If your office is looking for a new web conferencing software, you may not have to break out the company credit card just yet. Between completely free open-source apps, or provider’s that offer a freemium version of their paid service, there is actually a larger list of completely free video conferencing solutions with screen sharing out there than you might think. Many teams rely on conference calls to share information, discuss projects or connect with potential clients or current customers.
Web conferences can also help simplify tech support or even customer service. Conference calls are pretty much a guaranteed part of work for many, but instead of just a boring phone call these apps make it possible to do much more – between screen sharing, video conferencing and online whiteboard tools. While not the most common free tool available, we were able to round up a solid list of the top 10 best free web conferencing services, all of which include screen sharing.
We looked at the most impactful criteria to help you determine which solution was the best pick for your business. Our analysis factored in elements like pricing, security, feature set, and compatibility with third-party integrations. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few online meeting platforms to consider for your business.
What is Web Conferencing?
Web conferencing software is an online service that has audio conferencing and video conferencing solutions. These tools allow for webinars, toll-free calling, HD video meetings, and training held by presenters either live or recorded.
Using built-in cameras, speakers, and microphones or external devices, web conferencing allows for high-quality face-to-face video meetings or group phone calls over an internet connection. Web conferencing tools include the ability for free screen sharing and setting up virtual conference rooms for attendees to dial in and collaborate.
Free web conferencing software allows for teams to access most features along with mobile apps.
Best Free Web Conferencing Apps
First on our list is probably one of the most popular, we even went in depth and covered a detailed look at the pricing plans GoToMeeting has to offer. But even with just their free plan, GoToMeeting offers one of the simplest ways to host a conference call, and allow users to share their screen. With their one-click meeting solution, GoToMeeting should be really simple to adopt – and users can start their meetings through almost any app, from Microsoft Office programs to email and chat links. The developers have also introduced user roles recently which makes it easy to edit the permissions each user has — avoiding any security threats or accidental edits.
Utilizing GoToMeeting limits users to just web audio conferencing, as video is limited to some of the paid plans, but with the option for either Toll-Based or VoIP voice chat, teams can tailor the conference calls to whatever suits their needs best. The only other hitch is that GoToMeeting’s free plan limits your conference calls to only 3 participants – but for a free, quick small team meeting (or one on one with clients) the solution should be perfect. GoToMeeting has also been catching up with its competitors in the security department. Despite being a bit late to the party, GoToMeeting now supports multi-factor authentication to make the sign-in process more secure.
Owned, developed and hosted by the networking and security giant, Cisco, you can be sure WebEx scores high on our list. One of the original conference solutions, of course Cisco has it nailed down pretty well. Just like others on the list, the free version of WebEx will limit you to 3 participants, but the good thing about WebEx is that it allows for free video conferencing. Users can of course share their screens, and you can even integrate the platform with Cisco Spark, one of our favorite Slack competitors, to build your own complete collaboration suite of software.
WebEx would also be a solid choice for any larger, Enterprise, or even small business with a strong focus on security — as of course, we all know Cisco has their security locked down. Just take a look at the insane levels of encryption they took to lock down Spark and the messages you send back and forth. The platform has also recently released an integration for Slido which can make it a lot easier for you to present slideshows during your conference calls as if you were in a physical meeting. Finally, you should know that most of WebEx’s best features will be locked behind a paywall so if you’re looking for a free, freemium, or low-cost experience then you may need to check if WebEx still fits within your software budget.
Competing with Cisco on the security frontier of their conferencing solution, TeamViewer’s home page boasts 1.3 billion protected devices that are running secure remote support and online meetings on their platform. With a strong focus on support and help solutions, TeamViewer offers some unique features such as the ability to run multiple remote sessions at once on macOS with browser tabs, remote sticky notes to leave behind a message for your customers and clients – let them know what fixes were applied or just send a personal “you’re welcome” message. The platform has also spent the past few months increasing its security to ensure your data stays safe despite the spike in virtual conferencing adoption.
