A hosted public branch exchange (PBX) is a service that receives incoming calls and routes them without human intervention while eliminating the need for the business owner to maintain additional telephone equipment. We looked at 25 of the best hosted PBX systems on the market and evaluated them based on pricing, features, and customer service.
Top Hosted PBX Providers 2019
|Hosted PBX Service||Best For|
|Nextiva||(Best Overall) Small businesses that want robust call management features at a fair price.|
|RingCentral||Companies that can afford a no-compromise feature set and need enterprise-level features.|
|Jive||Small teams that want unlimited international calling at a reasonable cost.|
|Vonage||Businesses wanting an la carte collaboration tools like video conferencing and online chat.|
|Five9||Call centers and sales departments looking to effectively manage a high incoming call volume.|
|Phone.com||Budget-conscious small businesses that also require a vanity number|
How We Evaluated Hosted PBX Providers
A PBX system for a small business or larger organization is required to support multiple business phone extensions, and a hosted system offers this functionality without the need for extra hardware. The best of these systems should be affordable enough for any sized businesses, with service plans at price points accommodating a range of budgets. They should also be intuitive enough for users of all skill levels or offer advanced features like visual voicemail, CRM integration, or a mobile app.
Criteria we used to evaluate PBX services include:
- Price: We looked at each solution’s pricing tiers and packages
- Ease of use: We evaluated how easy the service is to set up and use
- Call Management: Services should have call management tools like call transfer, hold, screening, and park
- Auto-Attendant: Many hosted PBX providers offer an automated attendant for greeting and routing callers
- CRM Integration: We evaluated whether each provider offered integration tools for CRM platforms for managing customer relationships
- Call Quality: We looked at online customer reviews of each virtual number provider’s call sound and quality
- Customer Reviews: It can be helpful to hear what current customers of a PBX solution think of a product.
- Customer Support: There should be ample customer support available for customers in the event of a problem.
Based on the above criteria, we find that Nextiva is the best hosted PBX service for most general small business users. The service comes with a strong core set of features like call routing and voicemail transcription, yet it remains affordable enough for most smaller organizations. The system is also incredibly easy to use.
Best Overall PBX Provider for Small Business: Nextiva
Nextiva is a leading Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system that offers a hosted PBX as well as features like an auto-attendant, voicemail-to-email transcription, and unlimited domestic calling. It is also incredibly easy to use and comes with a wealth of integrations. The service, which starts at $35/user per month, is the best all-around option for small business owners who want an ideal combination of features and service for an affordable price.
Nextiva offers three service plans: Office Pro, Pro Plus, and Office Enterprise. Depending on your plan, pricing ranges from $35 to $55/user per month for teams of less than four. Pricing goes down as you add more users. This is an expensive solution, but it is less pricy than other full-featured VoIP platforms.
Nextiva Tiered Features
|Free Local Number|
|Free Toll-free Number|
*Pricing can go as low as low as $20, $25, or $30/user per month for larger teams. Get in touch with Nextiva’s sales team for more information.
Nextiva’s Basic plan starts at $35/user per month, with pricing going down if you have more than five users subscribed. The service offers a hosted PBX, so you don’t have to purchase or install any additional hardware. It also comes with unlimited domestic calling, SMS texting, voicemail-to-email transcription, and on-hold music. As simplistic as this offering is, it’s still a complete business phone system for an affordable price.
Unfortunately, this plan does not come with a mobile app unlike Nextiva’s more expensive options. This is also disappointing considering that less expensive competitors offer a mobile app as well. Still, Nextiva’s basic plan is good if you only need a hosted PBX system and a handful of advanced features.
Nextiva’s Pro plan, which starts at $38/user per month, comes with all the features of the Basic package as well as some extras. It comes with conference calling as well as access to the mobile app. It also comes with a professionally recorded voice greeting for your voicemail inbox, which can make your business seem more established and respectable to callers.
Unfortunately, this package lacks call recording, which is found for free in similarly-priced competitors. This version is also missing Nextiva’s customer relationship management (CRM) features found in the top-shelf Enterprise plan. With that said, this version of the service has enough to offer most small businesses and is a good value.
While this version of Nextiva is called “Enterprise,” it can be used by anyone, as it does not require a minimum amount of users. This package starts at $55/user per month and comes with an analytics dashboard that provides information on call activity, call time, and more. You also get access to Nextiva’s CRM features which allow you to track prospects through a sales pipeline.
