Best Chat APIs: Top 10 In-app Messaging SDKs (Free & Paid)

Communication these days has transformed from what used to be snail-like emails to cheetah-based real-time chats. 

Because, from social talks to internal business interactions to connecting with customers, real-time chats have become a staple in our daily lives.

An example of this is a statistical report by Forbes that explains 60% of customers prefer real-time chat to connect with businesses. For which, companies are forking out ready-made chat APIs to launch in app chats for their messaging platform.

But, with plenty of chat API providers in the market, we will help you declutter the best chat API that’s reliable and free to use.

Best Free Chat APIs & SDKs for Developers in Global Market

Why write when you can integrate? What will you do if you are given an option like this? Whether you are a business owner or an experienced developer, you would take a shot at this. Because, the time, cost, and resources required in chat application development are way higher than using a ready-made chat API and SDK.

Understanding this need, a new chat API emerges every other second making it difficult for developers to choose the best one. Besides the fact that an API has to be cut and dried, it also should be affordable.

So, in the blog below let us glance at some of the providers who offer chat API service free for a certain time frame or particular features. Hold tight till then!

What are Chat APIs?

build white label video chat apps

A chat API (Application Programming Interface), in layman terms, is an interface that allows you to connect with the server side and offer real-time chat features on any application or website. 

In case the above-said was a little techy, an API  is like a ‘plug-and-play component that can be embedded into any mobile or web app for creating custom chats’. Usually, APIs are a part of software development kits that businesses use to integrate certain features into their chat framework. 

They prefer this option because it is economical, saves time, and primely reduces rework. But, is it all that an API offers to its users? The answer is No!

Why Should You Use Chat APIs & SDKs? 

An API always saves developers time and resources when creating a complicated feature. But, in addition to this, they are also known for benefits like:

  • Free to start
  • More secure than apps built from scratch
  • Quick chat integration
  • Can be easily scalable with business growth
  • You don’t need to hire a dedicated developer. Any newbie would be sufficient for implementation
  • Minimum infrastructure cost. 

If you agree with us on the part we discussed above, are you ready to explore some of the providers known to offer real-time in-app chat solutions?

What are the Top Chat API Features Preferred by Developers?

APIs are always handy and a life savior in today’s rapidly evolving tech era. Not only do they speed up the implementation process but allow developers to include very intricate features as well. Considering this, below are some of the top features every developer prefers to see in a chat API provider.

features of video chat app for android
  • In-app Chat: Create an engaging platform for users to indulge in a single or group chats.
  • Video & voice calling: Allow users to interact with their peers using voice or video chats.
  • Video conferencing: Let users create groups and interact with others through group video calls.
  • Dedicated cloud hosting: Deploy apps and store the entire chat data and any information related to it in the space allocated on the cloud.
  • White-label chat solution: Add your brand’s logo, UI, domain, and other details that reflect your identity on your chat portal.
  • Access code ownership: Get complete ownership and access to the low codes with which chat APIs are built.
  • On-premise /Self-hosting: Keep your entire data and user conversations sealed on your servers.
  • 100 % Customizable: Choose chat APIs that offer complete customizations on features as per business needs.

If you agree with us on the part we discussed above, are you ready to explore some of the providers known to offer real-time in-app chat solutions?

Best Free Chat APIs: Top 10 Reviews for Android & iOS

Looking for free chat API? In this guide,

I compared & reviewed the top best free chat APIs are 1.MirrorFly 2.PubNub 3.Agora 4.Twilio 5.Weavy 6.Ably 7.Scaledrone 8.Quickblox 9.Zegocloud, etc.

so that you can pick the best messaging one for you.

Below is the list of the most sought-after free chat APIs on the market that will help you build a secure chat application as you need. Please note that the listicle below is of no particular order.

So, let’s start with my favorite-

mirrorfly-live chat online ios group video call
best messaging service

1.MirrorFly

Launched more than a decade ago, MirrorFly has come to the eyes of the beholder in offering free pre-built chat solutions and facilitating over 1B+ conversations to date.

Their software development kits are known to be the powerhouse for canned features that stand tall in terms of group messaging, low latencies, free chat API service, and scalability. 

Moreover, MirrorFly’s WebRTC embedded interactions and powerful collaborative capabilities empower developers to create a top-notch chat application that any user would expect.

