DEV Community

richard
richard

Posted on • Updated on

10+ Best Live Chat Solutions-Hosted, Self-Hosted, Free, & Paid (Compared & Reviewed)

I want to make this decision easier by showcasing the best live chat solutions so you can find the right solution for your apps. Let’s face it – with so many options on the market, there will only be a few left standing in the end, so you want to make sure you pick the winner.

Sales is the life blood of any business. In the day & age of purchasing on the internet, live chat assists the customers in making a purchase decision.

Statistics have revealed that_ 44% of consumers_ admit that having a live chat feature on the website helps in the purchase of a product.
Out of myriad live chat solutions in the market, we have picked the best and listed them out with details in this article.

Types of Chat Solutions

There are several kinds of chat solutions in the market. Businesses can build or choose a live chat solution based on nature, requirements, and budget.

  1. Hosted vs Self-hosted
    Hosted – Business own the infrastructure on which the live chat solution is installed and maintained
    Self-hosted– Live chat solution provider hosts and maintains it on cloud

  2. Free vs Paid
    Free services will have limited features and are yet good for start-ups and bootstrapping businesses
    Paid services for a full range of premium features – suitable for eCommerce establishments and established companies that can allot a budge

  3. Open-source vs Proprietary code
    Open source– If businesses want to access and modify source code
    Proprietary code – If businesses want to outsource this task completely

Hosted Live Chat Solutions

When businesses build custom live chat solutions, they can opt for hosted live chat solutions to receive complete hosting services. Everything that is required for a live chat solution to be hosted – infrastructure, servers, maintenance, upgrades and security is taken care of by the provider for a monthly fee. It is a cost-effective way for any business and it only requires integration with the solution provider’s server.

Top Hosted Live Chat Solutions

Businesses don’t have to take care of a single thing relating to hosting their live chat solution with a hosted live chat solution service. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is a recurring monthly bill for it. If this is something you want to opt for, here are your top options

1. Drift

Drift, the hosted live chat solution can be integrated with most of the popular CRMs. It is 100% customizable. Apart from live chat, it can also be used to fill contact forms. Other features include playbook logic, chatbots that have editable scripts.

  • Cost – Free & Paid plans available
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Proprietary

2. Intercom

Businesses that want to build custom live chat platform, with a human touch should opt for Intercom. It has features like typing indicators, emojis, and GIFs that make chat more fun even if it is a professional conversation. Their easy-to-use dashboard can re-route the customer chat to a new team member.

  • Cost – $39 per month onwards
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Proprietary

3. Zendesk

Zendesk chat solution can be used for live chat app development for businesses of any size. The UI can be customized and it has myriad tools for sales and support teams. Businesses can integrate Drupal, WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Joomla, and SquareSpace in their live chat app development.

  • Cost – Free and Paid plans are available
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Proprietary

4. Freshchat

When a business develops a live chat app for a website using FreshChat, they can integrate all leading payment processes to encourage in-app sales. Slack and Chrome extensions can also be used. Freshchat uses machine learning and natural language processing to deliver the best chat experience.

  • Cost – 21 days free trial and 3 premium plans
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Proprietary

5. Olark

Businesses that want to develop live chat applications for pre-sales and post-sales customer support can use Olark. Customer support executives can share screens within the chat window for better customer support, search transcriptions and transfer chats.

  • Cost – $15/month onwards
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Proprietary

Self-hosted live Chat Solutions

Businesses who have a dedicated in-house development team and would like to gain complete control over their live chat solution can opt for self-hosted live chat solutions. You can configure, troubleshoot, maintain and host your live chat solution on your own servers.

1. Rocket chat omnichannel

This is an ideal self-hosted live chat software for small businesses and startups who are looking to hire additional manpower for dedicated customer support. Using Rocket chat omnichannel, businesses can respond to live chat from their existing work dashboard, thereby allowing them to multitask.

  • Cost – Free & paid plans available
  • Hosting – Hosted and self-hosting available
  • Source code – Proprietary

2. Live chat helper

Businesses can use live chat helpers to build enterprise instant messaging solutions. It can integrate Flutter and configure single sign-on (SSO) for additional security. Sign in with Google is another advantage for its users. Managed version is a premium service that is available from a live chat helper

  • Cost – Free and managed plan
  • Hosting – Hosted and self-hosting available
  • Source code – Open Source

3. Mibew Messenger

This self-hosted live chat solution is available as a plugin and an application. It is easy to embed it into sites built on WordPress since it is coded using PHP & MySQL. Mibew Messenger can only work on websites and web browsers. It cannot be embedded in Android and iOS applications.

  • Cost – Free
  • Hosting – Self-hosted
  • Source code – Open Source

4. ActiveHelper

ActiveHelper’s plugin can be integrated into WordPress, Joomla and Drupal websites. This self-hosted live chat solution is a one-time purchase, charges yearly for support and a fee for every upgrade. It offers custom buttons, canned responses, transfer of chats, proactive chat initiation, etc

  • Cost – $40 onwards (lifetime license)
  • Hosting – Self-hosted
  • Source code – Open Source

Open Source Live Chat Solutions

Businesses keen on modifying the source code of their live chat solution can opt for open source live chat solutions. This allows users to copy, modify and update the source code by any user of the chat solution. As long as the business has deployed a skilled developer, they should be able to use this without any trouble.

1. sChat (SimpleChat.support)

Businesses that want to build enterprise instant messaging solutions in a Meteor app can use sChat to integrate live chat. If you use any other open-source solution, coding and updates have to be done from scratch.

  • Cost – Free
  • Hosting – Self-hosted
  • Source code – Open Source

2. Converse.js

Businesses that have deployed skilled and experienced development teams can use Converse to build self-hosted live chat solutions as it requires extensive coding for implementation. It also offers encrypted messaging.

  • Cost – Free
  • Hosting – Hosted or self-hosted
  • Source code – Open Source

Free Live Chat Solutions

Small scale businesses, independent brands, and startups who will have low chat volumes, to begin with can utilize free live chat solutions. However, free solutions come with limited functionality, limited features, and security risks. The ones listed below are secure solutions for businesses to try.

1. Chaport

Businesses can use Chaport to provide live chat across mobile, desktop, and web browsers. You can get a host of features in the free version without being bogged to purchase the premium version. The premium version is available though, yet with advanced features.

  • Cost – Free
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Open Source

2. Hubspot Free

Users can store, organize and manage the sales and leads generated using Hubspot’s free live chat solution. It has a clean interface and all the basic features required for any business.

  • Cost – Free and premium available
  • Hosting – Hosted
  • Source code – Proprietary

Building a Custom Live Chat Solution: Why Business Owner Choose

When you build a live chat solution for your business, it is essential to choose the right live chat solution to get the results you want. Apphitect uses cutting-edge technologies like Ejabberd server, Mnesia & Mysql, Erlang, Amazon S3 bucket, and Apache Cassandra. The chat solution uses cloud hosting service and native hosting to provide real-time chat experience. Businesses of any nature and size can use Apphitect to build a live chat solution to cater to their business requirements as it is 100% customizable.

Conclusion

Building a live chat solution from scratch that caters to all the requirements of your business, customization, and personalization for your clients will require a huge investment of time, finances, and skilled developers. The best way to work on this is to opt for a live chat solution provider who offers all the features you require which will help you build the live solution you require. Stay ahead of your competitors by using a custom live chat solution to provide the best customer experience.

Discussion (1)

Collapse
turker_tunali profile image
Türker TUNALI ⚡ • Edited on

Chatwoot also seems promising.