Webex is a web-conferencing tool that you can use for group video or audio meetings.
Webex is also a much broader suite of tools that include apps for team collaboration, Voice Over IP phone services, online events, and more.
Here's everything you need to know to get started with Webex Meetings, including subscription plans, how to install it, and to host and join meetings.
Zoom's rapid growth means the platform is the one that most people think of when imaging group video conferencing. But Webex is among one of the oldest and most established web-conferencing services in operation.
Accessible on mobile and desktop devices, Webex's robust subscription plans and feature sets mean it's still a popular choice for large businesses and enterprises. Plus, with a free tier of service, it's a good alternative for individuals and small businesses.
Here's everything you need to know about Webex, including its various subscription plans, and how to download and get started with it.
What you need to know about Webex
Webex is more than just a video-conferencing platform; it's a suite of tools and services offered by Cisco.
When you think of Webex, you probably imagine Webex Meetings, the online audio and video conferencing system. But Cisco also offers Webex Teams, a messaging, file sharing, and whiteboarding collaboration tool.
Additionally, the company supports services like Webex Events for hosting virtual events, Webex Calling, a Voice Over IP technology that enables voice calling on any device, and an assortment of other products like Webex Training, Webex Support, and Webex Contact Center.
What Webex Teams costs
If you want to use Webex to conduct online conference calls, the good news is that, like most other web conference systems including Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts, Webex has a free tier of service, so you can get started at no cost.
Here's an overview of the four main tiers.
Webex Meetings free. A free account allows a single host to conduct meetings up to 50 minutes with as many as 100 participants. Sessions can be recorded locally on the host's computer, but not to the cloud.
Webex Meetings Starter: Priced at $13.50 per host a month, up to nine people can host meetings up to 24 hours in length for 100 participants. At this tier and higher, online recordings are supported along with a handful of additional features.
Webex Meetings Plus: The main difference is that at this level — which costs $17.95 per host per month — up to 50 people can host meetings.
Webex Meetings Business: For $26.95 per host a month, up to 100 people may host, and as many as 200 people may attend a meeting.
Webex Meetings Enterprise: This level has customized pricing and allows for an unlimited number of hosts and meetings with up to 100,000 attendees.
You can find additional information about subscribing to Webex Meetings on the Webex plans page.
Creating a Webex Meetings account
When you're ready to get started with Webex, you need to decide if you ever plan to host meetings or only want to join meetings hosted by others.
To host, you will need to create an account. To join meetings, you can create an account, but you don't need to.
To create an account, go to the Webex website and click "Start for Free" at the screen's top right. Then follow the instructions to create an account.
Depending on how you plan to use Webex, you have a few options for launching the conferencing tool.
You can use the service on a computer by installing the desktop app, but that's not essential. Webex can run entirely within a web browser, so you can join meetings without installing anything at all. You can also install the mobile Webex app on your phone or tablet.
To install the Webex desktop app on your Windows or Mac computer, go to the Webex website, create an account, and install it. If you've already opened an account but have not yet installed the app, go to the Downloads page to install the Cisco Webex Meetings desktop app.
Getting started with Webex Meetings
If you have any experience with other web conference tools, you will probably find Webex Meetings familiar and straightforward to use.
If you are the host, you can start a meeting using the web site, desktop app, or mobile app.
If you host a lot of Webex meetings, you might want to install the Webex plugin for Outlook, which lets you add Webex information to meeting invites in Outlook. If you schedule appointments in Outlook frequently, this is a lot more convenient than using the Webex app to schedule meetings.
To join a Webex meeting, you need the email invitation sent by the meeting host. If you don't have it, you may need to ask them to resend it. You can generally choose to join via the desktop or mobile app or within a browser window. If the host uses one of the paid plans, you can also dial in using your phone. Just follow the directions in the email to get started.
As the host or participant, you can easily "take over" the meeting by sharing your screen. Webex lets you share your entire screen, just a selected app or browser window, or an interactive whiteboard.
If you are the host, or in the paid tiers of service an alternate host, you can record a meeting for future reference or to share with invitees who could not attend. After recording a meeting, it will be stored locally on your computer or in the cloud, where you can retrieve and download it for sharing.
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