CRM

5 Best Free Live Chat Apps—That Are Actually Free

Jun 7, 2021

There are a lot of free options for live chat apps, so we’re breaking down some of the best so that you can make the most informed purchasing decision.

Collin CoueySenior Content Writer
5 Best Free Live Chat Apps—That Are Actually Free

If your small business is looking to adopt a live chat app for the first time, a free option can help you test out products before committing to a purchase decision.

But before investing time and resources into a free live chat app, it's best to know the terms and conditions that come with it. Free software plans typically have a set number of users and limited features. Adding users and unlocking features beyond what the free plan includes means making a purchase, likely a monthly or annual subscription.

To help determine if a live chat app's free plan will work for your business, GetApp curated the following details for the *free plans offered by five leading live chat apps:

  • Maximum number of users allowed

  • Chat history retention policy

  • Number of chats allowed

  • Cheapest paid plan pricing

*By free, we don't mean free trial. Our list only includes live chat apps that offer a free plan that can be used in perpetuity (albeit with certain restrictions).

Our product list has five applications selected for GetApp's 2021 Category Leaders in Live Chat—an annual ranking of software products—that offer a free plan. They are presented in alphabetical order.

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What is GetApp's Category Leaders?

Category Leaders is an annual ranking of software products that uses five criteria—ease of use, value for money, functionality, customer support, and likelihood to recommend—worth 20 points each to score applications. Category Leaders scores and rankings are provided for every product in this report. For more information on how scores are calculated, view the full methodology here.

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Chaport

Chaport is a cloud-based live chat and chatbot solution for websites that also lets businesses communicate with clients across various channels such as Facebook, Viber, and Telegram. It provides desktop apps for Windows and macOS, a web app for all browsers, and mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, allowing professionals to chat with website visitors, even from remote locations.

Key features of Chaport include live chat widget, chatbots, integrations with social networks and messengers, detailed visitor info with custom fields, visitor behavior, pre-chat form, notifications, read receipts, chat transcripts, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. 

Chaport helps companies automate sales and support and offer help 24/7, send automated chat invitations to clients and get more leads, transfer chats to team members, and customize the chat widget by adding specific colors, texts, or photos. Additionally, it lets users share files or images with website visitors, quickly resolve queries using saved replies and typing insights, and gain visibility into missed/incoming chat metrics and working hours through real-time reports.

Chaport comes with an application programming interface (API) that allows businesses to integrate the platform with third-party systems. It also has Zapier integration that helps companies connect Chaport to 3,000+ apps without any programming skills.

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Chaport’s chat window (Source)

What reviewers think of Chaport

Chaport scored top marks in both ease of use and customer support and beat the category average significantly in the remaining categories, suggesting that users are pleased with what Chaport has to offer across the board. 

If one of your top priorities is ease of use or customer support, it’s worth taking a closer look at Chaport during your software search if its free offerings fit your business needs.

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Chaport free plan features and limitations:

  • One user (Chaport calls them operators) 

  • 30-day chat history retention

  • Unlimited chats per live agent

  • Cheapest paid plan: $15 per user, per month 

EngageBay

EngageBay is an integrated marketing, sales, support, live chat, help desk, and customer relationship marketing (CRM) solution designed to help small to midsize businesses acquire, engage, and convert website visitors into customers. The cloud-based platform lets businesses use marketing tools to build relationships with customers and retain them for a lifetime.

Features of EngageBay include email marketing, landing pages, live chat/help desk, ticketing, telephony, appointment scheduling, and contact management. It comes with a built-in CRM, which allows businesses to manage and track all activities across customers, leads, and deals as they proceed through pipelines.

The live chat software is attached to the help desk software and is called Service Bay. 

EngageBay enables businesses to use Zapier and Xero integration to connect the platform with several third-party applications such as Salesforce, Intercom, Mailchimp, and HubSpot. Pricing is available through monthly subscriptions and support is extended via documentation, phone, and email.

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Live chat example from EngageBay (Source)

What reviewers think of EngageBay

EngageBay is unique among the other choices here in that it’s predominately a marketing, CRM, and sales enablement tool. However, EngageBay does offer a completely free help desk and live chat platform that scores above average in every category. Customer support is its highest rated category—if you have a problem with the software, you should find the support staff helpful and friendly.

If your business is also looking for a marketing or CRM tool, you should take a closer look at EngageBay as it offers a wide range of features and services outside of live chat.

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EngageBay free plan features and limitations:

  • Unlimited users 

  • Unlimited chat history retention

  • Unlimited chats per live agent

  • Cheapest paid plan: There are no paid plans available

LiveAgent

LiveAgent is an online live chat platform for small and midsize businesses. The live chat software offers live chat application, ticket management, online self-service portals, and change and license management, all as either in-suite or standalone applications.

It is a customizable solution that can scale as small companies grow their customer base and online services. The software provides a ticket management system where tickets contain the complete stream of chat messages, emails, phone calls, or messages from other communication channels between the customer and support staff of the company.

