Way before the days of WhatsApp, Skype was the revolutionary tool that made communication free. Over a billion people have downloaded it, and it’s been with us for the better part of two decades.
But with all the new video conferencing tools mushrooming into existence, there are tons of (much better) options for all of us. In fact, there are so many it can be overwhelming to choose! So we’ve curated the perfect list just for you:
What does Skype offer?
We’ve all heard of Skype in some capacity (or even remember its iconic calling sound). But to give you a little refresher, here’s what Skype offers:
- One-on-one instant chat
- Group instant chat
- High-quality video and voice calls
- Screen sharing
- The ability to call phone numbers (mobile and landline)
Over 40 million people use it daily, with the number of users likely surging due to the pandemic. But Skype doesn’t fit every use case, and many people are on the hunt for alternative communication tools that work better for them. Check out 11 of the best alternatives.
The 11 best Skype alternatives
As in all categories, big players have emerged and dominated the market (like Zoom), and legacy brands are moving in for a slice of the pie as the demand for calling solutions grows.
Here are the top players we’ve identified:
1. Google Meet
Google Meet is Google’s direct answer to Skype, Zoom, and other online meeting solutions.
Unlike many of Google’s free tools that are left to collect digital debris before being discarded into the dustbin of history (RIP Google+), Google Meet is actually good.
It was initially only available for G Suite customers, but it’s now free for all users.
The cool part? It integrates with Gmail’s web app, allowing you to start a meeting directly from your inbox.
The even better part? It’s extremely easy to set up and run. Just create a meeting, share the link, and voila! You can even host up to 100 participants, which is likely way more than you’ll ever need.
It also has pretty neat features like background blurring, amongst the usual stuff like screen-sharing and chat.
Best suited for: Anyone who already uses Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)
- Meeting controls for hosts, including pin, mute, and remove participants
- Real-time closed captioning during meetings
- Video and audio preview so you can double-check your mic “just in case” and get that green thing out of your teeth before joining the meeting
- Default encryption in transit and anti-abuse features including anti-hijacking
Supported platforms: macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Google Nest Hub Max
- Simple to use
- Unlimited meetings
- Automated recording option
- Integration with Gmail, other popular Google apps, and even Microsoft Office
- No ability to call phone numbers
- Buggy in larger group chats
- Bare features compared to Zoom
Pricing: Free forever plan. The paid plan goes for $8 per month per active user for Google Workspace Essentials, while the Enterprise plan has custom pricing.
Compared to Skype: Google Meet is a solid contender if you’re mainly in the market for a secure video chat or audio call software. Unlike Skype, Google Meet isn’t meant for instant messaging or calling local or international phone numbers.
Something that shocks no one: the pandemic has caused a massive surge in Zoom users, and Zoom has practically become synonymous with videoconferencing.
Along with WFH (work from home) and Quaranteams (online teams created during lockdown), the common verbiage of today includes terms like Zoombombing. (That’s when an uninvited attendee disrupts a Zoom call.)
In fact, Zoom came under fire as more people encountered Zoom Bombing and other security concerns at the height of the pandemic. But, Zoom has significantly improved its security over the last couple of years to prevent abuse. Overall, it’s easy, reliable, and provides everything from video meetings to webinars and chat across all devices.
Best suited for: Businesses and individuals who want a reliable video conferencing tool to host video meetings, webinars, and chat
- Simultaneous screen sharing for multiple video call participants
- Hand raising, polls, reactions, filters, and more to make group video calls more engaging and interactive
- Appearance touch-up and advanced lighting controls
Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux
- Generous free plan and affordable pricing tier
- No limit on the number of meetings you can host as a free user (you get most of the important features)
- Security button to lock meetings and enable password-protected meetings
- Scheduling, CRM, and plenty of other integrations
- Time limit (40 minutes) for free users on group calls
- Can be a little glitchy, especially if your internet connection isn’t at its best
- Many users are hoping for an improved user experience (with access to advanced features) on the mobile app
Pricing: Free forever plan. Paid plans start at $15 per month per user for the Pro plan, $20 per month per user for Business, and $25 per month per user for Zoom Business Plus.
