WhatsApp is incredibly popular amongst mobile users around the world, and it has over a billion users. So What Is The Cost of Building An App Like WhatsApp? While WhatsApp is currently the world’s most popular mobile messaging service, that hasn’t always been the case.

More than one and a half billion users use this application every month. This enables me to further explain by taking a moment to bring it into perspective for you. Around 1.3 billion Facebook Messenger users connect with the app per month, and Skype has 300 million monthly users.

While these tips are intended for those trying to create messenger applications, it is still smart to follow the other apps that existed before yours. In essence, you can copy WhatsApp functionality, and you can build your own app based on their concepts.

Although I cannot guarantee that you will reach 1 billion monthly users, the good news is that you’ve made it this far with the thought that you can make an app similar to WhatsApp! That is a very ambitious target to reach; after all, Tech is the new oil. The best way to go is to reach for the stars and see where you land.

Before you can begin designing a social chat app like WhatsApp, you first need to consider the development costs. Before I dive into The Cost of Building An App Like WhatsApp, let me tell you a brief history of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp History

Let’s start just at the very beginning. Wake up: WhatsApp was founded a decade ago, back in 2009. The two original co-founders, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both previously worked for Yahoo. The duo decided to pursue other ventures after they left Yahoo in 2007. You might be surprised to learn that Brian Acton applied for a job at Facebook in 2009 while he was working on WhatsApp. He did not get the job because his application was ultimately rejected.

Now, take five years into the future; in 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion.

Yes, that is correct. Only five years after its inception, the company was valued at nearly $20 billion. It is an astronomical figure. Reality dictates that a product like this is not feasible for low prices. For those who want to create a replica of WhatsApp, you must be willing to spend the money, lots of money.

Prior to that, Acton and Koum had raised $250,000 from a few of their former colleagues at Yahoo for their seed-funding round. Based on what the app ultimately sold for, we can conclude that they profit handsomely from the investment.

It did not happen overnight, but that’s where we are today. Check out the company’s early user growth to see how their numbers have expanded.

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How Does WhatsApp App Work?

Sending and receiving messages on WhatsApp requires an active Internet connection. Regarding sending text messages, this is a cost-effective alternative as mobile carrier networks traditionally offer SMS messages.

It is because of WhatsApp’s secure, reliable, and private qualities that it works so well. Your data is safe in this app, as users aren’t at risk of forgetting their passwords, or usernames, or getting locked out of the app.

For the app to work, it has to connect with the user’s mobile phone number on sign-up. It is impossible to duplicate phone numbers.

This, too, is like AOL Instant Messenger: users can set status in WhatsApp. That means you’ll be able to relay important information to those you connect with when you’re away from your desk or in a meeting. Messenger platforms that offer different features like this include Kik, LINE, Snapchat, and Telegram.

However, the key aspect that led to WhatsApp’s broad acceptance and efficacy comes down to its basic principles. The application can be used for messaging (Wi-Fi or cellular data), which are shared in real-time through an Internet link.

This is a significant competitive advantage. One factor that you should remember when looking at Verizon Wireless as an example is the fact that it is actually the most popular wireless carrier in the United States.

When calling a domestic phone, Verizon costs $0.49 per minute. The global average is $0.25 for outgoing international texts and $0.20 for incoming international texts.

That does mean you’ll end up spending more in the long run. But through WhatsApp, consumers can connect domestically and abroad for free.

What Is The Cost of Building An App Like WhatsApp?

First, Let me Highlight The Features of WhatsApp.

To create an app like WhatsApp, you need to understand the functionality to include. Mobile applications have risen significantly in recent years, with each new feature costing more money. So, it’s completely up to you whether or not you would like to add these or not.

I will help you with an in-depth rundown of WhatsApp’s most critical features so that you can determine if it’s right for you.

  • Instant Messaging

To create a functioning messaging app, of course, users must be able to initiate a conversation. This involves the configuration of a dedicated button that allows the user to initiate a conversation and then let them pick an entity from their contacts list, which should be incorporated as well.

