In this article, we’re going to give you the complete rundown on everything you need to know about free video conferencing software, show you some of the top picks for your business, and enlighten you on how to reap the benefits of this advancement in communication.
Table of Contents:
- What is Video Conferencing Software?
- Top 11 Free Video Conferencing Software Solutions
- What is the Best Free Video Conferencing Software?
- Low-Cost Video Conferencing Alternatives
- Video Conferencing Software Essential Features
- When to Start Using Video Conferencing
- Paid vs Free Video Conferencing Software
What is Video Conferencing Software?
Video conferencing software lets you conduct live conferences with anyone on the planet by transmitting your voice, video, and text through the internet.
However, most software that you see today has gone far beyond simple conferences through the development of other features such as screen sharing, playback, and mobile access.
With the constant evolution of video conferencing software, it can be hard to know which one is the best pick for your business. That’s why the section below is going to walk you through the most popular options.
11 Free Video Conferencing Software Solutions
One of the main reasons that small businesses go for video conferencing software is the fact that, in addition to being easier to coordinate, it comes out cheaper than phone calls. Of course, that benefit is nullified if you’re breaking the bank on an expensive software plan.
We know that small businesses want to use the best tools that will get the job done right but can’t afford to go all-out on an enterprise plan, that’s why we’ve taken the time to compile some of the top free video conferencing solutions that you can choose from.
We’ll cover the pros, cons, and anything else that you might need to know about each solution.
There’s a 40-minute limit on group meetings if you’re subscribed to the free plan so you should take note of that if you’ll be using the software for longer online meetings. Multiple attendees can share their screens at the same time, making it easy to collaborate remotely.
If the time limit is putting you off, then we should mention that face-to-face meetings aren’t restricted by the 40-minute cap. You only have to be concerned about runtime when hosting group conference calls or webinars.
Short collaborative meetings that require robust screen-sharing capabilities.
- Multi-user screen sharing
- 720p HD video
- Private chat
- 40-minute meeting limit for free users
Dialpad Meetings (formerly UberConference) is a no-download video conferencing tool with built-in AI and a high level of customization.
Meetings can be scheduled directly in the Dialpad interface, or via Microsoft 365/Google Calendar. Instant team chat messaging, screen/app/browser tab sharing, whiteboarding, and real-time file collaboration are also available with Dialpad Meetings.
Dialpad Meetings offers a free plan and a paid plan for $15.00/user per month. Free plan users enjoy 45-minute minutes with up to 10 participants. Additional free features include:
- Call recording
- Audio-only conferencing
- Slack, Salesforce, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Twitter, Evernote, Intercom, and Salesforce integrations
- Meeting room locks
- Online knowledge base access
- Web and chat support
- Phone support Monday-Friday 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Dialpad Meetings is best for small companies that host brief meetings often, but who primarily need to find a free video conferencing tool that integrates with third-party tools many other platforms require a paid account to integrate.
- Includes high level of free integrations
- Phone support available on the free plan
- Call recording, screen sharing, and instant messaging included in free plan
- Free plan has a maximum participant capacity of 10
- Free plan doesn’t include some top AI features (like automated post-meeting notes) Dialpad is especially known for
3. Google Meet
Google Meet is a free video conferencing solution that offers unlimited meetings — optimized for Chrome but available in any major web browser — that you can use regardless of whether or not you have a G Suite account.
In addition to HD video and screen sharing, Google Meet also lets you share documents with any number of participants in the meeting.
This is even easier to do if you use Drive, Docs, and Sheets since they’re all integrated into Google Workspace and your Google Calendar.
Existing Google Workspace users that want a reliable video conferencing solution capable of integrating with the rest of their stack.
- HD video
- Screen sharing
- Document sharing
- You need a Gmail account to join video conferences
4. Cisco Webex Meetings
Cisco Webex Meetings is one of the top video conferencing solutions due to the expansiveness of its free plan. While it does share the 40-minute time limit of Zoom, you get 1 GB of cloud storage and the ability to add as many as 50 participants in a single meeting.
The active speaker view makes it easy to keep track of who’s talking in a given moment. Another handy feature is the real-time polling that you can use to make team decisions during meetings.
Calendar integrations also make it easy to schedule tasks whenever a new aspect of the project is discussed. All meetings and recordings are fully encrypted to ensure that no one eavesdrops. Did we mention that it also supports HD video and screen sharing?
Companies looking for a feature-rich solution with an expansive free plan.