Compared to Skype: According to users, Zoom is a bit more reliable in terms of video and call quality. Plus, it has a bunch of other perks like up to 1,000 participants, breakout rooms, and whiteboards.
3. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace in Office 365 that provides teams with collaboration tools like live chat, audio & video conferencing, screen sharing & presentations, and scheduling & recording functionality.
Best suited for: Businesses (primarily SMEs) that heavily rely on the Microsoft Office ecosystem
- Unlimited 1-on-1 meetings for up to 30 hours and unlimited group meetings for up to 60 minutes on the free plan
- File storage, meeting recordings and transcripts, and chat history so you can easily look back on past convos and documents
- Outlook calendar syncing, which is a hot topic in Microsoft Team reviews
Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android
- Connectivity and call quality are pretty reliable
- Includes features like one-to-one chat, group chat, emojis, GIFs, file sharing, and all the usual video conferencing features, plus more
- Several of the paid versions for business come with other Office apps and services
- You need a Microsoft account or ID (such as Outlook.com)
- The user interface isn’t as intuitive as it could be according to several users
- Video meetings are data gobblers, especially for longer conferences
Pricing: Free forever plan. Paid plan starts at $4 per month per user for the Microsoft Teams Essential plan, $6 per month per user for the 365 Business Basic plan, and $12.50 per month per user for Business Standard (billed annually).
Compared to Skype: One of the biggest pluses of Microsoft Teams is that, unlike Skype, it integrates with 250+ apps and services to make collaboration and communication easy. Plus, it has some smaller perks like a 2 GB per user limit on file attachments in contrast to Skype’s 300 MB limit.
GoToMeeting has become one of the industry leaders in online video conferencing for companies around the world. It provides a fast, easy, and reliable online meeting solution for one-on-ones, sharing presentations, and chatting with colleagues.
Best suited for: Businesses and individuals who regularly host video meetings and presentations
- Enterprise-grade security that includes single sign-on (SSO), encrypted sessions, meeting locks, and the ability to dismiss attendees
- Keyboard and mouse sharing—not just screen sharing—for true collaboration
- Reporting and analytics so you can improve future video conferences
Supported platforms: Windows, iOS, and Android
- Tons of integrations
- No meeting time limits on paid plans
- Excellent audio/video quality
- Permanent meeting rooms you can use without inviting people
- GoToWebinar is an add-on so, if you plan to host webinars, you’ll end up paying more than with a multi-purpose platform
- Hard to monitor participants when the number is over 50
- Annual plans only
Pricing: Free 14-day trial available. Paid plans start at $12 per month per organizer (user) for the Professional plan, $16 per month per organizer for the Business plan, and customized quotes are available for the Enterprise plan.
Compared to Skype: All in all, GoToMeeting is more progressive than Skype. It’s got new bells and whistles like Slide to PDF for creating shareable PDFs from presentation slides. Plus, Smart Assistant for auto-detection of action items, Commuter Mode for hosts, and even a Slack meeting launcher.
Eyeson is a cloud-based video calling and presentation solution made mainly for developers. It’s a powerful, fully integrated solution for one-on-one calls that works brilliantly for phone and video calls. Plus, it’s equipped to handle webinars and live streaming!
Best suited for: Small businesses that have remote teams or clients and want a no-hassle video solution (and have developers who can handle the setup)
- Integration of custom media such as data and video streams
- Embeddable video and audio
- An analytics dashboard detailing your daily meeting minutes for the month, meeting stats, usage by weekday, and more
Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS
- UI and UX are polished and modern with the ability to add GIFs, chat, take snapshots, react, moderate participants, and send quick join links
- Tons of integrations (and more to come)
- API key to natively integrate with your product
- Use cases for financial services, customer support, coaching, recruitment, online events, and more
- A little more technical than popular tools like Zoom that are made for the masses and more user-friendly
- Limits on participants (100 on the mid-tier plan)
- Only nine people are visible on screen at a time
- Unable to mute selected people
Pricing: Free plan available for developers. Paid plans are based on the number of sessions per month, how long they’ll last, and the number of participants. For example, according to Eyeson’s price calculator, ten 30-minute meetings a month with four participants per session would cost just $6.30. There’s also custom pricing for corporate teams and pricing for Eyeson’s four support plans.
