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5 Minutes to Paradise: Incredible PBX in the Cloud for $25/Yr.

We’ve been building turnkey Incredible PBX® servers for virtual machine platforms for many years. Because the servers are built from images, typical install times have been 5 minutes or less with Proxmox, VirtualBox, and VMware ESXi. But the missing piece has always been a similar image install on a true cloud-based platform. This limitation was primarily due to the fact that we don’t own or control the available cloud platforms which typically limit image installs to operating systems such as CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, and Windows.

Today we have more very good news. Our favorite low-cost hosting provider, Crown Cloud,1 has agreed to offer 5-minute turnkey installs of Incredible PBX 2020 for CentOS and Incredible PBX 2021 for Debian at a jaw-dropping $25 a year. You’ll have a fully-functioning, production-ready KVM platform including a free snapshot with 1GB RAM, 20GB SSD storage, and 1TB of monthly bandwidth in your choice of server locations including Los Angeles and Atlanta in the United States as well as Germany and the Netherlands in Europe. And, unlike all of the other Asterisk® aggregations, Incredible PBX still provides a source code-based platform that can be tailored to meet any special requirements you may need.

We don’t make a nickel on this deal so consider this our special thanks to all of our loyal fans.

Here are the links to sign up for the service and take advantage of these Incredible PBX deals:

UPDATE: 2GB/40GB KVM plans have now been released.

When you sign up for the service, choose any operating system as your default install. Then open a support ticket and request either the Incredible PBX 2020 for CentOS image or the Incredible PBX 2021 for Debian image be added into your template list of available operating systems. Once your server comes on line, open your CrownPanel and choose Reinstall and select Incredible PBX from either the available CentOS or Debian options. In less than 5 minutes, your server will be ready for you to login. Be sure to use SSH and NOT the VNC utility included in CrownPanel. This will assure that your desktop machine’s IP address gets whitelisted in the Incredible PBX firewall. Once you login, the Incredible PBX configurator will prompt you to set passwords for root login, admin login to FreePBX, and admin login credentials for Apache to access AsteriDex and Reminders. After a reboot to initialize your SSH keys, you’ll be ready to go. Add a trunk provider and a softphone, or Incredible PBX SIP phone, or GTI cell phone, and your PBX is fully operational. Check out the CrownCloud Wiki.

Planning Ahead for That Rainy Day

One of our favorite features of Crown Cloud is the free snapshot (a.k.a. backup) at no additional charge. We recommend you take snapshots regularly as you make major changes in your server’s configuration. In this way, if something comes unglued, you can easily restore the snapshot and never miss a beat. You’ll find the Remote Snapshot option in your CrownPanel menu.

Configuring Skyetel for Incredible PBX

If you’ve decided to go with Skyetel, here’s the drill. Sign up for Skyetel service and take advantage of the Nerd Vittles specials. First, complete the Prequalification Form here. You then will be provided a link to the Skyetel site to complete your registration. Once you have registered on the Skyetel site and your account has been activated, open a support ticket and request the $10 credit for your account by referencing the Nerd Vittles special offer. Once you are satisfied with the service, fund your account as desired, and Skyetel will match your deposit of up to $250 simply by opening another ticket. That gets you up to $500 of half-price calling. Credit is limited to one per person/company/address/location. Effective 10/1/2023, $25/month minimum spend required.

Skyetel does not require SIP registrations to make connections to your PBX. Instead, Skyetel can use Endpoint Groups to identify which servers can communicate with the Skyetel service. An Endpoint Group consists of a Name, an IP address, a UDP or TCP port for the connection, and a numerical Priority for the group. For incoming calls destined to your PBX, DIDs are associated with an Endpoint Group to route the calls to your PBX. For outgoing calls from your PBX, a matching Endpoint Group is required to authorize outbound calls through the Skyetel network. Thus, the first step in configuring the Skyetel side for use with your PBX is to set up an Endpoint Group. Here’s a typical setup for Incredible PBX:

  • Name: MyPBX
  • Priority: 1
  • IP Address: PBX-Public-IP-Address
  • Port: 5060
  • Protocol: UDP
  • Description: my.incrediblepbx.com

To receive incoming PSTN calls, you’ll need at least one DID. On the Skyetel site, you acquire DIDs under the Phone Numbers tab. You have the option of Porting in Existing Numbers (free for the first 60 days after you sign up for service) or purchasing new ones under the Buy Phone Numbers menu option.

