26 May, 2024
build a custom mobile chat app

Things You Should Know About Developing a Custom Mobile Chat App

Explore Custom Chat Solution

From user experience to security, there are several factors you need to take into account when building a custom mobile chat app. In this post, we’ll explore some essential criteria you need to consider before beginning your development process.

Chat apps have become an essential part of our lives in recent years. Several businesses around the world are taking inspiration from instant messaging giants like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Slack, to build their own custom mobile chat applications.

If you are one such business or a developer with an idea of building your own chat app for mobile, this article is for you! Moving ahead, we will discuss the development stages, working, functionalities, and its practical use cases.

Let’s get started!

What Can A Mobile Messaging App Do?

You can use a mobile messaging app for personal or business purposes. It comes to personal purposes, you can connect with your family and friends, share updates and communicate with each other easily. 

chat app development
Secure mobile chat app

Whereas for business, you can use a ready-made chat app for providing customer service to your users, achieve team collaborations for marketing your products/ services.

1. Is it a good idea to create a chat app?

If you are running a business or planning to build one, an app is an excellent idea to boost customer engagement and to streamline communication within a team and also across your business horizons.

On the other hand, a mobile messaging app can act as the most convenient way to offer a better user experience.

2. Is it easy to make a chat app?

From a technical perspective, building a custom messaging app can be a daunting task. It consumes a lot of time, demands resources; efforts; knowledge of programming language; database management; understanding of service architecture and network protocols.

On the other hand, there are pre-built solutions like customizable chat SDKs available in the market.

solutions let you build chat apps quickly, and regardless of your technical expertise.

How Does A Chat Application Work?

A typical mobile messaging app works using a server-client architecture. Let me explain this in quick steps:

  • An user sends a message from your chat app
  • The message is encrypted using end-to-end protocols
  • The encrypted message reaches the server
  • The chat server send this encrypted message to the intended recipient
  • The recipient device decrypts the message
  • The recipient can now read the message.
build messaging app
Scalable mobile readymade chat app

This entire process happens in real-time at latencies typically less than 100ms. During this process, your chat app will use several technologies like Websockets, HTTP, TCP and UDP to ensure that the user communication happens in real-time.

Functionalities Of A Scalable Mobile Chat App

When you build a custom messaging app, you need to highly prioritize seamless user experience. In order to achieve this, it is best to include the below basic functionalities in your chat app:

  • User Authentication
  • Registration
  • Real-time messaging
  • Group messaging
  • Voice calling
  • Video calling
  • File sharing
  • Presence indicators
  • Push notifications
  • Emojis and stickers
  • Search filter
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Contact list management
  • User profile management
creating a messaging app
Chat app for mobile app

Development Cost Of Chat/ Instant Messaging Apps

Interestingly, the actual cost of developing a custom mobile chat app may vary significantly depending on various factors like the complexity of the app, number of features, location of the development team and the platform.
However if I need to state in numbers, a mobile messaging app development can cost anywhere around from $50,000 to $500,000.

You will somehow have to consider the budget and requirements before starting to develop your app.

make a chat app
Instant messaging solutions for ios

Things To Consider For Developing Mobile Chat App

Before starting a chat app development project, it is necessary to decide on which platform you will be developing your chat app.

The two main platforms are:

1. Mobile, Web, or Desktop

You can develop a chat app that can work on mobile devices, desktops or web browsers. 

2. Native or Cross-platform

Native: You can choose to build chat apps for specific platforms like iOS or Android to focus on the users on that particular platform, for a better user experience.

Cross-Platform: If you’ll need mobile messaging apps that should be compatible with multiple operating systems, you can choose to develop a cross-platform app. 

As said earlier, before you begin the development, but you will have to find out which platform your target audience majorly uses.

Scalable mobile chat app for web
Build a custom messaging app

Strategies To Promote & Monetize Your Mobile Messaging App 

Promoting and monetizing a mobile messaging app can sometimes be a challenging task, there are several strategies you can follow to make it work effectively. Here are some of the ways that will be useful for you:

Usage of social media: Take your app’s presence to a larger group of audience in the modern social networking apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These are great channels to reach your audience effectively and the most convenient way to increase your app’s visibility.