Compared to Skype: Eyeson’s biggest perk is that you can customize it to your use case. While it’s more flexible than Skype and other tools on this list, it’s also a bit more complex. So, if you’re not a dev yourself, you should have one on your team or be willing to hire one to build out your custom video solution.
MeetFox is a handy solution for consultants, freelancers, and creatives to manage their client meetings. It has video conferencing features, appointment scheduling, and a nifty secure payments feature for invoicing.
Best suited for: Freelance consultants who have frequent one-on-one meetings with clients
- Scheduling buttons and pop-ups leading from your website. Social media or emails to your custom booking page
- Flexible payment options (plus cancellation policies allowing you to charge for no-shows)
- Team accounts and the option to split payments between team members, which can come in handy if you work with subcontractors, for example
Supported platforms: macOS and Windows
- Integrations with Stripe to receive (fast) payments
- Easy to set up and client-friendly
- Seamless video meetings
- No mobile app (at least not yet)
- Some basic features like screen sharing and recording aren’t available on the free plan or are only on the Premium plan
Pricing: Free starter plan available with unlimited meetings per month. The Pro and Premium plans are $15 and $42 per user per month, respectively, for extra perks like unlimited meeting types, branding, SMS meeting reminders, and multiparty bookings. You can also grab MeetFox’s 1-year deal on AppSumo for $99.
Compared to Skype: This tool is still young, so it doesn’t have as many features as Skype. However, it has rave user reviews and is great if you have one-on-one and/or paid consultations.
Whereby is a fully web-based tool that lives in your web browser. It’s a solid video conferencing tool for companies and professionals who want to host easy and reliable video meetings. No apps or installations are necessary, and no logins are required for guests.
What’s neat is that teams have personalized meeting rooms, and you’ll get a single meeting link you can use every time. Whereby is a reliable tool that companies like Shopify and Netflix use.
Best suited for: Remote teams that want a one-click solution for secure video conferencing solution with a delightful UI
- Unlimited one-on-one meetings
- Room customization with branded names, URLs, and colors
- Whereby Embedded for embedding video calls into any website or app
Supported platforms: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android
- Beautiful, intuitive, and polished UI
- Integrations with top tools like Trello, Slack, and Miro for whiteboard collaboration
- No app installation required, and you can use the same meeting link every time
- Privacy-friendly with unlimited encrypted meetings
- 100 to 200 is a minimal number of participants compared to tools like Zoom
- Some users say the mobile app is a bit of a letdown compared to the desktop version
- More simplistic than alternatives, including Skype
Pricing: Free plan available. Paid plans start at $6.99 per month for the Pro plan and $9.99 per host per month with a minimum of three hosts for the Business plan. Whereby Embedded, on the other hand, has a free plan, a $9.99 plan, and a custom plan with custom pricing.
Compared to Skype: If you want a more modern tool than Skype, won’t be holding massive meetings or webinars, and don’t really need features like instant messaging, Whereby will do the trick for you.
Jitsi is a great open-source alternative to Zoom. It provides a set of open-source projects that allows you to easily build and deploy secure video conferencing solutions.
Plus, Jitsi is secure, flexible, and completely free! You can run it entirely on your own hardware, and Jitsi won’t have access to your conversations. Of course, most people (individuals) don’t want to run their own video server, so you can use the paid cloud service within the tool.
Best suited for: People, businesses, and organizations that want secure video conferencing for business or personal use
- Live stream capability if you want to go live on YouTube
- Real-time and private chat
- Screen sharing
Supported platforms: iOS, Android, macOS, Linux
- Open source
- No account needed
- Complete end-to-end encryption for one-on-one calls
- Paid version (videos hosted on a central server) is one of the most affordable on the market
- Mobile app can be buggy
- Users have reported it’s prone to freezing when there are many participants
- No hand-raising or whiteboard features
- Way fewer integrations than Skype and other tools
Pricing: It’s freeee! (And who doesn’t love free stuff?)
