The 10 Best & Free Open-Source Zoom Alternatives

Looking for open-source Zoom alternatives? We have compiled a list of the 10 best free Zoom alternatives in 2021

The Pandemic looming over the world for the past couple of years has brought about a lot of changes in our lives. 

This is especially true for how we now perceive the professional world. With everyone confined at home, our jobs are now more virtual than ever. 

Conference room meetings have now shifted to the virtual conference rooms provided by tools like Zoom. 

Open-source zoom alternatives

With over 300 million daily meeting participants worldwide, Zoom has become synonymous with video calling for businesses around the globe. 

However, Zoom is not the end-all-be-all of virtual meeting software. It comes with its fair share of limitations. The good news is that there are many new apps coming up in the market addressing said limitations.

As a result, many businesses are now shifting to other Zoom alternative platforms. 

In this article, we have listed some of the best open-source Zoom alternatives and why these can be the next best choice for most users today.

Why Switch to an Open-source Zoom Alternative?

While Zoom has been the go-to video conferencing tool for many, there are many reasons to pick an open-source Zoom alternative: 

  1. When you choose an open-source Zoom alternative, you have more flexibility and liberty with speech and expression. 
  2. You can study and modify the underlying code of the application and will be able to distribute the apps smoothly.
  3. Any closed-source proprietary application will cost the company a significant amount depending on the number of users and other variables as the best features are accessible when you pay for the premium version. Zoom’s free platform only allows meetings for 40 minutes. 
  4. On the other hand, there is zero upfront cost when you are opting for open-source software instead. 
  5. Moreover, Zoom has been constantly under scrutiny for its security flaws. In April of 2020, over 500,000 Zoom accounts were hacked and were being sold on the dark web and hacker forums. 

For the reasons mentioned above, many people are now looking for an open-source zoom alternative.

The Best 10 Open-Source Zoom Alternatives

To help you save time and effort, we have compiled a list of the best open-source Zoom alternatives out there. In terms of features, simplicity, and overall user-friendliness, these tools are gaining significant popularity across the world.

Whether you are trying to hold a meeting or plan a virtual get-together with your friends and families, these apps can be very useful:

Alternative #1: Zulip

Zulip combines the importance of real-time chat with threaded conversation and recognizes the importance of both. 

Zulip: open-source Zoom alternative

As the instability of an internet connection can become a major problem for many users, the option for threaded conversation while chatting lets you keep up with the agenda of the meeting smoothly.

Zulip is one of the most popular open-source zoom alternatives and consists of fortune 500 organizations, various NGOs, many start-ups as well as several compliance and standards organizations across the world.

You can easily catch up with the most important conversations with the help of the email thread model and ignore the less important ones. 

Furthermore, Zulip’s open-source software is now available in the form of a mobile app for Apple, Android as well as in the web version.

One of the most significant things that makes this app stand out is the strong developer community of 700 contributors and there are approximately 160,000 words documented by the developers to date.

Altogether, Zulip offers a friendly community that is highly supportive and its codebase can easily be modified to meet the unique requirements of the users.

Compared to Zoom which does not provide threaded conversation, Zulip definitely has an edge. 

This app works as a self-hosted zoom alternative and also boasts features like inline media preview, full-text search, chat imports, video calls, and more.

Key Features of Zulip

  • 160,000 words of developer documentation
  • Seamless integration with JIRA, Github, Zendesk, etc.
  • Optional weekly digest emails

Pricing

  • Free plan with limited features
  • Paid Plans start from: 
    • Zulip cloud- $6.67 per user per month
    • Zulip On-Premise- Contact sales

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Alternative #2: Element

Formerly known as Riot, this is an enterprise-grade chat application that is specifically designed for organizations, teams, and various industries.

Elements: Open-source zoom alternative

The primary attraction of this chat application is the privacy they promise. It claims to provide as much privacy as you can expect from a one-on-one conversation at home.

What sets it apart are some unique features like no-walled gardens or the option to chat with anyone you like, irrespective of the app they are using.

It also claims to provide enough safety against data mining and eavesdropping and hence, the users feel more secure as they use it.

Privacy is guaranteed as it is built on top of the Matrix open-source and decentralized communication. 

It is known for enhancing data security and privacy. Moreover, the software can support multiple device environments such as Windows, macOS, and even Linux. It also works perfectly on Android and iOS.

When you compare it to zoom, the higher data security and privacy make it stand out as Zoom is a commercial company and closed-source software. A worth open-source Zoom alternative indeed!

Key Features of Element

  • No data mining or eavesdropping
  • Talk to anyone, whatever app they are using
  • 2 million + business users

Pricing

  • Free plan with limited features
  • Paid Plans start from: 
    • Personal Home – $10 per user per month for 5 users, 
    • Business- Nickel ($2 per user per month), Silver ($3 per user per month), Gold ($4 per user per month), Platinum (contact sales for pricing). 

Alternative #3: Rocket.Chat

Rocket chat began as a live support system and was based on Meteor.