Once you have acquired one or more DIDs, navigate to the Local Numbers or Toll Free Numbers tab and specify the desired SIP Format and Endpoint Group for each DID. Add SMS/MMS and E911 support, if desired. Call Forwarding and Failover are also supported. That completes the VoIP setup on the Skyetel side. System Status is always available here.

Configuring ClearlyIP SIP Trunking

For the tightest integration with FreePBX, no SIP provider holds a candle to Incredible PBX SIP Trunking with ClearlyIP. The reason is fairly obvious. The ClearlyIP folks were the original developers of FreePBX. In addition to all of the traditional SIP trunking services, you also get CNAM support and state-of-the-art E911 service which can be deployed in full compliance with Kari’s Law and the Ray Baum Act. If you’re a system integrator and don’t know about your financial liability for failure to comply with the new rules, it’s time to do some reading.

Configuring VoIP.ms for Incredible PBX

To sign up for VoIP.ms service, may we suggest you use our signup link so that Nerd Vittles gets a referral credit for your signup. Once your account is set up, you’ll need to set up a SIP SubAccount and, for Authentication Type, choose Static IP Authentication and enter your Incredible PBX server’s public IP address. For Transport, choose UDP. For Device Type, choose Asterisk, IP PBX, Gateway or VoIP Switch. Order a DID in their web panel, and then point the DID to the SubAccount you just created. Be sure to specify atlanta1.voip.ms as the POP from which to receive incoming calls. In the Incredible PBX GUI, be sure to enable the VoIP.ms trunk.

Configuring V1VoIP for Incredible PBX

To sign up for V1VoIP service, sign up on their web site. Then login to your account and order a DID under the DIDs tab. Once the DID has been assigned, choose View DIDs and click on the Forwarding button beside your DID. For Option #1, choose Forward to IP Address/PBX. For the Forwarding Address, enter the public IP address of your server. For the T/O (timeout) value, set it to 2o seconds. Then click the Update button. Under the Termination tab, create a new Endpoint with the public IP address of your server so that you can place outbound calls through V1VoIP. In the Incredible PBX GUI, be sure to enable all of the V1VoIP trunks.

Configuring Anveo Direct for Incredible PBX

To sign up for Anveo Direct service, sign up on their web site and then login. After adding funds to your account, purchase a DID under Inbound Service -> Order DID. Next, choose Configure Destination SIP Trunk. Give the Trunk a name. For the Primary SIP URI, enter $[E164]$@server-IP-address. For Call Options, select your new DID from the list. You also must whitelist your public IP address under Outbound Service -> Configure. Create a new Call Termination Trunk and name it to match your server. For Dialing Prefix, choose six alphanumeric characters beginning with a zero. In Authorized IP Addresses, enter the public IP address of your server. Set an appropriate rate cap. We like $0.01 per minute to be safe. Set a concurrent calls limit. We like 2. For the Call Routing Method, choose Least Cost unless you’re feeling extravagant. For Routes/Carriers, choose Standard Routes. Write down your Dialing Prefix and then click the Save button.

Before you can make outbound calls through Anveo Direct from your PBX, you first must configure the Dialing Prefix that you wrote down in the previous step. Log into the GUI as admin using a web browser and edit the Anveo-Out trunk in Connectivity -> Trunks. Enable the Trunk. Then click on the custom-Settings tab and replace anveo-pin with your actual Dialing Prefix. Click Submit and Apply Config to complete the setup. In the Incredible PBX GUI, be sure to enable all of the remaining Anveo trunks.

By default, incoming Anveo Direct calls will be processed by the Default inbound route on your PBX. If you wish to redirect incoming Anveo Direct calls using DID-specific inbound routes, then you’ve got a bit more work to do. In addition to creating the inbound route using the 11-digit Anveo Direct DID, enter the following commands after logging into your server as root using SSH/Putty:

cd /etc/asterisk
echo "[from-anveo]" >> extensions_custom.conf
echo "exten => _.,1,Ringing" >> extensions_custom.conf
echo "exten => _.,n,Goto(from-trunk,\\${SIP_HEADER(X-anveo-e164)},1)" >> extensions_custom.conf
asterisk -rx "dialplan reload"

Configuring a SIP Phone for Incredible PBX

We’re in the home stretch now. You can connect virtually any kind of telephone to your new PBX. Plain Old Phones require an analog telephone adapter (ATA) which is a standalone SIP device such as ObiHai’s OBi100 or OBi110 (if you have a phone line from Ma Bell to hook up as well). SIP phones can be connected directly so long as they have an IP address. We obviously recommend the Incredible PBX IP phones from ClearlyIP which are the most versatile.