Compared to Skype: Jitsi has all the basic features you’ll need to hold small meetings or do live streams, so if you’re looking for a simple solution, it’ll work. If you’re looking for a more robust tool, Skype or one of the other alternatives we’ve mentioned would be better.
9. Business Hangouts
Business Hangouts is a bit of an underdog in the video conferencing world. Alternatives like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and even Skype tend to come to mind first. However, more than 2.9 million people use it for everything from instant meetings to live and pre-recorded webinars and events.
Best suited for: Businesses looking for a solution that works for internal and client meetings, as well as free or paid events
- Engagement tools such as polls, chat, and even special offers
- Attendee analytics including registration metrics, engagement, and time watched
- Email automation tools you can use for event reminders and post-meeting surveys
Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
- No download required
- Easy to use and affordable
- PayPal integration for selling event tickets
- Fairly generous limits on attendees with the highest tier plan maxing out at 500
- Some users have mentioned that video quality suffers when screen sharing
- Can’t white-label or customize meeting rooms to your brand
- No private chat
Pricing: Monthly pricing ranges from $10 to $197 across four plans. But can we let you in on a secret? If you’re quick enough, you might be able to grab the Business Hangouts lifetime deal on AppSumo. Licenses start at just $79 for Business plan features.
Compared to Skype: Skype is most focused on video and audio calls. On the other hand, Business Hangouts does video conferencing well but focuses more on events. If you’re planning to host webinars, workshops, and the like, this is a good option.
Chanty is another great team collaboration tool used by more than 75,000 companies including the likes of NASA and Nike. The cool thing is that it’s not just for video and voice calls; it has built-in productivity features too.
Best suited for: Teams who want one place to discuss and keep track of tasks, whether through audio, video, or text chat
- Kanban boards for your tasks
- Teambook—a hub for organizing tasks, conversations and message history, and other content
- Unlimited conversations on the free plan and unlimited group video calls on the Business plan
Supported platforms: Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, and Linux
- On the more affordable end of the spectrum, especially if you have a small team
- Integrations with tools you know and love, including Basecamp, Google Drive, Zapier, and Dropbox
- Guest seats available, which can help with cost control
- A 10 integration limit on the free plan
- No other task views besides Kanban
Pricing: Free forever plan available. And Chanty’s paid option—the Business plan—only costs $4 per user per month.
Compared to Skype: Skype has some great voice and video conferencing features, as well as team chat tools. Chanty is like Slack, Trello, and a voice and video call app all in one. If you’re looking to simplify your tech stack, manage action items from meetings easily, and have a centralized hub for task discussions, try Chanty.
Last up is the browser-based platform Livestorm. Thousands of companies, including Airtable, Verizon, and Intercom, use it for company meetings, product demos, webinars, courses, and even employee onboarding and training. This simple tool doesn’t require a software download and is simple to use, so you can hit the ground running as soon as you sign up.
Best suited for: Large meetings and virtual events
- Engagement tools including calls to action, chat, Q & A, question upvotes, media sharing, and screen sharing
- Livestorm plugins for file sharing, meeting room design, and more to customize your live meeting experiences
- Registration widgets and registrant moderation
Platforms supported: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android
- Easy to use (e.g., it only takes 8 minutes to set up and publish an event page on Livestorm)
- CRM, marketing automation, and custom enterprise integrations available
- Event automation, email cadences and delivery status info, as well as analytics for tracking attendance and engagement
- More expensive than most of the tools above
- Low session length limits with a stingy 20-minute limit on the free plan and 4 hours on the Pro and Business plans
Pricing: Free plan available. The Pro plan starts at $110 per month billed monthly, and the Business and Enterprise plans require custom quotes.
Compared to Skype: Skype is definitely the cheaper option, but Livestorm may have it beat for hosting webinars and live events. That seems to be one of the most common use cases, and many users have great things to say about it.
Which Skype alternative will you go with?
There you have it—the top audio and video conferencing apps capable of giving Skype a run for its money.
Whether you’re a freelancer looking to close more clients, a small remote team that wants effortless meetings, or a larger team distributed across different time zones, this list has options that can help. Which one will you try? No matter your answer, you’re going to want to check out these cool 3D virtual backgrounds from Officina Kreativa in the AppSumo Store.