Nextiva’s Enterprise plan is powerful, but it is far too expensive for most small businesses. Unless you want what essentially amounts to a complete CRM system in your VoIP service, you are better off with less expensive versions of the service, or even a competing solution like Jive. Ultimately, Nextiva Enterprise is best suited for those who want a complete set of features and can afford it.
What Nextiva Is Missing
Nextiva is a useful hosted PBX service for more small businesses. However, it lacks unlimited international calling, which makes it less useful for companies with an international business presence. If you need to make frequent calls to overseas associates, we recommend looking at Jive, which offers unlimited calling to more than 52 countries.
What Users Think About Nextiva
Customers like Nextiva’s features and pricing. Our readers particularly enjoy the company’s helpful customer support lines. Still, many say that they have run into technical issues at some point while using the system. For more reader reviews, check out our Nextiva User Reviews page.
Where to Find Nextiva
Organizations that want a hosted PBX that comes with a complete set of business phone features should consider Nextiva. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can see all the platform has to offer before committing. Click the link below and get started today.
Best Hosted PBX Provider With Advanced Features: RingCentral
RingCentral , which starts at $29.99/user per month, is a VoIP system with hosted PBX, unlimited calling, a multilevel auto-attendant, and the ability to host large audio conferences. This is one of the more expensive VoIP options available, but it offers advanced features and scalability that sets it apart from other vendors. RingCentral is a good option for those seeking enterprise-level features in a small business environment.
RingCentral offers three small business pricing plans priced user per month annually. The Essentials plan starts at $29.99, the Standard plan starts at $34.99, and the Premium costs $44.99/user per month. RingCentral is one of the more expensive hosted PBX options available.
RingCentral Tiered Features
|Multi-level auto attendant|
|Call logs & reports|
|Automatic call recording|
|Voicemail to text transcription|
RingCentral’s Essentials package costs $29.99/user per month and comes with a hosted PBX system, call forwarding, waiting, and blocking. This plan also provides you with 100 toll-free minutes as well as conference calling for up to four participants. You can also make international calls for an additional fee.
The fact that this plan is limited to just 10 participants is disappointing, as it restricts the options available to midsize teams. It also lacks the multi-level auto-attendant feature found in more expensive versions of the service, and it does not offer internet faxing like Nextiva’s Pro package. Still, smaller teams should have their needs met by RingCentral Essentials.
At $34.99/user per month, the Standard edition of RingCentral builds upon the Essentials tier by offering 10 times the number of toll-free calling minutes. It also adds a multi-level auto attendant, which can serve as an automated virtual receptionist for your organization.
Unfortunately, RingCentral Standard limits video meetings to just four participants. However, it does offer more minutes than many of its competitors at this price point. Still, the automated attendant makes this an attractive option for small businesses that want a professional phone presence.
RingCentral Premium is the company’s most popular offering. The service starts at $44.99/user per month and comes with 2,500 toll-free minutes. It also offers unlimited audio and video meetings for up to 100 people, which makes it perfect for teams that frequently hold webinars, conference, and other remote meetings. You also get automatic call recording and voicemail transcription capabilities.
Overall, this high-end version of RingCentral matches the capability of similarly priced plans from competitors. However, the unlimited video meetings, generous amount of toll-free minutes, and integrations with third-party apps offer enterprise-level features to smaller organizations. It is a good product for call centers as well as businesses that want digital records of all call traffic for quality assurance purposes.
What RingCentral Is Missing
All told, RingCentral has all of the features you’d want in a hosted PBX service. However, it comes at a cost, especially compared to the discounts that Nextiva offers if you add more than 10 people to the service. RingCentral is only recommended for those who need a no-compromise feature set.
What Users Think About RingCentral
Our readers have given a 3.8- out of a possible 5-star rating. They especially like the volume discounts available and the fact that the system is so easy to use. However, some users complain that the company’s customer service can be unhelpful at times. For more perspective, check out our RingCentral User Reviews.
“We use RingCentral and have been very satisfied with the product, specifically in terms of providing excellent call quality and enabling features such as texting or international communication. Being able to easily connect from anywhere has created seamless work access while traveling or working remote.”
— Jared Weitz, CEO, United Capital Source, Inc.
Where to Find RingCentral
Business owners who want a hosted PBX service with tons of powerful features should look at RingCentral. The company even offers a 15-day free trial along with guided demos that show you each and every feature. Click the button below to learn more.
Best Hosted PBX for International Calling: Jive
Jive, which starts at $29.95 per month, is a VoIP system with a hosted PBX. It offers features like an automated attendant, call queuing, conference bridges, and a toll free number. Best of all, it offers unlimited international calling to more than 52 countries. Jive is a great option for companies that need to speak with overseas customers and associates on a regular basis.
