3CX is a robust, cost-effective communications system deployable on-premise or in the cloud—which you can switch from hosting to on-premise or to the cloud at any time. Our 3CX review found it helps small businesses accelerate growth by offering omnichannel business communications, including voice, video, voicemail, text, and live chat. 3CX’s free version is excellent for small companies looking for a free unified communications (UC) platform.
3CX Deciding Factors
3CX ranks as one of our best voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) softphone providers with its omnichannel capabilities, such as voice, video, voicemail, live chat, WhatsApp, and Facebook integrations. This allows you to engage customers across multiple channels from a single interface. However, while it has a generous free version, it has limited software integrations compared to other providers like 8×8, Nextiva, and RingCentral.
Small teams needing a free unified communications platform with basic phone system features
Annual Pricing Plans
Pricing based on 10 users
Key Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integrations
Support is available using a ticketing system with possible callback from 3CX
While 3CX is one of the leading business phone systems, it still has a few disadvantages. The wide range of 3CX phone system features may overwhelm solopreneurs or small teams with basic phone system needs. In this case, businesses with tight budgets are better off with an alternative like Grasshopper, which offers simple VoIP services. It also lacks unlimited international calling, free professionally recorded greetings, and mix-and-match plans.
Some advanced features are only accessible in higher-tiered plans, such as skills-based routing, voicemail transcription, and call recording. Alternatives, like RingCentral and Nextiva, offer similar call center capabilities starting at $30 per user monthly, but these features also make them more powerful phone systems.
If you’re looking for a 3CX alternative, here are three providers in our list of best business phone systems:
Businesses looking for robust call management and UC solutions
Teams looking for an intuitive tool for team messaging and collaboration
Companies looking for a simple mobile VoIP platform
Monthly Starting Price
$30 per user
$30.95 per user
$31 (flat rate)
Not what you’re looking for?
VoIP providers offer different features at varied price points, such as call routing, voicemail, and video conferencing. Check out our top seven list of best VoIP apps for small businesses with top options based on feedback, features, and use cases.
3CX earned a 5 out of 5 in our evaluation of its pricing. It scored top marks with its free plan, straightforward annual pricing without per-user fees, and volume-based discounts. It offers two types of plans, four hosted service options, and three self-managed solutions packages. 3CX StartUP and 3CX Free are free for up to 10 users and include team messaging, live chat, and video conferencing.
However, the 3CX pricing page isn’t as straightforward. It displays a separate annual fee for licensing and hosting for 12 users and four simultaneous calls. Although its paid plans are billed annually, 3CX offers one of the lowest per-monthly user fees on the market. Also, it has a different plan for those wanting the support and control of an on-site VoIP system.
Solopreneurs, freelancers, and home offices
Growing small companies
Small to mid-sized businesses
Large companies and enterprises
Annual Hosted Pricing*
Annual Self-managed Pricing*
Up to 25 participants
Up to 25 participants
Up to 25 participants
Up to 100 participants
Up to 250 participants
SMS & MMS
Call Center Functionality (Listen in, Barge in, Whisper)
(Start / Stop call recording rights)
*Pricing based on 10 users
3CX’s hosted services allow you to retain control of your phone system while remotely hosting the software from either the vendor or a third-party hosting provider. On the other hand, on-premise PBX is deployed on servers belonging to the provider and thus is managed by them entirely. 3CX works with DigitalOcean and Vultr for hosted services.
Want to learn more about PBX?
Check out our PBX phone system guide, covering how PBX phone systems work and benefit your business while comparing the different types.
3CX is a robust virtual phone system with video conferencing capabilities. It is worth checking out by companies with small to large teams looking for an affordable VoIP platform. It is also perfect for those who need unlimited extensions. Alternatives, such as Grasshopper, require users to subscribe to its highest-tier plan to assign and utilize unlimited extensions.
3CX is a full-featured contact center solution with call monitoring tools, call queues, built-in reports, and customer relationship management (CRM) integration. It has a call flow designer that helps customize advanced and complex call flows. 3CX has live chat and social messaging capabilities where your customers can call you quickly from your website with a single click.
3CX provides call center features, allowing agents to set up their workflows more efficiently when handling calls for their local or global customers. Its call center functionalities include call queues, call recording, and callback. Supervisors and managers have access to call barge, listen in, and whisper features that are useful in monitoring agent performance and providing call feedback.
The auto-attendant feature is available in all 3CX plans, including free versions. This feature simplifies the incoming call procedure and uses custom greetings to welcome callers. 3CX includes a free digital attendant feature with no limits on the number of auto-attendant levels.
3CX allows users to set up SMS and MMS messaging from its management console. Once configured successfully, agents can send and receive text messages from their assigned business phone numbers from 3CX mobile apps for Android or iOS.
