Zoom works great for conference calls, but you’re limited to 100 people and just 40 minutes in the free version. This isn’t always ideal, especially for longer meetings. Luckily, there are a variety of Zoom alternatives that don’t have as many restrictions in their free versions. Plus, some don’t even require people calling in to have an account.
Skype is a completely free conference call solution as long as everyone is a Skype user. It’s ideal for both business and personal use and offers advanced features that many competitors, like Zoom, charge extra for. It’s best suited for users who already use and are comfortable with Microsoft products.
- Unlimited meeting times
- Call recording
- Live subtitles
- Audio and HD video calling
- Private encrypted conversations
- Screen sharing
- Cross-platform availability (iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, Alexa, Xbox, Web)
- Limited to 100 participants at once
- All users must have a Skype account
- Free for Skype users
- Plans start at $3.59/month to call non-Skype phones and landlines (Choose monthly plans, credits, or your own Skype number.)
2. Jitsi Meet
Jitsi Meet is one of the more generous free Zoom alternatives. While there is a premium version, the free version is perfect for most conference and group calls. The best part of all is that no one, not even the call host, needs an account to use the service. This makes Jitsi incredibly easy to use.
- No account needed
- End-to-end encryption
- Share multiple screens at once
- No call time limit
- HD video calls
- Remote desktop access
- Available on iOS, Android, and web
- Offers Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365 integrations
- Calls are limited to 100 participants
- No call recording
- Jitsi as a Service (which offers advanced options such as custom branding, up to 500 participants, and more) is free for up to 25 users and starts at $99/month for 300 users
- 8×8 Meet (premium edition of Jitsi) starts at $25/month for call recording, calendar syncing, desktop versions, and more
3. Messenger Rooms
Despite Messenger Rooms being a Facebook product, participants (except the host) don’t need an account to join any free conference call. You’re free to enjoy calls for as long as you want. However, the app does recommend that you use the desktop version if you’re meeting with a larger group so you can see everyone easier.
- Unlimited call time
- No account needed for participants
- Create rooms from Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and any Portal device
- Share movies, music, shows, and more
- Available on iOS, Android, web, and Windows (use any Facebook-owned app, not just the Messenger app, to create rooms)
- Apps aren’t needed for participants to join, just a browser window
- Only available for up to 50 participants at once
- The host must have a Facebook account
- Anyone with the meeting link can join in
- All free
4. RingCentral Video Pro
RingCentral Video Pro is one of the more professional free Zoom alternatives. You even get to enjoy virtual backgrounds, active speaker highlighting, and cloud recording. While some features are only available in the premium version, most users will find everything they need in the free version.
RingCentralVideo Pro is different from RingCentral MVP, which includes a business phone system and has only paid plans.
- HD audio and video
- Meetings can last up to 24 hours
- Record up to 10 hours to the cloud, with recordings saved for seven days
- Closed captioning
- Participants can join without downloading or signing up (via link, email invite, or dial-in)
- Screen and desktop sharing
- Set meeting passwords
- Host two meetings at once
- Available via web and Windows desktop
- Limited to 100 participants
- The Pro version is free
- Pro+ is $11.99/user/month and adds an extra 100 participants, recordings stored for one year, direct calling to phones (500 minutes per user), and business integrations such as Salesforce among other features
FreeConferenceCall aims to be the best of Zoom alternatives but without the price tag. However, monthly contributions are more than welcome to help support development. The free platform supports large free conference calls, chats, audio calls, and much more. It’s one of the most feature-rich Zoom alternatives with the fewest limitations.
- International audio calls
- Audio recording and transcripts
- Video conferencing for up to 1,000 participants
- Video recording
- Screen sharing and remote desktop
- Presentation software
- Branded meeting rooms
- Available on the web, iOS, and Android
- Some features, such as using an 800 number for participants to dial in, require a premium upgrade (the features listed above are free)
- Most features are free, though a suggested contribution of $4/month is appreciated (you can also enter a custom amount if you’d like to support the developers)
- Premium upgrades vary based on the feature and include a single number for US participants to use ($3.95/month), toll-free number ($0.02/user/minute), custom greeting ($2/month), custom hold music ($2/month), and extra storage ($3/month)
- A full premium option called Huddle is also available starting at $7/month/host
Lark is a set of business team tools that include video conferencing, messaging, docs, cloud storage, email, and more. However, it’s the video conferencing portion that does well as an alternative to Zoom. Of course, getting all the extras for free makes it an appealing option to business teams looking for productivity solutions on a tight budget.
- Unlimited call duration
- Share docs, calendar, and media within calls
- Schedule and join meetings from the calendar or emails
- Collaborative video calls and chats
- Limited to 350 video participants on both free and premium
- No weekend customer support
- Free for most features
- Enterprise plan includes unlimited cloud storage, but you have to contact Lark for pricing
Butter is one of the more limited options on this list, but it’s ideal for one-on-one training and meetings. It does have a free conference calling option for larger groups. Where it really shines is in free integrations – it supports breakout rooms, polls, a music player, Google Drive, YouTube, etc. So, for more interactive calls, Butter may be the best overall option.
- All Butter’s tools (presentations, polls, breakouts, recaps, flashcards, session planner) and integrations for free
- Set up two different rooms
- Truly unlimited one-on-one sessions (no time limits)
- Group meetings
- Available for desktop (Windows and macOS) and mobile (iOS and Android)
- Group meetings limited to 60 minutes
- 100 participant limit
- Basic plan – Free
- Pro ($25/month) – No time limits, unlimited cloud recording, 25 rooms, 100 participant limit
- Legendairy ($42/month) – Adds unlimited rooms and boosts participant limit to 200
While Discord might seem like one of the more unusual Zoom alternatives, any group can create their own community and host video calls either one-on-one or as a group. However, video conferencing on Discord is only for small groups. You can’t host large calls on here. It’s best for small training groups, meetings, or team chats.
- Create invite-only communities for your team
- Multiple channels for users to chat and/or video chat
- Use voice calls at any time when someone’s status says they’re available
- Start video calls at any time and for any duration
- Cross-platform availability (available on web, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux
- Up to 25 participants per video call
- No HD video
- Free for basic features
- Upgrade to Nitro for HD video and livestreaming for $9.99/month or $99.99/year
Additional Zoom Alternatives
If you don’t need long free conference calls, there are other alternatives you may prefer. All of these have limited call duration, so you’ll need to make sure your calls don’t run over or everyone will need to re-join a new meeting.
- Google Meet – Free for 60 minutes and up to 100 participants. Starts at $7.99/month for 24 hour meetings.
- Microsoft Teams – Free for up to 60 minutes and 100 participants. Starts at $4/user/month for up to 30 hour meetings and 300 participants.
- Cisco Webex – Free for up to 50 minutes and 100 participants. Starts at $13.50/month for up to 24 hour meetings and 200 participants.
- Zoho Meeting – Free for up to 60 minutes and 100 participants. Starts at $10/host/month for 24 hour meetings and 100 participants.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can participants join my video meetings?
This depends on the service you use. Most allow you to send a link via the platform itself, email, or text. You can even post the link on a website or your business’s messaging tool to let participants know about the meeting.
Some services offer dial-in numbers to allow people to join just with their voice if they don’t have mobile data to join a video call.
Do I need any special software or tools to use Zoom alternatives?
As long as you have a webcam and mic, you’re all set. Most allow you to use the platform via a web browser, though you can download a desktop or mobile version if you want.
How can I improve voice quality when using video conferencing tools?
Image credit: Surface via Unsplash
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