Cost & Features of Chat App Development like WhatsApp

A3Logics 19 Feb 2024


By far the most popular instant messaging application which has overshadowed the smartphone chat app development scenario since its incorporation seems to be WhatsApp, which boasts approximately 2 billion monthly active users. Since the app picked up steam over time, multinational businesses as well as business owners made significant investments there and started releasing their chat apps.

However, despite the thousands of messaging social media applications that may be found within the app stores, people constantly and eagerly wait for something which would happen to be as spectacular as WhatsApp. Therefore, there will always be room to develop a distinctive chat app that can offer a safer and more enjoyable communication experience to a larger number of subscribers. However, the question that remains is, will it be possible to build a chat application as effective and efficient as WhatsApp? 

To provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of how a live chat app development company operates, this blog attempts to answer that specific question. It will additionally allow you to examine the variety of aspects that influence the cost of developing a chat app similar to WhatsApp as well as the underlying technologies that make a significant contribution to WhatsApp’s popularity.

But before getting started, let’s take a moment to look into WhatsApp’s background to acknowledge how well the app has established a reach that has complete control over the corporate world.

Some Facts Related to WhatsApp

Some Facts Related to WhatsApp 


In 2009, when they only made the app available to iPhone users, Jan Koum and Brian Acton founded the now internationally loved chat app, WhatsApp. In the year 2010, the app was made available to the Android chat app development market as well. WhatsApp reached over 2 billion active users in 2022; Facebook acquired the application in 2014 for an astronomical 16 billion dollars.

Let’s take a gander at some interesting findings about WhatsApp as we examine how it established its dominance in the communication market of free app builder service. 


  • It seemed to have over 2 billion monthly active users as of 2022.
  • 100 billion text-based messages are sent and received every day. Over 180 countries use WhatsApp.
  • Furthermore, it’s rated to be the most famous On Demand App Development model.
  • An ordinary WhatsApp user signs in for approximately 19 hours each month.
  • With a bit more than 400 million individuals, India boasts the biggest and fastest-growing WhatsApp audience internationally.
  • In WhatsApp, a group can accommodate up to 512 participants.
  • Well over 18 million individuals have downloaded WhatsApp business, a special business application.
  • The daily message concentration to WhatsApp business subscribers is estimated to be approximately 180 million
  • In the beginning, users of WhatsApp had to pay $1 as a yearly fee. After a few years, the application discontinued accepting payments and became freeware.

Top 10 WhatsApp Countries Ranked by Largest Audiences


How to Craft a Chat App like WhatsApp?

It’s critical for a custom app development company to establish a comprehensive plan of the entire process when creating a messaging software such as WhatsApp whenever you begin actual development. The fundamental actions to take when creating a chat app are listed below:


  • Select a viable business plan that complements the concept of your chat service. The strategy must take into account elements such as the customer base, the technique of monetization, the app’s worth, the rivalry, as well as app store optimizations.
  • Get in touch with a skilled group of experts who can assist you in navigating the development cycle. There are numerous advantages to contracting teams that develop software. The criteria and timelines are typically met on schedule with outsourced staff, in addition to the diverse kinds of engagement. 
  • Start creating the app framework initially. Learn about the background processes and the app’s basic design. Additionally, for the sustainability of the app, strive to incorporate flexible channels of communication.
  • To give it the appearance as though it is a bespoke software matching your business’s requirements, add MVP functionalities.

Each one of the aforementioned functionalities is a critical element of a simplistic messaging app. Furthermore, you may also include unique features that are associated with the marketplace.

The custom mobile application development company experts highlight to construct a fundamental module that is comparable to the foundation of chat apps. The app’s face is made up of your designs. Keep in mind the app seems attractive to the users, down to the font and graphics.

Does it seem Smart to Invest in a Chat App?

Even though WhatsApp seems to have been successfully able to dominate the chatting apps market, there are nonetheless a fair bit of other messaging apps which have already established a presence in the bulk of the nations they are pursuing. These apps have succeeded in the marketplace simply because they were committed to offering something special to the users.

As an example, voice chat apps like Discord and Telegram, have been one of the most popular chat apps internationally, allows its users to participate in highly encrypted self-destroying chat sessions. The application also provides a wide range of stickers, which contributes to higher customer engagement. 

Through its real-time interaction feature, Snapchat, another well-known chat app, has given WhatsApp a serious run for its money in recent years. Users have the option to automatically delete chats based on their preference for anything from multimedia content to messages.

Therefore, if you’ve got a revolutionary product concept that can provide a groundbreaking experience for users, you must invest in the community of social media chat apps. It may seem overwhelming to enter the social media chat app industry, but with the help of a professional in chat app development, you could put everything into perspective.

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What are the Basic Stages for Creating a Chat App?

