How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App Like WhatsApp?

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Categorized as: Mobile Development

Whenever we talk about instant messaging apps, WhatsApp is usually at the top of our list. And why not? It’s the most popular and by far the most used mobile messaging application in the market. But, did you know the cost to develop an app like WhatsApp is not too much?

So, yes, you can build your own instant messaging app like WhatsApp, without burning a hole in your pocket. To know how to keep reading.

So, like I was saying, WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging mobile app. As of Feb 2020, the app had over 2 billion active users worldwide.

And now it also has a dark mode and allows up to 8 people to join a group video call.

However, with the recent privacy policy updates of WhatsApp, which claims to ask for a variety of personal info from a user and allegedly shares this data with its parent company, Facebook, users in many countries have started looking for more secure and safer alternatives to WhatsApp.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that this is the best time for anyone who is planning to create and launch a mobile messaging app like WhatsApp.

And with so many affordable & experienced WhatsApp-like app development companies out there, building your own mobile app similar to WhatsApp is easier than you might think.

But, of course, to build a successful mobile app, you must understand the various costs associated with building such an app, in this case, the cost of developing an app like WhatsApp.

Before we get into the details of the WhatsApp development cost, let’s get to know more about this globally-used social messaging app to understand why it’s worth it to build an app like WhatsApp.

Why Should You Build Your Instant Messaging App Like WhatsApp?

Build Your Instant Messaging App Like WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a mobile-focused instant messaging app that enjoys being one of the most popular mobile apps in the world.

Besides Facebook and Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp is the third most downloaded and used app of this decade.

Interestingly, WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook.

WhatsApp was founded in 2009. In just four years of its inception, WhatsApp became the fastest-growing app of that time.

By 2013, the app had 419 million active monthly users, which is more than what Facebook managed to get in its first four years.

The WhatsApp instant messaging app is popular for many reasons. First of all, it’s a global platform, which allows users to chat globally, without geographical restrictions.

Another reason for the huge success of WhatsApp is that it’s free to use. Unlike SMS, WhatsApp chats do not cost a single penny.

All you need is an active internet connection, and you can talk to literally anyone in the world using WhatsApp.

So, clearly, WhatsApp enjoys a lot of success, both in terms of popularity and revenue.

If you wish to replicate even a fraction of this success, building an app like WhatsApp is your best option.

Another reason why we need more apps like WhatsApp is that WhatsApp is not a perfect app.

Even this instant messaging giant has issues, such as privacy concerns, dependence on the internet connection (may not work in an area with low connectivity), etc. 

The biggest concern, as we found out just now, with WhatsApp is user privacy. Users of WhatsApp are required to share some personal details, including their phone numbers, with the company and other users in order to chat.

Also, the profile pictures and status on WhatsApp are public (visible to contacts) and can be misused.

Also, there is a new concern regarding the WhatsApp privacy policy, according to which the app might be sharing user data with its parent company Facebook.

All these things have made many users look for alternatives to WhatsApp. Clearly, we need more instant messaging apps that are more secure than WhatsApp and respect the privacy of their users.

You can build the next WhatsApp, which is better than WhatsApp.

So, How Much Will It Cost To Develop An App Like WhatsApp?

Cost To Develop An App Like WhatsApp

That’s kind of a relative question, with many possible answers. The cost of building an app like WhatsApp can be huge, or not so much, depending on the features & functionalities you want in the app.

Did you know WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion in 2014?

So, you can imagine how much it would cost to build an app exactly like WhatsApp. Also, you should know that WhatsApp (company) was not built in one day.

The WhatsApp we see today is much different and evolved from the original WhatsApp launched in 2009.

Realistically, it’s not feasible or affordable to build an app exactly like WhatsApp, unless you are an enterprise and have huge funds to support such a big project.

As a small business or startup, you can always build your own unique instant messaging app inspired by WhatsApp, i.e. having similar features as WhatsApp. This will cost much less compared to the cost of WhatsApp development.