Introduce A Freemium Model: Give the basic features to your users for FREE. Charge only for the premium features.

In-app Purchases: Give your users opportunities to purchase virtual goods like stickers, emojis or plugins.

Also Read: What is the Flutter WebRTC Plugin? A Complete Guide

Subscription Model: Offer users to subscribe to your app and provide exclusive content, features or service. This lets you build a consistent stream of revenue and boost brand loyalty.

Referral Programs: Encourage your existing users to refer your app and its service to their friends and family to your app. In turn, give them the referrers added perks like premium features and discounts.

Business Partnership: Partner with other businesses to provide promotions or discounts to your users. this generates you revenue, it will also increase user engagement retention.

App Store Optimization: Attain visibility on the app store by optimizing your product/ service with relevant keywords, compelling descriptions and catchy screenshots.

Traditional Advertising: Use offline methods like billboards, flyers to reach a wider audience.

Chat app for mobile app for website
Make a chat app
Ready To Create Customized In-App Chat Experiences With MirrorFly?

Development Stages Of Making A Chat App Like Whatsapp

When you build an instant messaging app like whatsapp, it requires a well-structured development process. Let’s look at the stages of how to make a mobile chat app below:

Chat app for mobile app
Mobile messaging app
  1. UX & UI Design

The first thing that attracts any user towards an app and retains them is the UI and UX of the app. 

You or your design team must create a simple and intuitive interface that helps your users navigate across your app easily.

2. Front-end and Back-end Languages

You’ll need to choose modern and stable programming languages like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to create the app’s user interface, typically called the frontend. 

And to create the server side/ backend, you can use programming languages like Python, Ruby, or Java. Choosing the right programming language lets you create a robust app with stable database management and scalability.

Quality Assurance

One of the most important parts of protecting your user base is ensuring that your app meets the quality criterias. 

Test the functionality, usability and performance as that your app is bug-free and is smooth to use. Test your app across all the platforms and devices.

Build Chat For Mobile Application For Your Enterprise/ Business

Mobile messaging app

You can build your mobile messaging app for any kind of business you run. Let me explain how each type of business uses chat for their product/ service:

1. Healthcare:

The medical industry has revolutionized. From virtual consultation to online medicine deliveries, medical apps are available. Creating one for your own health organization or a venture that needs one will make patient-care much easier.

2. Customer Service:

You can build chat apps for implementing customer support or help desk services so that your users can reach out to your business quickly and easily.

3. Team Collaboration:

When you run teams for your business, you’ll need a chat app for communication among your team members or with the organization.

4. E-learning:

Right from the beginning of the pandemic era, education is one of the industries that faced a serious challenge in providing the learning opportunities to students. Thanks to chat apps that came for the save by introducing video calls to connect teachers and students across several educational organizations across the world.

5. Social Networking:

The Gen-Z has an affinity for socializing virtually and connecting with like-minded people. Creating an app for social networking can also a truly interesting idea.

6. Finance & Banking:

The Fintech sector has drastically revolutionized and one of the main reasons is digitalization. When banks and financial organizations introduced their own chat apps. It saved a lot of time and effort for users to get errands done and queries sorted virtually.

How To Build A Custom Chat App The Right Way?

To create a messaging app the right way, businesses should focus on the following:

Build a custom messaging app
  • Have a purpose for creating your app
  • Define your target audience
  • Upskill yourself or hire a skilled development team
  • Design a simple and intuitive user interface
  • Focus on security and privacy
  • Test your app thoroughly
  • Carry out marketing and promotion strategically
  • Monetize you app effectively


Finally, we come to the end of the discussion, and I hope you agree with me that building a custom mobile chat app can be a valuable investment. As discussed earlier, having a clear plan, purpose, and clarity of what your target audience needs can be a good start for your big goals. With that in mind, go ahead and build the best mobile messaging app for your users!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Chat App?

The cost of developing a custom chat app depends on various factors like your core features, scale of your business, technological requirements, hosting infrastructure and more. You’ll need to list out your specific requirements to find out the exact expenditure of your chat app.

