22 September, 2023
firebase vs xmpp

Firebase vs XMPP: What Should Be Your Choice To Build a Real-time Chat App

What is Google Firebase?

Firebase is Google’s own offering to build high-quality mobile apps. Firebase offers app builders an app development structure consisting of analytics, messaging, databases and crash reporting logs. Owing to its quick scalability and collaborative ability with other Google consoles, it has become the first choice for most mobile app developers.

What is XMPP?

XMPP stands for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol. It is an open XML technology that enables real-time communication for iOS, web or Android chat apps. The protocol also supports applications like customer support, ticketing, etc. XMPP, on the other hand, is an open standard for messaging and online presence indication.

XMPP gives greater emphasis for secured and private chats which has made it the obvious choice for building real-time chat applications like WhatsApp. Another great facet about XMPP is that it is a living standard that is constantly made better by a thriving community of developers.


Now how does Google’s Firebase and open-standard XMPP stand tall against each other?
Should you build your chat app with firebase or XMPP? Let’s discuss further.

Building a chat application using firebase iOS or Android chat application using XMPP are entirely different scenarios. We are getting to the ground-zero of that question in this write-up. This is a close inspection of Firebase and XMPP for building real time chat apps.

Need help with Firebase or XMPP coding?Ask Our Experts

To make the comparison easier and the judgment to the point, let us divide the points of comparison into 5 factors:

  • Protocol
  •  Setup Convenience
  • Performance
  • Platform Flexibility
  • Security

Read : How WhatsApp Works & its technology?


The protocol is a set of rules or can say a procedure that is followed while transmitting data between electronic devices like computers. These protocols differ as per the technology, but the later outcome would be the same


Firebase does not have any set of protocols. The user should define the database structure and assign the messaging information. The advantage of the Firebase in chat app is that the user can decide what should be In and Out of the database structure.


XMPP has a set of standard protocol and owns the server. The user can apply the protocol to their database to exchange the messages for easy communication. And also ensure the network security using DSL to prevent the private messages.


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However, the technology seeks a comfortable setup which is cost-effective as well as convenient with time consumption, with an easy launch of an app. Let’s have a look at the same from the perspective of both teck stacks.


On the scale of setup convenience, Google Firebase is easy and quick to market. It requires minimal procedures to get the app up and going.


XMPP, due to its high-end real-time communication capabilities takes time and effort to set up. The difficulty in setup convenience is made good with the open-source availability.


Where the performances in technology talks about an overall strategic approach in a field of practice with process and ideas in scientific manner of app in each level. It ensures full improvement as the final outcome.


Firebase uses WebSockets and MongoDB for real-time database management. They are powerful and offer total control across the database. Also, Google Firebase has a range of Google suite applications that can be easily integrated for cloud hosting to performance monitoring.


XMPP’s USP lies in its scalability to quickly scale applications from few users to lakhs of users. It allows coders to give standards-based presence indicating messaging apps that thousands of users can use simultaneously for communication and file-sharing.


Choosing the best technology platform mainly looks out for flexibility that can support a quick business launch with appropriate infrastructure and system by scaling the competitive applications.


Google Firebase allows integration of additional features to the app as and when needed. It allows developers to test and see the results live in action before rolling out the update.
This is of great help in real-time communication instances like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc. where messaging cannot be stopped to update new features.


XMPP enables developers to create custom functionalities on top of XMPP. It also allows for extending the instant messaging functionalities that go beyond instant messaging like chatrooms, network management, content syndication, file sharing, gaming, collaboration, geolocation sharing, VoIP among many others.


Security provides protection with proven strategies that can prevent unauthorized access to data with several technologies like data loss prevention, intrusion prevention and detection system, etc.


Similar to XMPP, Google Firebase also offer SSL encryption. Additionally, it also offers its own custom defined concept of security and rules that help in securing data manipulation in the NoSQL Firebase database.

Well this being said, I think it would be great if we shed some light on the glimpse of xmpp vs websocket too, just to get to know the technology. 


XMPP can be made to behave like a separate company intranet. This feature makes it a perfect pick to build enterprise communication channels. Also, XMPP can be secured with additional security measures like TLS and SASL which prevents data interception.

Now, if we look up for xmpp vs websockets instant messaging protocol comparison – we can say XMPP to be more extensible and flexible with high-end security features when compared to websockets whereas  websocket gets connected with multiple users easily using lower latency lacking in security.

Final Verdict

Well, the above content would have given you much clarity over XMPP and Firebase and of course, they have created a lot more opportunities to build an extensible real time chat application for Android or iOS.

But, now it’s more integral for you to make your decision which one to go for to build your chat app?

Whatever be the case, we are here to support you with all your business needs. So, feel free to approach us, we with the team of proficient developers are there for you to guide further.

All the Best!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Firebase a backend or database?

