How to Create an Instant Messaging App like WhatsApp- Complete Guide



WhatsApp is a messaging app for smartphones, owned by Facebook, which was created in 2009 by two former Yahoo employees, Brian Acton and Jan Koum. They started this app just like a startup, but it grew rapidly with 250,000 users in a month. It grew so rapidly, that they started charging yearly subscription charges to lower the usage rate.

WhatsApp Messenger has become the leading mobile messaging app in 169 countries. The app dominates in India, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., but surprisingly it is not very popular in the USA.

We have summarized some of the most important WhatsApp features, including its development procedure, app development cost, along with its functionality.

Before we start, let’s take a quick look at the market analysis of WhatsApp.

Market Analysis of WhatsApp

Whatsapp Statics

WhatsApp crossed the mark of one billion users’ messages daily till 2011, on the other hand, WhatsApp was able to boast 200 million active users till 2013. In 2017, this number increased to 1.5 billion.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular applications which comprises 1.5 billion users in 180 countries. Facebook has 1.3 billion active users, which makes it the second most used application. This seemed a threat to Facebook, Therefore, Facebook acquired WhatsApp by offering a very huge price of $19 billion in 2014.

What makes WhatsApp so Popular?

WhatsApp is one of the most highly used messaging apps, which offers end-to-end encrypted instant messaging when connected to a good internet connection. It can be used on various platforms, like Android, iPhones, Windows, and Mac.

  1. Unique Concept 

When WhatsApp was launched in 2009, it had a very unique concept as compared to other applications. Earlier, there was Skype which provided the facility of free calling but was only available for PC at an initial stage. WhatsApp has provided the facility of free messaging for all platforms, this feature was highly appreciated by its users.

  1. WhatsApp Provided a Facility Of Free SMS

Before WhatsApp, sending messages was costly and limited, in some parts of the world, each message even cost a dollar. WhatsApp solved this issue, by providing free messages to other users, in any part of the world. In addition to this, it supported multimedia content and all this was free of cost.

  1. WhatsApp Helped In Identifying the Users

Whatsapp mobile app provided a facility to identify the users when connected to a network, by identifying users through their contact number. Plus, if you have the saved contact info on your mobile, there won’t be a need to ask for a username. This made the entire process easier as compared to Skype.

  1. WhatsApp Works on Every Platform

Whatsapp App was initially started for Android and iOS mobile phones then transitioned seamlessly for mobile phones and tablets. Later it was expanded to Windows Phones and Nokia cell phones. This was the main reason behind the popularity of this application.

  1. Enhanced Features

Earlier when WhatsApp was launched, it provided features like group chats, multimedia sharing along with text messages. Later on, it evolved itself by adding features like free video calling, voice calls, and recorded calls.

  1. WhatsApp Is All About Mobility

WhatsApp was made for mobile devices, which was very much different from its competitors and this made WhatsApp very accessible to use. It was launched at a time when people were shifting from PCs to mobile phones, this gave a boost to its growth.

How Does WhatsApp Work?

I am very sure, all of you must have wondered, how whatsapp  App works so efficiently?

Here is a brief glimpse of is technical functionality:

1. Insights on data transfer in WhatsApp

WhatsApp manages approx. 50 billion messages in a day. The length of the message queue of the processes is linked with a node and it is monitored.

In the case of multimedia messages, like audio, videos, or images, as soon as they are shared, they are uploaded to an HTTP server and are associated with the content. It is further transferred to the receiver’s end, in the form of a thumbnail.

2. The protocol used by WhatsApp

The protocol which is used by WhatsApp is Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). This makes sure that it offers network security in order to prevent the transfer of sensitive or private data.

Whenever a message is sent from the sender’s end, it gets queued on the server and waits until the receiver reconnects to the network in order to receive the message. As soon as the message is sent at the receiver’s end, it is displayed by a double tick, after the delivery of the message it is instantly deleted from WhatsApp’s server memory. 

3. The registration process of WhatsApp

Users have to register on the application by using their registered contact no. On entering the number, the user can verify their identity with OTP or a missed call. As soon as the user is verified, WhatsApp will direct the user to its chat screen.