- 1 GB storage
- Up to 50 participants
- Active speaker view
- Real-time polls
- Calendar integrations
- Full encryption on meetings and recordings
- HD video
- Screen sharing
- 40-minute time limit on the free plan
5. RingCentral Meetings
If you’re a regular reader of GetVoIP then you’ve probably already heard about RingCentral a few times. They’re one of the top providers in the VoIP industry, but you might not know that they also provide a video conference solution known as RingCentral Meetings.
In addition to the foundational features such as HD video and screen sharing, you’ll also find recording and text chat capabilities. You can use the in-meeting group chat or private chat depending on how classified the information you’re sharing is supposed to be.
You can connect to a meeting from your computer, mobile device, or even landline. Much like Zoom, there is a 40-minute time limit for conferences. No limits are imposed upon face-on-face meetings.
In-office teams that want to be able to join a conference through the landline on their desks.
- HD video
- Screen sharing
- Text chat (group and private)
- Device compatibility for PC, desktop, and landline
- 40-minute meeting limit for free users
With over a million users — and a projected million-user increase in the next five years — Skype is still one of the largest video conferencing solutions. Free users can host group video calls with up to 25 participants.
Sadly the 250-attendee conferences are no longer available as Skype for Business retired in 2021 but there’s still a lot to like about the platform. A key selling-point for Skype is its real-time translation capabilities.
The voice translator supports 10 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, and Russian) while the text translator supports over 60 languages. This makes multilingual conferences easier than ever before.
Existing Office 365 subscribers or any company looking or a widely-used and robust video conferencing solution.
- Ubiquitous in the business world
- Up to 25 participants in free group calls
- 10-language voice translation
- 60+ languages supported on text translator
- 250-person conferences are locked to those who subscribe to the Office 365 Business plan
- Skype for Business is retiring in 2021
7. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is similar to Google Workspace in that it seeks to unify the tools in your stack. Its two biggest strengths are how easy it is to invite someone or schedule a meeting for a later date.
In terms of integrations, you have over 700 apps to choose from including Asana, Trello, Lucidchart, Zoom, ServiceNow, Hive, Zoho Desk, and many more.
New features have also been introduced to Microsoft Teams lately such as background replacement, an auto-recording option for your virtual meetings, and increased capacity support for up to 300 participants.
Companies who highly value integration support and/or already use other tools from Microsoft in their existing workflow.
- 700+ integration to choose from
- Constant introduction of new features
- The free version doesn’t limit your chat history
- Office 365 compatibility for Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint
- 2GB cloud storage for each user
- Guest access
- You’ll need a Microsoft 365 plan if you want to host a conference with more than 100 participants
8. U Meeting
U Meeting is a video conferencing solution that focuses on collaboration and distance learning. One of the most useful features is the ability to have breakout sessions.
This lets you split the participants into small groups which is useful for marketing teams, study groups, and a myriad of other use cases. Additionally, the platform also supports online roll calls to make things easier on teachers.
Annotations and laser pointers help highlight specific sections of a presentation that warrant discussion while the meeting recording capabilities help you keep an archive of all the information that is exchanged during the conference.
Groups that are looking for a collaboration/learning experience similar to in-person meetings.
- Breakout sessions
- Online role calls
- Real-time annotation and laser pointers
- Maximum of 25 participants on the free plan
BigBlueButton is an open-source virtual conferencing platform that was built by teachers. This explains why its features are centered around distance learning, but there are still key benefits that even companies can use.
Its whiteboard, polling, and breakout room capabilities make it easy to collaborate in any context using the software. It also lets users take shared notes so they can exchange insights but during and after the conference.
Various integrations are also supported on the platform such as Chamilo, Canvas, Fedena, Drupal, Schoology, and more. Finally, the fact that the platform supports 65 languages makes it useful around the world.
Global companies who value multi-language support and collaboration tools that promote mid-presentation learning.
- Whiteboard and polling tools
- Breakout rooms
- Shared notes
- Education integrations
- 65-language support
- 60-minute time limit for recordings
No list would be complete without Slack, While it was developed as a team chat platform, its video conferencing capabilities more than hold up against the competition.
You have all the core features that one might need such as screen sharing and cross-platform compatibility but Slack does fall short in terms of scale since the maximum number of participants is 15 across all plans.
That said, it has wide support for other conferencing tools via integrations with Zoom, BlueJeans, Webex, and many more so you can use Slack in conjunction with the rest of your stack.
Teams that already use Slack to collaborate and don’t necessarily need a dedicated video conferencing solution.