Firebase includes both backend and database. This backend-as-a-service platform includes a real-time NoSQL database popularly known as the Firebase Realtime Database. When you build a chat app using firebase, this cloud-based DB lets you store and sync data in real-time and also provides backend services like authentication, database management, chat analytics, storage, hosting and more.

Does Firebase need coding?

Yes, you need coding skills to implement Firebase services on your real time chat apps effectively. Apart from firebase implementation, you’ll need to write codes for defining the functions you want on the Firebase cloud servers.

Is XMPP end-to-end encrypted?

No, XMPP is not  end-to-end encrypted, because the XMPP server which connects the communication devices has access to plaintext. This means, any message that is transmitted through the XMPP is not ciphered. However, you can implement End-to-end encryption on a XMPP server using plugins and extensions like OpenPGP and OMEMO, when building your real time chat app. 

Is XMPP deprecated?

No, XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is not deprecated. It is still actively used as an open standard protocol to build instant messaging and online presence indicators in iOS, web and Android chat apps.

Hi I'm Sundar. Interested in digging deep into OTT Android TV app & business management tools. Love to blog, discuss and share views on business management tips and tricks.


        1. Holo Reply

          Yes, but feels unnecessary, unless your app needs some functionality that are found separately (as in xmpp has one but lacks another available in Firebase, while firebase lacks something xmpp has). I struggle to figure out what that would be though. XMPP is very versatile

          1. Vigneshwar

            Yes Geffi, Yes Firebase is a backend-as-as-service that lets you create your web app backend with features like real-time database and cloud functions. You can also choose to configure the firebase chat server to fit your app requirements.

          2. Vigneshwar

            Hello Holo, it is completely understandable that choosing between firebase vs XMPP can sometimes be daunting. But our expert team can help you with it. Feel free to contact us now and get your queries resolved!

      1. Vigneshwar Reply

        Hello Manish,
        You can implement voice calls on your real time chat app using XMPP in 5 simple steps:
        Establish a network connection
        Negotiate the audio codec
        Send voice call request
        Exchange audio data
        End the voice call

      1. Holo Reply

        Check the firebase pricing site for concurrent users allowed per tier (there are pricing tiers, but last time I checked, free tier had 100 concurrent, but that was like a year ago)

        With XMPP it depends on the hardware its running on (number of servers, RAM of servers)

          1. Vigneshwar

            Hello Jacob,
            Yes, Firebase provides the real-time database service that supports data sync between multiple devices, enabling group chat features. Whereas, you can implement cross-platform communication across iOS, web or Android chat apps using Firebase cloud messaging service.

      2. Vigneshwar Reply

        Hello Steve,
        Firebase can scale up to millions of concurrent users while XMPP up to thousands of users. However, the actual numbers vary from one chat app to another, depending on the overall infrastructure.

    1. Vigneshwaran Reply

      The backend resources used to build a chat application using Firebase is JavaScript, Node.js and XMPP use Erlang, Ejabberd.

      1. Luxe fellas Reply

        well, currently Contus is developing my OVP, and I wanted to start conceptualizing on the mobile APP aspect of it, and I want to use Contus Fly as the base engine and start adding video streaming to it

        1. Vigneshwar Reply

          Hello Luxe,
          That sounds great! We’d love to help you build the best chat apps. Keep in touch with our team of expert developers and have a smooth development experience with MirrorFly!

      2. Angenlina Reply

        I am using XMPP for my Chat application for iOS, but i am not able to mange push notifications in background state using XMPP, how you are managing push notifications in background state, can you give me some idea technically.

        1. Vigneshwar Reply

          Hello Angelina,
          To manage push notifications in the background state for your iOS chat application using XMPP, you will need to:

          Configure your XMPP server so that it supports push notifications.
          Use APNS and register your device for push notifications
          Implement the XMPP Extension for Push notifications in your app.
          Handle the incoming push notifications.
          Reconnect XMPP and fetch new messages when the user opens the app if there are any.

    2. Vigneshwar Reply

      Hello Hazel,
      The chat app technology of Firebase is based on real time database and cloud messaging whereas the technology behind XMPP is the open-stand real time XMPP protocol.

    1. Vigneshwar Reply

      Hello Romuald!
      MirrorFly chat SDK comes in 2 pricing models – Monthly pricing and One-time License cost.
      If you need our messaging SDK for a monthly recurring fee, MirrorFly offers you 3 different SaaS plans. You can find detailed information on the plans on our pricing page. Otherwise, you can purchase our completely customizable white-label chat solution for a one-time license cost.

    1. Vigneshwaran Reply

      XMPP had an inbuilt database is called Mnesia. You can Simply use MongoDB API & Connect to your MongoDB cluster and fetch and send messages.

    1. Vigneshwaran Reply

      If you built an app only in Android, Please prefer Firebase. In Android Studio, you will use volley to get any required data from the firebase database. It is very user-friendly and one can easily write, update or run code there.

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