Video conferences are an indispensable means of communication not only for business customers, but also among friends, in the family or at clubs. We compare the main free services.
Like conference calls, video conferences are not just part of the everyday life of business customers. They are also becoming increasingly popular in the private sphere and in the home office, especially when you not only want to hear, but also see friends, relatives or colleagues. Politicians, non-governmental organizations and clubs are also increasingly using video conferences to save on travel expenses.
There is a large number of conference solutions with all kinds of technical refinements on the Internet – and conference providers generally also pay for their services at high prices. We have therefore once created a collection of video conference providers for more than two participants that can be used permanently for free, and not only for a limited period of time.
Advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing
Compared to a classic conference call, in which you dial into a pure audio conference room with the telephone buttons, video conferences offer numerous advantages: you can not only hear the conference participants, you can also see them and possibly also additional “information” and facial expressions and read gestures. In addition, video conferences usually offer the option of sending text, Internet links and files in a text chat, some conference solutions also offer sophisticated screen sharing options for presentations.
You can dial into a video conference either with a computer, smartphone, tablet or via special conference telephones. At least a microphone and loudspeaker or a headset are required for communication, and of course a camera for the video image.
Since video conferencing is now practically done exclusively over the Internet, broadband Internet access is essential. So if you are in the deadlock on the way, you will have problems participating in a video conference. Alternatively, some services offer the option of logging into a video conference as an audio participant using a classic telephone number.
You should pay attention to this when choosing a provider
In our list of permanently free video conferencing providers, there are actually services that are not for profit and have also published their software as an open source project. However, the fact that any number of participants can hold conferences of any length without registration does not hide the fact that sometimes the audio and video quality suffers with more than 10 conference participants. And this is not always due to the internet bandwidth, but also to the server capacity of the service provider.
Most of the services presented therefore want to attract their customers with additional services for paid packages. An important aspect when choosing is whether an account must be created. Some services can be used immediately without providing personal information, while others require at least the conference administrator to create an account.
However, it can be a hurdle if all conference participants are forced to open a user account or to install a specific app. It is better if at most the administrator has to create an account and then send the participants a link to the conference room, which can then be called up without an app in the browser if possible.
Permanently free video conference services in comparison
|Providers||Max. Participation||Max. Length||Conf. In the browser||Apps||Text Chat||Recording||Server|
|Adobe Connect Free||3||unlimited||Yes||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS||Yes||payable||worldwide|
|Apple FaceTime||32||unlimited||No||iOS, MacOS||Yes||MacOS only||USA|
|Blizz by TeamViewer||5||unlimited||No||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS||Yes||payable||DE|
|Cisco WebEx||100||24 hours||Yes||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Yes||only leader||USA|
|Facebook Messenger||50||unlimited||Yes||iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS||Yes||No||USA|
|Facebook Messenger Rooms||20 (planned: 50)||unlimited||Yes||iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS||Yes||No||USA|
|Google Duo||12||unlimited||Yes||Android, iOS||Yes||Yes||worldwide|
|Google Hangouts||10||unlimited||Yes||Android, iOS||Yes||business only||worldwide|
|Google Meet||100||60 Min.||Yes||Android, iOS||Yes||payable||worldwide|
|Jami||unlimited||unlimited||No||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV||Yes||Yes||none (peer-to-peer)|
|Jitsi Meet||unlimited||unlimited||Yes||Android, iOS||Yes||No||worldwide|
|join.me||5||unlimited||Yes||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS||Yes||payable||USA|
|Kopano Splash Meet||unlimited||unlimited||Yes||No||No||No||NL/DE|
|Microsoft Teams||300||unlimited||Yes||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux||Yes||payable||worldwide|
|Skype||50||unlimited||Yes||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux||Yes||Yes||worldwide|
|Zoom||100||40 Min.||No||Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Yes||Yes||USA|