Have you got a business-objective?

We have a solution.

Get a consultation right now!

contact us

request a quote
Enter your name
Your contact number
Enter your message
Natalya Brinza Project Manager

How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Chat App like WhatsApp?


How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Chat App like WhatsApp?

Smartphone won't be a must in our life if it has no chatting function. There is no one that doesn't have WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat or Snapchat installed on his device. Anyway, even though these applications are top-rated, a lot of application development companies get lots of lead requests to build a chat app daily.

The mobile application industry is getting more competitive and users want apps that are user-friendly, fast and cheap, because none of us wants to pay fees for short messages anymore. Due to this, while willing to make a WhatsApp similar app, it is highly important to know, what are those features you suppose to use, which elements are going to be included and finally, how are you going to build an extension.

In Artjoker throughout the last several years we have been dealing with different issues and tasks, including such a thing as the applications similar to WhatsApp. Furthermore, thanks to the experienced and top-notch developers and experts we are able to help the clients with any problems they face. So that we do not to scare you, we want to share some insights on how to build an app like WhatsApp and what the additional features are so you may include into the application itself. Finally, we are going to find out, how much does it cost to build an app like WhatsApp? What is actually pretty essential for those programmers, who are going to deal with such an issue for the first time.

Mobile chat application development: statistics and visibility

That is pretty obvious, that such an application as WhatsApp is one of the most popular platforms, which allow people to communicate with each other. Thanks to a great variety of different creative and interesting features, which have been provided by the developers, it gets much easier to talk to those people, who are far away from you or just live in a flat next door. The application allows the users to deal with any operating systems and mobile platforms, including Apple, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry. The only thing which you need is an application itself and the uploaded list of contacts in the memory of an application, what may allow you to find any needed people easily and fast. To prove my point, check the graphic stats below. The number of monthly active WhatsApp users worldwide doubled in the last 3 years – isn't it the reason for building a mobile chat app like this one?

whatsapp statistics

Once you decide to create a WhatsApp app, you need to understand that it is more than a mobile client – it is a service that should be constantly maintained. Well, while talking about the pricing issues, it will be really essential to mention the fact, that the development of an application similar to WhatsApp for today is not the most complicated issue. However, there are still some moments, which we must mention. First of all, in case if we talk about the development about a similar application we might keep in mind, that it may take up to 660 hours. Furthermore, in case if we multiply the time on an approximate price per an hour of coding in Asia or Eastern Europe, we get a price of $23.000. Besides, if you want to make an app for both iOS and Android, just double this price. To calculate its cost in more details you need to make the list of features you want the app to include. Find them below.


Read alsoHow to Port iOS App to Android App?

Architecture of a real-time chat app

To start taking into pieces the app's background, lets talk a bit about application architecture. Find below the essential stuff without which the WhatApp's processes will not run.

What is used Program language What for
Ejabberd XMPP application server (FunXMPP) Erlang To handle message traffic
High-performance web server YAWS Erlang To store multimedia files
FreeBSD operating system   To power servers
Mnesia   Default database for Erlang
Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) technology   To provide one-to-one and multi-user chat communications
RC4 (Rivest Cipher 2)   Cipher method

Chat app developers is operated, basing on Presence Protocol (XMPP) and other similar systems and structures, while deploying upon the aspects of them. The app creates an account of a person with the usage of his or her phone number. So, thanks to sucha  system, you are able to get two great benefits. The first one, is a proper level of security and a great simplicity, what is really essential in case if we talk about the modern applications. There is no need for a password, but a random one is created on the server side just for safety.

Talking about the client-side design, the choice of programming language depends on the device the application will run. For instance, Objective-C or Swift for iOS app platform, Java for Android one, and C# for Windows Phone. Even while having no programming and coding skills, you are still able to start the developmental process, basing on Android and iOS, what may allow you develop a chat application on a proper level. One of the most essential aspects of the development of an application in the modern world, such a thing as React Native technologies seems to be one of the best and one of the most comfortable tools to arrange an application of any means. The must-have features for a chat app like WhatsApp.

whatsapp app cost

The must-have features for a chat app like WhatsApp

  1. Message exchange

No doubt, applications like WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat won't be so popular without the opportunity to start a dialogue. Keep in mind that data security is the new trend, and it will definitely influence the chat app development cost. So don't be mean and provide chats with the next security features:

  • Encrypted messages will protect users' information while the data is being transmitted to the desired target;
  • Self-deleted messages that disappear after a period of time.

One thing you should know about how to develop a mobile chat app is that Internet connection is a must. For example, if you've been without Internet connection for a long time, there is a chance that you won't receive a message. That's how the message storage on WhatsApp works. The messages are saved on the corporation's server for 30 days. Then it will be removed permanently afterwards. So, be careful and be online.

Also, there should be an option to create a group chat where users can provide the subject of the conversation and add pictures to their messages. Recently, another handy feature has been released – the option to send similar message to several people at once. The Broadcast List has already become popular with users. As you can see, you are free to use different ideas and make your WhatsApp-like app even more customized.

Development time needed: 60-120 hours for both iOS app and Android app versions, and 80 hours for the development of backend.

