How to Setup Call Forwarding

How do I actually forward my calls? This is a question we sometimes receive in our inboxes at WhichVoIP. We will explain how to configure this feature but first, what does call forwarding actually mean?

What Does Call Forwarding Mean?

Call forwarding means you can set up your phone service so that any calls to your phone number are automatically forwarded to other phone numbers that you choose. If you are going on vacation but want to still receive calls to your home phone number you can configure your incoming calls to be forwarded to your cell phone.

Some service providers even allow you to forward to more than one phone number. This is great in today's mobile world - for example if you are leaving work for a few days but need to answer any priority calls, you could forward incoming calls to your cell phone and screen the calls. If the call is not of high importance you can then let it go to voicemail. If it is an important call you can answer it on your cell phone as though you were still at the office.

Certain providers expand further on the this and have advanced call forwarding features. This takes this feature one step further, where you can program how to forward the call based on the incoming phone number. So as an example, if you are on vacation you could configure your forwarding such that when your child in college phones home the number is recognized and it gets forwarded to your cell phone, but all others go to Voicemail. If you set up the Voicemail to email feature you can then check other voicemails through your email client at any time and anywhere.

Another option is to forward based on your phone status, so for example, only forward if your phone is busy or rings 5 times without an answer.

One other feature to mention here, since it is related, is simultaneous ring. Here, you can program your phone to call a number of phone numbers simultaneously. So when a call comes in, it can automatically ring your home phone and cell phone at the same time and whichever phone answers first wins the call.

How to Use Call Forwarding

So you like what you have been reading on this feature, so now how do you get it. Well first our assumption is that you have VoIP already. If not, take a look at the comparisons tables on this page to help select a provider - there are great deals to be had these days and they all support forwarding.

Once you have VoIP you will be given details on how to log into your account online. This is one advantage of VoIP, everything is handled in the cloud, and the service provider is responsible for routing all of your calls, both incoming and outgoing. For this reason, all of the features can be configured in your login portal on the provider's website. Usually all you need is your email address and a password and this will gain you access to your account online where you can configure all of your features, your preferred billing information, E-911 emergency details and much more.

Once logged in you need to figure out how to do the forwarding of calls. This varies by provider but most of them have a direct link once logged in for "Call Forwarding". Here you will find options for setting up your incoming calls. Usually the best way to start is to enter all of the phone numbers that you may wish to forward calls to in the Forwarding Destinations section. This could be your cell phone number, your home phone number, work number etc. Next configure the Forwarding Rules. This can be as simple as sending all incoming calls to one of the Forwarding destination numbers entered previously, or even to send all incoming calls to voicemail. More elaborate rules can be configured here too, for example if your phone is busy or nobody answers after a certain number of rings or time period then forward accordingly.

This covers the basics but there are other call forwarding options in the control panel too depending on your service provider. You may have the option of Block listing. Do you keep getting a telemarketer calling you at dinner time - add their number (from caller id) to the block list! Selective forwarding - here you can forward selected incoming calls to specific destinations. For example, always send incoming calls from your child's school to your cell phone so you never miss a call that could be an emergency.

That is pretty much all there is to do. Now you know how to do forward calls with VoIP - it's a very useful feature and takes only a few minutes to configure. Once configured, update it in seconds, as required.

Looking for a forwarding service for your company? Check out our article on Business call forwarding with the find me follow me feature.

WhichVoIP Visitor Comments

#2 : Posted by Christine Weems

How do you change the phone number on the phone? We have moved offices around and need to reprogram the phones.

-> Response: Do you mean change actual phone numbers or just the call forwarding piece?
If just the call forwarding piece, it's usually either a feature you set on the phone itself or in the provider's portal that you log in to.
In terms of the actual phone numbers, if you need to change them, either switch the phones physically or tell the provider to update them accordingly. Ideally you want to keep the same people associated with each phone as voicemails and voicemail to email tend to be tied to the extension.


#1 : Posted by Ted

Good info. I use this a lot when going on vacation so my calls go to my cell.


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