Mobile Apps

How much would it cost to make and to maintain an messaging app like whatsapp?

Andrew Reed Cofounder

August 3rd, 2017

Cost of development of this kind of app and what will be app operating cost after it launched officially on play store/app store

Jack Larson Business Development Manager

Last updated on June 25th, 2018

WhatsApp is a native instant messaging app with advanced multimedia features. According to the company WhatsApp Inc., on February 2016 the number of monthly active users has exceeded one billion. (Source – Statista).

A possible list of features for chat app like whatsapp includes:

  • Event management and calendar synchronization;
  • VoIP phone calls;
  • Video chats;
  • Group calls (including group video calls);
  • Encrypted chats;
  • Self-destructing messages;
  • Geolocation integration;
  • Cloud services synchronization (for the sent user files storage);
  • Support for various data formats (text, video, audio, emoticons, pictures, photographs, stickers etc.)

Let’s review some of the prospective real time chat app traits taking WhatsApp as example.

  • Account management, Facebook authorization routine implementation.
  • Server backend for messages and media sync between devices.
  • Contact management – import/export, sync with device’s contact storage/cloud accounts, modifying, grouping, black- and whitelisting.
  • Offline, server and cloud data storage/backup.
  • Contact and location sharing.
  • Message search.
  • Delivery and reading confirmations.
  • PUSH- and in-app notifications about app events.
  • Pictures upload/download.
  • Friend adding/server catalogue search.
  • Messaging.
  • Media sending (emoticons, stickers, pictures, audio, video, documents, files).
  • Voice calls/group voice calls.
  • Contacts/message marking.
  • Device’s calendar sync (appointments/meetings/reminders).
  • End-to-end conversation encryption.

The price of building a mobile chat app is made up of several components:

1. UI/UX design – up to 150 hours;

2. Development – up to 900 hours, plus 25% of PM and QA services.

The approximate cost of an App like WhatsApp is between $5000 to $13,000. Maintenance cost will be $300/month to $500/month. It will kick you off as an starting application like whatsApp.

Jimmy Shah Entrepreneur

Last updated on June 21st, 2018

Let’s take a closer look at the must-have functionality you need to implement when building a social network application. The features we’ll further discuss are taken from the best examples of the existing social media apps that are there in the market.Thus said, social network app development should lead to the creation of the product with the following main features:

  • Registration
  • User profile
  • Messaging
  • Posting media content
  • Feed
  • Search
  • Commenting
  • Groups of interest

So, to implement each feature, backend and frontend coding, you gonna need a dedicated team of social media app developers. It may look like this, for example:iOS DeveloperUX DesignerUI DesignerProject ManagerQ&A engineerFront-end & Back-end developers.Social media teamYes, if you have a basic knowledge of programming you can build your app using the clone of already existing one, but... Honestly, it's a very challenging task for so many reasons. That’s why we strongly advise you to hire professional developers from a trustworthy social media app development company if you want to do it faster, with high quality and potential to win the market niche.

This estimate will look like this:I added Web Frontend to our estimation so we won’t miss any users looking for us on The Web. Features will be the same as in our future app.

According to The Next Web cost estimation, the top social networks has a following price:

Twitter-like app: $50,000 to $250,000

Instagram clone: $100,000 to $300,000

WhatsApp: $125.000 to $150.000

Pinterest: around $120,000

Vine: $125,000 and $175,000

Snapchat: $75,000 – $150,000

According to our experience, we can tell you that a social media app delivery time takes about 3-6 months (1800-2500 hours) and the total price of such fully functional chatting app developed from a scratch can be estimated roughly between $75,000 – $280,000 (at 40$/hour).Plus, you should keep in mind some extra money for post-launch tech support (improvements and upgrades) and promotion campaign.

