Stream Chat vs. Twilio Chat

Scott L.
Scott L.
Published January 6, 2020 Updated March 9, 2021

Chat and messaging are becoming ever more critical for application success. When searching for a provider to enable in-app chat, you might compare Stream Chat with Twilio Chat. Twilio is a monster in the space of API-driven SMS support and email (through their acquisition of SendGrid), but their other APIs like voice, chat, video, and fax sit in the background and seem like an afterthought.

Although Stream Chat is rather new to the market, we provide a more feature-complete and polished messaging experience. Stream Chat provides advanced features out of the box with a more in-depth focus on delivering an excellent API-driven chat solution built by and for developers.

Further, Stream has partnered with This partnership has allowed Stream to combine Dolby's world-class audio and video technology with a state of the art chat experience using Stream.

_Check out how one of our developers built a Zoom competitor in just under four days using Stream's React Components and Dolby's UX kit.


  • Stream has years of experience building highly scalable, high performing infrastructure powering chat and feeds for over one billion end users.
  • Stream's solution is feature-rich, providing capabilities like AI-powered moderation, @mentions, banning/muting users, custom objects, threads, reaction, slash commands, and built-in search.
  • Stream provides an extensive portfolio of front end components and a beautiful UI kit to make integration more straightforward than any other product on the market.

High-Level Overview

Stream Chat is the most feature-complete chat solution available. It supports five use cases out of the box, providing a beautiful UI kit for each in both light and dark modes. The UI kit is structured to be flexible and easy to customize based on your unique chat use case.

The five use cases provided by the UI kit include:

  • Social Messaging
  • Livestream
  • E-commerce
  • Team
  • Gaming

Selecting your specific use case will modify your chat settings for the type of chat you are building. For example, a Livestream will turn off typing indicators and read status due to the high volume your conversations will expect to see.

Over the years, our team has learned how to scale feeds to support billions of updates a month in real time. We've used that experience to create one of the fastest and most scalable chat solutions possible. Stream Chat's infrastructure leverages much of the same technology stack as our Feeds product (Go, Raft, and RocksDB) – offering the fastest and most scalable chat product available.

Our highly-scalable infrastructure is trusted and used by well-known names such as Under Armour, Crunchbase, NBC Sports, eToro, and many others. Stream is GDPR, CCPA, EU and Swiss Privacy Shield compliant, and HIPAA ready.

Stream’s Strengths Over Twilio

  • Component libraries for React, React Native, iOS and Android
  • Features:
    • Reactions
    • Threads
    • Slash Commands
    • Rich Messaging
  • AI-Based Moderation
  • More cost-effective
  • Simple migration from other providers

Front End Components

Stream provides component libraries for React, React Native, iOS, and Android. Using these libraries, your team can vastly reduce the time it takes to deliver your product to market. Stream typically takes days to integrate, whereas integrating with Twilio, on the other hand, can take weeks to months of valuable and expensive development time. The component libraries are fully customizable, allowing you to be in full control over your chat and messaging user experience.

Stream’s frontend components also include built-in support for unread counts, connection recovery, message states, and read events. You can build those features on top of Twilio's API yourself; however, it’s easy to make mistakes, especially if you’re under a tight development deadline.

Twilio provides SDKs (not components) for Javascript, iOS, and Android native. Note that they do not offer SDKs or UI component libraries for React or React Native.

Stream Chat vs Twilio Programmable Chat feature comparison table

Premium Features

Out of the box, Stream provides advanced features for your one to one, group, or open channel messaging experiences – features like slash commands, @mentions, search, reactions, and threads. We also provide developers with a clean API and easy to integrate webhooks, allowing developers to build custom features like chatbots, user polls, etc. The possibilities are truly endless.


Stream provides admins the ability to mute and ban users, mute channels, and send system-wide notifications to help keep conversations civil. Our tools allow you to ensure user safety within your application.

By activating our AI-based moderation, your application will protect your users from spam, profanity, and explicit content, automatically. If you want to take it to the next level, Stream has you covered – we've partnered with a robust platform that can detect advanced concepts like self-harm, grooming, and many others.

Note that Twilio does not provide any moderation capabilities other than allowing an admin user to modify or delete messages.


Looking at Twilio’s pricing page, they charge $0.03 per MAU + $0.25 per GB for storage. At 25k MAU, that comes to $750 a month, plus whatever storage usage you have.

Stream's monthly plans all come with unlimited storage and monthly messages, and start at $499/month. The largest advantage you get with Stream is the time to market from our front end SDKs and many dev-years of feature development.

If you do the math from the Twilio pricing page, 100k MAU will cost you $2,250, 500k MAU is almost $11k and 1m MAU is a staggering $18,650. Twilio may seem inexpensive at small volumes, but if you plan to grow you will quickly hate getting that bill.

Simple Migration

Stream will work with your team to make your migration a snap. With our sophisticated import tools and customizable interfaces, we can help get you off Twilio and onto Stream Chat with zero downtime.

Companies have been switching to Stream Chat because of our ability to offer:

  • A Cost-effective solution
  • Scalability & Performance
  • Stability
  • Advanced Features
  • Quality Customer Support

Try Us Out

Want to jump right into the code? No problem. We have an interactive API tour available here.

Want to see how easy it is to move from Twilio to Stream Chat? Reach out via our contact form, and we’ll be happy to help you run a test yourself.

Happy chatting!

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