20 Dec 2017

Estimation List: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Messaging App Like WhatsApp?

This blog has been updated on - May 29, 2023

Intrigued by the phenomenal success of instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, more and more business enthusiasts are ambitious to invest in apps that belong to their genres.

However, the most frequently asked question remains the same for many years to come- how much does it cost to build an app like WhatsApp?

Besides all the ifs and buts, cost estimation for WhatsApp-like mobile & web app development is a key factor to define your budget limits in the initial phase.

Some facts that encourage lots of young entrepreneurs to develop an instant messaging app include its global market share of $34.5 billion (about $110 per person in the US) in 2023-23. Over 3 billion people are active messaging app users in the world & WhatsApp is one of the most loved among them.

Want to launch a chat app like WhatsApp but are not clear about the budget? Sure thing, you've landed on the right page to get all your questions answered.

Make your way to this blog to get detailed estimates of building an app like WhatsApp.

A Brief on WhatsApp & How It Works.

The world without mobile apps would be somehow boring and unfitting to meet the demands of the modern digital era.

WhatsApp is one of the most-liked apps for instant messaging. This Facebook-owned application needs no introduction to the millennials as well as Gen-Z users of today's time.

This popular messenger dominates over other WhatsApp alike apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Telegram, etc. for being more easy-to-use and cheaper.

Not to deny, the arrival of WhatsApp brought a new wave of instant messaging with a stable internet connection. Soon after its launch in 2009, there was a gradual shift from traditional SMS messaging to this brand-new messenger that made chatting more exciting and convenient for users.

All thanks to the low cost and exceptional usability of such internet messengers have become the greatest option. How do chatting apps like WhatsApp work?

  • WhatsApp is a free messaging app available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MAC users. However, one needs to have internet access to use this app.

  • It's one of a kind audio and video calling app with a long list of messaging features.

  • A user just needs to complete the registration process with a phone number & set a password to get started.

  • It works by scanning your contact list & gets it ready to use.

WhatsApp reigns over the conventional SMS service. And hence, investing in WhatsApp development is a rewarding decision.

Thinking how much does it cost to build an app like WhatsApp? Go ahead to the next section to get your answer.

We'll discuss them one by one once we're done with some interesting stats on the WhatsApp messaging app.

Some Popularity Stats of WhatsApp Instant Messaging App

WhatsApp was first introduced by Jan Kuom and Brian Acton in 2009 and it was taken over by Facebook in 2014. It is cross-device compatible and available for universal platforms. Hence, it makes sense if you're planning to build a messaging app like WhatsApp.

From real-time messaging to high-quality audio and video calling, this messaging app brings a bundle of useful features.

The facts and figures on the WhatsApp messaging app are more fascinating than its features. Here are they:

  • 90.5% of users access WhatsApp every day. Both Messenger and Telegram follow this app with 53% and 47% of daily users respectively.

  • WhatsApp records around 1.348M active users in a month.

  • Over 23.09M unique installs for WhatsApp are from the US, 3.25M from the UK, and 2.4M from Australia.

  • WhatsApp Business app contributes to Meta's revenue by charging businesses after 1,000 conversations.

latest stats and the cost of an instant messaging app like WhatsApp

The popularity and usage of messaging apps like WhatsApp make businesses realize why they need a messaging app.

However, the cost of making an app like WhatsApp is another major thing they desire to know at first.

Let's proceed further to the list of features that affect the cost of development.

Trending Features to Consider for WhatsApp Messaging App Development

Before estimating the ballpark cost of a chatting app like WhatsApp, let's take a closer look at the features that make it stand out from the crowd.

Functionality is the core of every app, and if you're going to build a WhatsApp-like app, they help you determine how much it costs to build an app.


WhatsApp allows texting your friends, family, and everyone on your WhatsApp contact list for free. With the app, you can avoid SMS fees.

Instead of spending on SMS fees, instant messaging on WhatsApp is what you can use. Even if the users aren't online, they will receive the messages as soon as they go online.

Each message on WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted and hence, there are no privacy issues involved.

Group Chat

The app allows group chats to connect 1024 participants at a time. You can share messages, photos, and videos within the group. Moreover, you can give a name to your group, customize or mute notifications, etc.

Voice and Video Calls

Now you can talk to your family or friends even if you're out of the country. If you lack face-to-face conversations, you can make video calls. WhatsApp uses your Internet connection to enable audio and video features on its mobile app.

Mobile, Web & Desktop

Thanks to the multi-platforms, your conversations will always be with you. The chats will be synced between all active devices. You can keep your conversation going on the device that is the most convenient for you.

Photo and Video Sharing

You aren't limited to messaging when it comes to sharing precious moments. You can capture every breathtaking moment with a built-in camera or send photos or videos from your gallery.

It doesn't matter what Internet connection you're using, you can send photos even on slow connections. That's the specialty of photo, audio, and video-sharing features of WhatsApp.

Voice Messages

Sometimes you can get overwhelmed with emotions and messages aren't enough. With just one tap, you can record a voice message to say "hello" or tell something awesome.

Document Sharing

Not every messenger offers document sharing. And nowadays it's vital to have everything at hand. With WhatsApp, you can share PDFs, slides, spreadsheets, and other documents up to 100 MB.

Message Encryption

After Snowden revealed the info about Big Brother watching you, security issues became a sore point.

