Off Site (hosted) VOIP

How Messages On Hold Work On Your Phones

Where is your actual phone system if it is not in your office?

When a phone system (also called a platform) is VoIP, it could be on-premise (on site) or hosted (in the cloud or off-premise, off-site. Here we are talking only about phone systems (or services) that are cloud-based.

Have you made the switch?

Many businesses are switching to cloud based, hosted phone service. Typically, the way they get there is something like this:

"Hi, we're the company that brings you your internet service. Did you know we did phones, too? And you don't need to buy any equipment like the old days. We just provide phones that connect to a switch and a router that sends your calls up to the cloud."

Pros and Cons of Hosted Phone Systems


  • Up front costs may be less than owning phone system equipment
  • Cloud systems can often be easily expanded
  • Many hosted systems offer customer-management tools and video conferencing


  • Ongoing service costs can offset up-front savings
  • Necessary network upgrades are at customer expense
  • Music on hold may be "files-only" and play from the beginning every time a call is placed on hold
illustration or diagram shows phones pluged into a device connected to the cloud - icon of cloud meaning internet

When a system is hosted, all of the actual phone equipment is off-site (off-premise), connected by the internet. That's why this type of communications platform is also called "cloud-based".

Streaming Audio vs. Audio Files

Hosted phone systems may be able to receive audio by embedding a URL (internet streaming audio web address) at the user interface. Others can only play audio files that are loaded up to the cloud.

Knowing whether your phone system can play a live stream (URL) can make all the difference.

The troubles with files are MANY.

Top 5 Problems With Using Audio Files On Hold

  1. Changing the files is a hassle. Who is going to change the audio file when it becomes out of date? Recently, thousands of customers needed to change their messages to address the Covid-10 (Coronavirus) crisis. Many needed a technicial support person, and sometimes that comes with a cost.
  2. Stale content is inevitible.Most of the time, the phone on hold music and messages are loaded to the phone system with no plan or automation to change them.
  3. Files may play from the beginning every time. If you have a 4-minute, 8-paragraph message on hold audio file playing from the beginning each time a call is placed on hold, most of your message is never heard.
  4. Callers hear the same messages every time they are placed on hold. If the caller is placed on hold more than once during their interaction with your company, they must endure the exact same messages in the exact same order.
  5. Generic content is ineffective. Studies show that the more relevant your marketing messages are, the more effective they are. Generic message on hold topics are dull and remind us that we are "on-hold". Because you are loading audio files up to the cloud, you are concerned that they will not get changed on a timely basis, so you use more generic messaging, a marketing missfire.

Easy On Hold is not responsible for the performance, installation or operation of equipment we do not sell. Articles about equipment are for educational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of any make or brand. Easy On Hold makes no claims or warranties regarding telephone equipment of any kind.

Good News For Hosted VoIP Users

Easy On Hold® has been developing new technologies that connect live streaming music and messages with more and more hosted, off-premise phone systems. Talk to us about the new and better ways to automate message on hold changes by using streaming audio into these platforms:

  • TPX
  • Bicom Systems
  • OnSip
  • FreeSWITCH
  • Nextiva
  • Fusion
  • Asterisk

These hosted systems only take audio files (for now):

  • 8 X 8
  • Vonage
  • Ring Central
  • Jive
  • 3CX
  • Ooma
  • Charter
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • Weave
  • Grasshopper
  • Five9
  • Skype For Business
  • twillio

What to do if you have a hosted phone system that can only use uploaded files for music on hold.

Follow the tips and tricks for giving callers a better experience! Our file-builder approach will give you flexibility that other on hold message providers do not offer.

Tips For Files On Hold