To be specific, TeamViewer has added biometric security to its Remote Control app to maximize security. These new security features are also compatible with FaceID so iOS users will always have easy access without compromising on safety. TeamViewer offers other interesting add-ons, such as the TeamViewer QuickJoin to allow customers to quickly and easily join meetings or presentations without installation or administrator rights. Supported on Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Chrome OS, Android, and iOS, TeamViewer has all your devices covered. Of course, there’s also audio and even video conferencing, as well as text-based chat. Other interesting features, although behind a paywall, include things like the Remote QuickSteps, which adds in one-click shortcuts for the most-used remote support actions. So if you do decide to upgrade and go a paid route, TeamViewer is a strong contender for support and IT use.
Of course, just about everyone knows Skype, and with their free, familiar solution available without a doubt, the app is worth considering. Many may not even realize this, but Skype does in fact allow screen sharing, and again completely free. While not as flexible as some other apps that don’t even require participants to download the client (although WebEx even suffers from this), users will have to create a skype name, download skype and add each other to their contacts list for conferencing. Skype would make the best sense for a small team that doesn’t mind utilizing the platform especially now that Skype for Business has been discontinued.
Skype has also recently implemented the ability to lock meetings which ensures no unwelcome guests eavesdrop on privy conferences. With Skype users can host audio or video conferences, with up to 100 participants – one of the higher limits out of most solutions on our list. Skype also supports all popular desktop OS and even hosts iOS and Android phone apps for your conference on the go. Finally, you’re sure to enjoy using the newly-introduced animated backgrounds which can turn a drab meeting into a fun collaboration.
Developed, and powered, by the team behind the LogMeIn suite of collaboration tools, Join.Me is designed to “cut through pointless processes, politics, and protocols with a single click.” It seems like ease of use and one-click meetings are a bit of a theme behind these tools, and for good reason. Skype and WebEx would be great for teams willing to all adopt the solution, a solution like Join.Me expands the use case beyond simple interoffice communications and adds a layer of simplicity to extend conferences to customers, clients or prospects.
While their free plan seems to be limited to screen sharing and conferencing, a free trial of more advanced Join.Me plans include video conferencing, free audio conferencing with a dedicated conference number located in the U.S. and 50 other countries. One-click scheduling integrates with Outlook or Google Calendar to send and keep track of your invitations, and a personal link gives users a permanent meeting location so clients can just save their one web address to get in touch. Join.Me also includes an online whiteboard feature for that extra level of collaboration and presentation, oh and of course screen sharing.
Zoom is a bit of an interesting candidate, with both a free basic plan and pricing that is actually a bit cheaper than the pricing that we noticed with GoToMeeting. But for the focus of this list, their free Basic Personal Meeting plan offers 40 minutes of conferencing, for up to 3 participants. A slight upgrade brings unlimited users, an unlimited number of meetings, and video conferencing with a host of features such as active speaker view, full-screen view, dual-stream for dual screens, join by telephone call-in. If you’re the type to customize the tools in your stack then you’ll be glad to hear that Zoom has recently introduced the ability to set custom background images so your virtual office feels just as personalized as your old physical workspace.
Web Conferencing features also include desktop, or application-specific, sharing, a personal room or meeting ID, both Chrome and Outlook integrations, MP4 recording of meetings, private and group chat, and even a virtual whiteboard. Beating out GoToMeeting again, Zoom actually includes keyboard and mouse sharing controls for free, and you can even share the screen of any iPad or iPhone app. The only major downside? Your group meetings with more than one other participant are limited to 40 minutes in length. You can host an unlimited amount, but they can’t go longer than 40 minutes. Thankfully, your 1-on-1 meetings are not limited based on duration.
Google has so many different apps and solutions — like Google Voice for a free phone number — that it can be really difficult to keep track of everything they offer. While Google Voice and Google Meet do have integrations for one another, Meet can do much more than just basic calling options Google Voice offers. Of course, just like most other Google apps, Meet is completely free. Users can send/receive instant messages, video chat, send/receive SMS messages, and host VoIP calls. Furthermore, Google Meet also supports captioning in German, Portuguese, French, English, and Spanish (Spain as well as Mexico) ensuring that your team members can communicate efficiently regardless of where they’re from.
