FreePBX gives you free rein to create your own telephone system software. Find out if it’s right for your business.
|Reviewed by Expert Market:||01/08/2019|
What is FreePBX?
FreePBX is a product of Sangoma, a leader in creating PBX platforms. It’s a very popular system, with over one million systems in use worldwide and a further 20,000 installed every month.
To put FreePBX to use in their organizations, businesses merely need to download and install the FreePBX Distro, which provides everything a developer needs to design a customized PBX for business use.
How Does It Work?
To take advantage of FreePBX's open-source software, users simply download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the software and burn it to a CD.
When the user boots the system from that disc, setup can begin. The FreePBX software will erase everything on that PC, so it should be a computer that has been dedicated to running the new phone system software.
Once booted, the software walks the business through the process of configuring a phone system.
A business doesn't have to go through the setup process to enjoy FreePBX's services. A company can order a FreePBX Appliance, which comes with the software already installed.
If a company prefers, Sangoma can set up the system before it ships, but even if not, the purchase of a FreePBX Appliance comes with a free hour of support to help you get started.
Learn more: What is PBX?
While the FreePBX software is open source, the add-ons and customization you'll need to make the system work for your business comes with a price tag attached.
Schmooze.com recommends every business purchase System Builder Basic, which is a three-piece add-on module that includes Endpoint Manager, SysAdmin Pro and FreePBX Phone Applications. This package costs $200 for a license that lasts 25 years.
A Plus version with EndPoint Manager, phone apps, SysAdmin Pro, call recording reports, and more is available for $500 for a 25-year license.
Here are a few other add-ons that some businesses may consider:
- FreePBX Phone Apps - These are the apps you'll need to control the features directly from the screen of each phone. The FreePBX phone apps interact with your basic build to provide on-screen control of a phone's call parking, follow-me management, and do not disturb, as well as other features that are being added on an ongoing basis. 25-year license: $175; $95 for one year.
- Call Center Builder - For businesses that need call centers, FreePBX includes a module that lets businesses build advanced call centers, complete with reporting, conferencing, caller ID management, and advanced queue enhancements. 25-year license: $1275.
- Extension Routing - This module puts businesses in control of which extensions it wants to be able to use specific routes to make outbound calls. 25-year license: $39; free for one year.
- PBX EndPoint Manager - Automatically provision and configure more than 150 popular phone types directly from the user-friendly interface. 25-year license: $75.
- Web CallBack - For a business that directs a high number of calls from its website, this module provides customers the option of entering a phone number for callback. 25-year license: $50.
While FreePBX is a great solution for some businesses, it largely appeals to businesses with at least one technically-minded individual on site.
For a techie, open-source software like FreePBX is a huge draw because it gives them the ability to build and configure a phone system to a business's exact specifications. This gives the business control while also saving money.
The pre-configured FreePBX option may be a great solution for small and mid-sized businesses without technical staff available. Modules can be added through the Schmooze.com Portal, giving businesses an element of control without them having to put the system together from scratch.
However, it's important that SMBs price comparable solutions like those provided by Mitel to make sure they're getting the best deal available for their unique needs.