Free in-app chat APIs are being released daily, but finding the quality ones among them has never been easy. You need messaging essentials, security features, hosting facilities and many other factors to build a fully functional app.
To do this with free APIs might sound quite impossible. Unfortunately, many of the providers in the market offer sub-par features in their free plans. To help you avoid using the ones that will not make it to your standards, I tested dozens of them and found the best 5 options.
Read on to figure out which Free in-app chat API is right for your needs.
What Should You Look For in the In-app Chat APIs Offered at Zero-Price?
As I said before, claiming to provide free in-app APIs isn’t just enough. They need to have certain essential features to qualify to the top of the list.
So before deciding the APIs as worthy of being called the best, I considered the following factors to prepare this list:
The APIs you choose must be able to operate communication in any device or platform you build your app for.
A reliable messaging API will come with detailed documentation which includes technical notes. This is to ensure that even basic development knowledge is sufficient to understand the concepts.
When you integrate chat APIs, they must provide the leverage to widen the features and functionalities when your business/ brand expands. In a nutshell, the usage of messaging APIs makes your app highly scalable.
When you develop your own app with chat APIs, your app data is completely under your control. This means – instead of giving away your user’s private data to be handled by a third-party app, you hold them secure within your boundaries. So yes, your APIs must seriously be in alignment with your privacy standards.
5. Security Compliance:
Since your app will involve the exchange of private information within the apps, it must adhere to. preset security standards and compliances like ISO, GDPR, and HIPAA
Who Provides FREE In-app Chat API?
Of all the in-app APIs we tried, MirrorFly turned out to be one of the best on our list. With simple-to-use APIs, it is able to give developers all they need to build a fully functional chat app. Beyond simply adding communication features to the app, MirrorFly also provides a dedicated hosting space, which is less likely to be offered by other API providers in the market.
MirrorFly, if rightly said, is the “In-app API for everything”. You may avail the chat API for free for a lifetime, with no strings attached. Their messaging features go beyond chat capabilities including chat moderation, end-to-end encryption, devoted cloud space for hosting facilities and more.
Reasons to Try MirrorFly:
- Ultra-low Latencies: MirrorFly helps you build chat communications with record-breaking latency numbers. With these APIs, your chat app will be able to handle large volumes of data with minimum delay tolerance.
- Super-Fast Response Rate: The chat APIs help your build interaction within apps, with an average response time of 3s and ensures an uptime with 99.999% SLA
- Dedicated Cloud Hosting: MirrorFly offers a devoted space on their cloud servers to host your apps seamlessly.
- Minimum Coding: MirrorFly offers low-code APIs, which means developers need not write lengthy codes to integrate them into the app.
MirrorFly’s Free Chat Features:
Below are the features you may avail for Free from MirrorFly:
- Unlimited Text Messaging
- Unlimited Voice and Video Calls
- Group Chats and Calls
- Language Translation to 100+ languages
- Unlimited Concurrent Sessions
- Chat Moderation
- Chat Analytics
- Unlimited Storage
- Dedicated Cloud Server
Pay-worthy Features by MirrorFly:
If you’re impressed with MirrorFly’s free messaging API and you’ve made yourself ready for their payable chat capabilities from their SaaS pricing packages, here’s a noteworthy list you might want to consider:
- Real-time Video Calls
- HQ Voice Calls
- Voice note sharing
- Location sharing
- Language translation
Just like MirrorFly, Sendbird lets you integrate chat, voice and video chats into your apps. You can use their APIs on any mobile and web app, and build communication features like chatbots, built-in analytics and chat moderation.
Sendbird’s Developer Plan gives your Free access to all its premium features with the limitation of a maximum 100 monthly active users.
Reasons to Try Sendbird:
There are several reasons why you should choose Sendbird as your in-app API provider. I’ve mentioned a few highlights below:
- Easy Integration: If you are looking for plug and play features for your chat app, Sendbird is an ideal choice.
- Personalization: The flexibility and customization that Sendbird offers is a noteworthy reason that users stick on to this provider
- Creative UI: Sendbird’s UI is popularly known for its smooth and out-of -the-box features.
Sendbird’s Free Chat Features:
Sendbird’s Developer Plan covers almost all of the messaging essentials for FREE. Here are the unique ones you must not miss:
- 10 Peak Concurrent Connections
- Analytics Dashboard
- Chat Moderation
- Message Translation
Pay-worthy Features by Sendbird
Apart from the no-cost features, you may have to check on few other exclusive features which cover a reasonable cost to use:
- HIPAA with BAA
- Private Dedicated Servers
- Data Export
- Guaranteed Response Time
- Service Reviews (Quarterly)
Another in-app Chat API that did rather well with its features is Getstream. This provider offers messaging functionalities and activity feeds for chat app developers.
