Hosted PBX vs On-Site PBX: Which is right for your business?

1st September 2021
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The last couple of years have brought changes to every business, no matter your sector. As we get back to normal and adjust to the post-Pandemic world you’ll no doubt be trying to find ways to adapt. We’re engaging more businesses than ever about restructuring their phone systems. The most common question? Is a hosted or on-site PBX right for my business?

If you’re an active member of any business community you’ll have heard one of your peers mention the cloud. By 2021, we’re confident that most of you reading will have implemented the cloud in some way to enhance your business.

However, cloud-based phone systems are still to be widely adopted. With interest in hosted PBX services growing weekly we thought we’d provide a rundown of the differences between cloud and hardware-based phone systems.

How is hosted PBX different from on-site PBX?

Don’t worry. We know there are a lot of acronyms out there, and PBX may be one you’ve seen but are unfamiliar with. PBX is a blanket term for business phone systems. It’s a shorthand way of writing private branch exchange but has widened in usage to cover pretty much any multiline telephone system used by a business.

What is on-site PBX?

An on-site PBX is your traditional business phone system. Sometimes referred to as a manual PBX, your on-site PBX refers to every handset, line, switchboard, and cabinet that make up your phone system. It’s comprised almost entirely of hardware, and calls are hosted on a physical network connected to the national infrastructure.

What is hosted PBX?

Hosted PBX is a business phone system that is partly or fully hosted by a 3rd party, in the cloud. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services became popular in the ’90s with ISDN PBX systems. Since then, cloud-based VoIP has become an integral feature of what is referred to as Hosted PBX system. Hosted PBX systems rely on software and internet connectivity, and on-site hardware components can be as simple as a device, headset, and router.

Does hosted PBX have more features than on-site PBX?

Yes. Over the decades before IP telephony fully took off, there were many options available for on-site PBX systems. However, these new features would require new hardware. It could be as simple as a new handset, or as complex and cumbersome as a completely new cabinet.

All of these business phones system-specific features have been replicated in the cloud. What’s more, there are many features available exclusively on hosted PBX systems.

One of the most popular of these features is VoIP apps, which mean you can switch between multiple devices and take business calls from your professional number even when using your personal mobile. Auto-sync call recording, secure file sharing, and automated cloud backup have also become essential tools for many of the customers we helped migrate over to a hosted PBX system.

Is hosted PBX cheaper than on-site PBX?

Cost is always a key concern. There’s a reason many are hesitant to invest in a new phone system; their current one was a huge financial investment, and has continued to be to maintain.

Hosted PBX systems are much, much more cost-effective than the on-site PBX they’re replacing. The most obvious of these comes from what you’re not paying for. Hosted PBX systems don’t rely on hardware. That means no expensive repair callouts, maintenance costs, or high-rate engineers and technicians whenever you need a new feature added.

It’s also a known fact that VoIP call rates are lower across the board. As hosted PBX systems connect calls across your internet connection, rather than a separate phone line, calls cost as much per minute as the data they use. This includes international calls and calls taken by remote and WFH staff based outside of the office.

Is it easier to manage a hosted PBX system?

This is the other big question we get from the customers migrating over to cloud calling. We know how difficult phone systems are to manage at Immervox, because that’s literally what we do every day. We can attest first-hand to exactly how stressful and time-consuming managing large on-site PBX systems can be.

Hosted PBX, however, has been a breath of fresh air both for ourselves and our customers. As hosted PBX systems are software-based they can be installed and deployed easily and quickly. Making configurations is a smooth process that doesn’t require on-site visits from engineers, and call analytics and other key metrics can be track with almost no effort.

New features and users can be added to your monthly service package with a few clicks from a browser window in most cases, too. It’s also much easier to scale your package to your needs, regardless of how often they change. This makes hosted PBX systems particularly useful for sectors such as construction or agency healthcare, which rely on large fluctuating pools of mobile employees working are different locations.

Is hosted PBX better than on-site PBX?

Better is perhaps too simplistic a word. However, there are obvious advantages to hosted PBX systems. One of our key preoccupations since 2020 has been helping businesses migrate from on-site to hosted PBX. It’s very easy to see why.

This article only gives a brief overview of some of the most obvious benefits to hosted PBX systems over the on-site ones many businesses still rely on. We have other blogs that explore key areas, such as cost and scalability, in more detail. As we always say though, the best way to find out more about hosted or on-site PBX, or anything else communications or connectivity related, is to ask us!

Hosted cloud PBX, with Immervox.

If you want to have a chat with the team about some specific ways cloud-based voice services can bring value to your business, why not give us a call or register your details?

Hosted PBX vs On-Site PBX

If you need a new business PBX, hosted vs on-site is the key question you should be asking. Here's everything you need to know.

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