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.

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.

Start Skype Online 

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

A person wearing headphones using Skype on a laptop
Lisa Fasol / Lifewire

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 Skype Web Plug-in or Plug-in-Free Experience

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

Chrome and Edge browsers can run Skype without a plug-in. You'll only need it if you run Internet Explorer (any version) or an outdated operating system.

When Skype online first launched, you could use it for instant messaging and to share multimedia files, but not as a VoIP tool. To make voice and video calls in most supported browsers, you needed to install a plug-in. While the plug-in is available, it's unlikely you'll need it on modern web browsers. An exception is if you plan to use screen sharing or if you call landline phone numbers.

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

Skype Online Features 

Skype is known for its rich list of features, and Skype online supports many of these features. After logging in using a web browser, you can manage your contacts, use the instant messaging functions, and configure other 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 plug-in (or using Skype with a compatible browser) gives you voice and video call capability. Voice and video conferencing can accommodate up to 50 participants. Group text chatting supports as many as 300 participants. As with the Skype app, these features are 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 the Microsoft 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.