Updated December 2020
Looking for alternatives to Zoom for free video conferencing? You’ve come to the right place.
The popularity of video calls—both for business and personal use—was already on the rise even before the coronavirus pandemic. But as COVID placed more and more limits on our movement, people realized that it can often be just as productive to meet virtually. The platform that most people turned to was Zoom. There was a 225 percent increase in Zoom connections in March 2020 compared to the previous month.1
While Zoom has lots of great features, it might not be technically robust enough for your business operations. For example, Zoom’s free platform only allows meetings for 40 minutes, which could hinder conversations on important topics. There have also been issues with security and Zoombombing (which is when an uninvited guest joins your meeting).
Plus, the larger meetings for the free version don’t use HD video (unlike competitors such as RingCentral Video), and that can cause issues with screen freezing and time-lag. In a meeting capped at 40 minutes, that sort of thing can waste a lot of valuable time.
Luckily, there are lots of other free video conferencing options at your disposal, and there’s bound to be one that suits your needs. If you plan to continue using online meetings, it’s worth taking a careful look at the alternative video conferencing platforms—which is what we’ll do here.
Today, we’ll look at the eight best Zoom alternatives for small businesses:
🤔 What are the top four affordable Zoom alternatives? Check out this comparison chart.
The 8 best Zoom alternatives for video calling and conferencing
To save you from plowing through the information yourself, we’ve pulled together a list of our top eight alternatives to Zoom and their pros and cons.
1. RingCentral Video – The best overall integrated platform, with free video conferencing and team messaging (and more), all in one app
RingCentral has been a leader in UCaaS (unified communications) multiple years in a row. So it’s no surprise that RingCentral Video Pro, its free video conferencing solution, comes with high-quality video and carrier-grade security as standard, and is particularly suited to distributed and remote teams.
RingCentral Video Pro (100% free!) allows conferences with up to 100 participants and meetings up to 24 hours long. The app also includes 10 hours of storage for recorded meetings, which you can save for up to a week for downloading and sharing—across every device.
With an upgrade to RingCentral Video Pro+, you can host meetings with up to 200 participants. You can also store up to 100 hours of recorded conferences with RingCentral Video Pro+, and those recordings are available to download or share for a full year.
Within the RingCentral Video app, you’ll also get:
- HD-quality voice, video, and screen sharing
- Text chat in video conference: drop a private or group message during virtual meetings
- Task management: create and assign tasks with deadlines to teammates
- Easy-to-use app (mobile and desktop-ready): join meetings from anywhere
- Team messaging: one-to-one and groups of all sizes
- Email and calendar integrations: add meeting links with one click
- No-download, one-click video conferencing: guests can join meetings via any browser
- External guest access to the team messaging feature
- File sharing, storage, and annotation
All of these features come standard with RingCentral Video Pro, the free version of the platform. And if you do need more advanced features like Single Sign-on (SSO), analytics, and a business phone service, you can upgrade to RingCentral Video Pro+: RingCentral Video Pro’s powerful (and affordable!) sibling.
RingCentral Video Pro also integrates with apps you might already be using, including Microsoft 365, Outlook Calendar, Microsoft Teams, and Google Workspace (Gmail, Google Drive, etc.). If you need deeper integrations, the paid plan includes a developer platform that allows you to build custom integrations with your favorite third-party apps, CRMs, and more.
Webex’s free plan is one of the most comprehensive, allowing up to 100 participants per meeting for a maximum of 50 minutes.
The cheapest paid-for plan increases the meeting length to 24 hours, but you have to jump two more tiers before the participant allowance increases to 200. The Premium plan enables up to 100,000 participants and unlimited hosts.
It’s good for collaboration, with the free tier offering screen sharing plus an interactive whiteboard and messaging feature. However, you’ll still need to upgrade for recording capability and storage, dial-in access, and international call-ins.
All paid-for plans include transcriptions, file transfer, chat, “raise hand,” and polling features. Live customer support is available with all but the free version—unlike RingCentral Video, which offers support across the board.
Like RingCentral Video, Webex is hot on security, offering firewall compatibility, SSO, and secure scheduling options.
The minimalist design can make some user controls tricky to find, and there have been complaints about slowdown, particularly in screen-share mode.
It has mobile apps for both Android and Apple smartphones and integrates with Google Drive, Microsoft 365, and Salesforce.
Regarded as a good way to replicate the in-office experience, this shared workspace combines chat, meetings, file sharing, and business apps. It’s best suited to a Microsoft-centric environment.
No account is required to join a meeting, and there is a browser-based option, but it’s only fully functional on Edge or Chrome.
All plans offer video calls with up to 300 members—but you can only view nine participants simultaneously. The top-priced plan lets you host online events with 100,000 people.
Microsoft Teams comes with standard video conference tools like screen sharing and a chat function, plus customizable backgrounds and web versions of Microsoft products. Other useful functions include participant lists, live captions, and shareable recordings.
The free version has limited functionality, while the paid plans offer security, management, and compliance tools. However, the higher tiers are only available with Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3.
Audio conferencing is only available as an add-on to the paid tiers, meaning guests can join meetings from a phone (something that comes standard with RingCentral Video). Project management tools can be added, too.
It’s worth noting that current Skype for Business users will soon be automatically migrated to Microsoft Teams.
This video conferencing app has been around for a while and offers scalable solutions, though it’s geared toward high numbers of participants.
The cheapest plan allows for 150 attendees, with unlimited meeting time. The next tier (which you can try free for 14 days) extends to 250 participants, with 3,000 in the premium tier.
It’s simple to set up and handy for collaboration, with co-hosting capabilities and an interactive whiteboard as well as screen sharing.
