Open Source Video Conferencing Options

I think over the years I’ve used almost every open source audio / video platform out there. So, for conferencing here are my top of mind choices after years of just tinkering around with stuff (I used to consult on these things). Some pointers with some anecdata experience stuff. Keeping it simple.

First, surprise, surprise zoom, the proprietary video conf app has some security issues… no shit.

The point is, don’t trust proprietary apps. Unless you can see the source code you just don’t know what is going on. However, as far as I know there are no secure multi-user video conf systems. Point to point, as far as I can tell can be secure if you use Signal, but for the rest it reflects the relatively embryonic state of open source video chat. I’m assuming its about to get a heap better… anyho…some solutions and my read on them. First, don’t expect multi user video chat of any kind to be secure.

Jitsi – Open Source. Now owned by 8×8. Jitsi feels a lot like it was modeled after Google Hangouts. So, I’ve tried installing this and I’ve tried the Jitsi server provided at

IMHO the Jitsi free link is usable for group meetings but it has proven, as has our self install, to be a little unreliable. We used it for many years (self hosted and the free version) but I got a little frustrated. So, I recommend the service 8×8 provides. Now, I cannot guarantee they do not spy on you. I have no idea, but its based on Jitsi, which is open source, and it is WAY more reliable than pure Jitsi. I don’t know what they have done but the 8×8 free implementation ‘just works’…

Big Blue Button

I have used this a lot. We also installed it and tried our own self hosted version. It was very difficult to set up and I found the interface clunky.

It offers some cool features though, and as far as I can see they have done quite a lot of development recently including the maturity of an HTML5 interface.

Its a chunky app but well worth checking out …it also has collaborative white boards etc


Good open source point to point secure app. All the folks I know say it can be trusted. Signal is sometimes funky when making call connections so you need to be a little patient at times. However, it works pretty well in general. Also some people forget a few things about signal so as a reminder:

  1. Only secure for signal to signal calls…you need the people you call to install signal
  2. supports video on phone/tablets
  3. it now has desktop clients which sync with your phone (desktop doesnt support live video/audio)
  4. you need a mobile number to register signal with

… i use 8×8 and Signal. They work. Signal for text and one to one calls. I use 8×8 for video one to ones and group video chat.

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4 thoughts on “Open Source Video Conferencing Options”

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this post. How unreliable was Jitsi? Do you think that with a more powerful server it would be more reliable? I’m thinking of setting up my own but I want to make sure that it will be reliable.

    Thank you 🙂

    1. I found the free jitsi caused problems, and the one we set up also. Same problems – people periodically not being able to get their audio working or connect… don’t know what to tell you…I do expect, however, all open source video chat products will geta huge boost from this current situation. So maybe they ahve already improved… I’d be interested in hearing your experience if you do try and set it up.

  2. Hi Adam,

    Great article! As it relates to the same topic, I just wanted to have your thoughts on this: I’m currently building a browser-only software that will allow its users to plan / run meetings, and I would like to implement video conferencing.

    I’ve been looking at Jitsi quite a lot. It seems really amazing, but I’m worried about the issues that you mentioned..

    Outside of those that you mentioned in your article, is there another open-source conferencing tool that you would recommend?

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