Kira Newton Technical Project Manager

June 26th, 2018

Hey guys,

If you're looking for a simple and cost-effective way to create your own WhatsApp and monetize it, you can consider a white label messaging solution. The idea is that you don’t have to learn how to code or hire a big team of designers, front-end, back-end developers and spend 4 to 6 months to have your bug-free app ready (Plus, no one guarantees the quality of the app will be high.)

Instead, you order your risk-free branded chat app from Zangi ( and get it in 2-3 weeks. Any kind of unique feature can be added together with your logo so you can freely use it for your business.

Joseph Wang Chief Science Officer at Bitquant Research Laboratories

August 14th, 2017

Tens of Millions of USD.

The development cost and cost of maintaining a basic client would be quite low and could be done for about USD 200k and maybe USD 50k/year code maintainence. Also keeping up the servers is going to be a big pain.

The problem is that your big costs are going to be marketing and customer service. What you will have after you spend that money is a telephone that doesn't connect to any other telephone.

The other thing is that creating your own app is probably the wrong thing to do since you can build your app on top of Whatsapp.

Valentine Ike Oleka Cofounder & CEO of Factory Technologies Inc

August 4th, 2017

So, I'm going to assume you are not a developer (just so I can use non developer terms to explain).

Building a new Whatsapp would be freaking expensive because of how much you'd spend in infrastructure to maintain all the features Whatsapp currently has. But you can build a simple chat app for not so much money.

I know this because we just release the MVP of Factory. Factory is a project management tool build for organizations and teams to track their basic everyday work flow and meet targets faster. We under costed Factory when we started out and it cost us a lot of time to actually achieve all we set on the timeline. If we talk about funs spent or opportunity cost? It would be in the neighborhood of $150k, but we didn't spend that much though.

I think you should just decide exactly what you want to make and then cost it. WhatsApp has grown for nearly a decade, so you can use it as a benchmark.

Oha Nelson Futuristic vision

August 3rd, 2017

I don't known but the cost implication will been much

Richmond Opoku Founder and CEO, dreamworld Inc

August 3rd, 2017

500$ is a good deal

Amit Tiwari DME at OTS Solutions

June 26th, 2018

There is no single answer to a question like, “how much cost need to develop or maintain messaging app?” But by working through the considerations listed below, you can reach a clearer understanding of how expensive your project might be.

Who Is Developing the App?

The first question to consider—and the one that will determine much about your approach to the project—is who exactly will develop the app?

The are essentially two options here. In the first case, someone already working for you company could develop the app. (That person might even be you!) In this case, the total cost of the app development work is no higher than that person’s salary.

On the other hand, you could hire a freelancer or dev shop to handle your project. This can be an expensive proposition; high quality developers often bill more than $100 per hour. That’s $4000 for a full 40-hour work week. But, given the value that many mobile apps deliver, this can certainly be money well spent.

How Complex Is the Project?

If you are outsourcing the work to a development company like OTS Solutions, how much you pay them will depend largely on the complexity of the project.

Many times, the mobile apps that clients ask for are relatively simple. If you don’t need much graphic design, and your app doesn’t include lots of interactivity, it might only take a few weeks to make.

It’s very common for complex apps to cost tens of thousands of dollars. But again, if you are developing apps that have high value for your organization, that price could be a fantastic investment.

Controlling Costs

No matter the size of your budget, you’ll want to do everything possible to minimize the final cost. And there are a number of effective approaches to limiting the cost of software development, without sacrificing features or quality. Below are some of the most important ones to consider.

DIY Project Management

Even if your organization doesn’t have developers in house, it’s likely that you do have employees with project management expertise. Leveraging their time can be an effective way of limiting the price you pay outside freelancers. Tight project management will keep the work on pace, and reduce the time developers have to waste figuring out exactly what is expected of them.

Create a Clear Project Plan

On a similar note, creating a definitive, comprehensive project plan before hiring freelancers will not only save you headaches and heartbreak, it can also save you thousands of dollars.

For those without experience making applications, it’s normal to assume that most of the work consists of actual coding time. But in fact, things like requirements analysis and drafting design specs can be equally challenging, and eat up a huge portion of your budget. If you do your homework first and keep that work in house, you can easily save 25% or more on your outsourcing costs.

