Negotiating the world of modern day telecommunications can prove complex; companies and consumers often use terms such as Private Branch Exchange (PBX), switchboard and telephone system interchangeably. These are often preceded by either ‘hosted’, ‘cloud’ or ‘virtual’, further confusing the issue. It is common to represent any of these as the same product (i.e. many believe that a virtual PBX = a hosted PBX). Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not the case; the differences are subtle but important to note, particularly for anyone thinking of upgrading to VoIP telephone systems.

A Virtual PBX

Also referred to as a ‘virtual switchboard’ or a ‘virtual telephone system’, this is, at its most basic level, a full-time call attendant. This makes it ideal for a very-small business trying to keep costs down. It will allow you to set up a freephone number which can redirect straight to the phones of employees. However, this system is not equipped to make outgoing calls and is merely equipped to complement an existing telephone system; definitely something worth bearing in mind before being taken in by the low price.

A Hosted/Cloud PBX

Hosted/Cloud PBXs (also known as ‘hosted/cloud switchboards’ or ‘hosted/cloud telephone systems’) is the complete VoIP office system. It includes all the features of its virtual counterpart, while also facilitating outgoing calls and call conferencing. A company can select a phone number from one country and use it in another (i.e UK number in Spain); prospective clients tend to be more comfortable interacting with a ‘local’ phone number.

With so many products and services on the market nowadays, finding the one for you can be a tall order. Of course, features of either system will vary per service provider.

Feel free to give our sales team a call for information and expert advice on freephone 0333 123 3050 or click on the link to view our current range of VoIP phones. Visit our website at for more information.


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