If you’ve been keeping up with recent Nerd Vittles developments, then you already know that we have just introduced a new Cellular Phone which connects directly to your PBX and serves as a perfect remote extension and traveling companion. You can read all about it here.

Software devices such as the YateClient softphone are another option for desktop machines. We’ll start with a free one today so you can begin making calls. You can find dozens of recommendations for hardware-based SIP phones both on Nerd Vittles and the VoIP-Info.org Forum when you’re ready to get serious about VoIP telephony.

We recommend YateClient for Windows which is free. Download it from here. Run YateClient once you’ve installed it and enter the credentials for the 701 extension on Incredible PBX. You can find them by running /root/show-passwords. You’ll need the IP address of your server plus your extension 701 password. In the YateClient, fill in the blanks using the IP address of your Server, 701 for your Username, and whatever Password was assigned to the extension when you installed Incredible PBX. Click OK to save your entries.

Once you are registered to extension 701, close the Account window. Then click on YATE’s Telephony Tab and place some test calls to the numerous apps that are preconfigured on Incredible PBX. Dial a few of these to get started:

DEMO - Apps Demo
123 - Reminders
947 - Weather by ZIP Code
951 - Yahoo News
TODAY - Today in History
LENNY - The Telemarketer's Worst Nightmare

If you are a Mac user, another great no-frills softphone is Telephone. Just download and install it from the Mac App Store. For Android users, check out the terrific new VitalPBX Communicator. Works flawlessly with Incredible PBX.

For smartphone solutions, visit the Incredible PBX Wiki for our softphone recommendations.

Configuring SendMail with Incredible PBX

In order to receive voicemails by email delivery, outbound mail functionality from your server obviously is required. We strongly recommend configuring SendMail using either your ISP or Gmail as an SMTP Relay Host. NOTE: If you are using a Gmail account with 2-step verification enabled, you MUST use a Gmail App Key instead of your Gmail account password. You also must enable Less Secure Apps access to the Gmail account.

Configuring a Gmail account with Incredible PBX 2021 is as simple as entering your Gmail credentials. Just run this script: /root/enable-gmail-smarthost-for-sendmail.

Here are the steps using a Gmail account with Incredible PBX 2020:

cd /etc/mail
yum -y install sendmail-cf
hostname -f > genericsdomain
touch genericstable
cd /usr/bin
rm -f makemap
ln -s ../sbin/makemap.sendmail makemap
cd /etc/mail
makemap -r hash genericstable.db < genericstable
mv sendmail.mc sendmail.mc.original
wget http://incrediblepbx.com/sendmail.mc.gmail
cp sendmail.mc.gmail sendmail.mc
mkdir -p auth
chmod 700 auth
cd auth
echo AuthInfo:smtp.gmail.com \\"U:smmsp\\" \\"I:user_id\\" \\"P:password\\" \\"M:PLAIN\\" > client-info
echo AuthInfo:smtp.gmail.com:587 \\"U:smmsp\\" \\"I:user_id\\" \\"P:password\\" \\"M:PLAIN\\" >> client-info
echo AuthInfo:smtp.gmail.com:465 \\"U:smmsp\\" \\"I:user_id\\" \\"P:password\\" \\"M:PLAIN\\" >> client-info
# Stop here and edit client-info (nano -w client-info) in all three lines.
# Replace  user_id with your gMail account name without @gmail.com
# Replace password with your real gMail password OR
#  use your Gmail App Key if 2-step verification is enabled
# Be sure to replace the double-quotes shown above if they don't appear in the file!!!
# Save your changes (Ctrl-X, Y, then Enter)
chmod 600 client-info
makemap -r hash client-info.db < client-info
cd ..
systemctl restart sendmail

Even though these servers are hosted in the cloud, we still recommend using a SmartHost to minimize email delivery problems.