Getstream API is free to use through the apps for 30 days. Although if you want to extensively use their features, you’ll need to upgrade to one of their premium plans.
When I tested Getstream, it was pretty much easy to integrate. It helped add reactions, threads, read receipts, typing indicators, URL enrichment. There are many other features available for a free trial. I’ve mentioned them ahead.
Reasons to Try Getstream
Getstream is unique in different ways. However, these are the top reasons why developers choose to try their APIs:
- Custom Features: Getstream helps you add customized chat features to your app, which helps you build a chat app based on your user preferences
- Easy-to-follow Documentation: The integration docs provided by Getstream are almost copy pastable. This grants you the facility to easily configure your app with getstream features within hours.
- Product Experience: Getstream helps you build engaging product experiences via its in-app messaging features. This helps you retain your customer loyalty and satisfaction for longer periods of time.
Getstream’s Free Chat Features
There are four different pricing plans that Getstream offers to its customers – Starter, Standard, Premium and Enterprise. Here is the top list of their features you need not pay for, until a limited period of time.
- Message Storage
- Support Response
- Moderation Dashboard
- Two Factor Authentication
Pay-worthy Features by Getstream
There’s more you can count on with Getstream features, and it comes with a cost. Here’s the best features that you should try from Getstream.
- AI Image Moderation
- Advanced Moderation
- EDGE Network
- Images and Files CDN
- Security Compliances
When your needs are simple and your budget is tight, Cometchat might be a suitable in-app chat API for you. This popular provider offers all of its core messaging features for Free with the limitation of 25 monthly active users.
Since the last few years, Cometchat has come with many other features including UI kits and extensions apart from its chat SDKs. So if you want an in-app chat API that is evolving and is user-friendly, Cometchat might be the one right for you.
Reasons to Try Cometchat
Below are the top reasons why developers should choose Cometchat for:
- Quick Integration: The setup of chat features is easy and fast. It would hardly take less than an hour to integrate the chat features into your app.
- Functionality: Adding Cometchat will allow you to build effective interaction among your users, across devices and on any platform.
- Backend Compatibility: Though Cometchat runs on the client side of the chat app, it supports any backend technology you employ on the backend
Cometchat’s Free Chat Features
There are a few basic features available at zero-cost. Check them out below:
- One-on-one and group chat
- Voice and video conferencing
- Link Previews
- Push Notifications
Pay-worthy Features by Cometchat
Cometchat has exclusive features that developers may find interesting. A few of them are listed below:
- Email Replies
- Bot Interface
- Role-based access control
Pubnub is another great option for adding chat capabilities to your app. You can use a limited set of features for free to create a pilot project of your chat app. But if you want full access to all Pubnub has to offer, it’s going to cost you.
Fortunately, the cost of their pricing plans are rather affordable. You get chat, streaming, location tracking, notifications and more. This makes Pubnub the reliable solution for developers on a budget.
Reasons to Try Pubnub
Among a good number of reasons why you should try Pubnub, here is the top 3 I’d wish to highlight about the provider:
- Flexible Features: You can add or remove Pubnub features from your chat app, anytime.
- Scalability: Pubnub allows you to expand your features as your user base grows. It does not charge you any kind of penalties to widen your horizons.
- Reliable Support: The support team is at the ready to help you in case of any issues or clarifications, if they arise during the integration process.
PubNub’s Free Chat Features
There are several features available for Free among the 4 pricing plans designed by Pubnub. But these are the essential features that your chat app might need.
- Direct and Group Chats
- Message translation
- Alerts and notifications
- Chat Analytics
- Event Streaming
Pay-worthy Features by Pubnub
Apart from the no-cost features, below are a few capabilities that you might have to check on from Pubnub:
- SAML single-sign-on (SSO)
- BAA signed for HIPAA compliance
- Volume based discounts
- 99.99% SLA guarantee
- < 100ms worldwide latency
My Top Picks
With that, I end my list of the top FREE in-app chat APIs for adding messaging capabilities to your chat app. Through this article, I covered,
- The factors you must consider while choosing an API provider,
- The best API providers who offer your FREE in-app chat APIs
- The list of features they avail at free of cost
- The list of features they charge you for
If you’d ask the best among them,
I’d choose Getstream and Sendbird for their smooth interaction features and their beautiful UI. Pubnub for the extensive functionalities and Cometchat for easy and quick integration.
However, my personal favorite is MirrorFly for the many features it offers with an impressively fast and responsive interaction rate at no cost.
Mention which API you tried or are about to try in the future has made it to the top of your list. I’ll soon get back with yet another insight on in-app Chat APIs. Happy Developing!