There is a great chance that you have heard of WhatsApp if you own a smartphone. WhatsApp is the world’s most popular mobile messenger application, as a matter of fact. Every month, more than 1.5 billion people use this app.

How Much Does It Cost to Development of Real-Time Chat App

To place that into perspective for you, let us take a moment. 1.3 billion active monthly users are there on Facebook Messenger, while 300 million monthly users are there on Skype.

Following the lead of those who succeeded before you is always a good idea for those of you who are thinking of building a messenger app. You can replicate their features, model your own app the same way, and even learn from WhatsApp.

You need to understand the costs that are associated with this type of development project before you can attempt to build a mobile messenger app like WhatsApp.

History And Synopsis of WhatsApp

You need to start from the very beginning. Back in 2009, WhatsApp was founded a decade ago. Yahoo was the one that the founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton worked for previously. In 2007 both of them left Yahoo to pursue their other businesses.

In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion if you fast forward five years. After the inception, the company was worth nearly $20 billion, and this is an astronomical figure here.

 You will have to ensure that the aspects are solid and robust enough to penetrate the global market likewise of WhatApp if you wish to be successful.

How Does WhatsApp Work?

WhatsApp Features-How Much Does It Cost to Development of Real-Time Chat App

The Internet connection is on which WhatsApp messaging relies on. These are traditionally offered by the mobile carrier networks as it is the most cost-effective alternative to SMS messages.

WhatsApp is highly secure, reliable, and even private is the reason why it works so well. Users need not worry about forgetting a password, being locked out of the app, or the username.

The app works in regards to connecting directly to the mobile phone number of the user, and phone numbers do not duplicate themselves.

WhatsApp allows its users to set themselves a status, and it is similar to AOL Instant Messenger. So, you can communicate this with your connections if you are meeting or on the road. Similar variations are found on the other messenger platforms.

Few different status options are available for Skype:

  • Active
  • Away
  • Do not disturb
  • Invisible

However, the status is taken to a completely new level by WhatsApp. For the status updates, this platform takes more of a social media approach. The Instagram and Snapchat story, it can be compared.

WhatsApp status supports photos, videos, emojis, and GIFs in addition to the text. You get a complete personalization through this. It is down to its basic principle as it is the main reason for the widespread usage and success of WhatsApp. Wifi, cellular data, an Internet connection is used by the app in exchange for real-time messages from all around the world.

#WhatsApp Features

You need to know what features are to be included to build an app like WhatsApp. Each of the additional features will cost you more money than any other mobile app. Whether or not to include these is completely up to you. To help you make your decision, we will break down the main features of WhatsApp.

Instant Messaging

Users need to have the ability to start a conversation to create a viable messaging app. To allow the users to start a dialogue and then select a person from their contact list that needs to be integrated as well, you need to set up a dedicated button.

You will also require a way for users to manage their conversations from one screen to create a similar app.

Users can also send videos, photos, documents, as well as audio files to each other through WhatsApp instant messaging in addition to text messages.

XMPP or extensible messaging and presence protocol technology is what WhatsApp messages use.

You will have to make sure that the information is protected if you wish to store messages on the server for your mobile messenger app.

VoIP Phone Calls

Voice over Internet Protocol is what VOIP stands for. WhatsApp facilitates phone calls through it. The calling works through the Internet with the use of a Wifi connection, or the user’s cellular data plan is what it means.

The users will not have their minutes depleted or get charged for making calls through WhatsApp to place simply. However, if they exceed data limitations through their plan, users can be charged by their mobile carrier. Any calls made while a device is connected to Wifi are completely free even without a data plan.

Video Chat

WhatsApp also offers a video chat with other WhatsApp users in addition to voice calls. Again, worldwide, this is completely free. Using the Internet through Wifi or cellular data works in the same manner. When it comes to video chats, they are similar to Facetime and Skype.

Group Chats And Calls

The users of WhatsApp also can communicate within groups. Users can share text messages, videos, and images with each other with group chats. Up to 256 users can be added to one group.

It is easy for the users to keep track of their conversations as the group chats can be customized and named. The ability to mute or customize the notifications is the other top feature of group chats.

WhatsApp also offers further group calls. They rolled out group video chats for iOS and Android users in 2018.

Group video calls are limited to four participants, while you can add more than 250 people to a group chat.

Geolocation Integration

The users of WhatsApp can share their location with their respective contacts in real-time. Live Location is what this feature is known as.

Users can set a timer for how long they wish to share their location for security purposes. Users can always manually stop sharing their Location with someone as well alternatively.

You should use the Google Play location services API to include this feature in your Android app. Over the Android location package, Google developers recommend this method.

You will use Apple’s Core Location framework for geolocation integration with the iOS app.