4. Database management

FreeBSD is the Operating System used by WhatsApp type apps to run its application on devices. To store multimedia messages, it uses a web server known as YAWS.

Mnesia improves the overall efficiency of the database to achieve quicker responses. Mnesia is a multiuser DBMS which also acts as a default DB of ERLANG Mnesia.

How to create an app like WhatsApp?

To make App like WhatsApp you need to follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Firstly, you need to choose a proper business model to build chat app like WhatsApp
  • Step 2. Build your app’s architecture
  • Step 3. Determine Minimum viable product features to create your own WhatsApp
  • Step 4. Design your WhatsApp-like app efficiently
  • Step 5. You need to hire experienced developers or hire an established company that knows how to build app like WhatsApp
  1. Choose the right business model

Before you start developing an app similar to whatsapp, first you need to choose your right business model to get the desired results. Check out the main specifications, you must include, in order to develop the applications:

  1. Determine your target audience

First of all, you should analyze your target audience, it refers to the audience who will use the application after its development. However, WhatsApp is used by youngsters and people in corporate sectors, as it offers excellent security and is easy to use.

  1. Monetization models

When you develop the app, obviously you want to generate some revenue from this app. When you create an app like WhatsApp, you need to finalize monetization models to gain huge profits.

  1. Keep an eye on your competitors

Knowing your competitors is an advantage for you, as it helps you to analyze the actual scenario of the market, and helps you to make your application better. This can help you a lot to develop whatsapp like apps.

  1. Know your app value

If you are designing an application that is very much similar to WhatsApp, you should analyze its value before developing the application. It is very crucial to add some new and unique features, in order to give tough competition to WhatsApp:

  • P2P payments. 

This feature is used by WhatsApp, it helps you to send payments to your contacts. The receiver has to pay a certain fee after the completion of each payment. Due to this entire process, the sender will be getting a fixed percentage of each transaction. 

  • In-app purchase. 

Users of your application can buy emoji packs and GIFs, in order to enhance their user-experience.

  • Advertising. 

This is the most effective and common method to monetize your apps and earn revenue from it. Just make sure, you don’t add many advertisements on your apps, as it might irritate your users.

  1. App Promotion

When the app is finally developed and is available on the play store, you should start doing promotion for your app, in order to ensure millions of downloads.

Start with WhatsApp core: build the platform

This section is all about the back-end of your application, we have figured out some vital information which is responsible for the excellent message exchange mechanism of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp comprises an Ejabberd (XMPP) server which allows message transfer with high speed and accuracy between its users. This server offers high speed even in heavy traffic, which was the main reason why developers used this technology to build app like WhatsApp.

The programming language which is used to code  WhatsApp is ERLANG, it comprises agile technology that is efficient in adapting instant updates and hotfixes. It allows code restructuring by making some changes to the Ejabberd server.

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If you want to develop an app similar to WhatsApp, you can use other scripting languages also. Erlang can also be used on the server-side, similar to what messenger’s techies did. Others such as Telegram or Kik, have used Node.js to code their servers and for video apps such as Tik Tok like app development, Java and Kotlin can be used. 

  • For power servers, the FreeBSD operating system is used for the WhatsApp app development.
  • They have been using  Mnesia as their database because it’s the default database for the Erlang language.
  • It uses an Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) technology to transfer messages amongst the users.
  • WhatsApp uses RC4 (Rivest Cipher 2) as their cypher method.

Features to be included In your app

Now it’s time to see what happens on the client-side of a modern-day messaging app like WhatsApp.

Top Features to build app like whatapp
  1. Registration

First of all, your app should have an interactive and convenient process to allow your users to register on your application. In order to increase the security of your application, you can ask for the OTP, which acts as a verification code similar to the WhatsApp Android app.

  1. Messaging Service

This is the most important feature to develop a  messaging app like WhatsApp, you should design your app in such a manner that it is highly convenient to use.

