Product Development July 15, 2020

Any cheap chat APIs out there?

Adam La Morre @alamorre

Hey so I'm a freelancer and a lot of my clients need chat functionality. I can build it myself but externalizing that would save lots of time.

However, Steam and Sendbird are like ~$500 a month which is ridiculous.

Are there any cheap ($50/mo), preferably freemium, easy-to-use chat APIs out there?

If an IH is making something I'll bite as an early adopter ;)

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    You can create chat with firebase realtime database

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    Hey Adam!
    I've been thinking about doing this for a while now - a cheaper alternative to stream, sendbird etc.
    I just wanted to know - what load are you looking at? As in active users, storage, concurrent sessions etc?

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    I would see if you can get something open-source to run. I checked the services that are out there, and even contemplated building it myself, but it's actually something that is not hard to add, and most tools close you into pretty hefty scaling plans that start nice but get expensive fast. To build yourself, the market size is just not there. The biggest provider (Pusher Chatkit) just shut down.

    Plus, they usually take just as much time to implement as e.g. a pre-built open-source chat server.

    Some resources for you!

    https://github.com/Bearle/django-private-chat (what I use)
    https://talkjs.com/ (possibly the best alternative, but eek pricing)

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    Why don't you use Twak.to it's free with no paid plan for the Chat app.

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    What kind of chat are you doing? Is this like a support chat or just generalized message sending within a larger application or something else?

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      Peer to peer chat between users (to negotiate in my use cases)

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    What kind of chat needs? I get the general gist but that means a lot of different things to different groups.

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    Wow, I had this same exact problem last week. I also started looking into it. I set up a backend last week to try and solve this issue and was learning some graphQL to make calls. I feel like we can't be the only two with this problem.

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      Yeah it's kinda bs those companies wouldn't give first ~5000 messages for free to start or something...

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        Do you think people would go for a pay-per-use model? @alamorre

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          One could try many things!

          The problem I'm facing is my clients' apps are unproven so investing $500 per month in a single feature is stupid. I'd bite on as much as $25/mo or so to start if the api has a reputation / brand / compelling demo.

          But yeah I'm thinking of migrating everything to amplify anyways so maybe it's actually easy / reliable to set something up there - I'll keep you posted

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            Yeah - let me know how it goes. I came across https://getstream.io/chat/flutter/tutorial/ when I was looking into it. Same problem. Seems very expensive to start.

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    Do you care much about security and so on? You can build a PHP based one in few hours, for free ;-)

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      I get what you're recommending but I've done something like that before and its time consuming / hard to scale. Also yes, I would like to have security handled for me
      Thanks though!

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    This comment was deleted 5 days ago.

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      I'm going to try Amplify and AppSync to see if it's easy to do myself. If it's hard I'll consider taking you up on it lol

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        That's cool man ! All the best.