In order to build an equivalent app, you would also need a framework for allowing users to access their interactions from one device.

There are no SMS costs for using WhatsApp instant messaging because of its dependence on an Internet connection. And if a WhatsApp user is offline and doesn’t have a connection, they can get an incoming message as soon as they are back online.

Not only do users transfer text messages via WhatsApp, but they can also send images, videos, audio files, and documents to each other as well.

WhatsApp messages use XMPP (extensible messaging and presence protocol) technologies.

It’s also important to find out that WhatsApp messages aren’t saved on the WhatsApp server. For the time being, the messages are on the list, waiting for the receiver to remember them. When this occurs, it will be delivered to the server’s temporary storage, where it will be permanently deleted.

When you need to store messages on the server with your mobile messenger app, you’ll need to ensure that the information is secure.

  • VoIP phone calls

VoIP is an acronym that stands for “voice over Internet protocol. In short, that is how WhatsApp is used to facilitate phone calls.

It’s essentially the same as using the Internet, WiFi connection, or the user’s cellular network data plan, although it is a little more specific. Mobile network plan customers don’t have special abilities when it comes to calling.

It can be stated that users will not have their minutes depleted or be charged for making calls using WhatsApp. However, users could be charged by their mobile service provider if they exceed the data usage limitations established by their plan.

Even if you do not have a data plan, any calls made while a device is connected to Wifi are completely free.

With WhatsApp, you can only make calls to other WhatsApp users. For example, users could not make a call to a landline with this app.

  • Video chat

Besides phone messages, WhatsApp allows users to use the app to send each other videos.

So there is simply no cost to you, regardless of where you live in the world. It is achieved in the same way as using a VoIP phone using the internet using WiFi or cellular data. Like Skype or Facetime, video chats are straightforward to use.

  • Group chats and calls

In addition to engaging in private one-on-one interactions, WhatsApp users may also form groups with one another. Group chats allow you to send photos, videos, and text messages to the people in your group.

Up to 256 members may be linked to one group, allowing for a great deal of group organization.

It is simple for users to keep track of their interactions in a group chat since it can be personalized and named. Community chats are popular for one feature: being able to mutilate message sounds, which are known as chatter notifications

Another feature that WhatsApp provides is community calls. In 2018, they started the rollout of group video chat for iOS and Android devices. There is no limit on the number of users for group video calls, but you can only add 250 members to an existing group chat.

  • Geolocation integration

If you have the WhatsApp app installed on your computer, you can share your location with friends in real time. “Live Location” is a function that is currently available.

It is now possible for users to broadcast their current location to their mates, making it simple for them to locate each other for takeoff. If you’re going to be on the move, it’s far better to have a mailing location than supply someone with an address.

Let’s use an example. For example, when you’re walking around in a city, In this case, merely sending your location to a friend would have the effect of making them come to meet you. When you have started traveling, you are free to move where you please rather than only waiting for a certain landmark or meetup venue.

To further ensure users’ protection, you can set a timer for how long you want to share your location. Alternatively, consumers have the option of specifically deleting their location information from someone else’s account.

To use this feature in your Android app, you can use the Google Play location services API. Google developers prefer this process, as opposed to the android.location kit.

When operating with iOS applications, you will be using Apple’s Core Location system for geolocation integration.

  • Calendar synchronization

Additionally, the WhatsApp app will interact with the user’s phone calendar. To allow the application, the user only needs to provide permission for the application to access their calendar.

To instantly and conveniently send notifications about dates and times to their calendars, consumers can only click on the notification and pick Add to Calendar. This is also less time-consuming than working through the process manually.

An example of this will be if you use WhatsApp to connect with somebody for business. If you get a message saying to contact them at noon tomorrow, they sent it to you. It just takes a few seconds to include this thing on your schedule. As long as you keep on top of your warnings and recurring incidents, you can still handle them from there.

