This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
|Easy-to-use platform||Lacks team messaging tool, integrations available|
|Variety of communication channels accessible, including live website and Facebook chat||SMS messages not included in the base plan|
|One-year free trial available||Support tickets cost an extra $75, unlike most providers, such as RingCentral, that offer free support|
|Softphone supported, not requiring a desk phone||No advanced features, such as breakout rooms and international dial-in numbers|
|Lowest per-user monthly fees|
|Flexible hosting options|
What We Recommend 3CX For
3CX is a private branch exchange (PBX) system, perfect for those with various communications channels, such as voice, video, voicemail, text, and live chat. It is accessible through desktop and mobile devices, suitable for remote workers. Its robust features allow businesses to ensure that all their customers’ needs are addressed, regardless of whether some agents are unavailable.
When to Use 3CX
- Large teams with remote employees looking for a softphone with Facebook integration: 3CX offers a softphone that lets you manage calls, virtual meetings, texts, voicemails, live website chat, and Facebook messages from any device. It is among our list of the best softphone providers for its omnichannel communication features, recommended for teams with remote employees.
- Companies looking for a free-to-start unified communications platform with the most affordable per-user monthly fees on the market: 3CX offers a long, one-year free trial, unlike the usual seven- or 30-day durations. This year-long free access to any of its plans lets users determine if its offerings match their needs. While it has separate fees for hosting and licensing, it still offers the lowest monthly per-user rates compared with the top unified communications platforms in the market today. 3CX made it to our list of the best low-cost or free united communications platforms due to its pricing structure and the value it provides.
- Businesses looking for a PBX plan with unlimited extensions: While 3CX’s highest-tier plan is still cheaper than most providers, like Nextiva, it also provides users with unlimited extensions in its lowest subscription option. Alternatives like Grasshopper only unlock this inclusion in its most expensive plan.
When 3CX Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Big companies looking for advanced unified communications features: While 3CX has a comprehensive set of features, it still lacks advanced platform capabilities, including more third-party integrations. If you are looking for a platform that can scale with your business, check out RingCentral. It comes with more robust functionalities, open API integrations, and developer platforms. Its video conferencing tool, RingCentral Video, also provides premium virtual meeting tools that 3CX lacks, like breakout rooms.
- Businesses with a global presence: If you are trying to reach customers from across the globe, then 8×8 is for you. It comes with unlimited international calling and global phone numbers that your team can utilize. Looking around for more providers to choose from? Read our list of the best services for voice-over-internet (VoIP) international calls.
- Solopreneurs and freelancers looking for a basic VoIP platform: If you are looking for a basic VoIP provider to separate your personal and business lines and aren’t looking to scale soon, Google Voice is worth checking out. Its basic system is perfect for those with tight budgets and those currently utilizing other Google apps, like Google Calendar and Gmail, in their workflow. It is one of the cheapest softphones that also offers a free version.
Looking for more options? Read our guide to the best small business phone systems to find a product that matches your needs.
3CX allows users to subscribe to any of its plans free for the first year. Pricing displayed below applies in the second year, where total per-user monthly fees range from 7 cents to $1.94 for subscriptions with 12 users and four simultaneous calls. These estimated rates include license and hosting costs with PBX, office productivity, and video conferencing features.
Small teams with basic VoIP needs
Growing businesses that need CRM and contact center features
Those who need advanced VoIP and team collaboration tools
Annual License Pricing*
Annual Hosting Pricing*
No. of Video Conferencing Participants
No. of Extensions
*Annual plans are applicable in the second year and are paid in full at the beginning of the billing cycle.
3CX’s pricing page isn’t as straightforward as its competitors, like RingCentral. It displays a separate annual fee for licensing and hosting for 12 users and four simultaneous calls. Most providers in the market, such as Nextiva, provide per-user monthly payments that include both.
On the other hand, 3CX offers excellent cost savings and a generous one-year free trial for all its plans. Its rates are still cheap, with more discounts for those who need more users and simultaneous calls. Its Enterprise plan’s monthly rate of approximately $1.94 per user is even lower than Ooma’s entry-level tier, which costs $9.99 per month.
3CX is a robust virtual phone system that comes with video conferencing capabilities. It is worth checking out by businesses with small to large teams looking for an affordable voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) platform. It is also perfect for those who need unlimited extensions. Alternatives, like Grasshopper, require users to subscribe to its highest-tier plan to assign and utilize unlimited extensions.
While 3CX’s premium features—like skills-based routing—are included in its highest-tier subscription, its very low rates can be attractive for those with tight budgets. Alternatives, such as RingCentral and Nextiva, offer similar call center capabilities at more expensive price ranges. However, it is notable that these competitors include more advanced tools, including APIs, to make their platforms more powerful. If your business isn’t ready for these complex functionalities, 3CX is worth considering.