The lowest tier also offers a dial-in function, while the two higher-priced plans give you unlimited cloud recording plus transcripts, drawing tools, and a Smart Assistant.
Other useful tools include live in-meeting notes that can be shared afterward, and “Slide to PDF” for faster sharing of presentations. There’s also a PIN-based entry system, as well as polling and “raise a hand” features.
It’s usable on Mac, PC, Android, and iOS devices, and there are plug-ins for Microsoft 365 and Google Calendar.
However, the trade-off is that GoToMeeting falters a little on audio quality and uses a higher bandwidth than other similar platforms.
There’s no webinar functionality unless you choose to add sister product GoToWebinar. But if you need a business VoIP solution, then you’re better off with GoToConnect—or just use RingCentral Video.
Google Meet (formerly Hangouts Meet) is video conferencing software aimed at business users, whereas Google Hangouts is an app more suited to chats with friends.
It’s part of Google Workplace (formerly G Suite), whose users can tap straight into Meet. Guests can join directly from a Calendar event, email invite, or Gmail.
The basic version is free for up to 100 users to meet for a maximum of one hour, while the top Enterprise tier allows 250 attendees and 300 hours (plus 100,000 viewers for live streaming).
Google Meet is fully integrated with all products in Google Workspace. Although it’s largely used on desktop computers, it’s optimized for Android and iOS mobile apps.
Attractive features include the familiar Google interface and top-notch security features similar to those offered by RingCentral, which integrates seamlessly with Google Workspace.
Screen sharing, adjustable layouts, and live captions are available even in the free tier, along with custom backgrounds and a grid view. Paid plans allow video meetings to be recorded to Google Drive, while premium customers can enjoy low-light mode and noise cancellation.
Smaller companies might get away with using the free tier but could find it doesn’t have enough advanced features or integrations as the business grows.
Another downside is that all users will need to create a free Google account in order to host or even join a meeting. This could present a barrier to seamless use, especially if you expect to conference with stakeholders and clients who use other platforms for their email and calendars.
This cloud-based software is suited to smaller businesses and those that operate a combination of remote and office-based working.
It provides essential communication features, but its team collaboration functionality isn’t as powerful as platforms like RingCentral.
BlueJeans’ most eye-catching feature is Dolby Voice, which ensures extremely clear audio—an obvious bonus for online meetings. Like RingCentral Video, it also features a safe driving mode for mobile apps.
The lowest-priced plan accommodates up to 50 attendees with no time constraints, while the second and third tiers allow 75 and 100 participants respectively.
Small businesses may rue the fact there’s no free version, although you can sign up for a free seven-day trial with unlimited access and features.
And the cheapest tier does offer all the standard functions like screen sharing, annotation, and recording, plus bandwidth management and some standard security features.
The premium plan has variable rates and a variety of add-ons.
BlueJeans is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, and there’s also a Linux variation. The higher tiers integrate with the likes of Microsoft Teams, Splunk, Gong, and Zoho.
However, it’s not compatible with touchscreen Windows devices—and there have been issues with video lag.
Jitsi Meet is completely free to use, with no need to create an account—which will certainly appeal to very small businesses and startups.
The catch is that all meetings have a maximum of 50 participants, with no option to upgrade to a paid tier with extra capacity or features.
Jitsi Meet is best known for its security, with a range of privacy features including control over which devices it can access.
The software offers basics like screen sharing and presentation live streaming, as well as an integrated chat app for groups and individuals within video meetings.
You can also view a list of recent past meetings, connect your calendar to schedule upcoming ones. and create a user profile—while other handy functions include “pass presenter” and file editing through Etherpad.
Because it’s open-source software, users can completely customize their own platform and add various advanced features. However, those who don’t have development experience might prefer a platform with access to extras as part of a paid plan.
Jitsi Meet is compatible with Android and iPhone mobile apps. There’s also WebRTC compatibility, a Google Chrome extension, and integrations with Microsoft 365 and Slack.
This offering from Microsoft arrived on Skype earlier this year to improve its video conferencing experience. Although it’s a little late to the party, it does boast features that will help it compete with the established platforms.
Like Jitsi Meet, it’s free to use for a maximum of 50 people in one meeting. Each video call can last up to 24 hours, although the meeting never technically expires.
Meet Now is similar to Zoom in that hosts can set up and share a free meeting with just three clicks. It’s integrated into Windows 10 so the icon will appear in the taskbar for ease of use.
There’s no need for hosts or guests to install anything or create an account. Even the host doesn’t need to have Skype installed, as the process can be started from its website.
If an invitee has Skype installed, it will open the app directly to the call; otherwise it will open the web client in Chrome or Edge. (Only those browsers are officially supported so far. That means platforms that are compatible with all major browsers, like RingCentral, have an advantage.)
Meet Now gives you screen sharing, a chat function, and emoji reactions, and meetings can be recorded and stored for up to 30 days.
It’s not possible to customize backgrounds, but you can blur them (useful if you’re working in a place where people are walking by!)
Because there’s no paid-for tier, you won’t be able to upgrade to extra features, although there’s a payment option if you need to make international calls.
Zoom alternatives for business video conferencing: Who wins?
When choosing a Zoom alternative, take the time to do some research and decide which software is most suited to your needs. Don’t just be led by attractive pricing—look at all the features and read the customer reviews.
If you’re asking us about free video software, we think RingCentral Video Pro is the pick of the bunch for overall value, even if we are somewhat biased. RingCentral Video Pro is a powerful video conferencing solution that offers features for free that other companies charge for. And when it’s time to scale up, RingCentral Video Pro+ has the larger capacity and deeper administrative tools you’ll need for a smooth transition.
Originally published Dec 15, 2020, updated Jul 01, 2021