Here’s a short glimpse of the features that make them a standout.

What are Their Unique Features of MirrorFly Communication Platform?

MirrorFly gives its users:

  • Dedicated cloud hosting & SaaS pricing models
  • Real-time message translation
  • Modern-looking UI kit
  • One-on-one & group chats
  • Powerful chat moderation

What are the platforms it supports?
MirrorFly’s communication solution have their hands on Android, iOS, and Web platforms.

What Makes MirrorFly a Favorite?
  • Even their lifetime Free Chat API is tamed for ultra low-latencies
  • Highly scalable messaging infra that supports 1B+ conversations
  • Messaging docs to aid developers in the integration
  • 150+ chat features- all new and unique
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Scheduling meets feature is not available
  • Users cannot record their video sessions
  • Agenda creation feature is not available
  • Screen Sharing is not available
Other Key Features
  • Tech Stack: What’s remarkable is the modern-school tech stacks with which MirrorFly’s chat API  is built off. Their low codes are programmed using languages like Java, Kotlin, Objective C, Swift, React, Angular, Flutter, and more.
  • Hosting Options: Self-hosted & cloud
  • Industry: Education, Dating, Healthcare, Telecom, Social & Communities
How are they priced?
MirrorFly has 4 pricing plans.
  1. Easy: Offers lifetime free messaging API for Android, iOS and web apps.
  2. Essential: Starting at $399/month. Get access to all modern messaging essentials.
  3. Premium: Starting at $999/month. Avail of all of the ‘Growth’ plan plus group call feature.

Well, we’ll have to cut it now as their features go endless but let us see what others have in their pockets.


pubnub
interactive live streaming

2. PubNub

Up next on our list is PubNub whose instant messaging APIs keep conversations secure, and spam-free, and are heard well as  the best data stream network to date. 

Besides this fact, they are also known to offer free chat service to various use cases like e-learning, healthcare, gaming, and other sectors as well.

PubNub has also got its hand on UI kits. You can easily download their free UI kits and integrate them into your chat app to customize the font, style, and look and feel of the app the way you want. 

Though it has got its pros, some demerits make them a little less known than the rest of the players. But what’s most liked about them are their features.

What are their unique features of PubNub real time communication platform?
  • Alerts and notifications
  • In-app and group chats
  • Collaboration tools
  • Location tracking
  • IoT device control

What are the platforms it supports?
PubNub greatly supports all web and mobile platforms like Android and iOS.

What makes PubNuby a favorite?
  • Highly scalable and reliable
  • Chat infrastructure can facilitate up to 2 trillion messages per month
  • Offers a complete suite of over 75 SDKs for integration
  • Capability for Azure Add-on
  • Support sockets integration at scale
What are some of their drawbacks?
  • Their pricing model is based on transactions that’s classified further to different categories.
  • Their standard plan is devoid of certain important chat features.
  • The basic plan doesn’t cover security aspects and HIPAA compliance.
How are they priced?

PubNub offers three pricing plans.

  • Free: Up to 200 MAUs
  • Starter: $49 per month

Pro: Custom pricing for different use cases.

What Tech Stacks Do PubNub Use?

PubNub’s chat APIs are built with codes that are compatible with all platforms and easily known to many developers like Kotlin, JavaScript, React, Swift, and Ruby.

Now’s the time to check out the most common and renowned API service provider.


agora-digital communication service
communication solution

3. Agora

Agora’s chat APIs are known to fuel customer engagement and retention. They achieve this with their exceptional chat, voice, and video calling features that cater to a large customer base.

With these, they offer free chat APIs up to a certain monthly user limit, post which their fares are slightly on the higher par.

Agora is also noted for powering low latency conversations because of the existence of 250+ data networking centers.

What are Their Unique Features of Agora Messaging Platform?
  • Message translation and recording 
  • Live streaming
  • Notifications and presence indicators
  • GPS location tracking
  • Exporting chat history

What are the platforms it supports?
Agora comes compatible with Android, iOS, and Web platforms.

