The Difference Between a Virtual Phone Number and a Physical One

Business man on a mobile phone.

Business man on a mobile phone.

Phone numbers, as we know them are changing. Traditionally, phone numbers were tied to a specific phone, device, or home. That is no longer the case, thanks to the emergence of virtual phone numbers.

Virtual and normal phone numbers are slightly different from each other. Find out the difference between a virtual phone number and a normal phone number here.

The Difference Between a Virtual Phone Number and a Physical One

Virtual phone numbers can sound like a complicated or, quite possibly, an expensive option for a phone system. That simply is not the case. A straightforward and cost-effective option, many businesses and individuals are quickly making the change to business phone numbers using virtual phone numbers instead of physical numbers..

Those that already use any sort of software that utilizes the “cloud” will already be familiar with the technology behind a virtual phone number. Cloud computing is one of the main ways that virtual phone numbers are more cost-effective. Using data centers to facilitate the calls and host the software, the cost the shared across more users without the expense of maintaining physical lines or other expensive equipment.


The most significant difference between a virtual phone number and a physical phone number is that virtual ones are not exclusively tied to a specific phone, device, or address. This flexibility allows users significantly more flexibility in how they use telephone communications.

With many people and businesses on the go, call forwarding is a benefit. Many physical phone providers know this and charge for the service. With a virtual phone number, you can forward your number to any device at no additional charge.


Unlike physical phone numbers, virtual phone numbers do not require specialized and expensive equipment. Virtual phone numbers don’t even need an actual phone to place and receive phone calls. If you already have existing phone equipment, you can generally use a virtual phone number with it.

Using specific software, it doesn’t matter what device you use to make and receive your phone calls. Between computers, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets you can make and receive calls using devices you already own.

Phone Numbers

With virtual phone numbers, you can create a presence in almost any location through a number. If you go to your local phone carrier, you will be assigned a local phone number. However, with virtual phone numbers, you can purchase a phone number from any area code.

Having the ability to purchase phone numbers in different area codes can be a huge upside for those businesses that do business across the country. Even if your office or business is located out of state, your customers can dial a number local to them. This will help you reduce the cost of incoming phone calls.

You can also purchase toll-free prefixes and vanity numbers if that makes sense for your business.

Ease of Use for Businesses

With telecommuting and businesses operating in multiple locations becoming more prevalent, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a company to operate under a traditional phone system. Usually, each site uses a different own phone system, often from incompatible service providers.

With a virtual phone number and phone operating system, your business can be truly united under number. You can route calls to those on the go or employees operating from a separate desk with ease.

Creating queues becomes a breeze with virtual phone numbers as well. A queue can keep one single member from the team having to field many calls. The team or department can share in the work based on your business needs.

No Contracts

Unlike traditional, physical phone providers and numbers, many virtual phone number providers do not require a contract or service commitment. No contracts mean less of your cash flow is tied up long-term, allowing you to move where the best deal is without the worry of being trapped in a contract.

Backups of Data

Knowing that a virtual phone number is hosting in a data center can give you peace of mind. Have you ever had a technical issue with your phone service, leaving you without the ability to make or receive calls? Has your phone system ever crashed, resulting in lost data such as voicemails, stored numbers, and more? Data centers minimize that risk. 

The Similarities Between a Virtual Phone Number and a Physical One

Now that we know the main differences between virtual and physical phone numbers let’s take a quick look at the similarities.

Virtual phone numbers and physical phone numbers work almost the same. You still own your phone number, and it remains tied to you. Some people may be thrown off by the term “virtual,” but it is only a difference in name, not in the service you will receive.

Just like with a traditional phone number, when someone dials your virtual phone number from any phone, they will be directly connected to you. Your callers won’t even know your line is a virtual number! The phone number remains in the same format as traditional numbers.

Virtual Phone Number

Virtual phone numbers are on the rise and are becoming quite popular among businesses and individuals. From the limited equipment needed, ease of use, no contracts, and more, it is easy to see why.

Now that you know some of the differences between a virtual phone number and a normal phone number, you can decide which is right for you! Contact us today for more information on getting up your virtual business.



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