With so many meetings and gatherings having to be conducted remotely these days, the popularity of video conferencing has soared.
Because video call technology is so essential right now, you may think the companies that provide it are charging big money — but that’s not always the case. There are some great free options for videoconferencing services.
Free Video Call Services
In alphabetical order, here are some of the top free video conferencing services that you can start using today. As a note, many of these services have paid plans with more features, but these are all of the free versions:
Duo is a Google product that allows video calls via phone, tablet and computer. The free product also works on Google Nest and on your PC.
Privacy & Security: Google says Duo uses end-to-end encryption. On the Duo website, it says, “Google can’t see, hear, or save your call’s audio and video.”
Limits: Up to 12 people on one call
Facebook allows you to do a video call with friends and family via their Messenger app. To get started, select the person you want to contact and tap the camera icon.
Clark.com Newsletter Editor Chelsea Glass says when it comes to friends and family, Facebook Messenger video chat does the job.
“It’s really easy to use. My mother-in-law isn’t all that technology fluent and has no trouble using this. Once you start a video call in the app, you just click the ‘add people’ icon and you can loop in other Facebook friends. We use it to get the family together!”
Privacy & Security: Facebook says you can choose who can see your active status, your Story audience and use secret conversations in Messenger.
Limits: Up to 50 people on one call
FaceTime (only for iPhone users)
Most people with iPhones are already familiar with FaceTime as an option for simple video chat. Sorry, Android users, FaceTime allows people to make video and audio calls on their iPhones and iPads.
Privacy & Security: Apple says FaceTime uses end-to-end encryption, “so there’s no way for Apple to decrypt the content of your conversations when they are in transit between devices.”
Limits: Up to 32 people on one call
Google Hangouts lets you start free video or voice calls to carry on conversation with a group or just one person.
Privacy & Security: Google says that Hangouts is “built with leading enterprise-grade security including mobile device management, single sign-on, two-factor authentication, admin settings, compliance, and Vault retention, holds, search, and export.”
Limits: Up to 150 people
Skype has come a long way since it was founded in 2003. The video calling service was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 and is now integrated into Microsoft Teams. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, so you’ll want to make sure the people you are communicating with also have the app.
Privacy & Security: Skype says by default everyone can see your account name, location and profile picture, but you can change these settings.
Limits: Up to 50 people on one call
WhatsApp is a Facebook-owned mobile app that is extremely popular because it lets you contact people around the world without a fee. In addition to free text messaging, the service allows group voice calls and video calls.
Privacy & Security: WhatsApp says its messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption, which means the app or third-parties can’t read or listen to them.
Limits: Up to four people on one call
Zoom, the video and audio conferencing platform, has exploded in popularity in the past several months, going from 10 million to 200 million daily meeting participants, the company says in a blog post.
But Zoom has had its issues with security. The company made headlines when the FBI warned users, especially schools, that Zoom meetings could be “Zoombombed” or hijacked. Privacy concerns also arose.
Privacy & Security: Since the missteps in early March, Zoom instituted better security including removing attendee tracking features. Here’s all they’ve done to improve privacy and security.
Limits: Up to 100 participants on one call
Know of other free video conferencing services? Let us know in the comments below!