Taking into account that lots of personal moments and data are shared on WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption becomes extremely useful. Such encryption ensures that only the end user can read or listen to your messages.

That's a key pointer to estimating the cost of a HIPAA-compliant application development project.

New features of Whatsapp to estimate how much it cost to build a messaging app like WhatsApp

Factors Influencing the Development Cost of Messaging App Like WhatsApp

Many factors can influence- how much does it cost to build an app like WhatsApp?

From the demographic location of dedicated developers to the technology stack and other project requirements, you need to cover various points to discover- how much does it cost to build an app like WhatsApp?

Let's talk about them in detail.

Technology Behind WhatsApp

WhatsApp server logic is written in the Erlang language which is ideal for handling massive amounts of data. The other options include Java or PHP which can also ensure sustainable and flawless work of the app.

To ensure extensible messaging and presence protocol, WhatsApp uses a custom version of XMPP.

Other tools and technologies include:

Note, your developers may use other tools instead of those mentioned above. The choice of a programming language and API integration may affect the overall costs of making an app like WhatsApp.

Cost Components

To estimate the precise cost of the WhatsApp-like app development, it's better to take a closer look at what the cost consists of. The cost components are backend development, UI/UX design, platforms, front-end development, testing, and quality assurance.

The cost greatly depends on the development team. The common practice is to hire:

Backend Development

The backend makes a skeleton for the functionality of a messaging app. It's a key concern of a development team. The approximate app backend architecture can be explained with the help of the below points:

  • Cloud media storage options, Mnesia, or PostgreSQL (MySQL) are used for database frameworks. XMPP server is suitable for voice/ video calls as well as messaging providing a smooth user experience.

  • WhatsApp uses Rest API to implement the data managing feature. It allows the user to get, publish, or delete data.

  • Developers may make use of Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) or Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) for notifications. It may take at least 500 hours (about 3 weeks) to embed this feature into WhatsApp.

Got an idea similar to an instant messaging app? It's time to make it live!

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Native Development

If you have a minimal budget, you can build a single-platform app. It's up to you to decide whether Android or iOS is ideal for app development.

Study your target audience and take into account their preferences while building an app like WhatsApp.

Two major platforms for mobile apps are Android and iOS. And finding developers that can code in C#, Swift, Kotlin, Objective-C, or Java won't be a challenge.

Of course, each platform has its requirements for chat SDKs, cloud services, and libraries. But you don't need to go deep if you hire experts at a trusted development agency. Developers know all the angles when it comes to building an app like WhatsApp.

200+ hours are required to build a native app for one platform. If you're going to reach more than one, then multiply the average time by the number of platforms.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App Like WhatsApp?

Considering that development rates vary depending on the location, timeline, & expertise, you can make exact estimates of creating a chat app like WhatsApp.

Cost of App Development: Region-Wise

  • Central Asia - $20-40/hour

  • Europe - $40-80/hour

  • UK - $100-120/hour

  • US - $130-150/hour

Cost of App Development: Developers

To figure out the precise estimates, let's take a median $50 rate. Though it doesn't mean that you can't develop an app like WhatsApp for less.

You can hire the best mobile app developers in the USA at $30/hour and get a top-notch messaging app. Here is a quick chart to help you with estimates.

BackendApproximately $25,000
App development$12,000 to $15,000
Design$8,000 to $10,000
QA/Testing$5,000, $5,000
Total Cost$50,000, $55,000

Want To Get a Messaging App Like WhatsApp at the Lowest Cost? Join Hands with BluEnt.

Taking into account all the data mentioned above, building a WhatsApp-like app may cost you around $50K at a $50 per-hour rate. If you want to reach more than one platform, a multi-platform chat app development will not cost more than $80K.

At BluEnt, we deploy a strategic approach & agile methodologies to reduce the turnaround time & overall costs of every project we take on. Our full-stack developers are specializing in mobile app development, web app development, web design and development, product development, portal development, and full-cycle software development.

contact us to build an instant messaging app like WhatsApp with BluEnt.

We're backed by a team of project strategists, managers, UI/UX designers, developers, quality analysts, and post-launch support resources. From initiation to execution, we communicate project progress details to our clients on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Need a mobile app that wins over the internet? Bring your idea to us! Contact us now.

Do check our portfolio to find more details on our work & ongoing projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make an app like WhatsApp?

The key steps to developing a chat app like WhatsApp are as follows:

  • Know your target market and audience

  • Define a fruitful business model

  • Approach and hire a reliable mobile app development agency

  • Get wireframes and prototypes

  • Finalize major features to come up with MVP

  • Start with UI/UX design process

  • Analyze the app's performance and quality

  • Go ahead with app deployment

How do messaging apps like WhatsApp earn money?

The major revenue models of WhatsApp like messaging apps cover subscriptions, in-app purchases, in-house ads, and more.



Your Citation

Bluent Tech. "Estimation List: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Messaging App Like WhatsApp?" BluEnt Byte, Dec. 20, 2017, https://www.bluent.net/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-app-like-whatsapp/.

Bluent Tech. (2017, December 20). Estimation List: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Messaging App Like WhatsApp?. Retrieved from https://www.bluent.net/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-app-like-whatsapp/

Bluent Tech. "Estimation List: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Messaging App Like WhatsApp?" Bluent Tech https://www.bluent.net/blog/how-much-does-it-cost-to-build-an-app-like-whatsapp/ (accessed December 20, 2017 ).

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