- Screen sharing
- Join from any device logged into Slack
- Integrations with most major video conferencing tools
- Maximum of 15 participants per video conference
While not as popular as some of the other options on this list, FreeConference shines in its simplicity. You can set up an account and get on your first video call within 10 seconds which makes it one of the easiest onboarding processes of any conferencing solution.
The free plan even includes screen sharing, file sharing, and access to the FreeConference mobile apps so you won’t even need to upgrade if those are your main needs.
The main downside of using FreeConference is the fact that free users will be missing out on key security features. This doesn’t make much sense since keeping things secure is something that should apply across the board, not locked behind a paywall.
Businesses looking for a quick-setup conferencing solution.
- 10-second setup
- Up to 100 participants
- Smart meeting summaries
- Reduced security on free plan
What is the Best Free Video Conferencing Software?
People often ask “what is the best free video conferencing software?” There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
It all comes down to what the specific needs of your business are. If your main goal is to find a video conferencing provider that offers the most comprehensive free plan then Cisco Webex Meeting is probably your best bet.
However, if you prioritize features and don’t mind the 40-minute limit on meetings then Zoom might suit your style better. Companies who work with many freelancers might prefer the browser-based UberConference since contractors may be reluctant to download new software.
Speaking of contractors, you should consider Skype if your team members speak different languages since the real-time translation feature demolishes the language barrier. It all comes down to whichever video conferencing tool fits in best with your business.
Best Video Conferencing Software for Small Businesses
For the most efficient meeting, demand high-quality audio and the best video quality available. Video and web conferencing software tools should provide ease of use for presenters, attendees, and staffers alike.
For businesses with just a few staffers, Google Hangouts Meet will suffice and is included with a small business G Suite membership. For businesses that need to meet with teams of up to 100, free 40 minute meetings from Zoom might be more useful.
When it comes to small business VoIP tools, there are specific things that you need to factor in such as the number of members on the team, which features are included, and whether or not the nature of the software is suited to the size of your company.
Best HIPAA-Compliant Video Conferencing Software
Ensure your video conferencing provider uses end-to-end encryption on their software to steer clear
of any violations. Zoom fails to support end-to-end encryption and some providers require you to dive deep into your settings to optimize your security features.
Other features such as two-factor authentication ensure that access is restricted to those who are actually supposed to have it. This reduces the odds of any problems arising.
If major healthcare organizations use a particular video conferencing software then you can be pretty sure that it’s compliant with the regulations of HIPAA.
If you’re trying to find the best free HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software, you won’t have to look far since most of the big names are already compliant. This includes many of the top options that we’ve reviewed in this article.
Low-Cost Video Conferencing Alternatives
If you’re willing to pay for extra features but still don’t want to break the bank then you’ll likely find middle ground with low-cost video conferencing solutions. Here are three options that you can consider:
GoToMeeting is known to be one of the most reliable low-cost video conferencing solutions out there with its 99.95% service uptime. All 80 million meetings it hosts annually are protected by top-notch security.
Its 256 bit encryption, password protection, risk-based authentication, meeting locks, and enterprise-grade SSO all ensure that eavesdroppers won’t get the chance to sit in on privy conferences.
Custom backgrounds, real-time drawing tools, meeting transcriptions, and diagnostic reports are just a few of the features you’ll find on this platform. It also has one of the largest integration galleries in the industry featuring HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk, Slack, Zoho, Zapier. Okta, ServiceNow, and more!
Companies looking for a feature-rich, integration-ready, and secure video conferencing platform at an affordable price.
- Industry-leading uptime
- High-end security
- Real-time collaboration tools
- Post-meeting analysis reports
- Extensive integration support
- Recorded meetings will only stay in the cloud for a year
BlueJeans has products for events, meetings, and telehealth consultations to ensure every customer gets the right solution for their specific needs.
Much like GoToMeeting, BlueJeans also prides itself in the security department with randomized meeting IDs, participant passcodes, the ability to lock meetings once everyone has joined, and an option to only allow endpoints that are sufficiently encrypted.
You can also assign tasks, record highlights, and generate transcriptions all in real-time before the call even ends. Once the conference ends, you can use BlueJeans to analyze key usage indicators, ROI metrics, and other pertinent analytics.
Organizations looking for products that are tailored to their sector with all the features and security capabilities necessary to make the most out of every meeting.
- Tailor-made products for every use case
- Multiple levels of security
- Conference highlights
- Flexible in-meeting functionality
- Detailed post-meeting analytics
- Live polling is only available on BlueJeans Events
- Monochrome chat box
ClickMeeting is a browser-based online meeting platform that is more versatile than most solutions on the market. The platform also lets you create online courses, product demos, live training sessions, and webinars that can handle as many as 1,000 attendees simultaneously.
