5 top Sendbird alternatives: How do competitors compare?

Sara Ana Cemazar
June 15, 2023
min read

For every brand wishing to expand its business or communication strategies, choosing an in-chat app and communication platform with the best capabilities is essential. 

Sendbird has gained popularity by establishing a strong reputation for delivering robust API and platform services. 

However, Sendbird also has several drawbacks, like pricing structure, the complexity of implementation, and limited customization, prompting many to explore worthy Sendbird alternatives.

In this blog post, we review some of the Sendbird alternative chat API offerings in the market and explore how they stack up against Senbird.

What is Sendbird?

Sendbird is a communication platform offering chat, voice, and video solutions for businesses across different sectors. It offers developers the infrastructure and resources to integrate real-time communication features into their websites and applications seamlessly.

Sendbird has a well-deserved reputation as one of the industry's top provider. With its extensive features and reliable performance, Sendbird has cemented itself as a preferred in-app chat solution for numerous businesses and developers.

Features of Sendbird

  • Teamwork and real-time communication platform with controlled user access, privacy, and security.
  • SDKs and APIs for seamless integration of chat features into iOS and Android apps.
  • Developer resources and tools, including documentation, guides, sample codes, and SDKs for software development.

Sendbird pricing

  • Developer: Free
  • Starter: USD 399- USD 1,199+
  • Pro: USD 599- USD 1,799+

Why look for Sendbird alternatives?

  • Sendbird's pricing may be slightly more than those of some competitors.
  • Implementing and configuring Sendbird may necessitate technical knowledge, particularly for new users.
  • Sendbird's video conferencing capabilities may be limited in comparison to specialized platforms.
  • It may have restrictions in terms of the level of customization provided.
  • Sendbird's cloud infrastructure may have shortcomings in security, and it does not prioritize dedicated instances, resulting in numerous clients sharing an AWS instance.
  • The platform lacks an omnichannel solution, which may impede seamless communication across numerous mediums.
  • Sendbird does not provide professional services support, which may be inconvenient for businesses that require assistance beyond the regular platform capabilities.

Sendbird and its alternatives: comparison of in-app chat API features

Comparing the top Sendbird alternative chat API offerings in the market

Several options are available for identifying the top Sendbird alternative chat API offerings in the market. Here's our list:

1. Rocket Chat

Rocket. Chat is an open-source communications platform that focuses on delivering a customizable messaging platform developed for communities and businesses that demand higher degrees of data protection standards, such as defense, healthcare, energy facilities, and more. It facilitates seamless collaboration, and enables elevated user experience with a fine-tuned customer experience. 


  • Pop-up Chat Notifications
  • In-App Messaging
  • Multiple customization modules
  • Conversation Archiving
  • Team Inbox
  • Customer Profiles
  • File Sharing
  • Integrations, mobile and web applications
  • Audio Conferencing
  • Video Conferencing
  • White labeling options


  • Rocket.Chat prioritizes security, providing features like end-to-end encryption, data retention policies, and compliance with industry standards such as GDPR and HIPAA.
  • The open-source solution provides flexibility and customization options. Users can choose between self-hosted or cloud-based deployment options.
  • Comprehensive support for seamless communication across various channels.
  • Personalize the platform's interface, features, and integrations.
  • Benefit from a vibrant community and ecosystem of developers and contributors.
  • Collaboration tools like file sharing, screen sharing, and secure video conferencing.


  • Rocket.Chat sometimes necessitates broader technical knowledge and installation, maintenance, and server administration resources.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

Talk to sales

How does Rocket.Chat differ from Sendbird?

  • Rocket.Chat offers self-hosted and cloud-hosted deployment options with open-source flexibility, while Sendbird focuses solely on cloud-based deployment with limited customization.
  • Rocket.Chat provides cost savings with a flexible pricing structure, including self-hosting options.
  • Rocket.Chat is an open-source platform, which means its source code is free to use and modify. Sendbird is a proprietary platform.


Pricing is based on the number of team collaboration users & omnichannel agents. 

Community - Free


  • USD 7/user/month: Minimum of 25 users
  • USD 35/agent/month: Minimum of 5 agents

2. PubNub

Sendbird alternatives

PubNub, another Sendbird alternative, is a real-time messaging and chat API platform offering reliable and scalable communication infrastructure. PubNub connects quickly with multiple platforms and supports a number of SDKs. It enables developers to build in-app chat experiences and online chat rooms according to their needs and preferences.


  • Secure communication features
  • Device synchronization
  • Message history
  • Presence detection


  • Leverage from a multi-region solution with 15 data centers and data replication to prevent single points of failure.
  • Ideal for networks of IoT devices with limited bandwidth.
  • HIPAA, GDPR, and SOC 2 Type compliance, as well as end-to-end encryption


  • Inconsistent message delivery and order
  • Dependence on HTTP transport protocol affects performance
  • Ineffective payload transmission due to lack of message delta compression
  • Unpredictable and complex pricing structure

How does PubNub differ from Sendbird?

  • PubNub provides a chat experience equivalent to Sendbird.
  • Sendbird offers React Native,.NET, and Unity compatibility, while PubNub's ChatEngine supports iOS, Android, and JavaScript.
  • User banning, message deletion/edit, invitation, friend list, bot interface, smart throttling, moderation, and profanity filters are among the messaging features offered by Sendbird that PubNub does not have.


