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What will it cost you to develop an instant messaging app similar to WhatsApp?

Back in the year 1990, the concept of instant messaging for the first time hit the conventional world. Fast-forwarding some twenty years the world has adapted the niche in their lifestyle. We spend most of our time in the vicinity of our smart-phones and Wi-Fi networks.

Instant messaging applications have become an integral part of our lives. In this niche, the big players can easily spread their wings with vast revenues. In this dawn ‘WhatsApp’ rules the era with more than a billion users worldwide.

Are you pondering about how to create a messenger application but have basic knowledge about it?

Has the success story of some companies made you think in this direction?

Do you have some amazing features in your mind and want to add them along with the basic ones?

Don’t worry! it’s your lucky day as ‘Androtunes’ will help you cross all these thoughts. Here we bring to you how to come up with an application like WhatsApp and what will it cost to build a similar messaging application? So, stay tuned with us and keep developing.

A Clear Synopsis

The users of WhatsApp have grown exponentially and we cannot escape the reality that it requires big bucks both in terms of investments and development.

The focus is to develop an app that will be favoured by billions of users across the globe. So, the app should be reliable and secure so that your users feel confident about connecting with their contacts. First, we will look into what all features we must keep and then determine the cost entailing them.

WhatsApp technical stack

The technological stack of WhatsApp includes the following:

#OS: FreeBSD

#Database used: Mnesia

#Offline database: SQLite

#Virtual Machine: BEAM


#Server used: Ejjaberd and YAWS for multimedia storage

#Language used: Erlang

What should be the salient features of your messaging application?

WhatsApp is considered to be an evolution in the messaging sector loved by all for the features it carries along. With the growth of technologies, the tech giant has even started experimenting with bots and artificial intelligence. They have also tried to simplify brand management and enterprise-level communication for business and e-commerce through their chat features.

The key features must include:

  1. A better server
  2. Real-time events
  3. Sharing of files and images
  4. Using the phone number for registration
  5. Making voice calls
  6. Recording the voice mails

The other key functions to make your full-service chat application loved by billions include:

l Sync of cloud services

l Self-destructing messages

l Synchronization of calendar

l VoIP telephony

l Group calls

l Integration of geo-location

l Chatting in multi-platforms

l Video chats

l End to end encryption of chats

l Include in-app purchases

l Transfer of multimedia files of several formats such as contacts, location, files, images, videos, voice notes, gifs, document animations, stickers, etc.

Let’s have a closer look at the key features your application must-have.

  1. Server-A Mediator

Every chat application needs a server that will store all the messages and then transmit them. This mediator takes charge of maintaining the database. WhatsApp earlier used the XMPP-server Ejabberd but later took to an in-house solution. Erlang was used as the main language. PHP was also put to use.

  1. Real-time events

A perfect UI response includes the implementation of events and notifications in real-time. For providing responsive events various technologies such as WebSocket which is used for a permanent two- way connection when your application is in online mode and push notifications used preferably when the application is running in background mode or inactive. High priority events such as adding a new friend and receiving messages are performed on both these channels.

The time required:200-220 hours (For both front-end and back-end development)

  1. Sharing of files and images

Long gone are the days when messaging applications were only used to send text messages now all the user demand an application which can send other media files as well. To do so you will need to perform several algorithms because of the variations in operating systems which takes a lot of debugging time.

The Time required:40-50 hours

  1. Using phone number for registration

Connect your application directly to a user’s phone number eliminating the worries of duplicity, losing passwords, or any case of identity theft. To implement this the server will send a message to the registered user. The clients upon receiving the message will have to pass back the verification code to the server. This process needs certain time limitations and automated.

The time required:50-55 hours

  1. Making voice calls

Voice call is the most tedious and expensive feature to implement as the voice quality generally depends on many features. All these features need to be performed and then tested. For VoIP, WhatsApp uses the PJSIP library which supports multimedia communication.

The time required: 200-220 hours

  1. Recording the voice mails

The voice messages must have a pause and rewind function and play in the chat window without the interference of any external programs. The entry of files is done with certain OS functions. The server acts as an intermediary between the user and the client application.

The time required:20-25 hours

Total Development Cost

The overall estimated cost of a WhatsApp clone sums up to $50000.

For the prototype, it might cost: $5000

Development for all OS: $28000

Backend development: $17000

A version without voice calls will cost around $32000.The cost varies according to the various technologies and functions you implement in your application. This is the estimated cost and it might vary as your app steps up the ladder of various functionalities such as encryption, cryptography, and other trends.

The overall estimated time for the development process is approximately 231 hours for android and 208 hours for iOS platform with all the required features from registration, message sharing, notifications, multimedia transmission, and location sharing. With the additional specifications, the time required might increase.


Now as you know about the market potential as well as the WhatsApp clone development step forward and give wings to your ideas.

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