How to Use Skype in Your Browser

Skype online is convenient and works about as well as the app

Although Microsoft Skype works best with its dedicated app, the online version is robust and worth using when you cannot run the app.

Using Skype Online 

Using Skype in a web browser is straightforward — just visit the Skype website and sign in with your Microsoft account.

Illustration of a person wearing headphones using Skype on their laptop
Lifewire / Lisa Fasol 

Microsoft continually upgrades the Skype online experience to accommodate new technologies. Your experience with the Skype web experience may vary because of these ongoing refinements.

The supported web browsers are Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 10 or later for Windows, Safari 6 or later for Macs, and recent versions of Chrome and Firefox. To use Skype online with Windows, run Windows XP SP3 or higher, and on Macs, run OS X Mavericks 10.9 or higher.

The Skype Web Plugin or Plugin-Free Experience

In 2016, Microsoft introduced a version of Skype online for supported browsers, which does not require the download of a plugin for voice and video calls.

When Skype online first launched, you could use Skype for instant messaging and share multimedia files, but not as a VoIP tool. To make voice and video calls in most supported browsers, you needed to install a plugin. With the Skype web plugin, you could make calls to landlines and mobile devices using your Skype contacts in Skype online, Outlook.com, Office 365, and any Skype application in your web browser.

However, the plugin remains available and can be installed if your browser isn't supported or if you are using an older version of a supported browser. You will also need the plug-in if you plan to use screen sharing or if you'll be calling landline phone numbers.

The Skype web plugin installs as a standalone program, so you only need to install it once, and it works with all your supported browsers. 

The number of use cases for the plugin are, by now, vanishingly slim. You almost surely will not need it unless you're deliberately constrained to very old operating systems and web browsers.

Skype Online Features 

Skype is known for its rich list of features, and Skype online supports many of them. After logging in using a web browser, you can manage your contacts and use the instant messaging functions, and configure quite a few different settings.

Skype appearance settings screen

You can chat and create and manage group chats. You can also share resources such as photos and multimedia documents. Installing the plugin (or using plugin-free Skype on a compatible browser) gives you voice and video call capability and video conferencing with up to 10 participants. Voice calls include up to 25 participants. Group text chatting supports as many as 300 participants. As with the Skype app, these features are all free.

You can also make paid calls to numbers outside the Skype numbers. Use the dial pad to dial the number and choose the destination country from a list. A link to replenish your credit redirects you to Microsoft's page for buying additional credits. 

The call quality with the web version is comparable — if not equal — to the quality of the standalone app. Many factors affect call quality, so differences in quality between the two versions may not be because one is browser-based. The call quality should theoretically be the same since the work is more on the server-side, and the codecs used on the servers are the same throughout the network.