Get a free PBX?

Get a free PBX? Absolutely possible if you have some unused old PC, chromebook or ARM-device, but you need basic knowledge on computer and Linux.

Free hardware:

For a beginner, the cost on hardware might not be a problem because you could build a PBX on virtual machine like VMware or virtualbox.

However VMware is not free product, so you can start with free virtualbox.

Alternatively, you can use some old unused device or PC to have a try.  Asterisk and freepbx can works on below equipment.

  • Old x86 PC with min. 512MB memory and at least 1GHz x86 CPU
  • Chromebook or Chrombox: need to flash BIOS and boot from external USB drive
  • ARM devices:  below devices were tested.
    • Dockstar
    • Pogolug
    • GoFlex Home and Net
    • Raspberry Pi:  Zero, 2, 3 and 4
    • Orange Pi: One, PC and PC2

Free software for a Free PBX:

  • FreePBX
  • AsteriskNOW
  • Issabel
  • FusionPBX (Freeswitch)
  • PBXinAFlash
  • OpenSIPs
  • Kamailio
  • OpenPBX
  • 3CX (kind of free)

As a beginning, FreePBX is recommended because it has friendly web console and good community contribution.

FreePBX for a Free PBX

Moreover, FreePBX is so kind to provide detailed tutorials to instruct people to  build FreePBX server on CentOS, Ubuntu,Arch Linux and Debian if you don’t want to use their distro disk.

Install FreePBX 15 on Arch Linux

Install FreePBX 15 on CentOS 8

Install FreePBX 14 on Unbuntu 18.04

Install FreePBX 15 on Debian 9.6

As FreePBX was developped at the base of CentOS, it’s better to use CentOS or their Disro Disck (CentOS) if possible.  In the past, CentOS was not officially support ARM-device, so Debian is the most competible for FreePBX on ARM-device.

However, CentOS 7 and 8 officially supports many ARM-device like Raspberry Pi.


Free Softphone as Extension

Many free softphone on Smart phone or PC could be as extension for incoming and outgoing call. 

  • Zoiper
  • GS wave
  • Linphone
  • CsipSimple 

You can get starting now

After getting free hardware, software and free soft phone, you can get started to build “free PBX” immediately.

The above tutorial is very detailed and helpful, but you might still encounter trouble due to less experience.

However, it’s not difficult to find a help from internet, and you are encourged to join relative forums to ask for help.

FreePBX Forum

Reddit FreePBX Community