Which is the Best Free Video Calling API for Website Integration?

9 min read
January 27, 2023

A video calling API typically provides access to the underlying functionality of video calling services, such as audio and video capture, encoding and decoding, and transmission over the internet. This allows developers to create their own user interfaces and features for their video-calling applications while leveraging the power and reliability of the underlying video-calling service.

There are many different video-calling APIs on the market, each with its own features, capabilities, and limitations. Some of the most popular video calling APIs include the WebRTC API, Digital Samba’s API, the Skype API, and the Zoom API.

Table of Contents 

Overall, a video-calling API is a valuable tool for developers who want to add video conferencing to their websites or applications. With a video-calling API, developers can create user-friendly and engaging video-calling experiences for their users, while leveraging the reliability and power of the underlying video-calling service.

It is possible to add video conferencing to your website.

To use a video chat for a website, developers would typically create a user account with the live chat service provider, and then obtain an API key or other authentication credentials. They would then use the API to access the live chat service's functionality and embed video conference
 into their website. This might involve adding HTML and JavaScript code to the website, as well as making API calls to the live chat service to manage user accounts, create chat rooms, and handle messages and other data.

Overall, it is efficient to embed video chat into a website using an API. By using a video chat API, developers can add real-time communication capabilities to their website, and provide their users with an engaging and user-friendly live chat and video experience.

Digital Samba

Digital Samba main screen

Digital Samba's video calling API is engineered to seamlessly integrate with web applications and websites. It offers comprehensive access to Digital Samba's extensive feature set, empowering developers to selectively incorporate these features into their tailored applications.

Digital Samba’s video call SDK also allows developers to take a deep dive into the inner workings of real-time communication features to make their own home-brew implementation if that is desired.

The video calling API is top-down flexible, allowing developers to efficiently select and use features that just work and embed those features directly into any application that supports HTML and API calls to Digital Samba’s robust global infrastructure.

Pricing:

  • Free - 10,000 free service minutes per month
  • Create - €99/month - 25,000 service minutes, 100 concurrent participants, and 5 concurrent sessions per month
  • Create S - €99/month - 25,000 service minutes, 40 concurrent participants, and 20 concurrent sessions per month
  • Enterprise-level - Talk to us for pricing and per-client service plan.

Pro’s:

  • Security - Digital Samba is also secure. Utilising existing infrastructure through an API as a microservice can potentially expose developers to back-end security holes or conflicts with user data integrity. Digital Samba is natively compliant with the European GDPR standards, which is the highest global standard for data privacy and security. This gives developers the peace of mind to confidently build and implement solutions from Digital Samba’s low-code video conferencing API.
  • Flexibility - Digital Samba API covers a wide range of functionality that goes beyond the feature list that’s offered by competitors. Digital Samba API integrates well with other software that can make standard API calls over the web, making it a good option for inclusion in stand-alone software applications for both mobile and desktop environments.
  • High customizability - The API offers high levels of customizability, enabling developers to tailor the video calling experience to meet the specific needs of their application or audience. This includes options for branding, layout customisation, and functionality adjustments.
  • Comprehensive feature set - Digital Samba’s API provides access to a wide array of video conferencing features, including high-quality video and audio calls, screen sharing, chat functionality, and more. This extensive feature set allows for the creation of robust and versatile communication solutions.

Con’s:

  • Limited Free plan: The free tier's 10,000 service minutes might not suffice for larger applications, leading to increased costs for high-usage applications.
  • GDPR compliance: While beneficial in Europe, GDPR compliance might require additional considerations in regions with different data privacy laws.

MirrorFly

MirrorFly

Another option for developing an application that uses live user-fed video and audio is MirrorFly’s API. MirrorFly offers quick and simple solutions to the majority of simple needs regarding video and audio integration into basic applications on the web and in mobile and desktop environments.

Pricing:

  • Tiered pricing structure starting at $299/month
  • $999/month for the premium tier which offers 7500 minutes of voice and video, with additional over-charges

Pro’s:

  • Very simple and easy to get started with
  • Good documentation

Con’s:

  • Pricing goes up rapidly
  • Hard to commit to if your product may take on more features down the road that are unsupported
  • Very expensive

VideoSDK

VideoSDK

VideoSDK is a live video API provider that hosts two products. One product is for live audio/video, and the other is for interactive live streaming. They have web and mobile documentation available for developers and also support React. 

Pricing:

  • Free - 10,000 monthly service minutes
  • Pay as you go, with bulk discounts, starting at $1.99/month

Pro’s:

  • Good documentation
  • Developer-oriented
  • Discord community

Con’s:

  • No out-of-the-box whitelabel flagship product
  • Does not advertise GDPR compliance

Cometchat

CometchatCometchat offers SDK’s that support live video and a lot of chat functionality. They also make their video chat SDK available in many popular languages, such as Vue, Kotlin, and Java to name a few. Cometchat focuses heavily on live chat but also supports video calling.