Jive’s pricing has the most straightforward pricing structure we looked at. It offers five monthly plans ranging from $29.95 to $19.95 per month depending on the number of users signed up. Virtual phone numbers cost an additional $0.50 per month.
How Jive’s pricing tiers break down based on number of users:
$29.95: 1-4 users
$25.95: 5-9 users
$23.95: 10-24 users
$21.95: 25-49 users
$19.95: 50+ users
Jive offers virtual phone numbers, free calling to 52 countries, and unlimited domestic calling. You also get call recording, reports, and access to the company’s mobile app. The fact that it also offers integration with business apps such as Salesforce and Redtail is a nice bonus.
Jive features include:
Jive has all of the call management tools you’d want in a hosted PBX service. It has call waiting, caller ID, call transfer, and call forwarding. It also comes with a do not disturb feature that automatically blocks all calls at certain times. It also comes with an E911 function, which lets your employees make emergency 911 calls from any connected device. This is missing in many other paid phone services.
Jive comes with an automated attendant that greets and routes your callers based on how they respond to prompts for keypad input. It works in a very similar fashion to Vonage, RingCentral, and other competitors. However, it does not come with a professionally recorded voice greeting like Nextiva’s Pro version. Still, this is a good fit for smaller teams looking to automatically route callers.
Extensions & Call Routing
Like Nextiva and other competitors, Jive offers unlimited extensions, so each one of your employees can have a direct line to their device. Each extension comes with a voicemail box, a customizable auto-attendant, and call routing features for all incoming calls. This is great for businesses with high call volumes that want to better manage their telephony traffic.
Jive Setup & Ease of Use
Setting up Jive is easy and takes just a few minutes. The service offers a smooth, modern web interface, and I was able to make an account and choose a new business phone number very quickly. If you need help along the way, Jive also offers 24/7 customer support as well as an online ticketing system.
What Jive Is Missing
Jive does not offer CRM tools like our best overall pick, Nextiva. You’ll have to subscribe to a dedicated service, like Zoho CRM, if you want to manage a sales pipeline of prospects. If you would just rather have phone and CRM features bundled into one, we’d recommend looking at Nextiva instead.
What Users Think About Jive
Our readers generally like Jive, giving it a 3.8- out of 5- star rating. Many find the company’s customer support agents to be knowledgeable. They also like the fact that there is no tiered paywall to any of the company’s features. However, some readers say that the company’s mobile app is outdated and could use a redesign. Read more customer opinions on our Jive User Reviews page.
Where to Find Jive
If you want a hosted PBX that comes with unlimited calling to many different countries, then Jive is the service for you. The company even offers a free demo of the product when you get in touch with their sales team. Visit Jive’s website today for more details.
Best Hosted PBX Provider for A La Carte Features: Vonage
Vonage is a VoIP system that comes with collaboration features like video conferencing and online chat as well as a competitive starting price of $19.99/user per month. Additionally, you can pick and choose features a la carte. This makes it great if your business has unique needs and you only want to pay for features you need.
Vonage comes in three different pricing packages. Pricing ranges anywhere from $19.99 to $39.99/user per month depending on the tier of service. This has a lower starting point than a lot of other VoIP packages, and you can buy additional features as you need them. Volume discounts are also available.
At all levels of service, you can add a la carte features, which include:
- Local phone number: $9.99 per month
- Toll-free number: $39.99 per month
- Toll-free fax number: $14.99 per month
- Automatic call recording: $49.99 per month
- Conference bridging: $14.99 per month, plus 3 cents per minute
Vonage Tiered Features
|Multi Level Auto Attendant|
Vonage Mobile costs $19.99 per user per month. It offers a basic set of call management options like call forwarding, call waiting, and hold music. You also get unlimited domestic calls as well as access to the company’s mobile app.
This plan is missing the multi-level auto attendant and call recording options found in more expensive versions of the service. It also lacks unlimited internet faxing, which you can find in Nextiva’s least expensive tier of service. Still, this plan is good for small teams who want basic hosted PBX functionality at a fair price.
For $29.99/user per month, the Premium version adds to the Mobile plan by adding a multi-level auto-attendant as well as video conferencing functionality. It also offers CRM integration, so you’ll be able to connect services like Salesforce and Zoho with your phone system. This about matches the functionality of intermediate packages from Nextiva and RingCentral.
If you want features like call recording and visual voicemail, then you’ll have to upgrade to the Advanced plan. Still, the addition of an auto-attendant here makes handling incoming calls much easier. It also gives you team a more professional business presence. This is a good fit for established small teams looking for strong core set of features.