To ensure you accomplish the desired results, outstanding research and a comprehensive strategy are necessary before you initiate the development of the app. Given below are some basic stages of chat app development


  • Initiate comprehensive market research.
  • Select a viable business strategy.
  • Engage a skilled team to create the app
  • Commence with the app structure
  • Add relevant MVP elements
  • Start developing the app.
  • Run multiple quality checks
  • Begin deployment at suitable app stores
  • Start including additional functionalities
  • Adopt the latest trends 

You may receive a significant amount of criticism from the target market as soon as they’ve used the app. Consider it thoroughly, check into all of it, and initiate any modifications if necessary. Attempt to incorporate additional features and heightened mobile app security with every trend. 

The success of the service to develop chat apps depends almost entirely on maintenance. You cannot merely launch and hope to see the performance. To survive and succeed with time, you must focus on security patches as well as functionalities.

What is the Cost of Creating a Chat App Similar to WhatsApp?

A chat app similar to WhatsApp will typically cost between $25,000 and $60,000 to develop. The layout of the app, its development strategy, the ecosystem it is being built for, the geographic area, hourly development rates, and other factors may all have a significant influence on the total budget.

You might need to trust leading app development agencies to develop a chat app like WhatsApp with the functionalities and technology frameworks of your choice if you’re a non-tech entrepreneur who wants to launch an app or need assistance with ongoing chat app development

The cost of developing a chat app could also depend greatly on the competence and placement of the custom mobile app development company you would like to work with on the venture. Furthermore, the implementation of a variety of cutting-edge capabilities, including Web Access, Picture Filters, Payment Interface, chat encryption, etc. has managed to increase the threshold for competing chat apps, expanding the entire production costs and expenses.

What are the Factors that Affect the Budget for Chat Apps like WhatsApp?

An app like WhatsApp necessitates a significant amount of investment, starting with the choice of business strategy. The price of developing an app will vary depending on the technology stack you pick. Several significant variables are responsible for affecting the price of developing an app.

The complete list of all the aspects that affect the chat app development budget is given below: 

Complexity of the App

The price of developing a chat app is directly influenced by the program’s comprehensive versatility.

A basic application with a limited feature set might be less expensive than one with a long feature set and an advanced and powerful user interface. Therefore, it’s advantageous to begin by considering the most crucial components. Sophisticated features may be incorporated following the initial release. 

User Interface & User Experience Designing

The Android app development agency experts state that the mobile app’s success depends on having a clear UX/UI layout, which opens up the possibility for higher user retention and engagement levels. Different evaluation parameters are however essential when developing a specific UX/UI technique for the app, which has an additional impact on the final development costs. At first, keeping the app’s design simple appears to be the best decision to make. It decreases the expense of building the application, as well as makes the app user-friendly.

Choosing a Suitable App Platform – iOS/Android or Hybrid

The foundational app platform must be chosen before the development of a mobile application. You have the flexibility of using cross-platform, iOS, or Android apps depending on the customer base. Even if there isn’t any significant difference in price between designing Android and iOS chat app development, the former can raise the expense because of the thorough screening procedures involved. However, embarking on cross-platform application development may help you create an app with just one line of code. But doing so early on could also lead to an increase in the overall development expenditure.

Size and Type of Resources – Outsourced/In-House

The size of the development team has a great influence on the cost of creating a chat app. Typically, it is less expensive to outsource a project than to hire internal employees. If your business requirements are outsourced to an organization in a nation with an affordable rate of development, you can further cut costs. They can equip you with specialized knowledge and abilities for a lesser price. Although it takes a lot of effort and money to hire an internal team, it has the benefit of greater trustworthiness. On the other hand, you can gain additional technical know-how by contracting with a seasoned team at a fair price for the project.

According to the best mobile app development company in USA, it is best to fully understand the technical workforce requirements before determining the average cost to develop a chat app. The fundamental prerequisites for a development team are:


  • Development manager 
  • Business experts
  • Front-end programmers
  • Back-end programmers
  • Designers
  • Quality Control Specialists

Everyone is assigned a specific responsibility to play if the app is to be designed efficiently. Subsequently, additions to the team can be made under the demands of the business model as well as the functionalities of the app.


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Upkeep And Updates

The video chat app development does not conclude with its placement in an application store. To make sure that it functions flawlessly across all platforms, you must put forth a great deal of effort. Additionally, providing frequent updates as well as incorporating advanced technologies following market demands pave the path for the app’s general success.

All of the above procedures add to the total cost of an app’s development. 

Technology Bundle

The application building costs are further determined by the programming languages of app development.

With something like a monthly user base expansion, WhatsApp ranks among the most widely used chat apps on an international level. Today, the app is supported by a full stack of expandable technology that controls expenses while also contributing to preserving a high level of innovation. Some businesses choose their tech bundle depending on the preferences of the chat app developers or on cutting-edge technology to address rising demands. However, it will also require some investment to locate the suitable fit to manage and control the tech bundle. 