One of the most crucial features of chatting apps like WhatsApp is data security. According to statistics, more than 95%of Americans are afraid of data leaking. If you want to use a different method for data security, we have jotted down some of them:

  • Snapchat: It vanishes the entire chat as soon as 24 hours is completed
  • Telegram: It offers a feature to delete the entire chat history on all devices.
  1. Multimedia files sharing

Emojis, stickers, and pictures are very essential to express yourself effectively. It helps the user to build a connection and also enhances your application.

Along with this, Synchronization with different cloud servers is very essential for chat backups.

  1. User location

This is a very useful feature of WhatsApp, which should be incorporated if you are thinking of developing a similar application. Location services help the users to feel safe and boosts their confidence during emergencies. Also, allows them to stay organized during traveling. You can use special tools like Google Maps, Apple MapKit to implement this feature.

  1. Free international calls

WhatsApp uses the network connection of the user and receiver in order to provide the service of voice and video calls, free of cost. Due to this feature, you can connect to anyone across the globe. It uses your data plan, rather than your mobile minute plan.

  1. Excellent Backup Facility

WhatsApp links your account with Google Drive to manage your chats backup, you can even store this backup on your device. It prevents data loss and ensures that your chats including multimedia are backed up properly on your cloud or device. But if you store it in your device, it acquires a lot of space as the chat backup comprises multimedia files also.

  1. WhatsApp Web

Just in case you want to use WhatsApp on your PC, you can scan your QR code on your desktop, and your chats are visible on your browser. Once it gets connected you can use it on your device. The most beneficial thing about Whatsapp web is that it doesn’t use double memory, if you have downloaded an image on your phone,it will automatically be downloaded on your desktop screen also.

  1. High Security

WhatsApp ensures complete privacy amongst its users, as it comprises high-security features. It uses two-factor authentication, which requires a second password that is sent to your phone in the form of a text message in order to access your account. Additional to this, it offers end-to-end encryption, which is similar to Apple’s iMessage and Signal. This simply means that all the messages can only be read by the receiver and the sender, these messages are not accessible to WhatsApp even if it wants to view them. This app neither stores the information of your contact, nor your personal details. Besides, if you have blocked someone they can not send you messages, but they still appear in common groups.

  1. Block unwanted people and spam

Almost every one of us has experienced spam and messages from unknown contacts, they could be promotions or advertisements. Whatsapp has a feature to simply block or report them. along with this, it ensures that blocked contacts can not text or call you further. Also, they won’t be able to view your last seen and other activities.

Total Time and Cost Required to Develop an App Like WhatsApp

Cost to create app like whats app
  •  Registration and address book: 40 – 50 hours
  • Messaging: 150 – 200 hours
  • Multimedia file transmission: 30 – 35 hours
  • Location: 15 – 20 hours
  • Contact sharing: 55 – 65 hours
  • Voice and video calls: 150 – 200 hours
  • Settings: 80 – 100 hours
  • Design (UX/UI): 50 – 60 hours

These are just estimates of the time taken to build each section of your applications, they can even vary depending upon the conditions.

Total Cost

The total WhatsApp cost which is required to develop an app similar to it, with the same features is around $50,000- $60,000.These prices can also vary depending upon the features list you select for your application.

What is WhatsApp Clone?

Clone app Whatsapp is a hacked version of the original WhatsApp application, it is mostly used for spying purposes. In order to use the Whatsapp web clone , one has to scan the QR code of WhatsApp, this process is similar to Whatsapp web for android.

To access the whatsapp clone app, you only need to scan the code and it can automatically authenticate it. Plus it will allow the user to use two WhatsApps on two devices, this process is the same for whatsapp clone for iPhone and WhatsApp clone for android.

Hire a dedicated development team

In order to develop apps like Whatsapp, the architecture of the application should be excellent, which can automatically influence people to use your application. A poorly designed app will not give you satisfactory results. Developing an application is not an easy task, we would advise you to hire an experienced developer to seek the advice on how much it will cost to build an app or you can hire an established company for the same.

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Consulting Whiz is a leading mobile app development company in USA. We have a team of experts with many years of expertise in the field of messaging app development cost. We assure you build your desired application, as we have 10 years of experience in developing Whatsapp like app development. Consult our team to clarify your doubts on how to build an app like Whatsapp, budget estimation, and timelines required to develop your application.

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