Which Language Is Best For A Custom Chat Application?

Java, Python, Golang and Erlang are some of the most popular languages preferred by developers to build a messaging application. However, the best option for your chat app might depend on your specific requirements and purpose.

How Secure Is A Custom Chat App?

When you build a messaging platform, you can easily add customizable security features that fits your user demands and business requirements. This lets you strongly protect your user data and their conversations with the end-to-end encryptions and privacy regulations that you need.

Does A Custom Chat App Suit All Enterprises?

The need for a customer messaging platform differs for each business module, scale, and purpose of the app. Your business will need a custom solution if,

– You need to customize your messaging features
– Build a white-label chat app
– Host your app on your own cloud/ premise
– Need complete ownership of your app security and infrastructure

How Long Does It Take To Build A Custom Chat App?

Building a custom messaging solution from scratch typically takes up to 2 years. But you can speed up the development process without compromising on the features and functionality, by using pre-built messaging SDKs and APIs.

What Are the Tech Stacks Used To Build A Chat App?

There are various tech stacks used in the market for building a chat app for web or mobile app development. Here are a few common tech stacks listed below:
Java, Javascript
React, React Native
Objective C

Related Articles:

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Abirami is a trendsetter in bringing marketing ideas to reality. She is very keen on creating impactful marketing campaigns and learning the newest technologies in white label messaging APIs. And during her leisure, she can't spend a day without singing and reading.


  1. aaryan Reply

    This is simply good to read and it is helpful for people who started to build a chat app. I would like to know some features that the custom chat app has if possible please let me know.

    1. Abirami Elangovan Post author Reply

      Hello Aaryan,
      Really appreciate your compliment on my blog post. And to answer your question, creating a custom chat app is relatively easy with MirrorFly’s chat SDK. here I list out some of the features you expect
      building in-app communication
      complete customization
      cross platform
      on-premise chat solution

  2. sandhoshj Reply

    I am building a chat application for my client who is into designing e-learning use cases and after looking at your post, I’m interested in your chat SDKs. So, can you explain any individual feature of the Mirrorfly self-hosted chat app so that I can move further?

    1. Abirami Elangovan Post author Reply

      Hello ,
      thanks for your comment on my article, and appreciate your interest in MirrorFly’s chat SDKs for your e-learning project! When it comes to a particular standout feature of our self-hosted chat solution, then it has to be 100% customization support for Android, iOS, and Web apps for a one-time license cost that may help developers to tailor their chat applications as per the needs of the business.

  3. Georgegett Reply

    Team, nice article. Please keep writing more posts like this. For now can you people tell me what is the minimum cost for building a chat platform?

    1. Abirami Elangovan Post author Reply

      Hello kenny,
      A good question from your end! To answer your question, a chat app works by creating web chat rooms that allows users to chat with each other in a hassle-free way. A chat app allows users to send and receive messages, calls, or video messages in real-time. If you wish to learn more about it, please talk to our experts.

  4. loogvie Reply

    Hi we are interested in building a chat app for users. What’s the price for your custom mobile chat app and are there any monthly subscriptions involved?

    1. Abirami Elangovan Post author Reply

      hello Loogvie,
      The cost of building a custom mobile chat app depends on factors like scalability levels, security aspects, number of users, features to include, and many others. Therefore, considering these, the market price of building a chat app can be somewhere between $30,000 to $110,000. However, if you wish to learn about our pricing to build a chat app, you may visit our pricing page or reach out to our experts.

  5. deeviksha Reply

    Very Informative blog! Thank You, the article is really helpful. It taught me the best mobile chat app. Thank You for sharing your insights.

    1. Abirami Elangovan Post author Reply

      Developing a custom chat app can be an exciting project, but it requires careful planning and execution. Here are the initial steps you should take to get started:
      1.Define Your Objectives
      2. Market Research
      3. Choose a Development Platform:
      4. Design the User Interface (UI):
      5. Plan the Backend:
      6. Implement Real-time Messaging:
      7. User Authentication:
      8. Database Management:
      9. Implement Additional Features:
      10. Test and Debug:

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