How To Develop a Messaging Application Like WhatsApp?

By Harikrishna Kundariya Mobile September 18, 2019 13 min read 605 Views

The founders of the WhatsApp App are Jan Koum and Brian Acton.

The question is, What Is WhatsApp❓

In 2009, when WhatsApp hit the market, it was popular for its instant messenger facilities. There was no alternative for the users in the market at that time.

The mobile messaging application was to exchange messages in real time. It used mobile internet or Wi-Fi for exchanges or transmission of messages. Its availability and applicability in every platform have increased its market growth.

How to Make a Messaging App like WhatsApp?

If you desire to develop a messaging App like WhatsApp, then analyze the market trends.

You should also look at the challenges your app will face. Analyze the cost of the development & hiring a dedicated development team.

Let’s take a look at market trends and growth, opportunities, challenges, etc.

The developer must know it before developing a mobile messaging Apps Similar to WhatsApp.

Market Trends, Growth, And Opportunities

The graph published by Statista showcases one major thing. There is a massive increase in users of mobile applications globally.

Shortly, this market will cross 2.48 billion users by 2021.

Number of mobile messaging users
According to Statista, the most popular mobile messaging app of 2019 is WhatsApp.

It has 1500 million monthly active users.

Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger has 1300 million monthly active users.

WeChat has 1040 million monthly active users. So, it is clear that mobile messaging applications have become a new trend in the market

These apps have ensured a massive growth in the mobile industry.

Messaging applications have become an essential part of everyday communication.

Today these Free Messaging Apps have emerged as new and powerful platforms. You can use it for conversations, calling, or video calling. It can also become a platform for eCommerce communications.

What WhatsApp Does?

The users can do the following with the help of WhatsApp:

  • Send Audio Files
  • Exchange Geodata
  • Send Photos
  • Send Contact Data
  • Send Voice Messages

Points To Analyze Before Developing The Messaging Application Like WhatsApp

To Create App Like WhatsApp, one must consider the following things:

  • The developer must launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the app. It will help to check its feasibility and get user’s feedbacks.
  • The developer must choose apt people for development.
  • One has to compete with already flourishing Text Messaging Apps. So, the developer must choose an experienced campaigners.
  • The developer must pay attention to his/her budget. After an estimate gets prepared, one must plan accordingly.
  • The developer should be in constant touch with the development team. It will help him/her for monitoring the progress.

Stepwise Process For Developing a Messaging Application Like WhatsApp

A developer should follow the following steps to develop an app like WhatsApp:

  • Choose a business model which helps to keep up with the market growth
  • Development of a team of designers, testers, etc.
  • Consider Team’s location and track the team
  • Build the messaging application’s architecture
  • Add features
  • Build a great design

Keep Up With An Excellent Business Model

Before developing the WhatsApp Messenger App, there’s one tip. The developers must keep in mind the challenges that he/she will face.

The following are the principles that one must keep a close check. It will help you in the Messaging App Development process.

  1. Target Audience: Determine your target audience
  2. Know your Competitor
    • Analyze market
    • Study the trends
  3. App Value
  4. Monetization
    • Monetization models that you use to gain a profit
    • Build an app that pays off
    • Such as:
      • Advertising: It is the most popular way of monetization of messenger applications. But there should be a controlled advertisement, and it should not be annoying for users.
      • In-app purchases: Such as users can buy a sticker. Other unique features for monetization model.
      • P2P payments: In this feature, users can send payments to other users. They pay a fixed fee for every amount.
      • App store optimization: Developers should have a promotion model. It helps to attract more users while developing the application.

Read also: How Much Does It Cost To Create a Music Video App Like Tiktok?

Application-MVP Features And Functionality

The in-built applications, their features, and functionality help in one thing. It ensures better engagement and retention of users.

It is the most crucial aspect to Make a Messaging App like WhatsApp.

There are already so many competitors in the market.

But what will distinguish them with your mobile application??

Innovation & Uniqueness.✔

People nowadays are looking for a messaging app that provides them to meet with every day.

The following are the features that must be there in a mobile messaging application:

  • The registration page is the entrance page of the messaging app. Then the user enters his or her credentials, i.e., their mobile number.
  • Then the messaging application sends an authorization SMS.
  • Next, the app accesses and processes this authorization SMS.
  • An add on feature for voice verification can be a unique feature.
  • Also, no duplication of number feature, like in WhatsApp. Since a number connected directly to the user’s phone, then there is no chance of identity theft.
Address Book Formation
  • While the installation process, the messaging app first creates an account. After that, it asks the user to enter the username.
  • Then the messaging application automatically checks all the mobile number’s. These are the numbers that are already there on the user’s mobile phone.
  • It matches them with the application software database to set up a list of contacts.
  • WhatsApp uses the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). With this protocol, it creates a contact database with the Jabber ID.
Message Exchange
  • Both one to one and multi-user communication features (MUC).
  • A platform for exchanging messages must be there in the messaging application.
  • Once the user clicks on the dedicated button, there will be a pop-up of the contact list. The list os the one saved in the application software database.
  • The user can select the other user whom he or she wants to send the message.
  • There should also be an option of group creation. It allows WhatsApp Chat with multi-user.
  • WhatsApp comprises of a feature called Broadcast Lists. With this feature, a user can send one message to several users at once.
  • The Extensible Messaging & Presence Protocol (XMPP) technology gets used. It’s for exchanging of text messages.
  • The user can begin WhatsApp Group Chat with several users. It is like
  • Unlike other APIs where the socket closes after the message is either sent or received.
  • In this, once the user opens a socket and stays logged in the socket remains open.
Voice Calling
  • It helps the users to connect with other users. By way of calling feature inbuilt in the messaging app.
  • There’s a dedicated button for voice. When the user clicks it, it initiates a voice call to another user.
  • WhatsApp uses the PJSIP library. It’s to install and start VoIP facilities.
  • PJSIP is an open source multimedia communication library. It’s written in C which implements VoIP facilities.
  • The library then uses high-level API. For that, it combines the signaling protocol with the multimedia framework. The NAT traversal functionality also comes into play.
  • This API is the best. It works on all types of systems.
  • Notifications play an essential role in user communication and engagement.
  • The notifications help in making the user aware of new messages. When a message gets received or when an invite for a group chat comes.
  • It is either done through push notifications or pop-up notification.
  • WhatsApp Developer can use Apple Push Notifications or Google Cloud Messaging.
  • These cloud messaging services then use HTTP/2 Multiplex Protocol. With the help of these protocols, it notifies the users.
Contact Sharing
  • This feature helps the user to share contacts through the messaging app.
  • The user who received the data can then save it. The contact gest saved in the application software database.
  • This feature is like message delivery or exchange.
  • The XMPP protocol helps in the exchange of contact.
Multimedia Files Transmission
  • The user should have a facility to send short voice messages, pictures & videos.
  • It helps the user with easy accessibility of data also.
  • The user utilizes this procedure when he or she uploads a multi-media file.
  • The multi-media file transmitted gets sent as a link to YAWS server. It works together with its Base64 encoded thumbnail.
Location Sharing

Live Location Sharing WhatsApp

  • For Building an Instant Messaging Application, this feature is vital.
  • It helps the user to share their geo data or geolocation.
  • Also, it ensures they never to get lost.
  • Google play location services API is excellent. It helps in implementation, integration, and sharing of geolocation.
  • Apple’s Core Location framework for iOS developers is nice. It reports the iOS run device’s current location to code.
  • Developers can also add a feature of showing maps in the messaging app. With the help of the location framework, developers can achieve it.
Settings Adjustment
  • Everything about an adjustment in settings comes under a head of settings.
  • App Developers and designers should try to develop an innovative setting.
  • The user gets an opportunity to contact in case of any query.
  • He or she may read the information of the messaging application or FAQs.

Further, it must have settings for various heads like:

  • Profile Settings:
    • The user can change his or her profile picture or user name or status.
  • Account Settings:
    • Features for adjustment in recent actions of users which are open to the other users.
    • Must include block list or in a way to affect the viewers of the action.
    • Changing number or switching number facilities. It will be applicable and more useful in case the user changes the mobile number.
    • Delete users account: Applicable in one scene when the user doesn’t want to continue using the messaging app.
    • Further payment info, storage usage, etc. come under this section.
  • Chat Settings:
    • The user must have the option to personalize his/her UI. It includes chat backgrounds, backups, media transmission, etc.
    • Chat history facilities should get provided to the users.
    • Chat Application Development gives emphasis on these aspects.
  • Notification Settings:
    • The user must have an option to mute his or her notifications.
    • Sometimes notifications tend to annoy the users. Providing an adjustment feature for the same can be useful.
  • Data Usage Settings:
    1. With this feature, the user can manage the flow of data and thus control it. To Build App Like WhatsApp, you need to have an idea of data usage.
Message Storage
  • WhatsApp doesn’t store user’s messages on its servers.
  • Once a user sends a message, the messages stay in the temporary storage till the time of the receiver’s acknowledgment.
  • App development companies can develop an app with server storage. But, they have to pay attention that the users don’t want to compromise private data
  • The developer has to choose the right way of End to End Encryption.
  • You can also analyze WhatsApp security.
Self-Destructing Messages
  • These are generally available in Messaging App Like Telegram and Snapchat.
  • In this context, the XMPP technology considered as obsolete now. Telegram uses MTProto, which is more secure and more reliable.
  • Or the developer can use MNSP24, which Skype uses.
  • Adding stickers help the user to communicate in a friendly and trendy way.
  • It further increases and ensures user engagement and retention in the messaging application.
  • Nowadays, users are looking for other contents in a single platform.
  • They want something more than just regular text exchange facility.
  • Messaging app has storage of stickers as an inbuilt feature.
  • Additional monetization model usingin-app purchases.

