Introduction to 3CX Licensing
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Introduction to 3CX Licensing

Introduction, Licensing, Support

On this topic

Introduction, Licensing, Support

What is 3CX Phone System for Windows?

How an IP Phone System Works

SIP Phones

Software (based) SIP Phones

Hardware (based) SIP Phones

Smartphones (iOS and Android)

3CX Phone System Licensing

3CX Phone System Editions


Support Page / Configuration Guides / Knowledge Base

See Also

What is 3CX Phone System for Windows?

3CX Phone System is a software based PBX for Windows that works with SIP standard based IP Phones, SIP Trunks and VoIP Gateways to provide a complete PBX solution – without the inflated cost and management headaches of an ‘old style’ PBX. The IP PBX supports all traditional PBX features but also includes many new mobility and productivity features. An IP PBX is also referred to as a VoIP Phone System or SIP Server.

Calls are sent as data packets over the computer data network instead of the traditional phone network. Phones share the network with computers so no separate phone wiring is required. With the use of a VoIP/PSTN gateway, you can connect existing phone lines to the IP PBX to make and receive phone calls via a regular PSTN line. You can also use a VoIP Provider, which removes the requirement for a gateway.

3CX Phone System interoperates with standard SIP softphones, IP phones or smartphones, and provides internal call switching, as well as inbound and outbound calling via the standard phone network or via a VoIP service.

How an IP Phone System Works

A VoIP Phone System generally consists of the IP PBX server, one or more SIP based phones and a VoIP/PSTN Gateway or a VoIP service provider. The IP PBX server is similar to a proxy server. SIP clients, being either softphones or hardware based phones, register with the IP PBX server.

When they wish to make a call they ask the IP PBX to establish the connection. The IP PBX has a directory of all phones/users and their corresponding SIP address, and connects an internal call or routes an external call via either a VoIP/PSTN gateway or a VoIP service provider.


Figure - VoIP Phone System Overview

The image illustrates how an IP PBX integrates with the network and how it uses the PSTN and/or the Internet to connect calls.

SIP Phones

A VoIP phone system requires the use of SIP Phones. These phones are based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), an industry standard to which all modern IP PBX systems adhere to. The SIP protocol defines how calls should be established and is specified in RFC 3261. SIP allows the possibility to mix and match IP PBX software, phones and gateways. This protects your investment in phone hardware. SIP phones are available in several versions/types:

Software (based) SIP Phones

3CXPhone for Mac (left), 3CXPhone for Windows (right)

A software based SIP phone is a program which makes use of your computer's microphone and speakers, or an attached headset to allow you to make or receive calls. Examples of software SIP phones are 3CXPhone or X-Lite from Counterpath.

Hardware (based) SIP Phones


Hardware IP Phones: snom 760 left, Yealink T46G right

Hardware based SIP phones look and behave like normal phones. They are actually mini computers that connect directly to the computer network. They have an integrated mini hub, allowing them to share a network connection point with a computer, eliminating the need for an additional network point for the phone.

Smartphones (iOS and Android)

Using an iPhone or Android Smartphone with 3CX

iOS and Android devices can be used as clients for 3CX Phone System, using the freely available 3CXPhone for Android and 3CXPhone for iOS. Using 3CXPhone, your smartphone or tablet becomes a wireless desk phone in the office, and can be used to answer and receive company calls while out of the office via WiFi, 3G or 4G(Providing your mobile service provider supports VoIP over 3G and/or 4G).

3CX Phone System Licensing

Licensing is based on the number of simultaneous calls that your company requires, including both external and internal calls. Each 3CX Phone System allows you to create an UNLIMITED number of extensions. To arrive at the correct number of simultaneous calls that you will need you must usually take the projected number of extensions and divide by two to four times depending on how much your organisation uses the phone.

3CX Phone System Editions

3CX Phone System is available in three different editions:

  • Free Edition - All features but limited to two simultaneous calls
  • Standard Edition – Includes all key features necessary.
  • PRO Edition - Adds advanced call queueing, reporting, CRM integration and more.

Find out more about the differences between versions from our Features Comparison Page.


3CX Technical Support is available via our Support Portal. Access is free for 3CX Partners. For end users, 3CX Support packages are available. Review our Support Procedures and Pricing. We also have Community Forums from where you can obtain user to user support for our products.

Support Page / Configuration Guides / Knowledge Base

3CX maintains a knowledge base / help page. Be sure to follow the configuration guides for the make and model of your VoIP gateway, SIP phone or Firewall. The configuration guides can be found in the main Support Page.

See Also


You might also be interested in:

Ask a Question

Please only post questions in regards to the document you are currently reading.
Technical support or pre sales questions must be posted via the support or sales channels and such comments will be deleted. Thank you for understanding

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  1. Jhon Santana

    Greetings I am using what I consider an external voip and because I have an ip server that i can use in counterpath, mitel,etc. but not able to use with 3cx. how do I configure 3cx this way.

    July 15, 2015 at 12:51 am Reply
    • @Jhon You are referring to 3CX Phone? You cannot. We want 3CXPhone users to use our free phones with our PBX only – Users that want to use only our phones, should stick to using another pbx.

      July 15, 2015 at 9:02 am
  2. Scott

    Does the free edition expire?


    July 22, 2015 at 9:41 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Scott, Thanks for your question. The Free edition allows for 2 simultaneous calls it does not expire. When you activate the demo key in 12.5 you will also get pro features. In v14 the free version includes the pro features. I hope this answers your question.