Calendar sync

On the phone of the user, WhatsApp can also connect with the calendar. Grant permission for WhatsApp to access their calendar is what all the user needs to do.

The user can simply click on the message and add it to their calendar if someone sends them an instant message with a date or time. Instead of going through the process manually, it is quite easy.

Cloud Services

In a few different ways, WhatsApp uses cloud services. How they do not store the messages on their server is what we already spoke about. Users still have the ability to store everything with all said.

Cloud service synchronization is the best way to do this with a messaging app. For the users to back up the content of the app to the cloud is made easy with the functionality.

Notifications can be managed through cloud services as well furthermore. The WhatsApp users will get the notification sent to their device whenever they receive a message, get invited to the group, or something along these lines.

So, how it gets implemented?

Through the cloud services and HTTP/2 multiplex protocol, the server sends notifications to the app users.

Chat Encryption

Security is always the top priority whenever you are developing any type of mobile app.

Multimedia File Transfers

As a standard feature, WhatsApp offers multimedia file transmission. All the different types of files and data sent through the app are what it means.

The multimedia files can be delivered to an HTTP server before sending a link to the content with a Base64 encoded thumbnail to do so.

# WhatsApp Cost Breakdown

It is time to take a deeper look at the costs now that you know the features that are to be included to build an app like WhatsApp.

These are only the estimates that are what you needed to keep in mind. Based on the wide range of factors like who you hire, the technology you use, and the type of platform you develop for are the costs that will ultimately vary.

Software Development Team

You cannot build an app this complex on your own, even if you have some experience in coding. To help you out, you are going to need to assemble a software development team. The following are the roles that need to be fulfilled:

  • Project manager
  • Web developers
  • Mobile app developers
  • Requirement analyst
  • QA engineers
  • UI/UX designers

Varied rates will be there for all. It will also be impacting the cost per hour with the Location of your software development team members. The development costs in the US can be up to 25 times higher than development costs in India, as you can check out.

You can look for an all-in-one solution instead of hiring each role individually. It will probably be your best bet by the mobile app development agencies.

These roles are already defined by the agency. Depending on the size of the company, the agency costs will vary.

Hourly Breakdown

Compared to the rest, some of the app features will be highly complex. To develop the important front-end and back-end elements, we will go through some hourly estimates for how long it will take to develop.

  • Registration and address book: 40 – 50 hours
  • Messaging: 150 – 200 hours
  • Multimedia file transmission: 30 – 35 hours
  • Location: 15 – 20 hours
  • Contact sharing: 55 – 65 hours
  • Voice and video calls: 150 – 200 hours
  • Settings: 80 – 100 hours
  • Design (UX/UI): 50 – 60 hours

Again, these are simply the estimates here. It can be shorter or longer with each phase.

It should take you about 570 to 730 hours to build an app like WhatsApp based on these estimates. We will take the average of those two figures, which is 650 hours for our purposes.

# Total Cost

It is just a matter of doing some simple math now that you have a rough estimate for how many hours the development process will take.

Instead of the averages, we can also look at a few of the extremes. Let us say that it takes you an estimate of about 730 hours to develop your app, for instance. In the United States, it charges $250 per hour is charged when you decide to go with an agency. It will cost you $182,500 to build the app in this scenario.

On the other side, it can take you a low estimate of 570 hours to structure an app with the use of a cheap developer overseas at about $10 per hour. It will simply cost you $5,700.

None of these extreme scenarios are realistic, truthfully. All do not need to find the most expensive developers in the world first of all. It likely would not take them as long to complete the process if you did go with a higher-end agency that charges an above-average hourly rate.

A budget developer overseas will not have the capacity to complete your project instantly alternatively. If you went on this route, the quality of your app would suffer.

Wrapping Up

So, how much will it cost you to build an app similar to WhatsApp? It is roughly $60,000 according to our hour estimates and cost calculations. Many different factors need to be taken into consideration, with all being said.

You can definitely use WhatsApp as a reference if you are going to build a messenger app. You need to decide what you want to include in your app as well as go through their list of features.

If your messenger app is identical to WhatsApp, why would someone download your app instead of with that said? You need to have a complete understanding of the value of your app. It will be nearly impossible to compete with a giant like WhatsApp likewise. You need to get to know your niche. Have a monetization strategy in place and scale your app users.

Your best bet is to work with a dedicated development team to develop a messenger app as fast and cost-effective as possible. Instead of hiring various roles individually, it will be much easier.

Kinjal Savaliya

Kinjal Savaliya is Business Development Executive USS LLC. At USS LLC we developed the best mobile app development solution for Dating App, Grocery Delivery App, Healthcare App, Laundry & Dry Cleaning App, Pharmacy App, Taxi Booking App.