What makes Agora a favorite?
  • Customizable UI kits
  • Supports third-party integrations
  • Has a global latency of 400ms with 99.9% uptime
  • Round-the-clock tech support
What are some of their drawbacks?
  • Pricing slightly higher making it difficult to afford for small and mid scale businesses
  • Many chat features are still in their Beta phase
How are they priced?

Agora has three pricing plans

  • Free:Up to 500 MAUs
  • Starter: Pack starts from $349 per month in which a few chat features can be availed.
What Tech Stacks Do PubNub Use?

JavaScript, Python, React, jQuery, and PHP are some of the popular tools that Agora uses.

Hope we saw a lot of details about Agora. Let us hop onto the next one.


twilio-best live interactive chat software
live broadcasting provider

4. Twilio

When it comes to customizations, free chat API service, and robust feature set, Twilio’s chat SDKs are industry leaders. 

Their conversational APIs and SDKs for iOS and Android cover almost every communication medium like programmatic SMS, MMS, WhatsApp, & Facebook.

Plus, Twilio is known to facilitate over 795B+ interactions without any lags. Not to stop with these, there are plenty of other features that support users.

What are Their Unique Features of Twilio Flex Platform?
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Multimedia support
  • Notifications and mass alerts
  • Cross-channel messaging
  • Event streams and collaboration tools

What are the mobile & web platforms it supports?
Twilio comes compatible with Android, iOS, and Web platforms.

What Makes Twilio Flex a Favorite?
  • Highly scalable and reliable
  • Supports high concurrent connections
  • Includes a free trial subscription
  • Chat APIs can handle high volume data
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Pricing varies proportionally with user count and messages.
How are they cost or subscription Plans?

Twilio’s pricing completely depends on the user base.

  • Free: Up to 200 MAUs
  • Usage: Twilio charges $0.05/ month/user

Storage: Twilio charges $0.25/ month/GB of images, videos, or documents.

What Tech Stacks Do Twilio Use?

Twilio uses programming languages like Golang, JavaScript, jQuery, and a few others for their chat APIs. 

Well, is this the chat API provider that a lot of people use? There are more.


weavy: secure on-premises chat service
Api for Live stream uk

5. Weavy

Next up on the list is Weavy, a renowned communication service provider that enables users to make faster decisions through contextual collaborations.

Their in-app chat APIs and SDKs help deploy an instant messaging platform with an exclusive suite of rich, awe-striking features. 

Plus, their boon is their integration for which you do not need to hire a dedicated development team or a skilled professional. Implementation happens with the speed of light! And, you can easily opt for their group messaging software for free as long as you need.

Let us see what other modern highlights they include,

What are Their Unique Features of Weavy In-app Chat?

  • Collaboration tools
  • Activity feeds
  • Native UI kits
  • Capability to integrate to all leading file sharing services
  • Video calling

What are the mobile devices & web platforms it supports?
Weavy embeds well on all mobile apps, web platforms, Windows, Linux, and MacOS. 

What Makes Weavy a Favorite?
  • APIs help integrating chats in hours
  • A fast way to add ravishing user interface to chat platforms with the ‘Drop-in’ facility
  • Allows integration to Dropbox and other file sharing mediums
  • Developers get access to Weavy’s entire docs and SDKs
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Price greatly varies with app directories
  • Fares are quite high compared to other chat API providers
  • Does not give free trials

How are they cost or subscription Plans?

Weavy offers a free chat API service alongside other plans which we will see below:

  • Free: Free chat and unlimited messages, MAUs, and storage.
  • Starter: $1299/month and up to 250 app directories.
  • Pro: $2299/month and up to 1000 directories.

Enterprise: Their pricing is not mentioned in the sales page. You would have to reach out to their sales team.

What Tech Stacks Do Weavy Use?

Weavy provides options for different frameworks like JavaScript, React, Angular, and React Native.

Onto the next free chat API provider.


ably - live video streaming proivder
messaging app company

6. Ably

Ably is one of the whitelabel messaging platforms whose chat APIs and SDKs are solely into offering real-time chats to users. They help developers to deliver a highly reliable and scalable chat experience with their global infrastructure.

Plus, Ably does all the heavy lifting in offering a picture-perfect chat infrastructure so that you can ship in-app chats quickly and easily. Their low-codes are also into providing low-latency solutions. 

All thanks to the diversified global network that routes packets to the nearest edge server. Further, they have backed a million concurrent connections so far with an SLA uptime of 99.99%.

