3CX vs. FreePBX

Table of Contents

Open-source IP PBX systems offer greater flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness than most traditional hosted PBX platforms. IP PBX is more software-based than hardware-based, allows unlimited extensions, and requires only a single network to transmit voice, data, video, and other data. If you’re in the market for an open-source PBX system, you’ve probably noticed that 3CX and FreePBX are frequently cited as two of the best choices.

What exactly is 3CX?

3CX was established in 2005 when VOIP was an emerging technology and has since become a global leader in business communications. Using the SIP open-standard and WebRTC technology, 3CX has transformed from a PBX phone system into a comprehensive communications platform, offering customers a simple, flexible, affordable voice, video, and live chat solution. With 3CX, businesses can increase productivity, improve customer experiences, and drastically reduce expenses and administrative burdens.

3CX is a software-based, open standards IP PBX that offer complete Unified Communications out of the box. 3CX makes installation, management, and maintenance of your PBX so easy that you can effortlessly manage it yourself, on an appliance, on your servers, or in your cloud account. The 3CX softphone for Windows is a free softphone you can use to make and receive VoIP phone calls from your PC. The advantage of using the 3CX softphone for Windows is that you can leverage low-cost or free VoIP calls. SIP Trunks / VoIP Providers are a convenient way to connect 3CX to the PSTN

Users are not required to select specific SIP trunks, hosts, IP phones, or phone numbers because the platform is open. You can instead construct your own Unified Communications (UC) platform from scratch.

The 3CX app, your preferred web browser, and iOS and Android devices enable communication on desktop computers.

Pros of the 3CX Phone system

It is one of the most cost-effective phone systems, providing the best value. It significantly reduces your communication costs. According to users, 3CX has reduced its communication costs by 80%.

Simple installation and administration

Installation and administration of the application are uncomplicated. In addition, 3CX academy and video tutorials expedite application installation.

Ease of Cloud and On-Premises Installation

3CX has your back, whether you prefer office life or want to complete all of your tasks from home. We will assist you in developing the optimal communication solution.

Superior Performance 3CX is the only application that offers so many user-friendly features. All components are designed with the needs of the users in mind.

Website Chat

3CX has your back if your company’s website lacks a chat function. There is a distinctive feature included with the WordPress plugin. This plugin will help you to communicate with the website visitor in real time.


It is among the most secure phone applications; all audio, video, and voice data is encrypted. The built-in security system prevents hackers from accessing your PBX system.


3CX integrates with various excellent applications, including office 365, Facebook Messenger, and many others.

User Friendly

This life-saving application is highly user-friendly, and customer service is beneficial.

Cons of the 3CX Phone System

  • The mobile application contains dated user interfaces. However, the web application performs admirably.
  • Direct customer service will cost you on a per-ticket basis. The other compatible applications are significantly more cost-effective.
  • SIP trunk configuration is complicated; a local integrator may be required.

What exactly is FreePBX?

FreePBX is a web-based open-source GUI (graphical user interface) that controls and manages Asterisk (PBX), an open-source communication server. FreePBX is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), an open-source license. FreePBX can be installed manually or as part of the pre-configured FreePBX Distro that includes the system OS, Asterisk, FreePBX GUI, and assorted dependencies.

It includes some basic built-in features but is primarily a highly configurable PBX platform that allows you to pick and choose the capabilities that best suit your business’s requirements.

Advantages of FreePBX

Impressive Extensions and Features

You must log in to the store to access the impressive features and extensions; from this page, you can select outstanding items such as high scalability, flexibility, availability, and call center bundles.

Scalable and Flexible

FreePBX’s compatibility with the most commercially available software devices and hardware is its most significant advantage. Due to its widespread use across the globe, it has nearly 200 endpoints. Therefore, you can integrate existing devices with FreePBX.

No License Limitation

Even though it is a free resource, there are no restrictions on the number of extensions, queues, or users that can be created on a single system.

Easy To Manage

FreePBX makes managing the Asterisk PBX system simple, whereas setting up a premise-based PBX solution was never simple. It reduces the level of difficulty by several notches.

Excellent Support

FreePBX has been providing hosting for longer, and its service has vastly improved. Most frequently asked questions have already been answered, and customer service is also active.

Free Software

Last but not least, FreePBX is open source, so anyone can utilize the service. It’s completely free to download and use.