Customers can choose from three different plans on PubNub's price website, including free, Gold, and platinum add-ons, as well as a fixed rate of USD 399/hour for live event assistance and customer support plans.

  • Free: Test up to 200 MAUs
  • Starter: Starts at USD 49/month and increases based on MAU

3. Twilio

Sendbird alternatives

Twilio offers a robust chat API that enables developers to implement real-time messaging features in their applications. It has a rich offer and is used by enterprise companies for end-to-end customer communication.


  • Rich message types
  • User authentication
  • Message history
  • Channel management


  • Customization flexibility
  • Flexible pricing options
  • Ability to engage customers on Telegram and WhatsApp
  • API integrations


How does Twilio Differ from Sendbird?

  • In leveraging WebSockets for chat connections and adhering to compliance rules, Twilio and Sendbird are similar.
  • Sendbird stands out for its chat-specific features, which include pre-made UI elements, sophisticated messaging choices, scalability, moderation, auto-translation, and a higher group chat capacity of 20K users.
  • Sendbird has complicated overage charges, Twilio's pricing is more straightforward.


The price structure of Twilio ensures that you only pay for the services you use. Twilio provides three major products—Twilio Engage, Segment, and Flex—along with its chat service and additional add-on products to augment your monthly subscription. 

4. Stream Chat

Sendbird alternative

One of the best in-chat app alternatives to Sendbird, Stream Chat is flexible, customizable, and designed to build chat applications. Stream Chat provides SDKs for different programming languages and platforms.


  • Push alerts
  • Typing indicators
  • Real-time texting
  • Chat channels
  • Message searches


  • Instant communication with real-time functionality.
  • Handling large-scale chat systems with scalability.
  • UI that may be customized to align with branding.
  • Rich features, including push alerts and typing indications.
  • Interoperability across platforms for smooth integration.


  • Costs increase as the number of users increases
  • Limited integration options in comparison with certain competitors
  • Advanced features might need to be customized

How does Stream Chat differ from Sendbird?

  • Stream offers slash commands, live stream traffic feature switching, multi-tenancy, and GIF support in their chat APIs and SDKs, with global edge infrastructure for lower latency compared to Sendbird's region-based cloud
  • Stream supports up to 5 million concurrent connections, while Sendbird limits to two per 100 MAU. Stream has no upper limit on group channel members, unlike Sendbird's default restriction of 100. 
  • Stream's AutoModeration with semantic filtering surpasses Sendbird's partner integration.
  • Learn more about best in-app chat alternatives to Stream.


  • Start-Up: USD 499
  • Standard: USD 1,299
  • Premium: USD 2,299

5. CometChat

Sendbird alternative

CometChat is a popular chat API and messaging SDK that enables businesses to add real-time chat functionality to their applications and websites. It's often listed as one of the best alternatives to Sendbird for in-app messaging.


  • Real-time Messaging
  • Voice and Video Calling
  • Multimedia Sharing 
  • Ready-made UI Components
  • Customization Options



  • Self-management required
  • Complexity for less experienced users
  • Limited enterprise support
  • Lack of built-in HIPAA compliance

How does CometChat differ from Sendbird?

  • CometChat provides both self-hosted and cloud-hosted solutions, as well as SOC 2 compliance and an open-source platform, whereas Sendbird concentrates on cloud deployment, HIPAA compliance, and a proprietary platform.
  • CometChat's price options are transparent and flexible, depending on active users, allowing businesses to scale their costs based on demand. On the other hand, Sendbird uses a tiered pricing approach with additional fees for various features and bigger user volumes.
  • Learn more about best CometChat alternatives here.


Pricing begins at $49 per month for up to 100 active users and increases dependent on user count. They also provide customized pricing for businesses with a larger user base. Furthermore, they provide a free subscription with limited functionality and user count.

How to choose the best Sendbird alternative?

Here is a checklist before you choose an ideal chat API instead of using Sendbird: 

1. Identify your priorities

Choose based on your priorities: why are you even looking for alternative to Sendbird? Are you looking for cheaper pricing, better control over data, or advanced security features? In the list above, you can find the best alternatives according to your preference.

2. Compare the tools

Evaluate the tools based on factors such as ease of use, scalability, customization options, developer resources, integration capabilities, and customer reviews.

3. Pricing evaluation

Assess pricing based on subscription plans (monthly/annual), flexibility, usage limits (users, messages), and additional features and associated costs.

4. Make your choice 

Consider factors, feedback, priorities, competitive pricing, and performance during testing to select the best-fit alternative. Consider reviews from G2 or Capterra to make a final decision.

5. Important considerations

Take into account the specific use case and requirements, involve key stakeholders, gather team feedback, and make an informed decision.

Top Sendbird alternatives await!

In conclusion, choosing the best in-chat app option from the list of alternatives depends on individual needs, preferences, and priorities. Every choice has unique advantages and qualities.

Rocket.Chat, however, is often seen as one of the best Sendbird alternatives among developers because of its advanced customization and security features. 

The open-sourced platform’s robust combination of flexibility, extensive features, integration capabilities, security focus, community support, deployment options, and cost-effectiveness makes it a strong contender as a chat API for businesses looking to build customized and scalable chat experiences.

Experience seamless real-time communication with Rocket.Chat's powerful Chat Engine. Explore the possibilities and enhance your application with secure and customizable chat features.

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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