Rocket.chat: open-source zoom alternatives

Eventually, it received funding from different sources including five million dollars from New Enterprise Associates, which helped in its development. 

Since its early days, Rocket chat has raised $27million to date and has gained over 16 million registered users across 150 countries

It has become one of the most popular open-source zoom alternatives and a very commendable remote video conferencing tool. Specifically, banks, NGOs, and even government organizations use this application.

Back in 2016, Rocket chat received the 2016 Bossie Award of Best Overall Open-Source Software.

Some of the features include the flexibility of setting up the chat tool and managing the data securely. You can also select the users and even customize the design and feel of the software as required.

The users can also use the application on-premise private servers as well as on cloud servers. There is also the option to fork Rocket chat on GitHub.

When you compare the application to Zoom, Rocket Chat poses an advantage over it. The primary advantage is the data security measures for the end-users. There are heavy encryptions and security which are absent in Zoom.

Furthermore, you also get guest channels LifeChat, messages, an option for unlimited users, and LDAP group syncing. 

The platform has a very active developer community that aims to replace the conventional chat facility with a real-time federated chat platform.

Key Features of Rocket Chat

  • Powerful automation and unlimited integrations
  • The active community of over 28k developers
  • File sharing, screen sharing, guest user access, and read receipts. 

Pricing

  • Free plan with limited features
  • Paid Plans start from: 
    • Self Managed: Free, Pro ($3 per user/month), Enterprise (contact sales)
    • Saas: Bronze ($2 per user per month, minimum 10 users), Silver ($4 per user per month, minimum 10 users), Gold (contact sales)

Alternative #4: Mattermost

It is a premier communication and chat platform which is more suitable for larger groups and teams.

Mattermost: Open-source zoom alternatives

Another great open-source zoom alternativeMattermost is built on top technologies like Golang, PostgreSQL, ReactJS, and many more. It can be either self-hosted or deployed as SaaS.

Some of the features that you get from this app are push notification, full-text search, file and image sharing option, private chat option, different channels, and even multi-language support.

It is a flexible software that can run on different OS like Linux, Windows, Mac as well as different mobile devices as well. 

Developers will find it to their advantage as it is equipped with both development and webhook tools which make it much easier to undertake development work.

The most notable advantage offered by Mattermost is the option for a free trial as well as a free version. 

Furthermore, the application features options like brainstorming, project management, built-in version control, task management, and more which are not available for Zoom.

Key Features of MatterMost

  • Multi-language support and markdown formatting
  • Custom email, desktop, and mobile notifications
  • Voice call, video call, screen sharing, and file sharing

Pricing

  • Free plan with limited features
  • Paid Plans start from: 
    • Cloud: Cloud Porfessional ($10 per user/month), Cloud Enterprise (contact sales)
    • Self Managed: Enterprise EO ($0 per user per month), Enterprise E10 ($3.25 per user per month), Enterprise E20 ($8.50 per user per month)

Alternative #5: Tox

Another popular open-source equivalent to Zoom, Tox is noted for helping digital workers carry out conversations online without anyone else listening in. 

Tox open-source zoom alternative

Send messages, do video or voice calls, share files, share screens, and more with this simple-to-use software. 

It is a decentralized, open-source, and peer-to-peer chat platform and high security and encryption. This makes Tox, a popular Zoom alternative among users across the world.

Tox has a desktop client for all platforms- Linux, Windows, and Mac. You also get an iOS version as well as an Android version to make it accessible to mobile users.

Zoom does not have such independent features when compared to Tox and has been known to bow down to the government’s whimsical regulations, thus jeopardizing the user experience.

Several users have complained about the client camera being exposed to external access while being on a Zoom call, something that can never happen with Tox.

Thus, in a nutshell, Tox is a much more secure, mobile, and developer-friendly, open-source application that is rapidly gaining popularity as an open-source alternative to Zoom.

Key Features of Tox

  • Forever free with no advertising or even a donations button!
  • Instant messaging, voice/video call, screen sharing, and file sharing
  • Group messaging and calling

Pricing

  • Free to use

Alternative #6: Linphone

If you are looking for a Skype as well as Zoom alternative, the Linphone is a leading choice nowadays. 

Linphone open-source zoom alternatives

It comes with variable licenses such as double, open-source, and commercial which are available only for voice and video calls.

The software is feature-rich, allowing you to conduct HD video calls, audio conferences, call recording and replay, call transfer, call quality indicator, echo cancellation, and more. 

It is also packaged as a native mobile app for many android devices as well as for IOS.

You can get it on Linux, Windows, and Mac as well if you want to access the desktop version. 

Some features which set apart Linphone from other video chatting platforms including Zoom are VOIP-based video chat and options for mobile clients.

Furthermore, the security features of the software are by far the most advanced you will witness.

The encryption is based on SIP/TLS and also comes with advanced ciphering algorithms as well as end-to-end message encryption. Also, there is ZRTP encryption for video call conferences.

