Free Voicemail Services

Category: Voicemail

Free voicemail services were commonplace during the 1990s, when the Web was new and service providers had something to prove to voicemail users. But today there are very few truly free voicemail services now that the technology has demonstrated its reliability and quality. Here's a rundown on where to go for free voicemail, and what features are offered...

Free Voicemail

How to Get Free Voicemail

Some free voicemail services give you a phone number of their choosing, although most will let you specify a preferred area code and give you a local number if one is available. Others provide toll free numbers for you to call to retrieve voicemail; however, a tollfree number for your callers to leave messages always costs money. But most people find it more convenient to receive free voicemail via the Web and even email.

A typical free voicemail service, today, records your voice messages as MP3 files stored on its servers. Through a Web interface accessible from anywhere, you can check for new messages and manage stored messages. You can search messages by date and time, and often by the caller-ID of the person who left the message. Free voicemail services generally delete old messages after a month or several, or when your voicemail inbox is full. So it is important to download voicemail MP3 files that you wish to keep.

Many voicemail services automatically send you an email notification when you receive a new voicemail message. They may also attach the MP3 recording of your voicemail message to the email, so you can hear and save it on your local computer. But some free voicemail services make you go to their Web interfaces to hear new voicemail, so they can show you ads and make some money.

Speech-to-text translation of voicemails is a nifty feature. Instead of listening to hemming, hawing, and lengthy pauses, you can speed-read what the caller was trying to say in your email inbox. Automated translation/transcription provides frequent amusement, too, for it is not an exact science yet. Words will be mistranslated, often humorously. But most of the time you won't miss anything critical. (If you want more accurate, human transcription, try a subscription service such as Ribbit Mobile or YouMail.)

Google Voice is the best-known free voicemail service, and perhaps the most used. Its Web interface is similar to Google Mail, but less well developed; it's harder to determine which messages have been read or heard and select them for deletion, for instance. You get a free virtual phone number when you register for Google Voice, and you can send or receive unlimited SMS messages through it to any United States phone number. Combine Google Voice with Skype's $4.95/month VoIP service to any number worldwide, and who needs a traditional phone company? is a relative newcomer to the free voicemail services game. It forwards voicemail messages to your other phone number(s) and offers automatic transcription of voicemail-to-email. However, there's no SMS messaging, and you cannot store your contacts online as you can with Google Voice. But PhoneBooth does have a cool feature for businesses that Google Voice lacks: you can set up multiple voicemail boxes and even a voice-response "tree", i. e., "Press 1 for John, 2 for Jane…

If you're looking for an internet-based voicemail service for your organization or business, see out my related article Internet Voicemail Services for a list of service providers.

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Most recent comments on "Free Voicemail Services"

Posted by:

Joseph B Fischer
27 Aug 2010

Now that Google has rolled out free VOIP calling from Gmail, you can combine that with Google Voice for totally free phone service, at least until the end of the year, when Google will decide whether to start charging for calls within the US.

Posted by:

24 Sep 2010

Been using google voice for a while now. The transcribed voicemail was at best comical and at worst unintelligible. I finally turned that feature off and just used the straight voicemail.

Posted by:

joe king
25 Sep 2010

Another free service that I use is K7. But they will kill your account if you don't get at least one fax/call per month.

So if you don't get a call or a fax at least once per month, you will have to call your own number just to keep it active.

(They only offer 206 area codes)

Posted by:

02 Aug 2019

Does there exist an absolutely FREE vm that you can check through your email? No strings, catches, hidden fees, etc, but totally free?

Posted by:

25 Jan 2021

Phonebooth is $20 not free

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Voicemail Services (Posted: 27 Aug 2010)
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