Limit Feedback and Revisions

Once you start to receive design mocks and prototypes, you will undoubtedly have ideas on how they could improve, and your project plan should account for revision time. However, you should be mindful revisions to a features (particularly once coding has started) can double or triple the time involved, and multiply your costs accordingly.

So when offering feedback, be sure to ask yourself how important your requests really are. If they are “nice to have” but not essential, consider holding your tongue and saving yourself some serious money.

Take an Iterative Approach

Lastly, many clients begin software projects with bloated lists of requirements that include numerous features their users don’t really need. This is a recipe for frustration, and perhaps more importantly, a surefire way to waste money.

Rather than attempting to build you dream application right out of the gates, consider aiming for an MVP—minimum viable product—instead. Ask yourself which one or two features are absolutely critical for the initial success of your project, and see if you can scale back your plans to just those items.

The Bottom Line

As is often the case, you get what you pay for when it comes to mobile app development, and quality isn’t cheap. Whether you pay hourly or flat price your project, you should expect an effective hourly rate of $100, if not more. If that seems steep at first, don’t worry. There are many ways to control your total costs, and a well made app will pay for itself over time.

Charlie Leo Business Analyst

Last updated on October 17th, 2018

Whatsapp Technology Backend Components:

  • Erlang - programming language
  • EJabbered - XMPP server
  • FreeBSD - OS handpicked for everything from desktops to tiny devices.
  • Yaws - Run as a standalone web server
  • Lighttpd - Another web server that is highly secure, swift & flexible
  • PHP - Open-source general-purpose scripting language best fit for web development.
  • BEAM - BEAM is like Java’s JVM, but for Erlang
  • Custom XMPP - Send real-time messages, online presence indicators, XML routing features etc..
  • HTML5 Websockets - Whatsapp web communication
  • Mnesia DB- quicker request responses
  • Hosting may be in Softlayer

Generally, the cost to build an application like snapchat, whatsapp is approximately $15,000

Note : I mentioned a custom development

Though hourly rates of the developers determine the cost, there are several other factors to be taken into consideration. Let’s have a look at those factors that influence the final price tag.

1) App Development TeamThe project requirements matter and based on this, the development team will have to be set. A basic team would comprise of UI/UX designer, 2 to 3 developers and a testing team.For the multiple version (desktops and PCs) you’ll be leading a 2 to 3 web developers and UI / UX designer as well.Additionally, you will also be needing a backend infrastructure to handle the operations in your app so here comes the need for API developer.

2) Technical complexity of the ApplicationTechnical complexities include the addition of several third party frameworks to mediate key functionalities.For instance, you might need a server support. For this, you will be needing third-party service provider support like XMPP server who mediate realtime messaging for you.

3. Back-end DevelopmentBackend is the operation heart that makes things work in the front end, be it app

4. Device fragmentationsDevice fragmentation pose hardware challenges which you’ll have to overcome. Screen size, hardware specification, screen resolutions, OS version compatibility and more.

5. Tailored Design & AnimationsDesign conceptualization is the part which users make use of to interact with your application. Customized UI is of high importance to provide convenience and brand experience.

6. Post Release Expenditure:App maintenance or post release expenses also add up to your bill. Hosting solutions to keep your chat application, support for customers, maintenance team to remove technical glitches on demand etc., are crucial.

David Michael Developer

Last updated on October 17th, 2018

Cost of the messaging app like WhatsApp depends on the technologies used to create a chat app with a security.

Get know more about the high-end technologies used in WhatsApp:

Front-end of an Android Chat Application: XMPP, Java, WebRTC, MySQL
Front-end iOS Chat Application: Objective-c, Swift, Realm database
Back-end Development: PHP, Ejabberd, Java, Amazon web services, Erlang.

Compare the cost with the both SaaS-based chat application & readymade solution providers.