The 4 Best Free Web Conferencing Services
Though not a common offering, there are some web conferencing providers with free plans, and if you’re operating on a tight budget, this might be a good place to begin your search for an online meeting service. Typically these plans are limited by the number of participants you’re allowed to host in a single meeting and sometimes by the tools available to free users. This may pose an issue for larger businesses, but it works fine for smaller teams or one-on-one meetings with clients. Before you begin your research, it’s important to focus on what matters most to your organization and what you need out of your web conferencing service. This should make the process of selecting an online meeting service much easier and help you decide if a free plan works for you or if you’d do better to upgrade.
Fuze’s Free plan is perfect for small businesses who don’t have a large budget to spend on web conferencing software, but still need a space to collaborate efficiently online. It supports up to 25 participants in a single meeting. No other company supports meetings this large without charging their customers a fee, which makes this an excellent value. The meeting space supports 12 simultaneous HD video feeds, desktop and application sharing, audio conferencing via VoIP, and more. You also get 1GB of free cloud storage space where you’re able to keep important documents and presentation files for participants to download later. One thing that’s missing from the Free plan is the ability to record your meetings. You’d need to upgrade to the Pro plan for a few dollars per month for this feature. To get started with Fuze’s Free web conferencing plan, enter your contact information and download the Fuze desktop app, then invite your participants and you can host a meeting within minutes.
Cisco WebEx misses out on the top spot of this list because their free account only supports meetings of three people or fewer. That said, you still have access to all of WebEx’s collaborative tools, making this plan an excellent value. You’re able to see and speak to other participants using your webcam and VoIP. Share files and mark them up using WebEx’s built-in annotation tools. Chat with participants, either privately or as a group, using the chat box in the main window. Getting started with WebEx is as simple as making a free account and downloading the temporary application needed to run your meeting. From there, adjust the layout of your meeting room to suit your needs and invite participants. There’s no limit on how long or how often you host meetings with this plan. Despite the restrictions on the number of participants, there are still plenty of ways to put the plan to good use. If you intend to use the service primarily for meeting one on one with clients, the small meeting room capacity shouldn’t be an issue.
GoToMeeting offers a free web meeting plan that’s similar to Cisco WebEx, in that it offers the full array of tools but only supports three attendees per meeting. To host a meeting with this plan, click the Get Started button on the company’s website. You don’t have to create a login or download anything. You’re immediately taken to a private meeting room and given a link you can use to invite participants. From here, you’re able to share documents or presentations and, if you’re using Google Chrome, you have the option to share your screen. GoToMeeting doesn’t have as many tools for interacting with material or your participants as WebEx does, though, which is why GoToMeeting is in the third spot on this list. There are no limits on how many meetings you’re able to host with GoToMeeting’s Free plan, and you can meet for as long as you need to. GoToMeeting is compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.
MeetingBurner’s free web conferencing plan lets you meet with up to 10 people and includes all the same capabilities as the paid plans. The reason it ends up in fourth place on this list is that it’s missing many collaborative tools commonly found in web conferencing software. There isn’t a way to upload files to your conference room or make notes on a whiteboard. It’s also not possible to give control of your screen to another participant. You are able to share your screen or a single application on your desktop, which means it is still possible to share and discuss documents with your attendees. You’re also able to chat with others in the meeting space and speak to them directly through audio conferencing. If you’re looking for a simple and free online meeting solution for collaborating with your team, MeetingBurner is a viable option.