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Top 08 Popular Chat & Instant Messaging Protocols

Published On May 24th, 2024 22451Communication

Building an instant messaging and video conferencing application from scratch requires the development team to choose the right messaging and signaling protocol for its development.

With several Android, iOS and web chat protocols in the market, it is essential to choose the right protocol that will develop a product to meet the demands of the target market.

In this article, we are going to discuss the best real-time chat & messaging protocols

WebSocket provides low latency and real-time communication sessions between server and client. It is the most commonly used communication protocol. 

What Does User Datagram Protocol (UDP) & Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Mean?/ What are the common messaging protocols?

Transfer of data between devices is made possible by the computer network protocols. UDP & TCP are two such network communication protocols that are used to build any kind of instant messaging protocol.

What is User Datagram Protocol (UDP)?

User Datagram Protocol is the first network communication protocol that is used to send data to a device without establishing a connection. It is most useful in the transmission of DNS lookups, video playback, and other time-sensitive data.

What is the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)?

Transmission Control Protocol is slower in transmitting data when compared to UDP. TCP establishes a connection through an automated process termed as ‘handshake’ which connects two devices – one which sends the data and the other which receives the data. It also checks errors and is the most commonly used protocol.

Best 8 Chat and Instant Messaging Protocols

Out of the innumerable chat and instant messaging or im protocols that are available globally, we have hand-picked the best of them after thorough analysis. And, you can build web chat applications using any of the below protocols.

List of Webchat Instant Messaging Protocols

1. WebRTC – Web Real-time Communication Protocols

WebRTC is an open-source framework that is built into the most commonly used browsers across the world. It is created by Google and uses APIs to establish a connection for real-time communication. It can bypass the firewall between two devices and does not require any third-party plugins or services. The greatest advantage of using WebRTC signaling server is having unmediated and direct access to the users.

Pros
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Open-source code
  • High-quality communication by the use of modern codecs
Cons
  • Companies that have large-scale projects cannot rely on Web real-time messaging protocol alone and require additional servers to share the load from browsers. This increases maintenance costs.
 
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2.  WebSocket Instant Messaging Protocols

WebSocket provides low latency and real-time communication sessions between server and client. It is the most commonly used instant message protocol. They can be used in the chat application, multiplayer online games, and social streams that update real-time. It is bidirectional and is supported over most of the browsers that are used today.

Pros
  • Cross-origin communication is possible
  • It provides a continuous connection
  • It can pass through firewalls
Cons
  • Browsers launched a few years back do not support WebSocket

3. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Chat Messaging Protocols

IRC is one of the oldest instant messaging protocols that provide a connection for more than two users to chat with each other at the same time. When you build a chat app for Android, you can utilize IRC that transmits real-time messages. It was introduced even before the creation of the World Wide Web (WWW). IRC can run on either UDP or TCP ports.

Pros
  • Multiple user’s chats can be transmitted
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Proxy detection
Cons
  • IRC protocol can be run only on IRC network and server

List of Cross-platform Chat Protocols

4. XMPP: Extensible Messaging and Present Protocol

Data of Extensible Markup Language (XML) is transmitted over XMPP. Two or more devices that are securely connected using their servers can use XMPP for data transmission. XMPP messaging protocol for chat applications has several free clients and open-source clients which make it easy to transfer data. Further, this protocol helps businesses can stream voice calls, video calls, 1-to-1, and multi-party chats using XMPP.

Pros
  • Data transmission is possible between servers of different architecture
  • Cross-platform data transmission is possible
  • Continuous connection
Cons
  • Text-based communication can cause server overload

5. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT)

The next one under the list of messaging protocols is MQTT . It allows machine-to-machine telemetry and is a lightweight messaging protocol that is popular in IoT connections. It enables communications and automation of IoT devices with WebRTC peer to peer. This is mostly used for smart homes. It is the best web chat protocol as it helps in the transmission of data between all modern devices.

Pros
  • Enables bi-directional communication
  • Can be used even for small bandwidth environments
  • The continuous connection provides support for unreliable network
Cons
  • Does not help in video streaming

6. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)/SIMPLE

The instant messaging protocol or im protocol that is built on SIP is termed as Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). SIMPLE is a text-based protocol that is most commonly used in instant chat system, private telephone systems, and mobile calls over the LTE network.

Pros
  • Easy debugging
  • Open-source code
Cons
  • Does not have built-in encryption

7. Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP)

Moving over to the next best protocol for chat application is Advanced Message Queuing Protocol. 

AMQP can be utilized in the multi-client environment as it uses a streamed binary messaging system. This enables the operation of clients from multiple vendors. This can be used to build WebSocket chat applications as it is portable, secure, and efficient.

Pros
  • Secure connection
  • Allows interoperability
Cons
  • High bandwidth is required

List of Android Real-Time Chat Protocol

8. Rich Communication Services (RCS)

RCS can transmit audio, video, group chat, read receipts, images, etc. Businesses can create interactive text messaging experiences for their users using RCS while building chat apps for Android. It is the best technology for chat applications which enables the users to make purchases and sales within the chat app.