Pricing:

  • Free - Until launch. Up to 25 users.
  • $149/month - Has features like Chat Widgets, and SDK’s
  • $399/month - Has features like whiteboard sharing and moderation features
  • $749/month - Voice transcription + other features
  • Call for pricing - Enterprise-level service on a per-account basis
  • Pay-as-you-go Voice - $0.001/user per minute
  • Pay-as-you-go Video - $0.003/user per minute

Pro’s:

  • Heavily tested by their developers.
  • Multiple language support.
  • Many chat features

Con’s:

  • Live Video is less prominent than live chat
  • Expensive

Sinch

Sinch

Sinch is a voice and video service that supports crossover from in-app voice, video and text to phone calls and SMS service. This access to tier 1 networking (settlement-free peering) is a powerful offer that makes Sinch a good platform to develop when building something like a telemarketing business or large-scale customer support service.

Pricing:

  • Free version
  • Contact for pricing & availability

Pro’s:

  • Access to phone calls and SMS text
  • In-app support for video calling

Con’s:

  • Very vague on pricing
  • Feature-creep

Vonage (Formerly TokBox)

Vonage (Formerly TokBox)

The Vonage video API is available for developers to integrate video conferencing into website, mobile applications, Windows desktop environments, Linux desktop environments, and more. The audio-video data transfer for Vonage’s API is based on WebRTC. Vonage’s API has separate components for client and server-side executable code. 

Client-side code runs on the user’s environment such as a mobile app, or website. It handles the majority of the Vonage API’s functionality, while server-side code is designed to run on web infrastructure that connects client-side functionality through the management of session tokens.

Pricing:

  • Starts at $9.99/month with 2,000 user-minutes
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing is available at $0.00395/user-minute

Pro’s:

  • Plenty of languages and frameworks supported
  • Granular control over how your app works
  • Quick to debug due to isolated architecture.

Con’s:

  • Comparatively steep learning curve
  • Complex API and video conferencing SDK structure make development slower

Daily.co

Daily.coDaily. co is another option for doing video calling applications with the use of an API. They market themselves mostly towards the healthcare market, but live video is live video and can be used for any general purpose that uses the same underlying technology, so it can be used for many purposes outside of healthcare/telehealth.

Pricing:

  • $0.0015/minute for video (discount rate)
  • $0.00036/minute for audio (discount rate)

Pro’s:

  • Staff are very familiar with telehealth
  • Good documentation
  • Supports Flutter, React, and other popular frameworks.

Con’s:

  • Requires signup for product demonstration
  • Hard to justify a commitment if your application is not telehealth
  • Support sold as add-on service packages starting at $250/month

Apphitect

Apphitect

Apphitect is based out of the UAE and offers cloud infrastructure that can support live video calling and some other peer-to-peer data streaming functionality. They offer support for many languages and frameworks with their API, and can quickly deploy a working, production-ready application that includes live video streaming between users.

Pricing:

  • Contact sales

Pro’s:

  • It’s hosted out of the UAE
  • Has a generic pre-packaged product available for white-labelling

Con’s:

  • Their main website connection is not secure
  • Not transparent with pricing.

Agora

Agora

Agora offers an exhaustive list of API’s and SDK’s for developing live video solutions for the web. Agora also offers community connections on StackOverflow and other technical help sites, and it also offers a stand-alone product with lots of features. There are also many options for using their API to develop live video solutions.

Pricing:

  • $3.99 / 1000 minutes

Pro’s:

  • So many features! 
  • Active community
  • Mature stand-alone product

Con’s:

  • Stand-alone products not clearly available for white labelling
  • Feature creep.
  • Separate pricing rates for HD video streaming

PubNub

PubNub

PubNub offers an API that allows developers to integrate video calls and voice into websites across the web as well as in native desktop environments. They use a Publish/Subscribe REST API architecture for their back-end service, which is somewhat novel.

Pricing:

  • Starts at $49 /month plus MAUs

Pro’s:

  • Has request limiting as a back-end security feature
  • Strictly focused on API provisions

Con’s:

  • No stand-alone product
  • Relatively steep learning curve

Conclusions

There are many different ways to include live video calling or chat features in a modern website. There is not a truly one-size-fits-all solution that covers what every developer is looking for all of the time. However, one thing that can be universally recommended is talking to an expert.

That said, committing to an API provider for making products or services that you will rely on for the foreseeable future as a business obligation is a serious decision.

While video-calling API’s have some common features; they are not the same, and those differences in the quality of the API service or the company providing the API can make a significant impact on your idea’s scalability and operational security going forward. It is very important to make the right decision off the bat when choosing a web video call API.

Digital Samba has a live technical sales team that can schedule a demonstration of what our video conferencing API can do for developers that are looking into using back-end APIs to handle live voice, video, and chat with their applications.

Reach out to us to have a tech help you flesh out the best way forward with your project.

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