Infrastructure for Servers

Your business doesn’t need to spend a large amount of money on server infrastructure initially. It may not be the best deal to hire a cloud storage service as the number of users increases. You must spend a considerable amount of money on the infrastructure of the server to store data for growth in customers.

What Constitutes a Chat App Similar to WhatsApp?

You will feel the rush to include all of the capabilities you have imagined in the app when you’re developing it, all the more so if it happens to be your first app in the market. 

The more components a chat app has, the more exorbitant it’s going to be to create. You unquestionably cannot go to the lowest or the highest. You may use this data to understand what capabilities the app demands by prioritizing items before the stage of development. The collection of attributes must then be divided into two categories, Want and Need.

The custom app development services experts states that the application will initially only offer the elements in the Need bracket, but subsequent items from the Want bracket can be incorporated progressively. Innumerable attributes are constantly being introduced to WhatsApp. To identify the functionalities, you must possess a pretty good grasp of the target market as well as a distinctive selling proposition. 

We’ve compiled an overview of the most important app attributes to incorporate in a Chat app to better serve you as per the top custom app development agency

The ‘Need’ Bracket


  • Sign Up Procedures
  • Formation of User Groups/Group Chat
  • Text-based Service
  • Emojis
  • Audio messaging
  • Multimedia Exchange
  • Video Chat
  • Document Exchange
  • Text Message History/Records
  • Geolocation Services
  • Profile Customization
  • Text – Tagging
  • Basic Personalization
  • Push-Style Alerts
  • Integration with the camera
  • Phone Storage Integration
  • Night/Day Mode

The ‘Want’ Bracket


  • Chat Pinning
  • Quick Reactions to Messages
  • Fingerprint Scanner Integration
  • Cloud Backup
  • Keyword Search 
  • GIF Exchange for chats
  • Group video or audio chats
  • Encryption for Messages/Chats 

Users will anticipate more as you progress in this digital landscape, thus your chat app will require increasingly innovative functions through the later phases to keep up with the competition. Here are a few sophisticated features from mobile app consulting services that you must include in:


  • Real-time location sharing
  • User Identification through QR 
  • Multiple app instances for the same device
  • Story/Status Updates
  • Dedicated App for Business needs
  • Business Analytics
  • App for the Web
  • App for the Desktop

We recommend you begin with the ‘need’ bracket followed by the ‘want bracket’ and move on to incorporate elements from the ‘advanced bracket’, once you’re able to build a huge customer base.

On Demand App Developers

Top 11 Most Sought-after Features in Chat Apps

Creating a chat app with a long list of features can give you the competitive advantage you seek in the increasingly challenging environment of the On Demand app development market.

Since you’ve gained a reasonable picture of the diverse components that affect the price of chat app development, let’s dive into more detail regarding the different features needed to construct a powerful app similar to WhatsApp as well as the timeframe for their incorporation.


1) Signing Up

When a user joins the chat app, the app will send an authorization message after the user submits their credentials, which would include their name, nationality, as well as mobile number. The app automatically detects and uploads the OTP for verification on Android devices. When you’ve registered, the application instantly synchronizes every contact in your phone directory to show you the people who are also on the app. Time Required for Development (Approx 45–50 hours)


2) One-on-one, Group, and Broadcast-level Texting in Real Time

It is inevitable to include a messaging feature, which could be an individual or personal chat or perhaps a group chat if you want to design a chat app like WhatsApp. To facilitate the delivery of messages, chat app developers employ a customized version of eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). Additionally, the chat app could support GIFs, Stickers, as well as Emoticons. 
Time Required for Development (Approx 200–210 hours – Full stack development timeframe)


3) Audio Calling

To increase app usage, a free audio calling option can be implemented. Instead of utilizing the time or money from your data package, the calls are made using Internet traffic. WhatsApp user VoIP (Voice over IP) through the PJSIP library. This seems to be a C-based multimedia communication repository that is free to use. The signalling protocol (SIP) is integrated with an interactive media structure, NAT traversal capabilities, and strong API in the library.
Time Required for Development (Approx 180–200 hours – Full stack development timeframe)

4) Video Chats

A video chatting functionality is crucial for just about any chat application nowadays, as every known and trusted app development firm would testify. The video calling function is supported by all popular smartphone apps like Facebook and Instagram, but the trend was initiated by WhatsApp because it was a significant element for the market.
Time Required for Development (Approx 170–210 hours – Full stack development timeframe could vary depending upon iOS or Android Chat App Development)

5) Media (Audio/Video/Image) Sharing

One could also share audio, video, and image files using the app. As media exchange seems to be an aspect of the application’s fundamental design, such capabilities could be added when developing a chat application. The media file is uploaded to the YAWS (HTTP server) as part of the process of transmission, which further involves sending a link to the content’s Base64-encoded miniature. Time Required for Development (Approx 40–60 hours)

6) Settings Layout

The privacy controls, account access, as well as profile configuration segments of a chat app allow users to control read receipts, modify their display picture or title, handle blocked connections, delete one‘s account, change the status or mobile number, and personalize profile configurations like chat alerts, among several other possibilities. Time Required for Development (Approx 40–60 hours)

7) Contact Swapping

Users may receive and send contacts through phone memory directly between one another by using such simple functionality.

