Free Online Video Chats and Video Conferencing

Here are some tools to help you bring you closer to people you can’t visit in person, like the elderly, because of the COVID-19 crisis.


Zoom free account has a 40-minute time limit. You can get around this, by clicking on the original meeting web link to start a new session for another 40 minutes. People can phone in on a landline to join the meeting. For the free version, the maximum participants are 100. In the gallery view, you can see everyone participating.

I use Zoom daily and know others that use Zoom often and find it reliable and easy to use. Zoom has had problems with security and encryption, so those needing more security, like businesses, might want to look at an alternative.


It’s free and lightweight. It requires little or no software. You can use your chrome browser with an added extension. Jitsi is good for sharing youtube videos. I have heard some people have problems with Jitsi lately.

Jitsi Meet

I am personally not familiar with Jitsi Meet, or the Jisi above, but I read online that Jitsi Meet is encrypted, open source and it’s free.


Signal is relatively unknown, to me also, but is open source, secure and encrypted, and seems popular with the super-techie types.


If you have less than 10 participants Skype might be the best and it’s free.

Google hangouts.

Everyone needs a Gmail account (free) to join. And google hangouts is free too. It’s good for up to 25 participants. I have heard some people have problems with this lately.

Do’s and Don’t’s

  • Reboot your internet router before the meeting.
  • Close all extra tabs if using a browser.
  • Use headphones.
  • Mute your microphone when you are not talking.
  • Turn off background noise: TV, radio, etc.
  • Don’t browse the internet while other people are speaking.
  • If the sound becomes choppy or distorted, turn off the camera.
  • You don’t have any privacy online. You just have to accept it.

A friend told me about free online meditation resources for times of social distancing / COVID-19, and thought this was the best blog to place it.

These are youtube videos of the webinar I got this information from:

Related Blogs:


  1. Does Skype have a hard limit of 10 people, or is it just that it stops working well when you have more than that?

  2. Author

    Hi Reid. I think video conferencing, especially Skype and Zoom, are being taxed these days because so many people are using them. In the webpage above, the webinar I attended “Community Tech Webinars (17, 21, and 23 March, 2020)”, the facilitator said phone-in landline participation on “free” Zoom is limited or not available, just because Zoom’s tech infrastructure can’t handle the current load well. I am guessing that is behind your experience of Skype, because from googling, Skype should be able to handle 50 participants (in normal circumstances). Maybe a less popular option like Google Hangouts or Jitsi might work better, but I have no experience with those.

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