The following table gives an idea about the cost of development and time required for the development of MVP features:

MVP Features Cost (In $) Development Time (In Hours)
Registration 2650 53
Messages Exchange 10900 218
Video Calling 5000 80
Notifications 750 15
Location Sharing 1000 20
Multimedia File Transmission 2000 40
Contact Sharing 3600 72
Self-destructing Messages 400 8
Settings 5550 111

Design Of The Messaging App

It is the place where the app development firms show their skills & desires. App developer and designers can work hard on this aspect.

They can design attractive messaging application with different colors, font styles, images, and content.

An attractive and pretty looking app increases the chance of customer engagement retention.

Developers and designers need to devote approximately 60 hours. After that, they can create the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) designs.

Messaging Apps Development Team

Before developing a Chat Application likeWhatsApp, hire a dedicated development team.

Everything must get planned according to the budget of the developer.

The following points get taken care of:
  • Finding skilled and experienced Developers
  • Consider Team’s location and Staff numbers
    • The cost of development varies on the employee’s location.
    • For instance, if the development team is from Eastern Europe. Then according to the average salary there, it will cost $ 50 per working hour.
The team members must/can include the following:
  • Sales manager: can stay in touch with the client before & after the development
  • Project manager: can take the business analyst’s responsibilities
  • Requirement analyst
  • Quality assurance engineers: 1 to 4 members
  • Software developers
    • It depends on the complexity of the project.
    • 2 to 5 members for front end development
    • 2 to 5 members for back end development
    • 2 to 3 members for post-release support
  • UI/UX designers: 2 to 4 members
  • Marketing manager

What Is WhatsApp’s Tech Stack Or WhatsApp Core: Its Platform?

The tremendous growth of usage of WhatsApp over the years is in front of everybody. The fact that there was no application on par with. It is possible because of the tech stack.

The developer must consider research on itsWhatsApparchitecture. It is essential to know the background of the messaging app.

After Facebook acquiredWhatsApp, there was a massive increase in user engagement. It is because of Facebook’s tech stack.

Developers must pay attention to the application’s tech stack.

WhatsApp uses the following tech stack:
  • OS: FreeBSD
  • Stack: LYME/LYCE
  • Offline Database: SQLite
  • Language: Erlang
  • Virtual Machine: BEAM
  • Database: Mnesia
  • Servers: Ejabberd. Ejabberd enables the following features:
    • Privacy settings
    • Group chat: multi-user chat (MUC)
    • Simple blocking extensions
    • Store and forward (offline messages)
    • Message Archive Management (MAM)
    • Contact list and Presence
    • Personal event protocol (PEP)
    • Typing indicator
  • YAWS another server for multimedia file storage
  • RC4 or Rivest Cipher 2: a cipher method
  • Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) technology to transfer messages.
  • Programming language depends on the platform on which the device runs. For example, Objective-C or Swift for iOS. Java or Kotlin for Android platforms.

The Cost Of Developing a Messaging App Like WhatsApp

The development process of an app like WhatsApp can take up to 1620 hours. The cost of developing an app like WhatsApp would be approximately $ 20 – $ 30.

The following estimation is keeping in mind the stated features:

Services Estimated Costing
Platforms (iOS and Android) 12800 $
Admin 6800 $
Project Management 3500 $
APIs 6000 $
Design 4000 $
Testing 3500 $
Total 49, 400 $

The pricing may vary from one App Development Company in NYC to another. It’s based on their region or the preferred designs or features.


The conversation trend nowadays gets driven by messaging applications.

These applications have flourished the market growth of the mobile industry. But developing an app similar to that of WhatsApp will not help the developer to get success. Ensuring engagement and retention of a user is vital.

For that, the developer must be ready to promote and provide unique features. He/she must be prepared to face the challenges in the market.

Developers with innovative ideas and excellent business strategy will surely reach the way.

Disclaimer: We at eSparkBiz Technologies have created this blog with all the consideration and utmost care. We always strive for excellence in each of our blog posts and for that purpose, we ensure that all the information written in the blog is complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date. However, we can’t always guarantee that the information written in the blog correct, accurate or up-to-date. Therefore, we always advise our valuable readers not to take any kind of decisions based on the information as well as the views shared by our authors. The readers should always conduct an in-depth research before making the final decision. In addition to these, all the logos, 3rd part trademarks and screenshots of websites & mobile apps are the property of the individual owners. We’re not associated with any of them.

Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, app lover, technology savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz @Mobile App Development Company where you can Hire Mobile App Developer. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on app development.


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