Free Video Conferencing Software

Virtual meetings, online courses, project/document collaboration

Free Video Conferencing Software

This page lists some free (and probably also open source) video conferencing software that you can use to conduct virtual meetings, online courses or to collaborate on projects and/or documents over the Internet. Some of the programs have additional features, like a virtual whiteboard on which participants can scribble, file sharing where you can upload/download files, screen sharing, break-out sessions where you can group users for team work, and so on.

Before you rush out and download any of the software below, please note the following:

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Free Video Conferencing Software

ConferenceXP (Windows) New

Originally developed by Microsoft and eventually released by them and the University of Washington as open source, ConferenceXP is a video conferencing and collaboration platform. It uses IP multicast by default to communicate with other clients, which means that the network needs to support multicast. It supports high definition video, chat, whiteboard, recording of sessions, etc. This is a Windows-only program.

Jami (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV)

Jami is a peer-to-peer web conferencing software (see introduction above for what this means). It supports VGA, HQ, HD (H.264), and HEVC (H.265) video quality; desktop/screen sharing; chat; encrypted communications; and recording of sessions. Versions are available for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android and Android TV. This is open source software.

BigBlueButton (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, modern web browsers)

BigBlueButton is a web conferencing software that is primarily meant for online learning. It uses a client-server model (see the introduction at the top of this page for more information about what the latter means). If your server meets their minimum requirements, the program should be able to support 150 simultaneous users, although they recommend that you restrict yourself to 100 or less. It supports VGA and HQ video quality, audio, chat, desktop sharing, whiteboard, co-browsing, file uploads, encrypted communications, chat, the ability to record sessions, etc. Participants do not need to download any software; they connect to the server with their web browser. As such, you can host or attend meetings even from a mobile phone. The server on which BigBlueButton is installed needs to run Linux. This is open source software.

Jitsi Meet (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, modern web browsers)

Jitsi Meet is a video conferencing software that operates on a client-server model (see the top of this page for an explanation of what this means), although, they also provide a server which you can join for free without the need to set up your own. All communication is encrypted. Video quality supported includes VGA, HQ, and HD (H.264). It also features desktop sharing, chat, and recording of sessions. You have to install the server component on a Linux system, although participants of the conference need only to use their web browser from whatever system they happen to be running. There are also apps for Android and iOS. This is open source software.

Apache OpenMeetings

Apache OpenMeetings provide video conferencing (at VGA video quality), instant messaging, whiteboard, collaborative document editing, chat, recording of sessions, etc. This software uses a client-server model, with your server probably running Linux. At the time I write this, the site doesn't state what operating systems your participants need to run, nor where they are to download the client software (or whether they can just use their web browser). You will probably need to download the entire server package and figure it out from the documentation.

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