Also, there are other similar messenger apps/platforms that you can take ideas from. These include Skype, Telegram, Viber, WeChat, etc.

A general idea is that any app similar to WhatsApp can cost in the range of $10,000-$50,000 to develop, depending on the features and complexity.

Cost Of Building An App Like WhatsApp

The cost of developing a WhatsApp-like app will depend on the features you want in your mobile app. The more the number of features in your app, the more it will cost.

So, it’s important that you take some time to research and understand your requirements and goals for the app. Based on that, create a plan, including all the features and functionalities you want in your instant messaging app.

Here are the features that you can consider including in your WhatsApp-clone app.

Instant Messaging

When you are planning to build an instant messaging app, one of the core features you’d want to add to your app is instant messaging.

The instant messaging feature will allow your app users to send instant messages (chat) to each other.

Since you want a messaging app similar to WhatsApp, you should probably add the option to find and chat using the phone number of a user, which means the app will need access to the contact list.

Besides text, you can also allow users to exchange images, videos, audio, etc. via the messaging app.

Also, you’ll need to have a dedicated and highly secure server in order to temporarily store users’ messages and also for storing backup files.

WhatsApp also allows sharing locations, contacts, etc., which you may consider adding to your own app.


WhatsApp also has an option for calling, which is similar to the phone’s default calling feature, except that it uses the voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) to allow users to make phone calls using the internet/data.

Similar to messaging, this service is also free and doesn’t charge anything from the user. However, a user must have an internet connection on their phone in order to use the WhatsApp calling feature.

If you are planning to add the calling feature to your instant messaging app, you can take the idea from WhatsApp and other VoIP apps like Viber.

User Panel

The user panel or interface is the app section that your app users can see and interact with. Make sure to build a great user panel to attract more engagement and traffic.

The WhatsApp-like app development company you hire must have good experience building user-friendly interfaces for mobile apps.

The features to add to your app’s user panel section include:

Register: An option to register on the app, allowing new users to sign up using their mobile number. The app will verify the mobile number through SMS or call.

User Profile: There will also be a profile section, the same as WhatsApp. Here, users can see their profile, update photos, status, etc.

Contact list: To start a new chat, the user must grant access to their contact list, which will be then shown in a dedicated tab in the app. The list will only include contacts who are already using the app.

Settings/Privacy: When creating an instant messaging app like WhatsApp, privacy should be a major concern for developers. You must give options for users to change their privacy settings, allowing/blocking other users to see profile pictures, updates, etc.

Other advanced User Panel options & features you can consider adding to your app include set chat wallpaper, view chat history, group chats, etc.

Admin Panel

You as the owner and admin of your WhatsApp-like app must have a separate Admin Panel, which you can use to manage things such as app updates, design, users, backups, security, privacy actions, analytics & reporting, etc.

Depending on your choice and preferences, you can add options for managing (adding/editing/deleting) chat layouts, managing & monitoring user activities to prevent fraudulent actors, and allowing users to back up their chats & media on a secure server or on their own device, managing and updating privacy guidelines as required, taking actions against user reports, tracking the performance and statistics, and more.

Push Notifications: This is the feature that will allow you as an app admin or owner to send important notifications, alerts, etc. to the app users via push technology, i.e. the user will receive the alert directly as a notification on their phone.

Advanced Features In WhatsApp-Like App

Other than the basic WhatsApp features mentioned above, you can also consider adding some advanced features to your mobile app.

Need help? Hire our expert mobile app developers to build your advanced WhatsApp-like app for the lowest price.

Here Are The Top Advanced Features Of WhatsApp:

Chat Encryption: WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption for chats, including media shared in the chats, which means no one but the actual users can see the chat data. This is an important feature to add to your WhatsApp-like app, especially if you are serious about user privacy.