  • Cloud services as Storage

WhatsApp also makes use of cloud technology in a few different ways. We already covered this subject when we previously mentioned how they don’t hold messages on their server. However, while they are incapable of holding anything, users are also able to store items.

The easiest way to complete this mission with a chat app is to connect to the cloud and sync resources. With this progressive feature, it is easier for smartphone users to back up app content to the cloud.

Moreover, cloud platforms provide different alerts, which can use to monitor these notifications. Whenever a WhatsApp user gets a post, gets invited to a party, or gets a notification of some kind, they’ll get a notification sent to their phone.

This is done in what way? Notifications are sent via cloud providers and the HTTP/2 multiplex protocol to the users of the app.

  • Chat Encryption

If you’re making a mobile app for mobile phones or tablets, protection still has to be prioritized.

Additionally, as I said earlier, one of the reasons why WhatsApp has seen such widespread popularity is that it is both secure and dependable. End-to-end encryption is used when transmitting messages so that no one can decrypt or change the contents.
The following visualization reveals the stark distinction between end-to-end encryption and other approaches.

For starters, Instagram, Skype, and Twitter are not a true end-to-end framework. This also ensures that the creators of such applications have access to every message received via the platform. Messages in which threats were made can also be accessed by law enforcement.

As you will see, it is not the case for WhatsApp. Only those involved in the conversation have access to the messages on this platform. The WhatsApp creators themselves have no means of knowing the content of messages. An additional explanation why WhatsApp doesn’t keep messages on their server is that they don’t keep a copy.

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption. If you try to create a similar app, you’ll probably have to use end-to-end encryption.

  • Multimedia file transfers

WhatsApp offers multimedia file transmission as a standard feature. This means that anyone can send all different types of files and data through the app.

  1. Video
  2. Image
  3. Voice
  4. Animation
  5. Documents
  6. Contacts
  7. Location
  8. GIFs

Additionally, some of these points have already been addressed, so we don’t need to rehash anything. Each of these files has a different file extension. You would have to include these features if you want the software to run in the same manner as WhatsApp.

To do this, multimedia files can be served by an HTTP server before sending a link to the content, and the Base64-encoded thumbnail is the specified alt-image for the link.

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WhatsApp Cost Breakdown

Since you now know the requisite functionality and requirements needed to construct an app like WhatsApp, it is time to explore the financial implications. Remember the question is What Is The Cost of Building An App Like WhatsApp?

These are just figures; please use them wisely. Your expenses will be all over the place, depending on a wide variety of things, such as who you employ, what technologies you use, and the kind of platform you build with.

  • Software development team

Even if you have any coding experience, you cannot create an app this complex on your own. To help you out, you’ll need to assemble a software development team.  Below are some recommended roles:

  1. Project manager
  2. Web developers
  3. Mobile app developers
  4. Requirement analyst
  5. QA engineers
  6. UI/UX designers

All will be different for everyone. Such factors, such as the software development team members’ location, affect the cost per hour.

This chart shows how much construction costs in the United States may be 25 times higher than in India.

Instead of having to recruit each job separately, you may want to search for an all-in-one option. An organization that specializes in mobile app creation would probably be your best bet.

This kind of job is likely to be already established within an organization. They are also used to working together as a team to develop applications. The agency’s cost can vary based on the scale of their business and your own project evaluation as well.

  • Hourly breakdown

Some of the app features will be more complex than others. We’ll go through some hourly estimates for how long it will take to develop the essential front-end and backend elements.

  1. Registration and address book: 40 – 50 hours
  2. Messaging: 150 – 200 hours
  3. Multimedia file transmission: 30 – 35 hours
  4. Location: 15 – 20 hours
  5. Contact sharing: 55 – 65 hours
  6. Voice and video calls: 150 – 200 hours
  7. Settings: 80 – 100 hours
  8. Design (UX/UI): 50 – 60 hours

Once again, they are purely projections. The duration of each step may still be shorter or longer. But for the most part, I would predict that you’ll invest the bulk of your messaging app production hours in these time scales.

