Don’t you hate it when you’re sitting at your computer and you get a phone call? You need to rip off your headphones, fish through your pocket, pull out your phone, and answer the call. It interrupts your whole workflow and keeps you from being as productive as you could be. Stop suffering! It’s possible to make a phone call from computer programs without ever reaching for your phone.
It’s not witchcraft or wizardry, just the best phone calling technology on the planet. It’s called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short. With VoIP, you can make a phone call on any internet-connected device for a great low price. Here’s how to set yourself free.
How to Make a Phone Call From Your Computer: Discover VOIP
Why Can’t I Just Connect My Cell Phone to the Computer?
Let’s clear up something before we dive headfirst into using VoIP to make phone calls on your PC. While it is possible for you to connect your cell phone to your computer via Bluetooth or USB and make calls, you’re not actually making the call from your computer. In reality, you’re just controlling your phone with your computer. What’s so wrong with that?
For starters, you’re paying the cell phone company way too much. You could save money by simply paying for mobile data and getting a VoIP number, as we’ll see shortly. In addition, using your phone doesn’t alleviate possible reception problems or give you any of the advanced features that VoIP services can. Worse yet, not every phone has this functionality and not all of them do it well.
The Better Way: Use VoIP to Make a Phone Call From Computer
The secret sauce that makes it possible to make and receive calls from your PC is VoIP. With VoIP, you get a real phone number that anyone can dial. You can place calls just as you would with your mobile or home phone. The VoIP provider that issues your phone number will let you download software that you can use to make calls on your computer.
Best of all, you’re not just getting the ability to make calls from your computer. You can use your VoIP number on any device as long as you have internet access. Use it when you’re at the coffee shop on your laptop. Take a call on your tablet. You truly have unlimited power when you switch to VoIP.
How Does It Work?
So what’s really going on behind the scenes? VoIP essentially mimics the way landlines and mobile phones work, except everything happens online in a digital environment. Instead of sending electrical signals down a copper wire or beaming radio waves across the room, your computer sends packets of ones and zeroes just like it does when you send any kind of information.
Your VoIP number acts like your computer’s IP address. The VoIP provider attaches that number to your account so that any time you get a call, your computer program lights up and lets you know. VoIP providers also have connections to public telephone networks, so even grandma on her landline can call your VoIP number without even needing Internet access!
What Do You Need to Start?
From a technical perspective, if you have a computer you’re probably already set. VoIP doesn’t require a powerful PC or any advanced equipment at all. Of course, you’ll need a microphone if you want the person on the other line to actually hear you. Post-2020 just about everyone has a pair of headphones with a microphone, so you should be good to go.
The other requirement, of course, is internet access. You don’t need a blazing fast connection to use VoIP. If you can run Zoom or Google Meet, you can definitely handle VoIP calls. In fact, VoIP is even easier to use since it doesn’t normally transmit video, which is much heavier than audio-only data. If you have the basics, then all you need is a virtual phone number.
Get a VoIP Number to Make a Phone Call From Computer
You can get a VoIP number in 15 minutes with nothing more than a credit card or PayPal account. You’ll need to create an account with a VoIP provider, who will give you a VoIP number in the area code of your choosing. Some providers even have vanity numbers available. Many VoIP services can give you a toll-free number too if that’s something you’re looking for.
Once you have paid for your account and received your number, you can download the provider’s software and start calling instantly. Most providers will activate your number within minutes. Fire up the virtual phone and start testing it out!
What Else Can VoIP Do?
Maybe you want to do more than just make a phone call on your computer. Do you want to send texts from your PC too? How about creating your own menu so that your friends can press 1 to get Rick Rolled? All of those options and more become possible with VoIP.
You can do everything your current phone can do, and then some. Consider some of the extra features that you can put to use when you switch to VoIP.
Text Messaging or SMS
The same program you use to handle virtual phone calls can also be used to send and receive text messages from any number. Most VoIP plans give you both unlimited calling and unlimited texting, so you won’t have to worry about a surprise bill at the end of the month.
The auto-attendant is an automated voice menu system that you can customize and program to your liking. You can even configure rules that handle incoming calls. For instance, if you’re not at your desk and someone is calling you, your VoIP number can forward the call to your cell phone or landline after a set number of rings.
Auto-attendant adds a nice touch of professionalism to small business owners and solopreneurs as well. It’s a great feature and nearly every VoIP provider offers it.
Never rely on your memory when making important calls. Business deals and verbal agreements are hard to settle when there’s little more than “he said she said.” You can record your calls to your PC or keep them in the cloud if your provider has that option.
Which Companies Provide the Best VoIP Service?
We’ve reviewed tons of VoIP providers to find the right one for you. Which provider you choose will depend largely on your budget and the features you need. Some providers have advanced AI and complex call management systems that might be more than what you really need to get started. However, we can recommend a few services to help you get started with your search.
We’re big fans of RingCentral because we love how their software integrates group chats and phone calls into one convenient app. Their pricing is also quite reasonable. Grasshopper is a solid choice for small businesses with 2-3 partners. If you already pay for Zoom, check out their phone service as well. When bundled together, it’s a pretty affordable deal. Check out our comparisons and long-form reviews to learn more about different VoIP providers before you settle on your final choice.