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What is a PBX?

What is a PBX?

A PBX (Private Branch eXchange) is a telephone system used within an organisation to route and manage incoming and outgoing calls. It provides a phone extension for each user, allowing them to make internal calls and access features such as voicemail, without the need for their own external phone number.

Traditionally, PBX systems were physical hardware that were installed on-premises. However, with the advent of digital VoIP technology, PBX systems are now available as software applications hosted in the cloud.

The main features of a PBX system typically include call routing, extension groups, queues, menu systems (known as Interactive Voice Response, or IVR), voicemail, call-barring and conference calling. To help you find the best configuration to suit your needs, we've written a guide to the flexible routing options available with the Voipfone Cloud PBX.

A PBX system helps to streamline communication within an organisation, increase efficiency, and reduce costs by eliminating the need for multiple phone lines and dedicated operators.

How does it work?

The fundemental component of a PBX is the phone extension. Typically you would have one extension for each user, with either a hardware VoIP telephone plugged into your broadband router, or a softphone app installed on a mobile or desktop computer.

With the Voipfone cloud-hosted PBX, your phones can be located anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. You can have up to 800 extensions on your account and each extension can be called 'internally' by dialling its three digit number. Calls between your extensions are always free no matter where they are.

The diagram below shows how call traffic is handled. Calls come into us from the public telephone network through our direct, physical connections with BT and other tier one providers, minimising latency and jitter and ensuring the best call quality. All the switching and routing of calls is handled by our servers, according to features and rules you define in your online Control Panel. Our system will then ring the relevant phone extensions.

Voipfone cloud-hosted PBX diagram

Why choose the Voipfone cloud-hosted PBX?

The table below outlines the advantages of the Voipfone cloud-hosted PBX over a traditional PBX system.

Traditional PBX Voipfone cloud-hosted PBX
Call volume Limited by available phone lines (often just two). Every extension can be making or receiving a call at the same time.
Mobility Phones are physically connected to the PBX. Phones can be anywhere in the world there is an internet connection. Perfect for a business split across many sites, or for business travel.
Flexibility Even minor changes can require IT support Our user-friendly online control panel allows non-technical people to change the features and functions of our Cloud PBX at will - in real time.
Scalability Requires on-site physical hardware that can become obsolete. Hardware provides a fixed number of extensions. Adding just one more can be very expensive. You can purchase as many or as few services from us as you need, so you can grow or flex whenever necessary. Why splash out on expensive PBX hardware if your start-up only has three employees? When your business grows, you can just add more extensions as you need them.
Space and Power Requires space for a cabinet, servers and power. Requires only an office router which you will already own for your internet connection.
Maintenance Expensive, long-term, maintenance and update contract required. Repairs require site visit by IT expert. Involves downtime time and expense. It's our responsibility to constantly keep your system safe, secure and up-to-date at no cost. All online and no touch.
Cost Needs expensive line rentals, capital expenditure and long-term contractual tie-ins. No contract service, pay monthly for only what you need, flex up or down as business demands require.

More reasons to choose the Voipfone cloud-hosted PBX

Customer service

We provide you with free tech support by phone, email or live chat, and we'll help you through even the trickiest situations.


We host the VoIP platform and are responsible for your security. We have system wide security and fraud prevention systems and 20 years of experience defending you.

Reliability and disaster recovery

If an on-site PBX breaks or your office loses power, or you have a fire, you lose communications and possibly your business.

With VoIP, you can work anywhere there’s an internet connection, so you can take your phones home and nothing changes. If you lose your phones, we can get you new ones the next business day fully configured – just plug in anywhere. Meanwhile, our automatic failover divert system will forward your calls to any mobiles or landlines that you configure in your control panel.

Sounds great - sign me up!

Voipfone's cloud PBX services are available across our selection of ready-made plans or you can pick exactly what you need with Voipfone Flex. No matter which you choose, you're not tied down to a contract so you can easily change plan, directly from your online Control Panel. No site visits, no installation, no maintenance - just sign up and go.

Got a question?

New technology can seem confusing at first, but don't worry, we are here to help!

Your call, email or chat will be handled by one of our real live
customer services representatives - no AI, no bots!

Got a Question?

You can speak to one of our Customer Service representatives by calling our dedicated Customer service line on 0345 868 5555 and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Configure Services

Log in to your online control panel to configure your services. With Voipfone's online control panel you can manage your account in real time, from your PC anywhere in the world.


You can try our service for FREE - without risk or commitment. Firstly, we'll give you a free incoming 056 telephone number so that people can call you from ordinary telephones.