What many often overlook, is the ability to screen share baked right into Google Meet on top of everything else the app offers. Google has actually stated that it plans for Google Meet to be the future of its telephony product, so of course, that’s where all the great features are. The free web conferencing that Google Meet provides is also extremely accessible since anyone with a Gmail account can be invited in just a couple of clicks. All meetings also automatically sync with your Google Calendar to ensure you never forget about a video conference even on your busiest day.
Considering Office 365 has over 50 million users, choosing online meeting platforms that play nicely with other Microsoft tools is the obvious choice for many businesses. That’s exactly what Microsoft Teams provides since it integrates with over 700 apps including everything you’re already using if you’re a 365 subscriber. In terms of native functionality, its free screen sharing is just the tip of the iceberg. You can also create channels within your workspace to easily segment different departments within your company. The recent updates have also provided a more automated experience for users with automatic transcription and mic sensitivity so your host doesn’t have to tweak a dozen settings like they’re running a recording studio.
Did we mention that Microsoft Teams supports up to 10,000 people? Needless to say, scaling up shouldn’t be an issue if you choose Microsoft Teams. Some of the video conferencing features you’ll get to reap include background blurring, live captions, call recording, and plenty more to cater to your every need. Lastly, it’s worth noting that Microsoft teams also integrates with other video conferencing platforms like RingCentral, Zoom, and TeamViewer. This makes it possible to continue using the existing web conferencing platforms already in your stack while still reaping the benefits that Microsoft Teams has to offer.
Dialpad Meetings has been a popular choice amongst small businesses since its pricing model is very affordable. Considering you can get their plans for as low as $15/month if you bill annually yet still have access to video conferencing and virtual faxing capabilities, there’s no denying that Dialpad Meetings is a pretty good deal. If you want to use integrations like Zendesk or Okta then you’ll have to upgrade to the pro or enterprise plans but they’re still fairly priced for the value you get. Dialpad also has a handy Chrome extension that lets you make calls or send SMS messages to any number without ever leaving your browser.
Beyond Chrome, you can also choose from its mobile apps, desktop app, or even use the web app version if you don’t want to install any additional software. The cross-platform accessibility not only improves your user experience but also makes it easier to get other people on conferences even if they’re new to Dialpad. Despite often being categorized as a budget option in the VoIP world, make no mistake about its fully encrypted AES 256-bit security that keeps your sensitive data safe. That’s the bottom line when it comes to the Dialpad promise: flexibility and security at an affordable price.
While not one of the prettiest options on the list, with a bit more of a minimal UI and design, OpenMeetings is actually a completely free, open-source web conferencing solution. With video conferencing, instant messaging, whiteboard capabilities, and collaborative document editing OpenMeetings does everything the other competitors would — and, since the app is open source, the platform can always be edited to suit your needs if one of your devs is willing to put the time in to contribute to the code. Though the existing developers aren’t lazing around either as they’ve recently introduced the ability to monitor performance metrics using Prometheus which can help give you a visual view of key analytics.
Screen sharing is of course an included feature, even with the ability to record your sessions, even the audio conversation that accompanied your session. Users can also select only a section of their screen to share as opposed to the entire thing. Web conferences can be audio and video, audio-only, video-only, or even picture-only. With a powerful multi-whiteboard tool, and chat built right in, collaboration is a breeze and users can spawn as many whiteboards as they need to house drawings, discussions, or even files to be edited. While the UI might not be stellar, the UX seems to be fairly solid with a drag and drop file explorer theme throughout the app.
The Best of The Bunch
Even with not too many options out there, all of these free web conferencing apps with screen sharing included in our list should manage to fill in any gaps your team may have. Between the open-source nature of Apache’s OnlineMeeting, the cohesive Google Meet, or the IT-focused screen sharing of TeamViewer – your office shouldn’t have to break out the credit card to subscribe to a web conferencing solution just yet.
Each option has its benefits, and limitations, but it will all come down to how your team plans to use each solution, and what features would be best to have. Of course, Zoom and Google Meet are undoubtedly the most widely adopted solutions on this list and their free plans make them the perfect choice for small businesses. No matter what your use case may be, there’s surely an ideal option out there.