The 6 Best Apps for Making Internet Calls

Here are the best apps to call landlines, mobile phones, or social platforms using the internet.

  • Best for landline calls
    Google Voice Logo
    Google Voice
    • Free local calls
    • Free phone number
    • Free voice messages
    • Up to $9.50/min.
  • Best for availability
    Skype
    • Native on Windows
    • Wide availability
    • Includes instant messaging
    • Starting at $2.99/mo.
  • Best social media option
    Messenger
    • Free video calls
    • Wide availability
    • Available for kids
    • Free

Our pick: Which calling app is the best?

Google Voice is the best Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service for calling landlines and mobile numbers, especially from a computer. You get a free phone number, and calls within the US are free. However, if your carrier supports Wi-Fi calling, consider using that instead—you can toggle it on and off with the tap of a finger.

If calling a landline or mobile phone isn’t your goal, Messenger is the most common and easiest (not to mention free) app to use for voice calling over the internet.

Pro tip:

Before diving in, check to see if you have the best internet connection possible by running our internet speed test. We provide a guide on how much speed you need for Zoom to give you an idea of what’s best for internet calling. If you need an upgrade to a better plan, enter your zip code below to see what is available to you.

The 6 best apps for making internet calls

Best apps to call phone numbers

Best forServicePriceBest featuresGet it
Best for landline callsGoogle VoiceFree–$9.50/min.
  • Provides free calls within the US
  • Supports incoming calls from anywhere
  • Get Google Voice
    Best for availabilitySkypeStarting at $2.99/mo.
  • Includes monthly credit in Microsoft 365
  • Provides free calling between users
  • Get Skype
    Best for personalizationViber$0.019–$2.99/min.
  • Deletes messages after a specific time
  • Provides free calls between users
  • Get Viber

    Best apps for app-based calls

    Best forServicePriceBest featuresGet it
    Best social media optionMessengerFree
  • Supports voice and video
  • Provides a web interface
  • Get Messenger
    Best for iPhone to Android callsGoogle DuoFree
  • Enables video calls between Android and iPhones
  • Uses end-to-end encryption
  • Get Google Duo
    Best for securityWhatsAppFree
  • Relies on your existing phone number
  • Uses end-to-end encryption
  • Get WhatsApp

    What you should look for in an internet calling app

    If you want to call a landline or mobile phone number, you need a specific VoIP service to connect to that physical location. These services typically charge a rate for each minute used—depending on where you are calling—or they may offer a monthly subscription. Most don’t charge you for calling others when using the same service, like a Skype-to-Skype call.

    If you’re not calling a landline or mobile phone number, most communication apps provide app-to-app internet calling, such as Google Duo, Messenger, Slack, Snapchat, Whatsapp, and Zoom. Most of these services let you video chat for free too.

    Best apps to call phone numbers

    You can use these VoIP services to call landlines and mobile numbers from the internet. They start out free, but some features may require credits to pay for calls or use a monthly subscription plan. And in addition to audio calls, both Skype and Viber layer on additional features like instant messaging, video calling, and more.

    Best for landline calls

    Google Voice
    Google Voice Logo

    Pricing

    • Up to $9.50/min.

    Features

    • Provides free calls within the US
    • Supports incoming calls from anywhere
    • Includes a free phone number
    • Stores downloadable voice messages 
    • Transcribes voicemail
    • Blocks spam calls
    • Supports Google Home

    Availability

    • Desktop: Web
    • Mobile: Android, iOS, iPadOS

    For simple internet calling to phone numbers, you can’t beat Google Voice. It provides free calling within the United States and a free phone number that will never expire.

    If you need to make international calls, you can add up to $70 in credit using a bank account or credit card stored in your Google Account. Google’s international calling rates start at $0.01 per minute and depend on your call’s destination.

    You can access Google Voice by signing in to voice.google.com in a web browser or the mobile app (Android, iOS/iPadOS). The service also includes text messaging, voicemail, and free voicemail archiving.

    Pros

    • Free nationwide calling
    • Free phone number

    Cons

    • No emergency calling
    • No direct customer support

    Best for availability

    Skype

    Pricing

    • Starts at $2.99 per month for a subscription
    • Starts at $5.00 for Skype Credit
    • Costs $6.99 per month to receive landline and mobile calls
    • Toll charges vary

    Features

    • Includes a monthly credit via a Microsoft 365 subscription
    • Provides free audio and HD video calling between users
    • Sends SMS and instant messages
    • Offers desktop software and apps
    • Receives calls from landlines and cellphones (with a separate subscription)
    • Works with Amazon Alexa and newer Xbox consoles

    Availability

    • Desktop: Windows, macOS, Linux, Web
    • Mobile: Android, iOS, iPadOS
    • Other: Xbox, Amazon Alexa

    For a universal solution, Skype is the tool. While it’s native on Windows-based devices, you can also use it in a web browser, on a Mac, Linux—even the Xbox One gaming consoles.