Want to know which capabilities you should look into when checking out virtual business phone platforms? Read our comprehensive guide on the top VoIP phone features for business.
Unified Business Communication
- Take/make calls from your desk phone, mobile phone, or computer
- PBX capabilities, like voicemail and call parking
- Facebook Messenger integration
- Website live chat and video call
- Intercom, paging, and announcements
3CX lets you manage calls, voicemails, and even website visitor messages all in its platform. It features VoIP calling and PBX capabilities, including busy lamp field (BLF), call parking and pickup, intercom, paging, announcements, and real-time system status. Those with websites and Facebook pages can also handle customers’ messages through 3CX.
Having a single platform for business communications management is beneficial for businesses as it reduces time pulling the messages up from different sources. Additionally, increased productivity and time for agents can help them serve their customers better, leading to more conversions and client retention.
- Send and receive text messages from your designated business phone number
- Supports MMS messages
- Assign text messages to queues
- Mark messages as “Dealt With”
- Accessible through web and mobile apps
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.
Users can also assign incoming text messages to queues, ensuring all messages will be responded to even if an agent is unavailable. This feature is helpful for those who want to guarantee high response rates to improve customer service.
- Up to 250 participants
- Unlimited meeting duration
- Screen sharing
- On-screen whiteboard
- Remote screen control
- Calendar integrations with Google and Outlook
- Document sharing, chat, and polls
3CX comes with a free video conferencing feature accessible through a smartphone or computer. This functionality is also fully integrated with its mobile app and web client. Participants aren’t required to download anything, making it easy to join through a web browser. Users can also schedule advanced meetings and integrate them with calendars, like Google Calendar.
3CX’s video conferencing tool also has collaboration capabilities, like screen sharing and remote screen control, perfect for presentations, demonstrations, and brainstorming sessions. However, it lacks other advanced features, such as breakout rooms, unlike competitors like Zoom. Those with basic virtual meeting needs can still find 3CX attractive with this free video calling solution.
Interested in other virtual meeting apps? Check out our list of the best video conferencing software to determine which matches your current needs.
Call Center Tools
- Call logging
- Call queues
- Call recording
- Real-time statistics and monitoring
- Service level agreement (SLA) alerting
- Switchboard and wallboard
- Barge in, listen in, and whisper
3CX provides call center features that allow agents to set up their workflows more efficiently in handling calls for their local or global customers. Businesses can guarantee that they won’t miss a call through call queues to specific agents or teams. This capability also comes with advanced queueing strategies, including Round Robin and Hunt by 3s.
3CX lets agents answer calls from anywhere. It also offers functionalities that can help train staff, such as call recording, listen in, whisper, and barge in. Additionally, you can monitor queues in real time through a switchboard or wallboard.
Want to discover more software choices for managing your support or sales calls? Check out our list of the best call center phone systems to determine which provider best suits your needs.
Best for: Teams looking for an exceptional overall package of features, usability, and affordability
Best for: Small businesses needing advanced features with hassle-free setup and use
Best for: Best for companies wanting a solid package with a free, professionally recorded voice greeting
Starting price: $29.99 per user, monthly
Starting price: $26 per month
Starting price: $23.95 per user, monthly
Looking for more options for your VoIP calling needs? Check out our list of the best softphone providers you may consider.
What Users Think of 3CX
Most 3CX reviews online match with our analysis, noting that it’s an excellent PBX solution for small businesses. It provides users with a robust business communication system at very low per-user fees compared to alternatives like RingCentral.
At the time of publication, 3CX has earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
- G2: 4.4 out of 5 stars based on 372 reviews
- Capterra: 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 248 reviews
- GetApp: 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 248 reviews
- Software Advice: 4.48 out of 5 stars based on 248 reviews
- TrustRadius: 7.6 out of 10 stars based on 49 reviews
Given its feature-rich platform, most users are very impressed with how inexpensive 3CX is. However, there are mixed views on its ease of setup, as some shared that it was effortless to install and implement, while others found it daunting.
3CX is an excellent choice for those who want to try out a provider before committing to it, as it provides a generous one-year free trial for all plans. It comes with a robust set of features for managing omnichannel communications, helping ensure customers’ needs are addressed promptly. While it has core PBX, video conferencing, and call center features, 3CX lacks advanced tools for scaling needs, including intensive third-party integrations and open APIs.
Growing businesses looking to stay in one platform from the beginning to growth can check out alternatives like RingCentral. However, if your business isn’t scaling soon and does not need all the complex features, 3CX is worth looking into. Its balance of pricing and features is still impressive, especially if your company has a tight budget. Sign up for a one-year free trial to help determine if its services are suitable for your business needs.