      July 23, 2015 at 9:03 am
  3. Xintian

    I just installed 3cx soft phone on my MOTO E (Android 5.1), but I don’t know how to create an extension, so I can’t receive a welcome email fro 3cx. Please tell me how should I do?

    August 2, 2015 at 3:24 am Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Xintian, thank for your question. Ask your 3CX Phone System administrator to send you the welcome email to configure your 3CXPhone.

      August 2, 2015 at 8:54 am
  4. Earl Hook

    Is there a mobile application for 3cx phone for Windows based phones? I am looking at installing on a Lumina 625 and can not seem t0 find one.

    August 15, 2015 at 9:40 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Earl, thanks for the question. Yes there is a beta version. Although It requires Windows phone 10 to be able to find it in the Windows store and install it.

      August 16, 2015 at 4:59 pm
  5. Seb


    You said Free edition contains all features, but I am unable to create/view Call Reports. The documentation say this functionnality require a Standard or Pro version.
    Could you confirm that Call Reports are really available in the free edition?


    August 23, 2015 at 11:41 am Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      Hi Seb, thanks for the question. If you register the demo key for 12.5 you will get the all the PRO features for one month so that you may test the entire system. For v14 the basic reporting features are available in the free version, the advanced queue reporting feature will require a Pro edition license.

      August 24, 2015 at 11:16 am
    • seb

      thanks for your reply.
      I installed the v14 free edition, but I am unable to run any reports even the basic “Call log Report”.
      Should I enable something somewhere?

      Thanks for your help

      Best regards


      August 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Seb, thanks for the reply. Have you configured your SMTP server under settings > General > Network > Mail Server tab? Are you receiving a specific error when you try to send a report by email?

      August 25, 2015 at 12:04 pm
    • Seb

      Mail is configured and working (I can receive alert e-mail). No error are sent when I try to create a report. I found a way to connect directly to the DB and it seems that the callhistory[23] tables are empty.
      Thanks for your support

      August 25, 2015 at 8:17 pm
  6. Aphane


    I dont have an hardware phone or pbx system but I want to use a softphone on my android phone and my admin pc or to make calls. please advise…

    September 7, 2015 at 2:46 am Reply
    • Hello Aphane,

      to use 3CXPhone for Android you must have 3CX Phone System installed as your pbx. If you are interested in buying a 3CX Phone System licence you find a partner in your area here.

      September 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm
  7. nour

    downloaded 3cx phone system 8 and works ok
    but when i tried to download 3cxphone system v14 it gives me this note :
    the installation package is not supported by this processor type

    so how can i download this or a better new version than v8

    awaiting your reply

    October 4, 2015 at 11:09 am Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Nour, thanks for the question. It seems you have an extremely old version of which you will not be able to upgrade from. You will have to install V14 on a new machine and configure as a new installation. Also the machine you use must have a 64 bit processor. Please see this guide detailing all the requirements and prerequisites necessary to install v14:

      October 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm
  8. Christian Ttnzer

    Is an installation on a virtual server (VMware ESXi mit vMotion) supported? How to license correct – do I need 2 identical licenses?

    October 6, 2015 at 5:13 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      Hi Christian, Thanks for the question. VMware ESXi vMotion is supported and you will only require one license.

      October 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm
  9. Joshua

    kindly specify the specification of computer system I can use to install the 3CX version 14.

    November 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm Reply
  10. Justin Ferrell

    Do I need a separate license for a failover server?

    December 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm Reply
    • @justin As the blog post implies, licensing is not ready.. For now you do not need a secondary license..

      December 4, 2015 at 11:52 am
  11. Raymond Soltes

    Will my license restrict the number of phones that will ring in a ring group set for ring all containing more extensions than my license will allow for concurrent calls
    ie licensed for 4 concurrent calls, 1st inbound call goes to a ring group containing 6 extensions and the ring group is set to ring all

    June 13, 2016 at 10:20 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Raymond, Only 1 simultaneous call is used to poll phones in a ring group.

      June 14, 2016 at 2:28 pm
  12. Could you send me a copy of the standard 3CX licensing agreement? I am with Appia Communications. Need ASAP, please.

    June 23, 2016 at 7:09 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Victor, please contact 3CX Sales who will be able to assist you further with this. You may find the numbers for our sales department for your region here: or email them directly

      June 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm
  13. mike

    i recently changed my network ip address and this lost the entire PBX setup. can i renstall and use the same key for registation.

    July 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Mike, if the internal IP is the one that has been changed, simply take a backup, remove 3CX, restart the machine then re-install and restore the backup. After the restore the license will also re activate automatically.

      July 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm
  14. mike

    hi Charalambos Eleftheriou,
    the 3cx system doesn’t seem to start. the system has been moved to a new VLAN including the IP phones have changed the addressing. @mike

    July 6, 2016 at 4:17 pm Reply
    • Charalambos Eleftheriou

      @Mike, Simply take a backup, remove 3CX, restart the machine then re-install and restore the backup. After the restore the license will also re activate automatically. If you have used single FQDN (recommended) change your dns to point to the new IP. If not then you must reprovision your phones by factory resetting and provisioning.

      July 7, 2016 at 3:24 pm
  15. Dennis

    Hello. We are a service provider and have multiple licensed 3CX servers in production but also a free one. All are v15. Does the free licensing permit us to use a second and third free v15 within our organization? Thanks

    December 20, 2016 at 8:31 am Reply