    Skype-to-Skype calls are free, but unlike Google Voice, you must pay to call national landlines and mobile numbers. Calls require Skype Credit to pay for minutes, or you can use a subscription starting at $2.99 per month. To receive a call from a landline or mobile number, you must have a Skype Number, which costs $6.99 per month.

    Pro tip:

    The Microsoft 365 Family and Personal plans include 60 minutes per month of free Skype calls.

    Skype also includes instant messaging, video calling, screen sharing, and more. It’s a native pre-installed app on Windows 10 PCs, but you can download the desktop client that feels less integrated into the operating system. The desktop client is also available for macOS and in three flavors for Linux.

    Pros

    • Native to Windows
    • Widely available

    Cons

    • Requires a second subscription to receive landline calls
    • Offers no free nationwide calling

    Best for personalization

    Viber

    Pricing

    • $0.019–$2.99/min.
    • $5.99/mo. For unlimited worldwide calls

    Features

    • Includes autodestruct timer that deletes messages
    • Provides free calls between users
    • Includes tool for creating stickers and GIFs
    • Sends messages, videos, and files
    • Supports group chat and calls
    • Supports user-built communities

    Availability

    • Desktop: Windows, macOS, Linux
    • Mobile: Android, iOS, iPadOS

    Like Skype, there’s more to Viber than making calls to landlines and cellphones. You can make video calls to other Viber users, start group chats, send instant messages, create stickers and GIFs, and set a self-destruct timer to delete your messages after a specific time. It also provides a community component for building and managing unique places to chat.

    And like Skype, the calling aspect—Viber Out—isn’t completely free. You can purchase credit to pay for minutes used or subscribe to a monthly plan. For instance, you can call anywhere within the United States for $1.99 per month, making it more expensive than Google Voice.

    Unfortunately, Viber does not have a web client for browsers. You must install a mobile app or desktop software to use this service.

    Pros

    • Supports stickers and GIFs
    • Deletes messages automatically after a specific time

    Cons

    • No web client
    • No free nationwide calling

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    Best apps for app-based calls

    These apps don’t have the means to call phone numbers. Instead, they offer app-to-app internet voice and video calling. All three apps require both the caller and receiver to have an account to send and receive calls. For instance, both individuals need a Facebook account to use Messenger.

    Best social media option

    Messenger

    Pricing

    • Free

    Features

    • Supports voice and video
    • Provides a web client for browsers
    • Includes AR effects
    • Offers different chat themes to personalize conversations
    • Supports fingerprint scanning and face recognition
    • Sends recorded voice or video messages
    • Supports Facebook Pay

    Availability

    • Desktop: Windows, macOS, Web
    • Mobile: Android, iOS, iPadOS

    Messenger needs no introduction. Nearly three billion people actively used Facebook in the first three months of 2021 alone, most of whom are likely already familiar with Messenger’s video and voice calling features.1 That places this service at the top of our app-to-app list due to its widespread use and familiarity.

    If you have kids younger than 13, you can install Messenger Kids to send them messages or chat through video. Parents can manage their kids’ contact lists, monitor their activity, and add their friends. Kids can block contacts as needed too.

    If you use Windows and macOS, Facebook provides a Messenger app on the Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store, or you can use the web version in your favorite browser.

    Pros

    • No cost
    • Voice and video calls

    Cons

    • Can’t call landlines
    • Can’t call contacts outside Facebook

    Best for iPhone to Android calls

    Google Duo
    Google Duo Logo

    Pricing

    • Free

    Features

    • Enables video calls between Android and iPhones
    • Uses end-to-end encryption
    • Shares your phone’s screen
    • Supports up to 32 participants in a group call
    • Sends video calls to Android devices that don’t have Google Duo installed
    • Requires a Google Account to use across multiple platforms and devices

    Availability

    • Desktop: Web
    • Mobile: Android, iOs, iPadOS

    Google Duo is Google’s response to Apple’s FaceTime. The difference here is that you can get Google Duo on an iPhone, but you can’t get FaceTime on an Android phone. That gives Google the upper hand in the multidevice battle for your calling needs.

    Google Duo supports both audio and video calls on the internet. It also features a Family Mode that lets you doodle on the screen during video calls. The service is free to use and requires a phone number, but you need a Google Account to use this service on multiple devices and platforms.

