What is a Virtual PBX?

A Virtual PBX is an internet-based PBX system. PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. Unlike a normal PBX which is hosted on-premises and handled manually, a virtual PBX is hosted on the cloud. An Internet connection, a suitable call center software and a web app are used to create the network infrastructure.

Virtual PBX can be accessed over a web app through any PC, laptop, or mobile device. Also, Internet connectivity ensures that Virtual PBX phone systems have minimal downtimes and connectivity issues that on-premises systems are infamous for

virtual pbx system - Freshdesk Contact Center virtual pbx system - Freshdesk Contact Center

How does Virtual PBX work?

A virtual PBX works with the help of the internet. It uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to transmit voice signals. Unlike traditional PBX systems that have on-premise servers, a virtual PBX has its server hosted on the cloud. All the telephony data like phone numbers, call flows, call notes, call routing, etc. are stored in this cloud server as well.

In a virtual PBX scenario, when a call is placed, the voice data is transferred through the internet and to the recipient’s location. In case, the recipient has a traditional PSTN phone, the virtual PBX uses what is known as SIP trunking to connect the call to the desk phone. Otherwise, it would connect directly to the end user’s laptop, PC, mobile phone or VoIP enabled phone which is configured to receive calls. 

Key differences between an on-premise and virtual PBX system

On-prem and Virtual PBX systems serve the same purpose of streamlining phone connections across the organization and also with its outside world. However, both have stark differences in working and features that make one a better choice than the other.

On-premise PBX system Virtual PBX system
Heavily reliant on hardware
On-prem PBX systems require several phone devices, PBX boxes, central server systems, and sometimes even supporting hardware just to have the basic infrastructure in place. 
Requires Zero phone hardware
The virtual PBX can be configured and managed even with a single desktop or laptop. No other hardware is required. Of course, you need Internet connectivity.
Connects using physical wire connectivity
The entire network infrastructure is weaved using physical phones and network wires.
Connects using Cloud Telephony
Internet-based voice and data communications negligible physical wire usage.
Requires additional extension for scalability
Any new number or a user can be added to the network only by adding new hardware. The process is rather time-consuming.
Easily scalable like any software
New users can be added through email invites. Virtual numbers can be purchased over the Internet. A hassle-free process that is quick like any online transaction.
Requires high initial setup costs
On-premise PBX systems require you to buy PBX hardware, phone handsets, and even phone lines upfront to get started. 
Minimal setup costs
Virtual PBX phone systems are priced like off-the-shelf software that can be paid monthly, annually or fixed periods best suited for the business requirements. 
Incurs heavy maintenance costs
The physical wires tend to wear off, rampant network downtimes can happen all of which requires a dedicated person to maintain the PBX system.
Incurs low on maintenance costs
The vendor takes care of the software performance, data center maintenance, etc. which liberates the user from maintenance-related activities. 
Updates are cumbersome
An update in an on-premises PBX system usually means replacing the PBX system or rewiring the entire infrastructure. 
Easier Online updates
System & interface updates and bug fixes happen through Internet connectivity.
Risk of technological obsolescence
Hardware-reliant PBX systems always have the risk of becoming redundant. It is not easy updating to a new PBX system from an existing one. 
Regularly updated
Like a mobile app that is downloaded from app stores, customers always get the latest version of a virtual PBX system. The existing systems are also constantly updated OTA.
Needs extensive staff training
The PBX system along with its hardware, the physical wire connections, the call routing process needs extensive training and knowledge transfer to get used to.
Intuitive and requires minimal training
A virtual PBX can be easily mastered like any software. Its intuitive interface requires minimal training to understand and can be used by any user with a quick KT. 

What makes a Virtual PBX system ideal for modern-day businesses?

Predictable annual cost

Virtual PBX systems mostly come in the form of SaaS products which have a flexible pricing plan. You will have some amount of certainty in how much dollars you have to spend monthly/annually to keep the phone system running.

Enterprise-grade features

A virtual PBX brings within the reach of small-scale businesses enterprise-grade PBX features like voicemail, IVR, business hour restrictions, etc. which helps run a call center with ease.

Maximized productivity

Virtual PBX systems are insulated from frequent downtimes as they housed on the cloud. This helps prevent mishaps caused due to electrical or physical wire-related issues.

Call center mobility

Virtual PBX systems give your call center the freedom to be mobile. With a mobile app, you can make or take a quick call even if you are not physically at your call center.

Quick setup

Virtual PBX systems usually take the form of plug and play software or pre-built web applications that can be configured and launched easily in few minutes.


