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Build Chat App from Scratch vs Buy Readymade Chat APIs

In-app Chat contributes to a higher business development rate and increases productivity.


When it comes to In-app Chat Development for businesses, there are only two possibilities. One is building an in-app chat from scratch and the other is to buy a readily available chat API and integrate it into your app.

If your requirements are unique, and you choose to buy a chat API, customizing is what you need, and if you decide on building a chat app from scratch, you need to have in-house experts.

So, which could be your ideal choice? Let's find out, starting with the first one: Building an In-app Chat from scratch.

Building a Chat App From Scratch: A Simple Guide

First, keep your requirements ready to build your online chat platform app. Next, remember that your app users already use one or other apps, like WhatsApp, Viber, and Facebook. So, it is equally important to match the user's expectations.

However, your focus should also add improved security, privacy protection, low latency, and reliability. Hence, when you build a chat app, try to incorporate all advanced features and develop a fully functional chat app.

How Do You Build Your Own Chat App?

First of all, your checklist for building a chat app includes expert resources, infrastructure, investment, time, and miscellaneous expenses. Besides these, you need to launch it on time, and it also involves maintenance costs.

So, here's why each of the above-said aspects is equally important while you build a chat app.

  1. Project Costing : While building a chat platform, you need to have sufficient funds to manage the project costing. Next, you need to evaluate the cost for infrastructure, hosting, and maintenance. Most importantly, the cost per head of expert resources, and third-party tools, requires quite a large investment.
  2. Selecting a Suitable Infrastructure: In developing a chat platform, consider an infrastructure that holds a huge volume of chat storage and enables all advanced chat API features. Also, select an infrastructure that supports scalability on the go. Moreover, reliable infrastructure is usually available at a higher cost.
  3. Development Costing : In the overall app development cost, for building chat, you need to allocate an extra budget. And the chat costing includes VoIP, hosting, Scaling, adding messaging protocols, encryption standards, UI/UX design, and development. When you add each new feature, the cost may increase.
  4. Resource Costing : In addition to the base development cost, individual resource costing is the next on the list. Most importantly, you will have expert UI/UX designers and developers who can build chat apps for android, iOS, and web platforms. The salaries of such expert resources will reach nearly 100k dollars in about 8 months
  5. Hosting Budget : If you are building a chat app, the main purpose is to handle chats faster. So, it would be best if you had an advanced hosting solution. Consequently, you end up paying a higher price.
  6. Upskilling Costs : In case your in-house team lacks expertise in certain development activities, you must invest in their upskilling. Organizing training sessions will also increase your budget. However, if your team delivers extra features into the app, then it is worth the cost.
  7. Time & Budget Management:Building a feature-rich chat is a tedious process. As, you need to invest more time in all stages of development, launch, and maintenance. Time decides on the budget of your chat app development. If your planned time of launch and actual time to market varies, there is a potential risk of increasing your planned budget.
  8. Maintenance Cost : When you launch a chat app for iOS, android after development, some issues may pop up. To fix the development bugs and maintain the infrastructure, you need to allocate an additional budget.

However, some miscellaneous costs may also arise during development which will increase the investment.

Who Needs To Build Their Own Chat App?

Building a chat app requires more investment in money and resources. Also, it takes a longer development time. Even some tech companies find it challenging to build a functional chat app in a limited time. Companies with enough time, resources, technology, and tools, most notably with the required budget, can consider building their feature-rich chat app.

Those companies capable of handling the sophistication associated during and after development can go ahead to build chat apps. At the same time, others can buy a chat API and add it to their existing app.

Buying a Chat API: Essentials to-know

When you think about alternatives to building a chat app, then undoubtedly it is buying one. The API is an interface that will connect your application with the infrastructure server. So, with several APIs available in the market, you need to choose the one that suits your needs.

For instance, list down the features you need, tech stack, and platform your app runs on, evaluate for advanced features in the API. Finally, check the pricing and buy. Thus, buying and integrating chat API into your application is easier and quicker.

Cost & Time Required To Buy Chat API

Depending on your feature set and requirement, it may take a few days to a few weeks to integrate the API into the app. With low-code and no-code, there are some APIs that you can incorporate in a few hours.

As far as the cost of buying API, it varies based on the service provider. If you are looking for basic chat API features like messaging and VoIP, there are a few low-cost APIs. If you are looking to build a chat platform with advanced features, you need to invest accordingly.

Who Should Buy Chat API?

While it is cost-effective to buy a chat API and SDK, here's the following list of businesses that should consider buying chat API.

  • Small Enterprises: Those willing to launch apps quickly without much investment can buy Chat API.
  • Large Enterprises or Businesses: Large Enterprises planning to build chat apps can buy ready-made APIs.
  • One-Time Solution for Start-up: When a startup or company needs a White Label Chat App, they can buy a chat API, SDK and instantly focus on their business growth.
  • Individual Professionals: In the case of individual professionals who run or stream live events, sessions, and training can buy and use chat API.

Additionally, those companies that plan to expand their existing communication app can buy and use ready-made chat API and SDK.

Final Words

As chats will thrive in the world's communication, investing in a chat app is the need of the hour. However, it is up to companies to decide whether they need to build a chat app right from scratch or buy a ready-made chat API. And it completely varies based on the requirement set, budget, and ability of scaling. If you plan to build an enterprise team chat app, buy a chat API from a provider whose API includes built-in compliance and security features.

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