    Finally, Google Duo provides end-to-end encryption for all voice and video calls. Encryption prevents hackers from listening and watching your conversation as you communicate across the internet.

    Pros

    • Make video calls between Android phones and iPhones/iPads
    • Call kids using Family Mode

    Cons

    • No instant messaging
    • Limited group calling

    Best for security

    WhatsApp

    Pricing

    • Free

    Features

    • Relies on your existing phone number
    • Provides end-to-end encryption
    • Broadcasts a single message to multiple users
    • Shares messages, photos, and videos with up to 256 users simultaneously
    • Records voice messages
    • Shares documents
    • Deletes messages after seven days

    Availability

    • Desktop: Windows, macOS, Web
    • Mobile: Android, iOS

    WhatsApp uses your phone number to eliminate the typical security risks associated with username and password combinations. There are ways to use WhatsApp without a SIM card, but one must be in place to receive a verification code when creating an account. You don’t need a Facebook account to use this service, even though WhatsApp is owned by it.

    WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is enabled by default, meaning all calls and messages are protected from hacker eavesdropping while they are in transit. You can manually enable two-step verification for added security that uses a six-digit pin, so even if someone obtains your phone number and password combo, new devices require a PIN code to access the account.

    Other notable features include group chat, document sharing, and a built-in camera—it doesn’t use your phone’s default camera app.

    Pros

    • No login credentials required
    • End-to-end encryption

    Cons

    • Requires a phone number
    • Requires QR code scan for web version use

    Pro tip:

    Do you have the fastest connection possible for internet calling? Find out by testing your internet speed.

    Take the Speed Test

    Alternative: Use your carrier’s Wi-Fi calling

    Wi-Fi calling provided by carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless is typically built into smartphones and uses your existing mobile number. It converts your cellular calls into data that transmits over a Wi-Fi network instead of the carrier’s network. Wi-Fi calling switches over to your carrier’s cellular network once your device disconnects from Wi-Fi.

    You can enable Wi-Fi calling by tapping through these settings:

    • iOS 14: Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Calling
    • Android 11 (stock): Settings > Network and Internet > Mobile Network > Advanced > Wi-Fi Calling
    • Android 10 and 11 (Samsung): Phone > More (three dots) > Settings > Wi-Fi Calling

    Approximately 24 carriers support Wi-Fi calling in the United States.2 Here are a few examples:

    Our verdict

    Use Google Voice if you want to call a landline or mobile number, especially if you’re calling from a computer. It provides free nationwide calling while the international rates cost up to $9.50 per minute. The best alternative is to use Wi-Fi calling if your carrier offers it, which is built into Android and iOS and doesn’t require a third-party app.

    If you’re not calling a landline or mobile number, chances are you already have Facebook’s Messenger app. WhatsApp is a secure alternative, as you don’t need a Facebook or Google account to use this service. Google Duo is a good FaceTime alternative for video calling between Android and iPhone owners.

    FAQ about internet phone calls

    What is VoIP?

    Voice over Internet Protocol (Voice over IP or VoIP) is a technology that converts analog signals into data and sends that data over the internet. VoIP data does not cross over transitional telephone networks. A call typically consists of two internet-connected devices that support VoIP technology.

    What is VoWiFi?

    Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) is a technology that uses VoIP to convert analog voice calls into data and sends that data over Wi-Fi. VoWiFi relies on your mobile number to make calls to landlines and mobile phones.

    The big difference with this method over traditional VoIP calls is that your voice data passes through the carrier’s packet switched network (PSN) to guarantee call quality. If your Wi-Fi connection drops, the data switches over to your carrier’s data connection.

    These calls don’t count against your plan’s data allowance.

    How does internet calling work?

    When your analog call is converted to digital signals using VoIP, the data is sent across the internet. What happens next depends on the receiver.

    If you’re calling a landline or a mobile number, your VoIP data includes your public IP address that is translated into a phone number when it reaches the service’s server. Your data is converted into an analog signal and sent along the traditional telephone networks. Calling rates apply because your call passes through circuits that must be kept open during the connection.

    If you place a VoIP call to someone on the same service or a different VoIP service, the recipient’s app or device receives the data and converts it into an analog signal. The call doesn’t pass through traditional phone networks but instead uses typical internet infrastructure.

    Sources

    1. Statista, “Number of Monthly Active Facebook Users Worldwide as of 1st Quarter 2021,” April 2021. Accessed June 9, 2021.

    2. Apple, “Wireless Carrier Support and Features for iPhone in the United States and Canada,” April 26, 2021. Accessed June 10, 2021.

    Author -

    Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on internet security.

    Editor - Cara Haynes

    Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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