Skype is a software application that provides voice calls over the Internet. The service is free when used between two users of Skype or when calling toll-free numbers. Users attract a charge, however, if they are calling overseas landlines and mobile phones.

It has additional features inclusive of instant messaging, video conferencing, and file transfer. The popularity of Skype has progressively increased since its inception. It is an affordable alternative for many users who prefer not to be encumbered with expensive phone bills.

This article will highlight how to set up and use Skype effectively.

Things You Need

  • A Functional Computer
  • Skype Software Application
  • Webcam (optional)


  1. The first part of the process requires you to create a Skype account. Go to the Skype website and click on the option to download Skype. Install the software on the computer to establish a connection with the Skype network.
  2. For computer-to-computer communication, you can locate friends who use the service and add them to your list of contacts. You will not be charged to connect and talk with other users on the network.
  3. To use Skype to contact someone via a phone line you will be charged to do so. This is deemed Skype out. You can dial mobile or fixed phones to virtually any place in the world. But before this can be done you must add credit to your Skype account. You may make payments to this account by credit card or PayPal. You can add 10 Euro or 25 Euro when adding credit to the account. The charge per call is cheap, although rates will vary according to the country being dialed. Before dialing any other country you must place the international dialing code/country code and prefix before the telephone number. For example: to call Australia you will be required to dial country code+ prefix+ number, it will look something like this (+61 (02) 7010 1111).
  4. The other option is to use a phone to call a computer linked to the Skype network. This is deemed Skype in. It works by assigning you a number that acts as a local number in the chosen country. The people who call you from that country will be charged only a local fee. When they call you Skype will alert you via the computer. This works well in scenarios where you may have relatives abroad who live in a particular country and may wish to stay in contact with you. It also works well for business people who want to be available to clients who reside in other countries. The charge is 30 Euro per year or 10 Euro per 3 months.
  5. Skype can be used additionally with a webcam. Once the webcam is correctly installed and configured you will be able to have video phone contact with the other user. To do this both users will have to have a webcam for effective interaction.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Activate your voice mail service to allow users to leave messages when you are away from or not using the computer.
  • You can purchase a Skype phone and use it like a regular phone. For this to work the computer must be on when in use.
  • You can establish a connection to Skype on a PDA for added convenience.