Video Calls: WhatsApp also now has a video calling feature, which users can use to call other users on WhatsApp (using the internet data) and video chat with them. This is a premium feature, which you can add if your budget allows it.

Analytics: Analytics is a crucial feature, as it allows the app admin (you) to efficiently track the overall app performance, including the number of downloads, installs, active users, etc. The app owner can use analytics data to improve decisions and strategies.

Money Transfer: One of the latest advanced features that WhatsApp has added to its instant messaging app is Money Transfer. This will allow users to transfer money directly to other app users from within the app.

Story and Status: Whatsapp status allows you to share text, photos, videos and even GIF updates that disappear after 24 hours, and that too is end-to-end encrypted. To watch and show status updates to and from your contacts, you and your contacts must have each other’s phone numbers saved in your phone’s contact book.

So, How much does it Cost to Develop an app like WhatsApp with (or without) the above-mentioned features?

Besides the number and types of features, the cost of building your WhatsApp-like app will also depend on a number of other factors, including the app platform (Android/iOS), the developer type and cost, and the app development time.

For developing a WhatsApp-like app with only basic features (mentioned above), the cost will range between $10,000 and $25,000, depending on the developer’s cost and time.

However, if you want to add advanced features such as video calling and money transfer to your WhatsApp-clone app, the cost of developing such an app could go as high as $50,000, again, depending on your developer.

SAG IPL is a full-service mobile app development company that specializes in creating social & instant messaging mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms. We guarantee the best WhatsApp-like app development services at the lowest cost in the market.

WhatsApp-clone App Development by SAG IPL

When you choose to hire WhatsApp app developers from SAG IPL, you don’t get access only to a developer but to an entire team consisting of a project manager, mobile app developers, designers and content creators. And mind it, we have the best professionals for every job.

Our developers have experience in working with all the latest technologies, including Google Web Toolkit, Datastax, Mandrill (emails), Google cloud messaging, modern payment solutions like PayPal & e-wallets, AWS cloud, real-time analytics, and more.

Hire A Project Manager: Our project manager has 20+ years of working with and managing development projects ranging from website development to app marketing. He will be your main point of contact for all updates, communication and other project things.

Hire An App Developer: We have the best-in-class mobile app developers with extensive experience in building WhatsApp-like and other varieties of social mobile apps. Choose from our vast team of front-end developers, back-end developers and Testing & QA professionals.

Hire A Mobile UI Designer: To build a successful WhatsApp-clone app, you’ll need to create an awesome UI that is both attractive and user-friendly. And you can hire some of the top UI/UX designers, with experience in WhatsApp-like app design, from SAG IPL.

Hire a Content Creator: Before your app can go live, it must include proper content in all the right places. Some of the core contents/pages to add to your WhatsApp-like app are our terms & conditions, user privacy terms, etc. For this purpose, you can hire a dedicated technical content creator from SAG IPL.

Depending on your budget, you can hire a dedicated app developer (on an hourly or project basis), or an entire team consisting of the above professionals.


By now, you must have a very good idea of how much it would cost to build your own app similar to WhatsApp.

Make sure to analyse your goals and expectations properly and come up with a detailed plan, mentioning all the features and options you want to include in your app in order to better come up with an estimated cost.

If you need more detailed insight into the app development cost or want to discuss your app idea with an expert, feel free to connect with us.

Hire an expert WhatsApp-like app developer or team at affordable rates with a 100% satisfaction guarantee from SAG IPL.

Also Read: App Store Optimization (ASO) – Definitive Guide – Infographic

By Amit Gupta Founder and CEO of SAG IPL

Amit Gupta, who is the CEO and Founder of SAG IPL, founded this company with the vision to become the #1 provider of quality-driven and cost-effective blockchain marketing and development services in the world. As a Chartered Accountant with a keen interest in software and web development, he manages a team of over 200 professionals, comprising designers, developers, and marketers, committed to delivering top-notch web, software, mobile, and blockchain solutions to clients worldwide. Linkedin


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