Basic PBX features include inbound call routing to extensions with standard call management features, such as call queuing, call logging, and voicemail. Premium features are usually available in higher-tiered packages, including unlimited extensions, software integrations, and video conferencing.
See the features below for an in-depth look at 3CX’s niche offering.
Know exactly who is calling and have your customer’s data available and open before picking up the call. With 3CX’s integration with CRM and help desk systems, your agents are able to create new contacts and answer leads with personalized greetings. Easily log calls to customer records for real-time customer record updating. Boost productivity through automatic call journaling and build custom call flows to automate issue resolution.
3CX has plenty of out-of-the-box CRM and help desk integrations, including Salesforce, Freshdesk, Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft 365, Zendesk, Zoho, and HubSpot.
Automate call flows and create strategic call routing rules based on customer type and time of day, so all calls are efficiently handled. Its automated call handling comes with an outbound dialer and callback scheduling, ensuring you can touch base with clients as soon as an agent is available. 3CX’s designer is user-friendly and supports multi-language text-to-speech and speech-to-text.
3CX comes with efficient video conferencing features that don’t require downloads. Meetings have no time limit and accommodate up to 250 meeting participants who are able to quickly join meetings from their browser using a smartphone or computer. Schedule advanced meetings and automatically link them to your calendars, such as Google Calendar and Outlook.
3CX’s video conferencing tool has collaboration capabilities, like screen sharing and remote screen control, PDF sharing, and remote assistance. These features are perfect for presentations, demonstrations, and brainstorming sessions. However, it lacks advanced features, such as breakout rooms, but those needing basic virtual meeting functionality will find 3CX useful.
3CX technical support tickets are available through the customer portal at $75 each. Support is offered via 3CX Partners as well, which raises tickets to 3CX for free. 3CX Support is limited to configuring supported hardware and providers only. As an alternative, do-it-yourself guides are available on their website, and it has an active and helpful online community with over 90,000 members.
When it comes to ease of use, this provider scored 3.75 out of 5. This platform is suited for users with beginner to intermediate-level technical skills. The 3CX app is simple to install and configure, and 3CX review reports indicate that the admin panel is intuitive, comprehensive, and powerful.
While users have given some critical feedback, for the most part, responses to 3CX services are positive overall. Based on 3CX reviews, users found the software easy to install and use, while others reported it’s a functional PBX system offered at a reasonable price. Key features appreciated by customers include its Voice Designer, call recording, chat functionality, extensions, and ring groups.
Other popular third-party review websites rated 3CX as follows:
- GetApp: 4.5 out of 5 based on about 288 reviews
- G2: 4.4 out of 5 based on more than 398 reviews
- TrustRadius: 7.9 out of 10 based on 56 reviews
- Capterra: 4.5 out of 5 based on 287 reviews
Some users found the existing, non-customizable desktop ringtone frustrating, and there are occasional mobile app bugs and poor call quality. One repeated suggestion is to expand customer service options and reduce the cost of customer service tickets. However, it was noted that while customer support is through tickets or 3CX partners, 3CX offers excellent online resources and a wealth of information through forums and its active online community.
How We Evaluated 3CX
To evaluate functionality and value for money, we considered six main factors: 3CX cost of service, general features, niche or advanced features, customer service, ease of use, and an expert score. Click through the tabs in the box below to view our full scoring criteria.
15% of Overall Score
We gave a considerable amount of credit to the availability of a free plan, as this significantly impacts the decision-making of small businesses with limited resources. Other vital considerations include offering free trials, volume-based discounts, multiple plans, and payment options.
20% of Overall Score
Some of the essential features of a phone provider include auto-attendant, call reporting and analytics, and voicemail. We also considered whether they offer unlimited calling and free phone numbers.
25% of Overall Score
We analyzed business messaging and video conferencing options available. We also gave points if the provider has multi-level auto-attendants and virtual extensions.
10% of Overall Score
By far, one of the most important aspects of being a phone service provider is your ability to provide timely and effective customer service. We considered the available channels and alternatives for issue resolution, such as community forums and information guides.
10% of Overall Score
The top considerations in our ease of use score were the level of customization, interface, and intuitiveness of the platform. We considered access and whether the software was available through a desktop application, browser, and mobile device.
20% of Overall Score
We looked at third-party 3CX phone system reviews, customer feedback, and our experiences with the software. Part of our assessment looked at the standout features and the value for money each provider offers.
3CX is an excellent choice for companies looking for a provider with robust features for managing omnichannel communications. Its free plans offer core PBX, video conferencing, and call center features, which aren’t necessarily provided by small business-oriented providers like Grasshopper. If you’re wondering “what is 3CX best for?”—it’s suited for small businesses or solopreneurs looking for impressive features at a great price.
Ready to try 3CX? Visit its website for a fast sign-up process. You can start with the free version and enroll for the free trial of higher plans to see if it suits your needs.