Jitsi Meet is a rarity, a free video-conferencing platform with all the features you’d expect from a paid-for service.
No dedicated support
50 participant limit
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With so many meetings migrating from the physical to the digital, it’s no wonder that a huge number of video conferencing platforms have emerged. In this Jitsi Meet review, we take a look at one of the best video conferencing software in 2021.
Jitsi Meet takes simplicity and ease of use to new levels and enables you to conduct a video call for multiple participants without an account and for free. Read on to learn whether Jitsi Meet has the functionality you require to host your next video conferencing event.
Jitsi Meet: Plans and pricing
Jitsi Meet is a subsidiary of VoIP company 8x8, and the company’s paid-for video conferencing service, 8x8 Meet, a more feature-heavy version of Jitsi Meet, is advertised on the Jitsi Meet website. Jitsi Meet itself is free forever and doesn’t include any tiered price plans.
You can also install Jitsi as a service on an existing website or app to create an integrated video calling function. 8x8 Jitsi as a Service (JaaS) is a separate product developed by the Jitsi organization and is free to use, but active users are capped at 25.
Beyond this, JaaS Basic allows 300 users and costs $99 dollars a month, Jaas Standard costs $499 a month and facilitates up to 1,500 users, while for $999, Jaas Business allows 3,000 active users.
Jitsi Meet: Features
Jitsi is an open-source platform that includes a number of audio and video communication projects. Jitsi Meet is the platform’s flagship product and is free to use as a web, iOS, Android, or F Droid app. It includes HD audio and video, unlimited meetings for up to 50 guests, end-to-end encryption, screen sharing, remote desktop controls, and third-party integrations with Google, Slack, and Microsoft products.
Unusually for free video conferencing software, which regularly cap the length of meetings, Jitsti enables you to stay online for as long as is necessary. Meetings are in HD video and audio, and you can invite up to 50 participants.
It’s easy to share meeting invites too. All you need to do is create a custom URL and distribute it to your guests.
Jitsi Meet integrates with Google, Microsoft, and Slack. You can use this integration to connect your calendar, add a browser extension, live stream video content on YouTube (via a Google account), and more.
For a free-to-use service, we were very impressed by the number of in-call options available. As well as screen sharing, remote desktop control, and a chat facility, there are the options to mute speakers, blur your background, record calls, and manage call quality.
As a moderator, you can also decide on other call parameters. For example, you can select an option that ensures everyone who joins the call is automatically muted.
Jitsi Meet: Interface and in use
Creating a meeting using Jitsi Meet is incredibly quick and simple. You don’t have to create an account or provide any personal details. You just need to navigate to the website and enter a name for your meeting.
Next, a new meeting screen opens and you can join. There is a large Invite more people button at the top of the page. When you select this option, you can choose to share the meeting URL, or invite people in via a dial-in number.
Fundamental features such as screen sharing, leave call, mute, and chat functions are located prominently at the base of the screen. Further in-call functions are accessed via the three vertical dots to the right of the meeting screen. They are well referenced and easy to distinguish.
We were impressed by the call and video quality. We were also surprised to see the high level of design and functionality that had gone into a free service.
Jitsi Meet: Support
There is no dedicated commercial or personal support for Jitsi Meet. Instead, any queries should be directed to the community. As an open-source project, it’s not surprising that the Jitsi community page is very active.
It’s not difficult to find help if you need it by searching for topics. You can also navigate via the Categories tab. Although not a dedicated support page, it is a helpful resource, and the Jitsi community is very passionate and active.
Jitsi Meet: Security
Security is a key concern for the Jitsi Meet platform. The product includes a rage of advanced security measures that can be toggled during calls. These include the option to create meeting passwords; lobby mode, which only enables users to enter a meeting if approved by a moderator; and end-to-end encryption.
At present, Jitsi Meet’s end-to-end encryption feature is in what it refers to as experimental mode. One of the consequences of this is that server-side functions, such as recording and live streaming, are disabled when the encryption feature is enabled.
Zoom is probably the most popular video conferencing software available with paid-for and free options, but for the purposes of this review, we’ll just compare its free plan. In many ways, Jitsi Meet blows it out of the water. As well as a sleeker design, the platform enables unlimited call times, while Zoom’s group calls are capped at 40 minutes on the free plan.
Microsoft Teams’ free plan does enable up to 100 participants, double the allowance on Jitsi Meet, but again calls are capped on time: with Microsoft Teams there is a 60-minute limit. On top of this, both Zoom and Microsoft teams require you to create an account.
We were thoroughly impressed by the breadth of features, ease of use, and enhanced security Jitsi Meet provided. Some users may be put off by the fact that support can only be accessed through the community, but this is a common feature of open source projects.
Jitsi Meet deserves to be well-known beyond the developer community. The unlimited call limit alone is enough for us to rate this as one of the best, if not the best, free meeting platforms available.
Kieron is a freelance science and technology journalist with more than a decade of experience writing for magazines in print and online. Today, his focus is on cybersecurity, blockchain, and emerging tech.