Adding more phone lines, add more agents, set up multiple call queues, customize IVR menus, everything can be done at scale with a virtual PBX, instantly.

ideal features

Ideal features of a virtual PBX

An ideal virtual PBX should come with top-notch features that enable quick call center setup, effortless management, and performance monitoring. 



IVR/Phone Trees

Route your callers to specific menus, agents or teams with keypress triggers. IVR can help serve answers to FAQs or even transfer your callers to the right teams ideal to solve the issue. Read more about IVR



Your agents may not be available to take calls 24/7. In such scenarios, when the call density spikes, a voicemail can be of help to capture caller messages. Additionally, voicemail transcriptions can make it easier for your agents to read through voicemail messages in text. Read more about Voicemail


Business hour routings

Create custom business hours for each time zone, team or agent. Calls that come in beyond the business hours will be routed to a voicemail or IVR. building a global call center is now easier. Read more about Business Hour routing.

Call center management


Call monitoring

Knowing how each call agent is speaking to customers can give some deep insights into your call center’s service quality. With call monitoring, you can discreetly monitor agent-caller interaction. Read more about Call Monitoring.


Real-time dashboard

Having a bird’s eye view of your call center’s ongoing calls, agent availability, l queues, etc. can help call the right shots. Freshdesk Contact Center comes with a real-time dashboard that will keep you in the know. Read more about Real-time Dashboard


Automatic call recording

Be it to comply with regulations or to identify areas where agent productivity, call handling mannerisms, etc. a phone call recorder is necessary. Freshdesk Contact Center’s automatic call recorder can help with that. Read more about Automatic Call Recorder.

Call center performance


Customer interaction history

When a caller who has called previously calls again, it will help if your agents have the information handy about what was conspired during the previous calls. Freshdesk Contact Center’s customer interaction history helps with that. Read more about Customer Interaction History


Call conferencing

Sometimes agents may not have the necessary expertise or information required to address customer queries. Call conferencing with a colleague, another team or expert will help resolve customer queries quickly. Read more about Call Conferencing.


Curated reports

Take a quick glance at your call center performance with Freshdesk Contact Center’s curated reports. Manage your call center and agent productivity better with ready-to-use analytics that gives a 360-degree view of your call center’s real-time activities. Read more about Curated Reports.

virtual pbx reviews

Freshdesk Contact Center (Formerly Freshcaller) Vs Other Virtual PBX Systems

Freshdesk Contact Center has achieved a star rating of 4* and above on most product reviews forums and communities like G2Crowd, Capterra, Software Advice, Product Hunt, etc. where user-generated PBX reviews are posted. (*at the time of publishing)

Also, on comparison with other PBX systems, Freshdesk Contact Center has some features that others fall short off. Here is a quick tabulation of the features.

Freshdesk Contact Center virtual PBX comparison Freshdesk Contact Center virtual PBX comparison

Freshdesk Contact Center (Formerly Freshcaller)

The preferred virtual PBX system for all businesses

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FAQs about Freshdesk Contact Center (Formerly Freshcaller)

What is the difference between virtual pbx and a traditional phone system?

A virtual PBX works with the help of the internet. It relies on cloud telephony for voice data transmission, call transfers, call recording, and other telephony features. A traditional phone system is reliant on telephony hardware like PSTN cables, network carrier connections, desk phones, etc. for enabling telephony operations. A Virtual PBX is easier to set up, use and manage. Whereas, traditional phone systems require heavy investment in hardware, are time-consuming to set up and require manpower to maintain.

What is the dIfference between hosted and virtual PBX?

A hosted PBX is one in which the server is located in a third-party location. The task of maintaining and managing the PBX is taken care of by the third party. A virtual PBX, on the other hand, resides on the cloud. It has no physical form. Hence, it can be managed and controlled from any remote location or device. 

Can I switch my current business virtual number over to a new virtual pbx provider?

Yes. users who are already using legacy phone systems can easily switch over to Virtual PBX. Their existing phone numbers can be ported to the virtual PBX using number porting. Similarly, all telephony settings like call flows, call routing, teams user privileges, etc. can also be carried over to the virtual PBX.

Are you already using a legacy phone system or any other virtual PBX? Would you like to know how you can switch your current business virtual number to Freshdesk Contact Center virtual PBX? Write to us at support@freshcaller.com and we will walk you through the process. 

What are hosted PBX, VoiP PBX, IP PBX, and IPBX?

They are all one and the same. Virtual PBX is also referred to as hosted PBX, VoiP PBX, IP PBX, and IPBX.