The Advanced plan gives you call recording and visual voicemail for $39.99/user per month. The service also comes with the “Orange Glove Setup,” where the company will provide a dedicated team of trained employees to walk you through setup and onboarding.
It’s unfortunate that conferencing in this plan is limited to just 100 participants, which makes it impractical for teams that want to host mass webinars. At a similar price point, Nextiva offers unlimited conference calling. Therefore, Vonage is best suited for companies that don’t need to hold large meetings.
What Vonage Is Missing
It’s a shame that Vonage does not offer any sort of voicemail transcription, since many of its competitors do. It’s also unfortunate that conferences are limited to 100 attendees. Larger teams who hold remote all-hands conference may want to look at providers like Nextiva, which offer unlimited conferencing.
What Users Think About Vonage
Our readers have mixed opinions on Vonage. Some find the system incredibly easy to use. However, several users have reported that on-boarding new users can be frustrating, as they encounter many bugs during the process. For more reader opinions, check out our Vonage User Reviews page.
Where to Find Vonage
Vonage offers a strong feature set that you can add to as you see fit thanks to its a la carte pricing. The company even offers a 14-day free trial, so you can try it before signing up for an account. Visit Vonage’s website for details.
Best Hosted PBX VoIP Provider for Call Centers: Five9
Five9 is one of the more popular hosted PBX call center systems on the market today. The service, which does not offer concrete pricing info, is priced either on a monthly or an annual basis and comes with features like speech recognition and outbound IVR calling. It also comes with Five9 Genius AI assistant that can pull up customer data and suggest actions to your staff. Five9 is ideal for teams that want to use new technology for their call center operations.
Unlike other hosted PBX services we looked at, Five9 does not offer pricing information. Instead, you’ll have to get in touch with a company salesperson and get a customized price based on your company’s unique needs. This is frustrating for companies that are researching and want to quickly see how much the service will cost.
As a hosted PBX service, Five9 offers all the call management features you’d expect from an internet-based phone service. However, as a call center platform, it comes with many specialized features not found in traditional VoIP systems. For example, the Five9 Genius assistant gathers data based on customer emails, chats, and searches to predict the reason for their call. It does this by recognizing their number and cross-referencing it with your contact list.
Five9’s Hosted PBX features include:
Five9 matches the competition when it comes to call management. It has call waiting, caller ID, and call forwarding. Additionally, its call center capabilities even allow for automatic call queuing, and the ability for you to set up self-service options in your network. For example, you can set up a voice option that lets users check account balance, make payments, and more without your staff having to intervene.
Five9 offers advanced speech recognition in its automated attendant feature. This effectively means that customers who call for help will be able to navigate through auto-attendant menus with their voice. Not only that, but its natural language processing capabilities mean that it does this more effectively than Nextiva, RingCentral, and other systems.
Extensions & Call Routing
It’s hard to determine how many extensions are offered by Five9, as the company is priced on a per-user basis. If you can work out a deal with the company’s sales agents, then you can probably have extensions for each and every one of your users, no matter how large your company is.
Five9 Setup & Ease of Use
Five9 is a complex call center platform that will take more work and technical savvy to set up. The company provides a contact center resource library that has all sorts of data sheets, webinars, and demos to give you all the information you need. Still, the process is far more difficult than other hosted PBX providers on the market.
What Five9 Is Missing
Five9 is a highly advanced customer service solution, and it fills its niche extremely well. However, it is hard to recommend if you are just looking for a simple hosted PBX phone service. Additionally, it is missing outbound IVR functionality, which is an important feature found in many competing call center systems. If you are looking for a call center platform with such functionality, we suggest looking at Zendesk Talk instead.
What Users Think About Five9
Online reviews for Five9 are remarkably positive. Customers particularly enjoy the accessibility of the platform, and that building auto attendant voice menus is quick and easy. With that said, some users find that the cloud-based service can go down on occasion.
Where to Find Five9
Five9 is one of the most popular hosted PBX call center systems on the market, and for good reason. It has an advanced auto-attendant, it handles a high call volume, it’s easy to use, and it comes with an AI assistant to help your workers solve customer problems. For more information on Five9, click here.
Best Hosted PBX Provider for Vanity Numbers: Phone.com
Phone.com, which starts at $12.99 per month, is a hosted PBX VoIP service that includes an auto-attendant, voicemail, and a choice of unlimited or pay-per-minute affordable calling plans. However, what makes it stand out is the fact that the service lets you adopt a customized vanity number like 1-800-FLOWERS. It’s perfect for companies that want a phone number that is easy to remember.