All these features together give it a significant upper hand when compared to Zoom. 

Key Features of Linphone

  • Multi-device support
  • Instant messaging, group chat, and file sharing
  • End-to-end encryption for one-to-one and group messages

Pricing

  • Free to use

Alternative #7: Retroshare

Retroshare is an open-source and peer-to-peer application that offers encryption for instant messaging, voice and video chats as well as for channels and file sharing. 

Retroshare free zoom alternative

The high security makes it a coveted open-source zoom alternative.

It is versatile and can readily support an array of OS like Mac OSX, Windows, Linux variants like Arch Linux, CentOS, OpenSUSE, Debian, Ubuntu, and more.

If you are looking for a free Zoom alternative that is simple, efficient, and reliable communication tool for a fairly large team, then this is a great option.

There are various communication protocols like UPnP, friend-to-friend decentralized networks, F2F, NAT-PMP, etc. It is also known for allowing default Tox Traffic Routing and is one of a kind in this case. 

You also get VoIP as well as transport layer security which uses SSL. Furthermore, the company distributed hash tables to help users locate their friends and family and also access the default option to utilize dynamic DNS routing.

It has a REST-API-based architecture and is very flexible and allows the users to modify it through various plugins.

However, there is one drawback which is the lack of mobile clients. When you compare it with Zoom, the peer-to-peer communication and the open-source structure make it an exceptional choice. 

The protection of user’s data from alleged government surveillance is another major reason why this app is so popular.

Key Features of Retroshare

  • Forums and boards to discuss and share content (links, images, etc)
  • Free and secure calls with the VoIP plugin
  • Full decentralized and free to use

Pricing

  • Free to use

Alternative #8: Q-municate

It is a cross-platform instant messaging as well as an encrypted video chatting application. 

 Q-municate free zoom alternative

The best part is that the software is open-source and supports mobile use as well. Q-municate is gaining rapid popularity even among web clients for conventional use.

At this point, the app is considered an open-source WhatsApp alternative for the future and has several developer-friendly features. The app works for both iOS and Android as well as the web.

It also has Windows SDK, Blackberry SDK as well as standard rest API for various integrations. According to the data compliance standard, Q-municate is completely HIPAA- compliant. It has default features like auto filtering, data protection, and more.

Video calling is a lot smoother compared to other video conferencing software as it combines WebRTC and XMPP technology. It also supports HD Video calling by default.

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Furthermore, any annoying latency in the call is removed thanks to the advanced configuration of the software.

The mobile-first technology of this application along with various unique features like SMS and SIP integration make it a more trusted and coveted open-source Zoom alternative.

Key Features of Q-municate

  • File sharing, content storage, and push notifications
  • White label rebranding available
  • Simple UI and native mobile apps 

Pricing

  • Free to use

Alternative #9: Jami

Jami is an open-source conferencing tool that is highly secure but not as popular and many have never heard of it. 

Jami open-source zoom alternatives

However, if you are looking for a functional messaging and video calling solution that is an open-source alternative to Zoom, Jami is a great option.

It is a fully integrated video and voice call application that prioritizes the privacy of the users and can operate diversely on the web, desktop, and even mobile devices.

You can also enjoy encrypted messaging and file transfer facilities as an average user of this application. 

However, if you are looking for additional features like forums, discussions, content management, or real-time editing, you will be disappointed as this app is best suited for only video conferencing.

But for users whose requirement is limited to video conference alone but are looking for secure and simply open-source zoom alternatives, Jami is a great option for them.

Key Features of Jami

  • Audio/video calling, messaging, and screen sharing
  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV
  • No personal info is needed to create an account.  

Pricing

  • Free to use

Alternative #10: Jitsi

Last but not the least, Jitsi is a free open-source video conferencing app that does not require any account setup or signing up to use its service. 

Jitsi open source zoom alternative

Sending out invitations is very simple and the video/audio quality is of the highest standards.

Moreover, you get features like video playback in-meeting and even secure live streaming. This makes it particularly helpful for educators who are trying to live stream the class.

Though Jitsi is primarily web-based, the app also works on any mobile, with Android and iOS. 

No matter if you are a small business, start-up, big organization, or an educator, Jitsi is a great free Zoom alternative. 

Users can even download the source code and modify it to design their own Jitsi access control rules that ensure absolute control of their data. This certainly makes it a more reliable choice than Zoom.

Key Features of Jitsi

  • Audio/video calling, messaging, and screen sharing
  • Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV
  • No personal info is needed to create an account.  

Pricing

  • Free to use

Final Words

The above-mentioned open-source alternatives to Zoom are gaining major popularity around the world. The primary reason for such popularity is the higher amount of encryption and data security that is promised by most of this software.

You cannot go wrong with any of the above open-source Zoom alternatives. It all boils down to your budget, team size, feature requirement, and personal preference. 

So, which open-source Zoom alternative is your favorite? Did we miss out on your favorite free Zoom alternative? Do let us know in the comment section below!

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