Test outbound mail using this command with your actual email address:

echo "test" | mail -s testmessage yourname@youremaildomain.com

On some implementations, you may notice in the FreePBX GUI that the mail queue has failed. Here's the fix:

chmod 777 /var/spool/mqueue
service sendmail restart

Once you are sure your emails are being delivered reliably, here's a sample GUI voicemail configuration for an extension:

Incredible PBX Administration

We've eased the pain of administering your new PBX with a collection of scripts which you will find in the /root folder after logging in with SSH or Putty. Here's a quick summary of what each of the scripts does.

add-fqdn is used to whitelist a fully-qualified domain name in the firewall. Because Incredible PBX blocks all traffic from IP addresses that are not whitelisted, this is what you use to authorize an external user for your PBX. The advantage of an FQDN is that you can use a dynamic DNS service to automatically update the IP address associated with an FQDN so that you never lose connectivity.

add-ip is used to whitelist a public IP address in the firewall. See the add-fqdn explanation as to why this matters.

del-acct is used to remove an IP address or FQDN from the firewall's whitelist.

admin-pw-change is used to set the admin password for access to the FreePBX/Incredible PBX web GUI using a browser pointed to the local IP address of your server.

apache-pw-change is used to set the admin password for access to Apache/Incredible PBX apps including AsteriDex and Reminders. This provides a password layer of protection for access to these applications.

reset-conference-pins is a script that automatically and randomly resets the user and admin pins for access to the preconfigured conferencing application. Dial C-O-N-F from any registered SIP phone to connect to the conference.

reset-extension-passwords is a script that automatically and randomly resets ALL of the SIP passwords for extensions 701-705. Be careful using this one, or you may disable existing registered phones and cause Fail2Ban to blacklist the IP addresses of those users. HINT: You can place a call to the Ring Group associated with all five extensions by dialing 777.

reset-reminders-pin is a script that automatically and randomly resets the pin required to access the Telephone Reminders application by dialing 123. It's important to protect this application because a nefarious user could set up a reminder to call a number anywhere in the world assuming your SIP provider's account was configured to allow such calls.

show-feature-codes is a cheat sheet for all of the feature codes which can be dialed from any registered SIP phone. It documents how powerful a platform Incredible PBX actually is. A similar listing is available in the GUI at Admin -> Feature Codes.

show-passwords is a script that displays most of the passwords associated with Incredible PBX. This includes SIP extension passwords, voicemail pins, conference pins, telephone reminders pin, and your Anveo Direct outbound calling pin (if configured). Note that voicemail pins are configured by the user of a SIP extension the first time the user accesses the voicemail system by dialing *97.

update-asterisk16 is a script that updates your server to the very latest release of Asterisk 16. You can run it periodically to keep your server up to date with the latest and greatest features.

update-IncrediblePBX is the Automatic Update Utility which checks for server updates from incrediblepbx.com every time you log into your server as root using SSH or Putty. Do NOT disable it as it is used to load important fixes and security updates when necessary. We recommend logging into your server at least once a week.

pbxstatus (shown above) displays status of all major components of Incredible PBX.

Forwarding Calls to Your Cellphone. Keep in mind that inbound calls to your DIDs automatically ring all five SIP extensions, 701-705. The easiest way to also ring your cellphone is to set one of these five extensions to forward incoming calls to your cellphone. After logging into your PBX as root, issue the following command to forward calls from extension 705 to your cellphone: asterisk -rx "database put CF 705 6781234567"

To remove call forwarding: asterisk -rx "database del CF 705"

Getting Started with Incredible Fax

Believe it or not, there still are lots of folks that use faxes in their everyday lives. If you're one of them, Incredible PBX has your back. With Incredible PBX 2021, Incredible Fax is already installed. Simply set your email address for delivery of your faxes in PDF format, and you're all set: /root/avantfax-email-change. With Incredible PBX 2020, begin by logging into your server as root and running incrediblefax2020.sh to install HylaFax and AvantFax on your server. You'll be prompted a dozen or more times for information. Answer no to the secure fax question. For the rest of the prompts, just press ENTER to accept the default entries. Rebooting your server is required when the install finishes.