Pros
  • Reduced phishing and spam attempts
  • Easy transmission of rich media
Cons
  • No end-to-end encryption

Conclusion

As a business, when you have to choose the best protocol for a chat application, this is what you need to consider – what are the use cases of your instant messaging app, your resources in hand, and the protocol’s compatibility with your tech stack. Once you answer these three questions, you will be able to pick the one that will suit your business the best.

Furthermore,To know more about developing a whitelabel chat solution for mobile & web, our self-hosted SDKs can be of your help.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs

Does instant messaging use TCP or UDP?

Depending on the application, Instant messaging uses both TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol), as per needs.
TCP is a connection-based protocol that transmits data packets in an order. An IM system initiates and authenticates a chat connection using TCP. The instant message protocol is commonly preferred for file transfers and emails where orderly transmission of data packets must take place to avoid errors.
UDP, is a connectionless protocol that does not follow any order in the transmission of messages. This protocol is commonly used for low-latency real-time chat , voice and video call.

What are two popular chat protocols?

The two most popular chat protocols are:
XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol): XMPP is an instant messaging protocol that supports features like file transfers, online presence indicators and group chats.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat): IRC is a text-based real time messaging protocol that supports features like one-to-one messages, file transfers, chat rooms and channels

What are the types of TCP protocol?

There are different types of TCP data packets that facilitate instant chat communication across devices and a few of them include:

SYN  – synchronize
URG – urgent
FIN  – finish
PSH – push
ACK – acknowledge

Which protocol is used in MirrorFly chat API?

WebRTC, WebSockets, XMPP, IRC, MQTT, SIP, and AMQP are some of the real-time messaging protocols used in MirrorFly Chat SDK.

Vigneshwar

Vigneshwar is a Performance Marketer, guiding providers of healthcare, education, etc., to elevate their conversation value with the help of powerful communication solutions to drive a better communication experience.

22 Comments

  1. blippi says:

    Thanks for another lengthy & super-informative post . Can’t wait to dig in & absorb all the knowledge about chat messaging protocols

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Blippi,
      Thanks for your comment! I’m happy to hear that you found the post informative. If you have any questions about our instant chat protocols, feel free to ask!

  2. Vikas says:

    Wow what an Epic Blog post Parthiba thank you so much and I am on the way to select to best chat messaging protocols definetly this post will help me to get success

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hi Vikas,
      Glad that my article helped you make an informed decision on choosing the best instant message protocol for your app. If you have more questions, feel free to reply to this thread or talk to our team of experts.

  3. raveena says:

    Excellent article. As I would see it, extraordinary compared to other messaging protocols, despite the fact that learning it is more troublesome than lightroom.

    Thanks for this. And Keep writing. Cheers 🙂

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Raveena,
      I completely agree! Real-time messaging protocols might be a complex topic to study about but they serve as an essential part of chat apps to establish the rules for how the message data is exchanged and transmitted between devices.

  4. muthu says:

    Parthiba, you make EVERYTHING so easy to understand about instant messaging protocols. Thank you soooooo very much. You speak to the very experienced and the professional.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Muthu!
      Thank you for your great feedback and I am glad that you found my article helpful. Best wishes to you!

  5. vetri says:

    I think very very detailed article for those who try find best instant messaging protocols for build their chat app . There are some drawbacks in each messaging protocols so you should choose any of them carefully. I suggest you XMPP

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Vetri.
      Thank you for your feedback on my article. Yes, each protocol has its own pros and cons. And it is necessary to consider them carefully to make the right choice for building our instant chat apps. I compared XMPP vs Websocket for one of my projects and found XMPP the perfect fit for my app, as you suggested. Thanks again and good luck with your app development!

  6. riyan says:

    Useful information and it is well arranged, so was pretty easy for me to read it. You’ve helped me to choose the best messaging protocols. Thanks for the article. Wonderful work.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Thank you for the feedback Riyan! Stay tuned for more useful content

  7. rupam says:

    Very good information for chat protocols. The post is well designed and well written. Full of helpful information.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Thank you for your kind feedback Rupam. Keep coming back for more insight on Android, iOS and web chat protocols.

  8. mario says:

    Hi Parthiba,

    Just came across your blog and found it very informative with very valuable information for best messaging protocols chat app

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Maria,
      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that you found my content helpful!

  9. linna says:

    Hi Parthiba,Thank you for another amazing post! I’ve been reading many of your blogs, always very thorough and helpful.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Hello Linna,
      Thank you for your interest in my article and I am glad that you like my content. Feel free to suggest an instant chat technology that you’d like me to write next.

  10. kaur says:

    Really great article, which has lots of good information, when someone is in search of chat messaging protocols.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Thank you Kaur. I’m glad that you found this content useful for finding your instant message protocol. Stay tuned for more informative articles!

  11. starc says:

    Hey Really happy to say, your post is very interesting to read about chat messaging protocols. I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job.

    1. Vigneshwar says:

      Thank you Starc for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad that my article helped you get closer to the details of real time messaging protocol. Best of luck with your business!

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