software options out there. These include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, and many other popular messaging apps that include voice and video calls.
They serve a valuable purpose if you simply need to make occasional voice or video calls. Anyone can sign up for them and they can accommodate some conference calling for family gatherings.
However, they also lack customer support, and often, you can’t dial phone numbers for free via them. Instead, you’re restricted to calling people using the same VoIP app as you. That means these aren’t exactly replacements for your regular landline. Consider it a good backup option but not a full solution compared to your home phone.
Is Google Voice a VoIP service?
Yes, Google Voice is a fairly cost-effective VoIP solution from Google. The idea behind it is that you can use it to consolidate all your phone numbers, such as your personal cell phone, landline, and even office landline, to one singular number under the Google Voice platform.
It simplifies how you call people as all your calls come from your Google Voice number. Free SMS messaging is included with the service. On the starter paid plan, your voicemail is automatically transcribed into a text message too. It’s also possible to set up call forwarding rules and record calls.
Most Google Voice calls to the U.S. and Canada are free but other countries require subscribing to the starter price plan or above. However, it’s not as comprehensive as some other dedicated residential VoIP services but it can be a good starting point.