Skype needs to be running to place and receive calls. Set up a stripped-down PC to act as a Skype server that will provide 24/7 operation.
Works with: Windows and Linux versions of Skype.
One irritating feature of Skype is that it must be running on a computer for you to make and receive calls with it. That is, when your computer is off, Skype doesn't work. Moreover, when you run Skype on the computer you use day in and day out, Skype's performance (call quality, reliability, and so forth) can suffer if you are doing other things that rob Skype or otherwise deprive it of the runtime resources it needs. This is particularly true if your day-to-day computer is barely above Skype's minimum hardware requirements.
Presumably, sometime in the future we'll see Skype-enabled phones and devices with Skype embedded and running on its own processor; a "plug it in and it'll just work" sort of thing. Until then, you can use this hack, which describes how to build a 'Skype server" that provides 24/7 phone service with a minimum of hassle and fuss.
You have two choices when building a Skype server: build one, or convert an old machine you have conveniently at hand. Whichever route you take, there are a number of checkpoints worth addressing first:
Are Skype's minimum hardware requirements met? See Table P-1 in this book's Preface for Skype's minimum hardware requirements at the time of this writing.
If your hardware isn't up to snuff, do you have parts at hand to bring ...