Chat API comparison: TalkJS vs Twilio
We bring you a comprehensive comparison of features and pricing for these two chat APIs. Both Twilio and TalkJS can help you ship a chat feature quickly. Let’s dive in and explore the core differences.
Table of contents:
Twilio is a giant in the messaging API market that started out with SMS messaging. Today, they offer a solution that supports multichannel messaging, i.e., you can build systems that use SMS, MMS, chat, and even WhatsApp. You could say that Twilio is a jack-of-all-trades type of solution with an emphasis on SMS messaging.
TalkJS, on the other hand, is 100% focused on making its chat API great for user-to-user chat, group chat, and chatrooms. It provides out-of-the-box features like the pre-built chat UI and notifications that all require minimal investment from developers. While Twilio is a nuts and bolts type of solution. It provides you with the fundamentals of creating a chat, but you need to build and maintain the solution yourself.
|Available for web and mobile||✔️||✔️|
|Pre-built chat UI||✔️||❌|
|Highly customizable UI theme||✔️||❌|
|Multi-language chat interface||✔️||❌|
|On-premise installation||✔️Only with Enterprise plan||❌|
|WhatsApp integration||✔️ (Possible with a third-party API)||✔️|
|Full conversation history||✔️||✔️ Depends on the price|
|Real-time translation||✔️ Comes out-of-the-box and supports 34 languages||✔️ Possible with webhooks and the Microsoft Translator API|
|SMS notifications||✔️ Custom pricing (Amazon SNS)||✔️|
|Reply-via-email directly (sync to chat)||✔️||❌|
|Mask contact info||✔️||❌|
Both TalkJS and Twilio base their pricing on the number of monthly active users (MAUs).
Let’s take a closer look and see how much Twilio costs:
- 2500 MAU – 125$/mth
- 5000 MAU – 250$/mth
- 10000 MAU – 475$/mth
- 20000 MAU – 900$/mth
- 50000 MAU – 2250$/mth*
- 100000 MAU – 4500$/mth*
*after 20k MAU, you have to contact Twilio sales to get a price estimate, so we’ve applied the last tier of pricing.
As you can see, the prices start somewhat affordable but get pretty hefty real quick as you scale the number of active users. And on top of that, Twilio charges for media storage 0.25$ per GB per month and 250$ for premium support, which makes the pricing seem a bit nebulous when you’re just starting up with a new chat feature.
With regard to features, the TalkJS Basic and Growth plans provide core messaging essentials as well as some advanced ones like:
- Pre-built UI
- Customizable chat UI theme
- Reply-via-email directly (email-chat sync)
- Support via chat
- Custom email notifications and domain (Growth)
- Priority access to roadmap (Growth)
For use cases that require an on-premise installation, custom paperwork, a proper SLA, or guaranteed performance under heavy load, the Enterprise plan is a great fit. It also offers at-rest encryption and dedicated phone support.
Multichannel messaging API vs Chat API
Twilio is best known for its SMS messaging API, from which they expanded to MMS, chat, video and voice. It works great if you plan on building a multichannel solution that requires, let’s say, SMS, video, and chat. But, if you need a chat feature for direct messaging, group chat, or chatroom, then it’s best to choose a solution tailored for those use cases like the TalkJS chat API.
Most chat APIs provide a backend-as-service along with UI components or Sketch designs (UI design kit) to make the frontend part of the integration somewhat faster. With Twilio, you have to design and create the chat UI from scratch, which gives you complete control over the design, but it could make the whole chat integration take a few months.
TalkJS, on the other hand, provides a complete chat solution, frontend and backend, in a single package. You get the infrastructure, the code, and a fully functional chat with highly customizable UI (Themes), including the design. The UI is forward compatible, so the chat will keep working on future devices, new features, or future browser bugs. In other words, you can deploy our chat solution in a couple of hours.
The TalkJS theme is a CSS file that allows you to tune the look and feel of the chat UI. The core UI layout stays the same, but you can make it fit the website or app design. With just a few lines of CSS, you can change the default UI (on the left) to look any way you like.
TalkJS provides premium support on all pricing plans with no additional cost. The support team is staffed with developers any customers can reach via the website live chat at any time.
Twilio has separate pricing for support. There’s a free plan with no guarantee on response time, while the most affordable premium support plan costs 250$/mth or 4% of monthly spend.
It boils down to the scope of your project. If your messaging feature needs capabilities like SMS, video or voice, then Twilio can be an excellent solution for you. But, if you plan on creating a solution specialized for chat messaging and want to ship fast, then the TalkJS chat API with the pre-built chat UI should be your pick.
Ready to start coding? TalkJS is free for development and testing. You’ll have plenty of time to customize and integrate your chat. You pay when you decide to go live. Try it out!