Skype is used to make voice and video calls over an Internet connection. Skype users can also connect with users of conventional phones, though some restrictions and fees may apply.
Using Skype begins with creating an account, which is free. Users choose a Skype name for themselves and recieve a Skype number and can opt to be listed in a public directory. Skype users can communicate directly with each other. In addition to voice and video connections, Skype offers a number of common instant messaging tools, such as text chat and status indicators. Conference calling with multiple participants is also available. Connections to other Skype users are generally free, but it usually costs a fee to make a call to a conventional phone. Users who plan to make these calls can either opt for a monthly subscription or pay by the call by purchasing Skype Credit.
The SkypeIn service is available in certain countries and allows users to receive calls on their computers that come in from conventional phones. Users may keep a local number in any of the available countries and pay only the local rates for in-country calls.
Users cannot call emergency numbers, such as 911 in the United States, with Skype in some countries.