Top free Web Conferencing apps
Even before the world faced the coronavirus pandemic, video conference calls had a significant role in the world of business. This past year, however – individuals and companies across the globe had to adapt to challenging circumstances and rely on online communication. And so, the search began for the best apps to host and maintain everyday communication remotely. In this article, we take a closer look at the top free web conferencing apps as well as their benefits and drawbacks. As a digital marketing New York agency with a diverse network of employees and contacts, we understand the importance of regular communication. We also understand the importance of flexibility in terms of remote work. So, let’s go ahead and take a closer look at some useful conferencing tools.
The usefulness of web conferencing in 2021
The business world continues to move at a rapid pace, with a focus on reducing downtime and boosting productivity as much as possible. And that has led to the development of web conferencing solutions, to help save time while maintaining direct communication and data sharing no matter the physical distance. And this was all happening even before COVID-19. Since then, online meetings have reached a record high, with the majority of businesses being forced to operate through online channels. However, despite the lack of real-time contact, this approach has brought about many other advantages:
- A progressive view of working remotely.
- Lower operational costs.
- Direct and rapid information sharing.
Top nine free web conferencing apps to explore
Zoom is definitely among the online meeting tools that have crowned their success in the past year. With both companies and individuals using it, it has proven to be a very practical and wide-spread web conferencing app. As such, it has a free plan and a paid one.
- The free plan offers limited 40-minute conference calls, after which you get automatically disconnected and have to create a new call. There are no limitations when it comes to the number of participants.
In itself, the tool has a paved and established track record as the choice of most. With features such as screen-sharing, dual-stream for dual screens, and full-screen views. Users have the option to record all Zoom meetings, create personal meeting IDs, and to implement a virtual whiteboard. It is responsive to both desktop and mobile devices, which is just one more reason for it to be on our list of top free web conferencing apps.
Great for hosting online events for large audiences, Livestorm is an all-in-one platform that companies turn to for engaging video marketing strategies. The app itself is very user-friendly and easy to navigate through. That is what makes it so appealing for marketing, sales, HR, and customer care teams to implement. Its features and browser-based use make it easily adaptable to multiple types of web events:
- Online training courses
- Products demos, etc.
3. Zoho Meeting
If you are looking for free web conferencing apps that excel in terms of security and privacy, Zoho Meeting is definitely among the best choices. Users with a free account can host video conferences for up to 100 participants, but conferences of 3 members or more are limited to 40 minutes. However, there are no limits on the number of meetings you can host, so you could simply host a new call once you’ve hit the limit. You can also record video or audio locally and share screens with other conference participants.
Advanced features also include screen-sharing and participation from iOS and Android devices. This free web conferencing app can be used as a browser extension, making it independent from the OS that one uses (Windows, Mac, or Linux). This can prove quite useful for attending meetings when you don’t have a desktop or laptop nearby. Its advanced security and privacy settings make it very appealing for large enterprises.
4. Google Hangouts
Free for anyone with a Gmail account, Google Hangouts is a widespread free web conferencing tool that people are very familiar with. Those that use the free version can host up to 10 people on video calls, with simultaneous voice chats and the ability to join through shareable links. The good news is that Google has decided to be more accommodating due to the coronavirus pandemic, loosening some of the usual restrictions that Hangouts has. And so, users can now host conference calls with more participants per call, at least until things get back to near normal. Google Hangouts also offers the ability to record and save meetings directly to Google Drive.
5. TeamViewer Meeting
TeamViewer boasts a wide and extensive number of devices in their care, across the globe. The platform itself puts focus on its innovative solutions and the support they offer to users. One of the more notable features that TeamViewer Meetings offers is the ability to host multiple remote sessions at the same time on Mac OS. And another useful option here is the sticky note feature, to leave reminders for other users.
The accent for this free web conferencing app definitely relies on the ability to join meetings without having to go through any installation processes. And since TeamViewer support all OS and devices, users are in no way limited based on what device they use. Other features include a text-based chat as well as video and audio conferencing.
6. Cisco Webex
As a tool from the arsenal of the networking giant Cisco, it is all but clear as to how Webex is counted among the top web conferencing apps on the market. Effective and ideal for both large enterprises and small businesses, Webex offers greater security features with advanced levels of encryption. Although it limits the number of participants, the free version of Webex is still practical and offers screen sharing along with all other basic features that free web conferencing apps possess.
Completely free and open-source, Jitsi is a web conferencing solution that can really be of use to smaller businesses, given its ability to host up to 75 participants per call. Be wary, however, that quality tends to downgrade with any meetings with more than 35 participants. However, you have the option to either download this app and host your own video calls or you can use the hosted version of Jitsi on their platform.
The service supports phone-in audio participants in both the hosted and self-hosted versions. The service supports screen sharing and has mobile apps for iPhone and Android. And if you wish to record your Jitsi conference, you can stream to YouTube and then pass the link around (private or unlisted) or simply download the file for safekeeping.
Everyone knows about Skype. It’s among the oldest and most widely spread web conferencing tools in the world. However, something that most people might not be aware of is that Skype has a free web conferencing solution that is worth using. The only downside here is the lack of flexibility in terms of being able to use it without signing up. Users need to create a Skype name and download the program. In order to use the conferencing features, conference participants must be added to the contact list.
Using Skype for commercial purposes is possible but challenging, as it relies on the use of a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) subscription. It allows users to host video and audio conferences that can host up to 25 participants. The number is participants is higher than most other solutions. Skype can also support desktop OS, Android, and iOS phone apps to allow on-the-go conferencing.
If you are looking for HD web conferencing quality with screen-sharing capabilities and a one-click meeting solution, GoToMeeting is worth checking out. Although not technically free, this video meeting app offers a free two-week trial program for anyone looking to explore its capabilities. Anyone who uses GoToMeeting can also start meetings using the app. Meetings can also be initiated using Microsoft Office programs, chat links, and email.
The free version is limited to only audio conferencing meetings whereas video conferencing falls under the paid plans. Also, the free plan has a limitation on the number of participants, which makes it more suitable for startups and smaller companies and much less so for large enterprises.