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Should you Build a Chat App from scratch or use a Third Party API Service? [Ultimate Guide]

HomeTechnologyShould you Build a Chat App from scratch or use a Third...

Virtual communications are gaining popularity by leaps and bounds given the pandemic situation across the globe. It has become essential for every business to make a shift towards digital mediums of interaction to stay on top of customer engagement. And an efficient chat app can help your business stand out in the crowd. Have you been planning to build a chat app of your own?

In this article, we shall discuss the main points revolving around the development of a chat app from scratch and the utilization of third party services. Stay with us and learn more.

But first, let us talk about the reasons as to why chat apps are in demand by businesses these days.

  • Real-time chat apps help you connect with your customers instantly and resolve all their doubts and enquiries.
  • With chat apps, businesses can collect greater customer insights and data and gain a better understanding of their understanding. This, in turn, helps you to enhance your customer support initiatives and efforts. 
  • Another great thing about chat apps is that most of them provide end-to-end encryption. Encrypted chat apps help you offer the best security to your chat app.

Should you build a Chat Platform or select a Chat SDK provider?

Businesses are often confused regarding chat app development. Are you wondering the same? Well let’s quickly discuss some of the best notions associated with the creation of a chat application from scratch.

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  • If you are planning to integrate highly advanced features in your chat app, then you need to invest more time and money into it. Also, you should make sure that you have a team of highly qualified developers who understand the challenges that come along with building a chat app from the ground. 
  • Moreover, you need to make sure that the cost incurred on chat app development is within your budget. You should prepare a proper plan before starting the development process.

6 Points to Consider when Planning to Build a chat app for Android, iOS, or web

When you decide to build a chat app for android,ios & web, there are different important aspects that you are required to look into. In this section, we shall discuss some of those in detail. Let’s have a quick look at each of them one by one.

1. Infrastructure

Setting up a real-time chat infrastructure is not an easy task. It should be efficient enough to incorporate a few complicated functions.

  • A good chat infrastructure should be able to facilitate one-on-one messaging as well as group chats.  Not only this, it should also be able to incorporate advanced features like media file sharing. 
  • It should have media storage capacities including storage of chat history and multimedia files and documents.  For this, you should have the required time and capital to meet these chat requirements. 
  • The infrastructure should also be able to incorporate encryption protocols for ensuring chat security.  It should also be able to hold complex chatbot functionalities that can handle basic customer queries.

It is advised to have a professional team that can look into these infrastructure complexities with expertise.  Otherwise, the infrastructure will turn inefficient.

2. Cost of Development

Building a real-time chat app from scratch would require you to incur a lot of expenses like salary and overheads and  updation costs. Moreover, it will also consume your precious time that can otherwise be utilized for focusing on your core business operations for optimizing business growth. 

App development requires you to incur costs on chat server, network layer, messaging protocols, and many others. So, plan well before you start app development.

3. Cost of consultation

Real-time chat app development requires focus on complex areas like UI/UX design, scaling data networks, security protocols, cross-platform compatibility, and much more. Hence, you need to have an efficient team to handle all this. You would be required to spend on hiring processes and salary requirements of qualified professionals.

4. Hosting expenditures

When planning to build a chat app for Android, iOS, or web, you need to be ready to incur costs on chat server, load balancer, auto scaling, file storage, network traffic, data base, and much more. When you host a chat app all by yourself, it might turn out to be costly. You would be required to know how to scale your app as per future business requirements. Building a chat platform is a long-term investment. So, it should be a well-thought process.

5.  Integration costs

When you build a chat platform , it must be able to seamlessly integrate into your present system. You will be required to spend on server expansion. Also, you will have to restructure your UI/UX. And revamping the user interface would also require additional capital. So, you need to take these integration points into consideration while planning to build your real-time chat app.

6. Miscellaneous costs

When building a chat app from scratch, you might be required to incur extra costs on additional things like scaling issues, opportunity costs caused by deployment downtime, and much more.  So, you must be prepared for all these. You need to set your budget right before starting to build your application.

Should you opt for a Chat API provider?

A chat SDK provider can help you build your app without much delay. It can host and implement chat features for your business. Choosing an instant messaging API has several advantages. Let’s look at them one by one.

  •  An instant messaging SDK service provides you with tested chat features which can be easily implemented in your system.  
  •  A good instant messaging API provider will have an efficient team of experts to handle and develop a secure chat infrastructure. 
  •  Third party API providers can handle both integration and deployment of real-time chat features.  
  •  Most of the chat API services provide you with  cloud deployment which helps manage complicated app deployment. 
  •  Efficient API providers help you save on additional costs like hosting and scaling requirements that are usually incurred when building a chat app from scratch.

Will you build a Chat app or use an instant messaging SDK?

The decision whether to build a chat app from scratch or use a chat SDK is a tough one to take. You need to study your business plans nicely before drawing any conclusion. You need to see if your budget and time matches with your decision. For building a chat app from scratch, you will be required to spend more time and money. While using a chat API will help you save on deployment and app development. So, make your choice after giving this a full thought.


We hope our article helped you understand the importance of the difference between building a chat app on your own and using chat SDK.  So, what are you thinking? Make a wise choice and start excelling your communication strategies today.

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Richard is Marketing analyst and technical blogger. He contributes to prestigious blogs like DZone, Habr, and Medium. You can find him on @richard21266663


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