You can even stream events live on YouTube or Facebook using ClickMeeting or set up paid entry with its PayPal integration. On a smaller scale, screen sharing and slide presentations still make it a valuable tool for more agile or compact teams.
It’s worth noting that many users have expressed dismay due to the pricing and customer service of ClickMeeting. However, if that’s not an issue for you then it’s definitely an option worth considering.
Companies with a heavy focus on online teaching (webinars, courses, lessons, etc.) and want built-in video conferencing capabilities.
- Up to 1,000 attendees
- Screen sharing and slide presentations
- PayPal integration for paid webinars
- Versatile feature set
- Subpar customer service performance
Video Conferencing Software Essential Features
If you’re trying to decide which video conferencing software is the right pick for your business then make sure you’re looking for these essential features.
Screen sharing is almost as important to video conferences as the video feed itself. You could stare at your co-workers in 4K resolution but it’s better used by showing people what’s happening on-screen.
When you’re able to show collaborators what’s on your screen, you’ll save time that would otherwise be spent explaining what you see. You’ll avoid unnecessary questions that are answered with a live feed.
Ideally, you should be able to share multiple screens simultaneously. Sadly, some providers lock that feature to paid plans. Don’t settle for less than individual screen sharing though as that’s more of a right than a privilege at this point.
Check out the GetVoIP guide on free web conferencing apps with screen sharing to learn more on the matter.
Video, voice, and text are the cornerstones of any conferencing software. The text chat is just as important as voice and video chat since it allows you to jot down notes while in your virtual meeting room.
You can even share links instantly. Without voice chat, you’d have to email links to team members just so they can view the page you’re trying to show them. Alternatively, you could write the link down on a cue card — but we prefer text chat for the sake of efficiency.
Being able to record your conferences is very useful for many reasons. First off, these conference recordings will serve as a reference for you and your team members. Being able to review this video reference at any time ensures that no tasks will slip under the radar.
Furthermore, it also saves you time since you can reuse some recordings. For example, if you need to onboard a new writer, you can simply send them the recording of a previous onboarding conference and have them ask any questions afterward.
If you’re running a small business then you already understand the importance of keeping operating costs low. Having a video conferencing software that provides file storage does just that since you won’t have to pay extra for premium cloud solutions like G Suite or Dropbox.
Beyond the financial benefits of having file storage, it’s also more convenient since it’ll be easier to share documents during your conferences when they’re stored on the servers of your provider. The best example of this is the union between Google Hangouts Meet and Drive.
Choosing a video conferencing software that has mobile apps available for both iOS and Android devices puts simple collaboration tools in everyone’s palm. They can access a virtual conference room or dial-in to see a whiteboard presentation no matter where they are.
In a dynamic business environment, being productive while on the go is so important. The ability to host a conference with your team while in traffic, on a plane, or in the middle of a business trip across the globe is vital and video conferencing apps offer that flexibility to users.
When to Start Using Video Conferencing
Some businesses aren’t sure when the right time to implement video conferencing is. You can implement it at any time since it’s never too early to adopt the latest technology.
If you’re more concerned with knowing when you need to implement it, that comes down to the way your business operates. If most of your staff work in-house at a physical office then you can put off video conferencing longer — especially if you’re hesitant to incorporate it.
However, remote work has become increasingly common in the contemporary business landscape. If the majority of your team members work remotely, you’ll want to get video conferencing set up as soon as possible.
We’d go so far as to recommend having video conferencing ready to go by the launch of your business. If you anticipate that most of your crew will be collaborating remotely once everything starts chugging along, you’ll be a step ahead.
Paid vs Free Video Conferencing Software: Which One to Choose
If the features included on the free plan serve those needs sufficiently then there’s no immediate reason to upgrade. In fact, some companies already cover all their bases by simply using add-ons with Skype.
However, if your normal business operations are being impeded by the locked features then you should seriously consider the possibility of upgrading beyond a free version as long as it fits the company budget.
The debate on whether free software is good enough or you should upgrade to a paid premium plan has been ongoing for as long as the internet has been around. It comes down to how demanding the needs of your business are.
If your meetings are impeded by the participant caps or time limits then upgrading is a worthy investment. Before you make the jump to a paid plan, be sure to check out the official GetVoIP guide on web conferencing solutions.
For a deeper look into web conferencing, check out a few of our detailed comparison articles: