A Brief Guide to the Top 5 Alternatives to Skype VoIP Services

Easy VoIP Voice and Video Calls

Desktop Microphone With Cable And Jack
(c) by Cristóbal Alvarado Minic / Getty Images

Skype is a VoIP tool that vastly improved the way people communicate by enabling free calls regardless of a person’s location. Callers use Skype to communicate with family, friends, and work colleagues at no cost or at a very low cost, which is why Skype has become such an important business tool.

However, Skype isn't the only game in town for internet voice and video calling. If you want a backup plan or if you’re looking for a great Skype alternative, check out these five popular services that are similar to Skype. 

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WhatsApp was one of the best internet messaging applications even before Facebook bought it. Now, with free voice and video calls, it is a solid alternative to Skype. You'll need to register a phone number before you can start to use the app, which is available for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS operating systems. You sync all the information from your smartphone to your desktop application; you can't use the desktop app separately. 

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Viber is similar to WhatsApp and is wildly popular with its more than 900 million users worldwide. It offers one advantage over WhatsApp, though—a standalone desktop client—so you aren't tethered to your smartphone. You register with a phone number before using the app on Android, iOS, Windows, or Mac operating systems. Viber doesn't offer any way to block callers, and it isn't possible to use the service to contact people who aren't signed up to Viber.

Google Hangouts
image copyright Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts let people voice or video call other people who are signed up for Google+ regardless of their location. The service offers free video conferences for up to 10 users. The video quality is superb, as is the sound quality. It’s just as easy to start a hangout as it is to place a Skype call. Only one small plugin installation is necessary, which is quick and easy. Use the Hangouts apps for Android or iOS to make free calls to any number in North America via a Wi-Fi connection.

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OoVoo offers high-quality one-on-one video calls and group video chats for up to 12 people. Although it is less well-known than its competitors, it claims 185 million users. It is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android systems and offers a dedicated desktop application. OoVoo is free to all account users.

OoVoo's Chains feature sets the service apart from its competitors. Chains are collections of short videos created by users and their friends or family members. 

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For anyone with an iPhone or iPad, FaceTime is the go-to app for calls and one-to-one video calling. The video quality is superb, and the service is free between Apple-product users. FaceTime ships on Apple's mobile devices. A desktop client is available for Macs, but it requires a connection to an Apple mobile device. FaceTime does not support group conferences. It is not available for Windows or Android users.