As far as we could see, their scalability and reliability are unmatched. Is this all that Ably is able off? No!

What are Their Unique Features of Ably Real-time Experience?

Ably’s chat APIs can provide a lot of features and work across a lot of departments.

  • Pub/Sub channels
  • Push notifications
  • Houses 25+ chat SDKs
  • Presence and occupancy monitoring
  • Globally distributed real-time infrastructure

What are the mobile apps & web platforms it supports?
Ably powers digital chat experiences across Mobile, Web, and IoT platforms.

What Makes Ably a Favorite?
  • Support all round the year
  • Provides support to developers during integration
  • Aids complete feature customization’s
  • Manages to keep real-time interactions at 100.00% uptime
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Does not give any free trials for chats
  • Does not render voice or video calling features
  • Basic plans are devoid of HIPAA compliance’s and SSO
How are they price or subscription Plans?

As you can see, there are three pricing plans of Ably which are a bit unique from the developer’s stand.

  • Free: Explore all their capabilities up to 6M Monthly messages, 200 Peak concurrent channels, and 200 Peak concurrent connections.
  • Pay As You Go: Price varies depending on messages and channels. $2.50 / million messages & $15.00 / thousand peak concurrent channels.
  • Committed Use: Design a package of your own with add-ons you require and enquire pricing to them.
What Tech Stacks Do Ably Use?

Ably is using the following programming tools like Node.js, HTML 5, Ruby, Kotlin, Swift, Java, JavaScript, Python, Dart, Elm, and more. That’s truly a lot more!

So this is all about Ably, the next one in our list is.


scaledrone: top chat rooms 2023 reviews
realtime messaging service

7. Scaledrone

Scaledrone is a unique real-time messaging provider that eliminates the work of building a chat infrastructure. They help to create chat apps that can scale up to a million users and exchange information seamlessly.

With Scaledrone, you can keep a real time state of your data, create live maps and dashboard, and do much more.

What are Their Unique Features of Scaledrone Realtime Messaging Service?

Scaledrone is a reliable free chat API provider that offers

  • Enhanced WebSockets
  • Live user events
  • Authentication and access levels
  • Real-time chats
  • Message history and user presence

What are the mobile devices & web platforms it supports?
Scaledrone supports iOS and Android mobile apps and web platforms.

What Makes Scaledrone a Favorite?
  • They give you free trials and free chats
  • Pricing plans are affordable for small and medium enterprises
  • Highly scalable and reliable
  • Saves time on integration
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Product is limited to only chats
How are they prices or subscription Plans?

Scaledrone lets you start with a free trial. But they include some 9 pricing plans that’s based on events and concurrent connections. As it will become difficult to mention all the 9, below are the top three pricing plans:

  • Free: Up to 20 concurrent connections and 100k events
  • Startup: $29/month that supports 500 concurrent connections and 1M events per day.
  • Growth: $249/month that supports 10k connections and 10M events per day.
What Tech Stacks Do Scaledrone Use?

It uses React Native, Go, Ruby, Python, Nod.js, PHP, JavaScript, Java, Swift, and REST programming languages.

Ready to explore the next best chat SDK for iOS mobile app?


quickblox: secure in app messaging solution
chat app development company

8. Quickblox

Quickblox is a chat SDK provider for businesses of all sizes. This whitelabel chat API solution gives its users a ready-made messaging app under the name Q-Munich. 

From one-on-one chats to group messaging services to video calls, Quickblox gives an option for flexible data storage. Along with these, they also come up with free downloadable UI kits.

Let us see what’s under their hood.

What are Their Unique Features of Quickblox Communication Service?

  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Voice and video calling functionality
  • Screen sharing
  • File sharing
  • Capability to integrate on any existing user-management
  • Multimedia file sharing

What are the mobile apps & web platforms it supports?
Supports Android, iOS, and Web platforms.

What Makes Quickblox a Favorite?
  • Pricing is very low compared to other competitors
  • Facilitates scalability with dedicated servers
  • There are no restrictions on product licenses.
  • Highly secure with adherence to regulatory requirements.
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Their use cases are restricted to specific industries
  • They do not give free chat trials

How are they prices or subscription Plans?