Cons of FreePBX

  • The installation procedure is somewhat intricate and time-consuming. Before downloading the application, it is recommended that you view a tutorial on installing FreePBX.
  • The premium features are not gratis. You must purchase the module to access the premium features.
  • Occasionally, the updates result in immediate phone calls, mainly when they are incomplete or slow. It occurs regularly.

FreePBX and 3CX: What’s the Difference? is to present 3CX.


Users can manually install FreePBX, but the vast majority use the FreePBX Distro, which includes the Linux operating system, the Asterisk communications platform, and the FreePBX graphical user interface.

FreePBX has fewer built-in features than 3CX, but it comes with a standard set of features that users can build upon. This prevents you from paying for unnecessary features while retaining the option to add them in the future.

While FreePBX is free, most advanced features are powered by commercial add-ons and modules that are not. Users who require multiple add-on packages should choose PBXact, which contains most commercial modules (pricing is not listed on the website.)

Softphone functionality is available for smartphones and other mobile devices through the paid Zulu integration of FreePBX.


3CX offers on-premise hosting and cloud hosting. 3CX provides mobility and flexibility, a straightforward setup and management procedure, and an 80% cost reduction compared to traditional business phones.

Like FreePBX, 3CX offers softphone capabilities for desktop and laptop computers and Android and iOS iPhones. 3PBX phone systems offer PSTN gateways as well.

Highlights include:

  • Call management
  • Video conferencing
  • Integrations of live website chat with CRM systems

3CX Video Conferencing

3CX provides browser-based, app-free video conferencing for an unlimited number of users.

A one-click link allows anyone outside your organization to join a web conferencing call without creating an account. Its pricing is not determined by the number of users but by the maximum number of required participants. The complimentary video conferencing tool supports up to 250 participants per meeting. Additionally, private one-on-one sessions are available.

3CX video calling’s top features include the following:

  • Sharing of screens, screenshots, and files (including PDFs)
  • Whiteboard device
  • Remote control
  • Outlook calendar synchronization
  • Control of attendees, including the waiting area, presenter access, mute, and ejection.
  • Polling, hand-raising, and questioning instruments
  • Reaction buttons (agree/disagree, link/dislike)
  • Meeting minutes
  • In-meeting chat application

Meet Sangoma Chat

Most users rely on a bridge from the free open-source video calling tools Jitsi or Zulu for video calling in FreePBX.

Sangoma recently introduced Sangoma Meet, a free desktop and mobile video-conferencing application that integrates with FreePBX. It is accessible via the Sangoma Meet app or a web browser and allows for a maximum of 50 participants.

Highlights include:

  • Display sharing
  • Automated password security
  • Group and private chat messaging
  • Participants who use only audio
  • Emoticon responses

Who Needs to Use FreePBX?

Regarding business communications software, FreePBX is ideal for companies that value customization and cost-effectiveness.

However, users who lack a solid foundation in SIP Trunking and PBX technology, coding, and application development will most likely struggle with FreePBX. If you want to get the most out of this tool, you’ll need to spend a lot of time sifting through the user-created wikis and add-ons (or pay more for pre-configured modules.)

FreePBX is optimal for:

  • Users who desire a fully tailored Unified Communications platform
  • Users who are competent in installing and configuring modules/add-ons
  • Businesses of any size that already have communications equipment or endpoints
  • Companies require PBX solutions with an unlimited number of users, IVRs, queues, and more.
  • Application designers and distributors
  • Small businesses with more fundamental communication requirements

Who Needs to Use 3CX?

3CX is the best option for businesses of any size that want to customize their business phone system without starting from scratch, as FreePBX users must. One of the most distinctive aspects of 3CX is that it includes a WordPress chat plugin that enables agents to chat with website visitors in real time. The add-on is also available for CMS and custom-built websites if your business does not have a website chat.

This allows for improved product recommendations, accelerated purchasing cycles, and a decreased website bounce rate. If customers require more assistance than chat support can provide, users can upgrade the website chat to a phone call at any time.

3CX is suitable for:

  • Startups and other businesses in need of scalable business communications solutions
  • Administrators and managers who require a PBX solution with built-in, plug-and-play features
  • Companies whose clients contact them via multiple channels must implement a Unified Communications system.

In Conclusion

Many companies and organizations often find it difficult to choose between the two services. This is mainly because they are unfamiliar with how VoIP work and the features and benefits they bring to the table. Companies can easily decide which service is better by comparing the features and benefits of FreePBX and 3CX. Both have their own unique set of capabilities which can be configured to meet any company’s needs.


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