LiveAgent is offered as both web-based (cloud) software and an on-premise installation. The cloud option is priced on a pay-per-user basis by number of agents, and the on-premise options use the up-front pricing model, based solely on the number of agents.

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LiveAgent’s chat overview page (Source)

What reviewers think of LiveAgent

LiveAgent scores big in the value-for-money category, suggesting that current users are pleased with the features offered for the price they pay. Aside from its stellar score in value for money, it's also above average in every other category with customer support being well above average. 

If you’re looking for software that will give you the best set of features for the money you spend (if you upgrade down the road), the ratings here suggest LiveAgent might be worth taking a closer look at if its free offerings fit your business needs.

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LiveAgent free plan features and limitations:

  • One chat button* 

  • Unlimited chat history retention for that one button

  • Unlimited chats for that one button

  • Cheapest paid plan: $29 per user, per month

*LiveAgent’s free plan allows you to create one customizable button and include it on one page of your website. Your customers can click the button to open a chat window where they can interact with your support staff. The paid plans come with unlimited chats and button creation.

Smartsupp

Smartsupp is a live chat software solution that helps businesses engage website visitors with real-time communication. Key features include agent dashboard, customization capabilities, and video recording of visitors' screens.

Smartsupp lets users integrate the solution with their websites. It also supports integration with various third-party applications such as WordPress, PrestaShop, Magneto, Jimdo, and Shopify.

Users can customize colors, text, and the position of the Smartsupp chat box to match their organization's branding and identity. They can also set up custom rules to automatically send personalized messages to their visitors.

Additionally, Smartsupp supports integration with Google Analytics which allows users to track impact sales by monitoring conversion rates and customers' behavior. It offers applications for iOS and Android devices that help users to remotely access the solution.

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Smartsupp’s live chat window (Source)

What reviewers think of Smartsupp

Smartsupp scored a perfect 20 out of 20 in the ease-of-use category, suggesting that users are able to navigate the software easily and quickly. It scores just above average in the remaining categories except in value for money, where it meets the average. 

If you’re most concerned about how easy the software is to use and aren’t as concerned with the value for money, you should take a closer look at Smartsupp if its free offerings fit your business needs.

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Smartsupp free plan features and limitations:

  • Three users 

  • 14-day chat history retention

  • Unlimited chats per live agent

  • Cheapest paid plan: $10 per month for 3 users, billed annually; $15 for month-to-month billing

Tidio Chat

Tidio Chat is a cloud-based live chat software platform suitable for integration into any company’s website. It includes a customizable interface that lets companies make the live chat interface match the look and feel of existing online assets. Additionally, it includes support for over 140 languages.

Tidio Chat is mobile compatible, which ensures that customers on mobile devices are able to engage with the chat box on small screens. If no agents or employees are available, users can leave offline messages. Additionally, using a Google Chrome plugin, Tidio Chat lets users receive immediate notifications of any pending offline messages.

Tidio Chat is a cloud-based platform that supports integration with leading business applications such as eCommerce, email marketing, and CRM software. It is available in two license tiers, basic and pro, both available on a monthly subscription basis.

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Example of Tidio’s live chat window on a website (Source)

What reviewers think of Tidio

Tidio Chat received one of the highest overall scores among GetApp's 2021 Category Leaders in Live Chat, scoring a perfect score in customer support and nearly perfect scores in value for money, likelihood to recommend, and functionality. Its ease-of-use score trails slightly behind the others, but it's still significantly above the category average. 

If you’re looking for a live chat option that most users find either exceptional or above average across the board, you might want to take a closer look at Tidio if its free offerings fit your business needs.

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Tidio free plan features and limitations:

  • Three users

  • Unlimited chat history retention

  • Unlimited chats per live agent

  • Cheapest paid plan: $18 per month, for up to three users

Tidio's free plan also offers chatbots that are available to automatically respond to up to 100 unique visitors per month. If your organization finds chatbots to be a strong value add, you may wind up needing to pay for additional chat capacity. Uniquely, Tidio offers two paid plans that both start at $18 per month and include three users:

  • One plan is focused on companies that want to increase functionality for live chat agents or increase the number of agents ($10 per agent, per month)

  • Another focuses on businesses that want to build out chatbot functionality, increasing the base number of chatbot triggers to 5,000 per month (with the option to raise further)

Want to learn more about live chat apps?

Methodology

To be considered for this report, products had to meet our live chat software market definition, be included in our 2021 GetApp Category Leaders for live chat, and offer a completely free standalone version (albeit with certain restrictions) of their software.

*Live chat software market definition: Live chat software allows companies to chat with customers in real-time via their website. The software product must include real-time consumer-facing chat.

Each year, we rank the leading business apps inside our most popular categories to form a list of Category Leaders. App scores are determined by five factors, worth 20 points each, for a possible total of 100. This list contains products from GetApp's 2021 Category Leaders in Live Chat that offer a free plan that can be used in perpetuity (albeit with certain restrictions).

See the full scoring methodology and product inclusion criteria for Category Leaders here.

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About the author

Collin Couey

Senior Content Writer
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