Quickblox offers 5 different pricing plans as follows:

  • Free or Basic: Free for 500 users/ month
  • Starter : $99 /month for 10000 total users
  • Growth : $249 /month for 25000 total users
  • HIPAA Cloud: $399 /month for 50000 total users
  • Enterprise: This custom package starts from $599

What Tech Stacks Do Quickblox Use?

HTTP, Push/Streaming, Ajax, WebSocket, REST, XMPP, Angular, and React are some of the technology stack that Quicblox uses. 

With all that this API provider gives, let us see whether Zegocloud also offers a free chat API service?


9. Zegocloud

Up next in our list is Zegocloud, a similar alternative to MirrorFly that offers free chat APIs for implementing messaging solutions. Be it scalability, reliability, or integrity, everything is tightly sealed with Zegocloud’s infrastructure.

Their global edge infrastructure makes every real-time interaction lag-free and stutter-free thus giving the best uptime SLA of 99.99%. 

Plus, they have a suite of dashing UI kits if you wish to change the look and feel of your chat app. But, what limits them is their pricing that is not very affordable for all business sizes.

What are Their Unique Features of Zegocloud Whitelabel Messaging?

  • In-app chats
  • Voice and video calls
  • Virtual avatar
  • Super board and analytics
  • Live streaming

Supporting Platforms
Works well on all Android, iOS, and Web platforms.

What Makes Zegocloud a Favorite?
  • Intuitive and free UI kits
  • Integration takes less than 30 minutes
  • File sharing and customizations make them a hit
  • Greatly scalable and secure
  • HIPAA and GDPR compliant
What are Some of Their Drawbacks?
  • Demerits exists during video calls where the filters do not work properly

How are they prices or subscription Plans?

They include three pricing plan options.

  • Free: Free up to 100 MAUs
  • Pro: $449/ 10K MAUs

Enterprise: Reach out to their sales team for pricing

What Tech Stacks Do ZegocloudUse?

Their use of technologies and programming languages are unbounded, starting with Kotlin, Java, Flitter, Swift, JavaScript, Objective C, React Native, Electron, and more.

We get that you have been stuck with us for quite a long time, the next one is going to be the last.


cometchat - hire dedicated developer
live chat software usa

10. Cometchat

Cometchat’s chat APIs are known to unlock the power of in-app communications with fun group chats, live sessions, and WebRTC-enabled video streaming.

Be it chat, voice, or video callings, their APIs are loaded with robust features that sit well on any chat messaging platform. 

With these, they give you free trials on all their three products thereby becoming the best free chat API provider in town.

What are Their Unique Features of Cometchat Custom Inapp Messaging?

  • In app chats
  • Voice and video chats
  • Video conferencing
  • Live streaming
  • SSO authentication mechanism
  • Group chats

What are the mobile devices & web platforms it supports?
Supports all Web, Android, and iOS platforms

What Makes CometChat a Favorite?
  • Comes as a whitelabel solution in terms of UI
  • Features automatically scales with your business growth
  • Caters to wide use cases
  • Also includes a chat plugin named ‘Cometchat Go’ which has no codes
Cons
  • Price is slightly higher when compared to other competitors
How are they prices or subscription Plans?

Cometchat includes a ‘Sandbox’ package exclusively for small businesses. And, they let you use their chat APIs for free as long as you desire.

  • Free: Use till you need
  • Startup: $149/month
  • Growth: $399/month
  • Scale: $749/month

Enterprise: Reach out to their sales team for details on pricing.

What Tech Stacks Do CometChat Use?

Their technology stacks are a repository of a whole lot of programming languages like React Native, jQuery, JavaScript, Node.js, and a lot more.

11. Sinch

Integrate Video Calling SDK into Any Mobile Platform

For making personal conversations, Sinch works professionally and finds out something efficient for making a proper random video call sdk for android forever. With the help of a quality Video chat feature, we can integrate well with the proper outcome. They quickly identify well and able to develop video chat APIs which work better for your desires. They integrate well and develop a smooth solution for carrying out some high-quality video chat API and consulting firms. With iOS and Android video calls, this developer is giving find out a clear voice for integration on video chat live APIs.