It enhances the app’s accessibility. Similar to how messages are sent, the sharing of contacts appears to follow the XMPP framework. Time Required for Development (Approx 60–90 hours)

8) Geolocation Capabilities

The app can communicate your whereabouts or the geolocation of any physical location by using geolocation functionality. In addition to the above, another individual can view your real-time location for a predetermined period. Android API for Google Maps is a mechanism for Android chat app developers to display maps in their apps; Apple provides the Map Kit framework for iOS chat app development. We’ll recommend you work with a trustworthy mobile app development provider that seems to be familiar with all the requirements for creating mobile apps. The optimal choice is to hire chat app developers and designers. Time Required for Development (Approx 30–40 hours)

9) Notification Alerts

A private chat text or even a group text on chat apps is alerted to the user via smartphone app notifications.

Regardless of whether the phone is locked or not, individuals can configure the option that will display an interactive pop-up notification on the home screen. Apple Push Notifications system as well as Google Cloud Messaging services can be employed to implement this functionality. Time Required for Development (Approx 20–25 hours)

10) Business Version

In the chat app’s business version, users can set up a business page with relevant knowledge including a business location, a business statement, the kind of service or product they represent, etc. Technology companies can catalogue their offerings to just about any user at any given point in time using this commercial feature, however only if the user approaches them initially. 

The fully automated responder, which enables businesses to give out automated welcomes to each individual that approaches the business profile, seems to be another spectacular feature that rolls alongside. If and when the enterprise is not accessible, the individual may send a customized text message with the help of a ‘send away message’ functionality that is supported by this technology. Time Required for Development – Varies with the business type and size

11) Chat Headings

Chat labelling is yet another convenient feature of a chat app. Certain conversations can be labelled by businesses, who can then distinguish them correspondingly. Businesses can segment and personalize chat labels based on the colour, chat kind, potential customer, fresh order, outstanding payment, etc. Time Required for Development – Varies with the technological framework and tools used

What are the Technology Stacks and Tools Required?

The digital world infrastructure, from personal computers to the Internet of Things, is constructed on an assortment of distinct platforms. The structure of parts that interconnect ecosystems is known as the technological stack. It is designed to make it possible to use elements efficiently and effectively without having to rebuild each time.

According to the top mobile app development companies in USA, a technological stack seems to be a combination of packages, protocols, as well as other tools that support the creation, delivery, and upkeep of applications. It generally includes instruments made for essential activities. 

The technology package for a chat app project will include a wide range of components. Based on the needs of the given project, the components that make up that stack will fluctuate. For example, a comprehensive user interface is made available by a technology platform that comprises a phone, system software, and application stores.

Technology Stacks and Tools Required

Here’s a list of the most popular technologies used to build chat apps like WhatsApp:


  • Erlang (Primary Coding Language)
  • Ejabberd and YAWS (Web Servers)
  • Menesia (Database)
  • SQLite (Offline database)
  • XMPP (Protocol) 
  • Native app languages (Java, C++, C#, and Objective C)

Please bear in mind that it’s most advisable that the developers must handpick the technology stack that they find most appropriate. Experts providing mobile app development services in USA state that the price to develop a chat app will differ considerably based on the technology stack chosen.



The industry for chat app development is heavily influenced by a small number of leading companies, but as the needs of customers and technology continue to progress, emerging messaging and chat applications have the opportunity to expand their market dominance.

There are plenty of prospects for niche chat apps that cater to unique user segments or encourage conversation across market segments as varied as online gaming, dating apps, as well as wellness. This means that not all the new chat apps launched in the market need to contend with WhatsApp.

If you desire to know more about the world of chat app development service, then you can connect with one of the top Android and iOS app development companies in the business. A3Logics has to be one of the top choices as it comes with highly acclaimed resources to match your expectations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any already existing chat apps similar to WhatsApp?

As per the top on demand app development company, the most popular apps that operate on a similar platform as WhatsApp include Signal, WeChat, Skype, Telegram, as well as Viber.

How do you build a chat app?

Begin by coming up with a list of noteworthy features that ought to be incorporated. The next step is to search for a revenue source, after which you’ll be able to recruit professionals or contract the app’s development. 

Which is the most popular programming language for chat application development?

The best programming language for app development similar to WhatsApp, is Erlang. It is known to create enormously expandable and flexible configurations with great dependability needs.