Based on these estimations, it should take you about 570 to 730 hours to build an app like WhatsApp. For our purposes, we’ll take the average of those two figures, which is 650 hours.

  • Total cost

Now that you have a rough estimate of how many hours the development process will take, it’s just a matter of doing some simple math.

I took the average rates of the regions we looked at earlier to reach the final costs. All of these calculations are based on 650 hours of development.

  1. USA and Canada: $150 per hour = $97,500
  2. Western Europe and UK: $102.50 per hour = $66,625
  3. Australia: $100 per hour = $65,000
  4. Eastern Europe: $85 per hour = $55,250
  5. India: $45 per hour = $29,250

Besides, it is often important to look at the extremes instead of the averages. In the previous case, it took an approximate maximum of 730 hours to complete your app’s production. If you planned to go with an organization in the US that costs $250 an hour, you made the decision. The sum it would cost you to build the app, in this case, is $182,500.

Additionally, if you plan to choose a cheap overseas developer at just $10 per hour, you will be taking on the burden of a 570-hour construction time. In contrast, if you go for a more expensive developer in the United States, that person will handle the job’s full responsibility. You would have to spend $5,700 to execute everything.

At the end of the day, none of these drastic situations are plausible. The first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to search the globe for the most expensive developers. This is particularly true if you plan to go for a higher-end firm that costs an above-average hourly rate. In that situation, they would definitely finish the job even faster.

Another option is that a low-budget developer based offshore won’t have the ability to finish your project quickly. Additionally, the standard of your app will suffer should you adopt this technique.

I present these outlandish similarities to stop scaring you into thinking that it would be easy to create an app like WhatsApp for less than $6,000. On top of that, it is extremely doubtful that you would have to spend well over $180,000.

Using our calculations based on the global data I provided above, I can predict that the total cost to create an app like WhatsApp is $62,725.

That’s a more accurate estimation for planning and budgeting purposes.

You must be able to benefit from the cost of developing your app if you’re going to invest all this money. It is difficult to pin down the precise amount of money WhatsApp is making due to the takeover by Facebook.

The company’s old app monetization strategy was easy to understand. There are different locations worldwide where it used to cost $1 to use an app, while other areas’ payments for app access are $1 a year. To me, it doesn’t seem that thin. Scaling it up to 1.5 billion people, however, is a whole different story.

Beginning in 2018, WhatsApp began experimenting with peer-to-peer payments in India.
This technique can be extended to the mobile messenger program, and it can be considered a monetization strategy. When people who use your software wish to make a purchase, you can function as a broker between the parties and get a share of the sale or set your own fee.

As of today, WhatsApp does not contain any advertisements. You can certainly use your own mobile messaging app to run advertisements.

There are several methods for monetizing applications, including in-app purchases. For example, you could make stickers or other messaging add-ons that would make users more likely to buy because of how simple the user interface is.


The question is, how much does it cost to build an app like WhatsApp?

We’ve calculated the hour and expense prices, which give us an approximate estimate of $60,000. Although I assume this is right, it’s important to note that many aspects have to be accounted for.

Although it’s not absolutely important to use WhatsApp as a guide when building a messaging app, you should absolutely consider it. Identify the main features the app should have, and then review their feature list and settle about what you’d like to include.

As I’ve mentioned, if your messenger app is similar to WhatsApp, it’s important to reiterate that your messenger app should still be better than WhatsApp. To know your app’s worth, you must first grasp what it does. In order to get users to use it, it must give some form of alternate value to the consumer. It would be virtually impossible to deal with a giant like WhatsApp until you become one.

Decide on your particular niche. It is important to be successful even though you have just a billion consumers. Scaling your users is what you need to do, and you should have a monetization plan ready as well.

There are various ways to do this. It would be best to collaborate with a specialized marketing team to guarantee the software is developed quicker and at a cheaper cost. This would be far better than recruiting each position one at a time.

So tell me, How are you planning to develop and monetize your mobile messenger app?

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