Pricing for Phone.com ranges from $29.99 to $59.99 per user extension for unlimited calling. One-time fees for custom numbers start at $100 and costs $4.99 per month. Phone.com has one of the more unconventional pricing structures on the market.
Phone.com’s pricing plans include:
- Base: $12.99 per month for 300 calling minutes or $22.99 for unlimited calling
- Plus: $19.99 per month for 500 calling minutes or $24.99 for unlimited calling
- Pro: $39.99 per month for 1,000 calling minutes or $27.99 for unlimited calling
Phone.com provides a customizable auto-attendant, unlimited extensions, a dial-by-name directory, faxing, and texting functionality. For a lower initial cost, Phone.com offers solopreneurs and small teams many of the same tools found on more expensive platforms.
Phone.com features include:
Phone.com comes with call management functions such as call block, call transfer, and call forward. Like Nextiva and RingCentral, it also provides a call screening feature that reads the number of the caller and announces key caller information on incoming calls to help users decide whether or not they want to take the call.
Phone.com’s auto-attendant provides callers with a voice menu that supports both button-press choices and voice efficient call routing. It also comes with a dial-by-name directory that prompts callers to enter the name of the person they wish to speak with. This works in a very similar fashion to the other services we looked at.
Extensions & Call Routing
Phone.com offers unlimited extensions with all plan levels, which makes it great for growing teams that want all employees to have their own unique line. It also comes with individual voicemail boxes, call logs, and conference capabilities for all users. Still, the service handles all the basics extremely well and could be a huge cost-saver for low-volume environments.
Phone.com Setup & Ease of Use
All told, Phone.com is incredibly easy to sign up and use. Most functions are performed with just a few clicks. The desktop and mobile apps are modern-looking and uncluttered. If you want to add new extensions, all you need to do is call the company and they will help you.
What Phone.com Is Missing
Phone.com offers customer support through live chat, phone, and email channels. However, its a la carte pricing structure can make it expensive for companies with high call volumes. Also, Phone.com charges extra for call conferencing and CRM integration. This is disappointing considering RingCentral, Jive, and other competitors include them for free.
What Users Think About Phone.com
Phone.com’s customers like the affordability of the service, as well as the flexibility of calling plans. With that said, some are disappointed with the quality of the company’s customer support. They say that representatives can be slow to respond. For more opinions, check out our Phone.com User Reviews page.
Where to Find Phone.com
If you want a vanity phone number along with a strong set of hosted PBX features, then Phone.com is for you. All base plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Visit Phone.com’s website today to set up an account.
What is a PBX Phone System?
PBX systems receive incoming calls, and then route them based on configured rules within the system. This effectively means that someone can call your organization, be greeted with a range of options, and reach their desired extension without your staff having to intervene. Some PBX systems even offer the ability to schedule calls.
The four different types of PBX System available today are:
- Traditional PBX: These systems are landline-based and require physical hardware. Phone lines enter your office where they are connected to the box allowing calls to then be distributed to each desk in your office via a voice menu.
- IP PBX: This is very similar to a traditional PBX phone system. The difference is it uses digital phone signals to send calls rather than analog-based landlines, however, this type still requires a physical piece of hardware.
- Hosted PBX: Hosted systems uses VoIP phone signals like an IP PBX, but you don’t have to purchase physical PBX hardware. Instead, the system is hosted in the cloud, which allows you to manage PBX features like call routing, transfers, auto attendant, and voicemail from your internet browser or smartphone.
- Virtual PBX: A virtual PBX is a “light” version of a hosted PBX. It works the same way as a hosted PBX, but offers fewer features. It can only forward calls to an existing mobile, landline, or VoIP phone number.
While Virtual PBX systems are more affordable upfront, compared to hosted PBX systems they still require you to have another business phone system in place so that you can receive these forwarded calls. They can also be more expensive in the long run since you will still need to pay your cellphone and landline bills on top of the PBX subscription. This makes a hosted PBX system often the best choice for growing businesses.
Hosted PBX services offer you the ability to leverage VoIP features without the need for a physical PBX box in your office. This saves your company a lot of money. It also saves you the trouble of having to set up the box and take it with you whenever you move offices. A hosted service better suits the needs of today’s mobile workforce.
We recommend Nextiva as the best hosted PBX service on the market. Its advanced feature set, usability, and affordable pricing makes it a good fit for most small businesses. Click the button below to start your 14-day free trial.