  1. Address book formation

While wondering how to create a chat application like WhatsApp, a question concerning how users will be registered might come up. There is no need to create an account because a user is connected to the app's database with his/her phone number, which is unique by default. The same thing with phone contacts. The app's software automatically checks if the numbers in the user's address book already exist in WhatsApp user's database. And if so, the numbers are added automatically in the app.

Development time needed: 16-24 hours for both iOS app and Android app platforms, and 8 hours for the development of backend.

Read also: How to Develop a Social Media Network App?

  1. Multimedia files transmission

Users are used to sending multimedia files via chat apps. Voice messages, pictures, and videos can be uploaded. This is a standard feature of any chat app. So it would be better to create a chat app for iOS and Android that has the same features too.

Development time needed: 20-40 hours for both iOS app and Android app platforms, and 40 hours for the development of backend.

  1. Location share

The geolocation feature is a must and should be integrated into the application because of its usefulness to users. It would be impossible for you to get lost – just send the coordinates of the place you are in at that moment.

Both platforms offer solutions for geolocation integration into an app. Developers use Google Play location services API for Android and Core Location framework for iOS app. These features are regularly updated because they constantly receive newer data. The maps are displayed with special offers – Google Map Android API for the Android platform and the Map Kit framework for the iOS platform.

Development time needed: 16 hours for both iOS app and Android app platforms, and 4 hours for the development of backend.

  1. Calls

To attract users, you can add a calling feature, just like WhatsApp and Viber already did. Furthermore, to create WhatsApp-like app, you will need to make these functions special. The application will use Internet traffic instead money or call minutes to make a call. A chat app with the calling feature usually allows VoIP phone calls, video chats and group calls, which can also be a video call as well. If you want to increase your app engagement and be successful with the app, include additional features like video editing or special effects, which will make the application stand out from the rest of similar applications.

Development time needed: 100-120 hours for both iOS app and Android app platforms, and 120 hours for the development of backend.

  1. Status and live streaming

Talking about how to create a messaging app like WhatsApp, customers also wonder what additional functionalities can be considered. Status and live streaming are not the essential ones. Status feature is new to many chatting apps and even social media apps, and is considered a real boom in 2017. That is actually a feature, which makes it possible for the users, any of them, to share videos, photos, GIFs and messages in a special regime, which means, that all of the shared materials are going to disappear after the 24 hours. By the way, we do not have to forget, that the main feature, which has a direct influence on the communication between you and another person is the fact that both of you have the contact numbers of each other within your contact books. Actually, there is another nice feature, which made WhatsApp so special. Because of the usage of different tools you may be able to edit your stats with the usage of absolutely different and creative instruments, such as emojis, various fonts and media files. I believe, that people will not miss your application, if your real time chat app should be able to offer the user the same size of special functions and services.

Development time needed: 40 + 20-24 hours for both iOS app and Android app platforms, and 16 +8 hours for the development of backend.

whatsapp cost

How to make an app like WhatsApp – the KPIs to measure success

    • Number of active users

When you create app like WhatsApp, in order to grow the number of active users you should explain to users what they can use the app for and encourage them to invite more friends to chat there. Slack has become a successful messenger because of the clear understanding of its value – “a chat app for team communication” where people look for teammates who need a secure place to chat. Before the iOS or Android chat app development begins, you need to decide who your target audience is and what their benefits will be for using your product.

You can also combine instant chatting with hashtags to give users the ability to share their content on the social media. This way, the chatting app will be promoted through multiple additional channels.

    • Retention rate

You might not know, but user retention rate is important for chat apps. Let them synchronize the app with their phone contacts and get notification every time a new person from their address book joins the app. Also, you can allow them get push notifications, which will draw their attention to the app as well.

    • Audience Engagement

Acquiring more users won't go well without constantly entertaining them. Make your application fun by adding different sets of emojis, stickers, gifs, etc. Also, add short video clips of popular movie moments, as this will help you promote the app, especially to the youth.

whatsapp development cost

How whatsapp like apps actually make you money:

  1. Subscriptions: users have to pay some fee to use the app or its premium features;
  1. In-application purchases: paying for stickers, themes and emoji;
  1. Advertising: displaying the ads in the special column or in-line.

Read alsoDating App Development

Conclusion: the future of chat apps

No doubt, the future is in users' pockets – they send over seven trillion text messages via chat apps each year. They will definitely replace broadcasting and provide marketers with the opportunity to have interactive conversations. Such kind of conversational interfaces will definitely drive deeper relations between consumers and brands. As a result, mobile chat app development is one of the most perspective and promising areas of modern cyber business. So, that is why, the importance of finding out how to make a chat app plays a terribly crucial role for any programmer.

It is pretty essential to keep in mind, that for a successful development of a WhatsApp clone it is highly essential to keep in mind the fact, that only a balanced combination of all the needed technological and designing elements may be able to give a proper result in the end. I hope, that thanks to pour help, such an issue as the development of an instant messaging application, such as WhatsApp became much more clear and simple for you. In case if you still have any questions and offers, we would be glad to hear from you as soon as possible. So, feel free to contact us any time.

Let’s Build Your Chat App
Enter your name