The professional team is delivering a good solution for making proper super clear voice capabilities for meeting anyone in the world quickly. Voice prioritization is the best thing we should focus on the conversation between you and customers. A media stream control is a good thing we should focus on data directly with a unique platform. They configure well with SDKs which covers ios video call sdk, Android, and JS. This team is having quality developers who are keen on developing live video chat API at affordable packages.

With the multiple voices, it carries out media stream options to make a possible outcome. It should come across a mute voice, blue faces, and add anything to the calls. So, you can get control of the screen finely using the video call API. Video pricing is based on active connections and Sinch is developing video calls based on the background option.

Sinch Customers
Mobicom, Yespark, Penearol Score, FirstBank, Foyer, Nationwide, budebee, unitel, TelASK, nets, Proximus, Nissans.

Services Provided by Sinch.
SMS, MMS & WhatsAp, Data Calling, Telecommunications, Healthcare, Financial, Retail, Travel & Transport, Media & Entertainment live video call solution.

USA, Sweden & Singapore 5000+ sales@sinch.com
Founded: 2008 Free trail/Pay as you go 46844682803

12. Vidyo

Embed Video into Your Digital Communications

Vidyo is a first-class video chat SDK organization for versatile and web arrangements. They are predominantly working for the real-time video calling services conference business to deal with the interaction simpler. In light of the client’s prerequisites and the idea of the video software app, they endeavor to acquire amazing arrangements for eternity. In this way, it is important for you to consistent experience to guarantee the information is secure. They plan and create versatile and video chat apps for the customers. With precise outcomes, the organizations are giving the best answer for ensuring in UI and UX plan.

Then again, this live broadcasting solution is mostly zeroing in on start to finish video chat application. They are work in building web and portable applications for video conferencing space. The monetary business particularly has veered into the computerized world. They consider the best answer for making with help carefully a video chat organization under its business and model requirements to convey monetary administrations through innovation. They incorporate the best answer for improvement organizations to help you transform the thoughts into a working item.

The organization digs into giving an issue-free encounter to make the business at a high level. Vidyo Company gives a business and gives answers to let you serve the clients. For the business, it has been conveying the client’s admittance to the administrations. They flawlessly run after custom video call app programming improvement administrations. It is a boon for customers to get quality video chat app forever.

Vidyo Customers
Air Force, Akamai, ASU, BCU, Bloomberg, BNP PARIBAS, CIRCLES, CONCERN, Cyberfish, DBee, DEKRA, Demand Media.

USA 200+ support@sendbird.com
Founded:2013 Free & Pay-as-you-go

Use Cases of Chat APIs and How

There’s nothing wrong in thinking that when chat APIs are developed for Android and iOS apps, their usage is restricted only to the tech industry. Surprisingly to many, their benefits cater to sectors like:

  1. Social Communities: Chat APIs play a prominent role in bringing chats to social platforms and online communities so users can interact, engage, and stay connected with communities alike.
  2. Digital Healthcare: The convenience of patients reaching out to their physicians at their comfort can be felt only with real-time communication. From counseling patients to sharing their diagnostic reports to consulting online, a chat app can do much more than this.
  3. Live Streaming: With plenty of content creators out there who are wishing to monetize their work, a live chat app can make their dreams true. This communication wouldn’t be possible without an API.
  4. Education: Now with the pandemic going on, schools prefer virtual learning parameters for students. Even here, chat APIs play a supporting role in building chat apps where students and teachers can interact with each other in real-time. 

Wrap Up

Here we are, at the end of the blog post and you have a list of the top 10 free chat APIs to pick from.

For a quick recap, what you saw above was a detailed analysis of the different chat API providers offering free trials and services.

But, if you ask us which to choose, we’d suggest going ahead with Agora for security reasons, Cometchat and Zegocloud for features. And finally, MirrorFly, if you need a hand on all the above.

However, the decision is yours. But, a chat API comes in high demand if it also has a group chat functionality. Not to miss, there are a lot of group messaging APIs in the market. We’re here to help in case you need a take on those. 

Share your thoughts

  • kiran

    Hi TrustFirms,

    This is a hug list of messaging software of Free. You have missed top communciaiton software proivder of sinch.com. We are one of the leading instant messaging service provider in this world. If you have any oppourtunity add to this list. Plesase let me know.

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