Once your server is back on line, there will be a new AvantFax tab in the GUI. The default credentials are admin:password. After you enter the username and password, you will be prompted to change your admin password. The old password is still password. Then enter your desired password twice and save the setting. The AvantFax dashboard then will display. If nothing has come unglued, you should see four green Idle icons:

You can Send Faxes from within AvantFax by choosing the Send Fax tab, or you can use one of many HylaFax clients. Google is your friend.

Keeping FreePBX 15 Modules Current

We strongly recommend that you periodically update all of your FreePBX modules to eliminate bugs and to reduce security vulnerabilities. From the Linux CLI, log into your server as root and issue the following commands:

rm -f /tmp/*
fwconsole ma upgradeall
fwconsole reload
systemctl restart apache2

Where To Go From Here

For a limited time, check out Lenny on our Atlanta demo server by dialing 404-999-0010.

Complete documentation on the ClearlyIP Devices Module is available here.

Complete documentation on the FreePBX GPL Modules is available here.

Complete documentation on the Incredible PBX additions is available here.

An introduction to configuring extensions, trunks, and routes is available here.

Free voicemail transcription with email delivery. Tutorial available here.

Setting Up a VPN for Your PBX: OpenVPN or NeoRouter

Originally published: Monday, July 6, 2020  Updated: Saturday, January 16, 2021

Need help with Asterisk? Visit the VoIP-info Forum.


Special Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors

FULL DISCLOSURE: ClearlyIP, Skyetel, Vitelity, DigitalOcean, Vultr, VoIP.ms, 3CX, Sangoma, TelecomsXchange and VitalPBX have provided financial support to Nerd Vittles and our open source projects through advertising, referral revenue, and/or merchandise. As an Amazon Associate and Best Buy Affiliate, we also earn from qualifying purchases. We’ve chosen these providers not the other way around. Our decisions are based upon their corporate reputation and the quality of their offerings and pricing. Our recommendations regarding technology are reached without regard to financial compensation except in situations in which comparable products at comparable pricing are available from multiple sources. In this limited case, we support our sponsors because our sponsors support us.

BOGO Bonaza: Enjoy state-of-the-art VoIP service with a $10 credit and half-price SIP service on up to $500 of Skyetel trunking with free number porting when you fund your Skyetel account. No limits on number of simultaneous calls. Quadruple data center redundancy. $25 monthly minimum spend required. Tutorial and sign up details are here.

The lynchpin of Incredible PBX 2020 and beyond is ClearlyIP components which bring management of FreePBX modules and SIP phone integration to a level never before available with any other Asterisk distribution. And now you can configure and reconfigure your new Incredible PBX phones from the convenience of the Incredible PBX GUI.

VitalPBX is perhaps the fastest-growing PBX offering based upon Asterisk with an installed presence in more than 100 countries worldwide. VitalPBX has generously provided a customized White Label version of Incredible PBX tailored for use with all Incredible PBX and VitalPBX custom applications. Follow this link for a free test drive!

Special Thanks to Vitelity. Vitelity is now Voyant Communications and has halted new registrations for the time being. Our special thanks to Vitelity for their unwavering financial support over many years and to the many Nerd Vittles readers who continue to enjoy the benefits of their service offerings. We will keep everyone posted on further developments.

  1. It has been reported that Norton AntiVirus currently gives a security alert on the Crown Cloud web site. Don't be alarmed. It's a false positive. []


  1. I ordered from CrownCloud, Atlanta KVM VPS, got them to add the template for IncrediblePBX2020, re-installed, and couldn’t connect to the VPS via SSH. I then created a Support ticket (they were quick to respond) and they stated the install didn’t finish and had me do it again. The second time, same issue – no SSH connection could be made. They are currently looking into it and will respond – I’ll update here once I hear back from them.

  2. CrownCloud was able to get the install working and I was able to connect via SSH to complete the install- it worked very smoothly. Thank you! They said there was an issue while allocating the ram to the VPS so it was not able to boot up, but that they have fixed the issue.

    Also, in this image, it seems as though the installed version of Webmin is 1.930 and the most up-to-date version is Webmin 1.962 – is it ok to update Webmin without any ill affects to the IncrediblePBX install?

  3. Sorry, one more question: The installed image has 392 packages out-of-date for my install on CrownCloud. Is it okay to upgrade these packages in CentOS or should be leave things how they are so as not to affect Incredible PBX 2020 install? Please advise. Thanks!!

    [WM: Go for it… after you make a snapshot of your working system.]

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