Twilio Chat, Messaging, & Conversations API vs. Stream Chat

Thierry S.
Thierry S.
Published October 26, 2023

Twilio has recently removed its chat API and video live streaming API. However, the company still offers its Conversations API, mostly intended for omnichannel customer support. Let's take a closer look at how Stream Chat stacks up to Twilio's current offerings.

Twilio

Provides chat primarily for a customer support use case. The focus is on integrating SMS, Facebook messages, etc., into one chat experience. The chat feature set is limited and not intended for building in-app chat.

Stream

Provides APIs & SDKs to help developers build in-app chat. Stream is used by over one billion end users and thousands of customers, including IBM, Adobe, TaskRabbit, Patreon, and Strava. 

Stream Chat vs. Twilio Conversations API

When it comes to building in-app chat, Stream's chat API offers several advantages over Twilio, including:

  • Flexible SDKs and UI components for React, React Native, Flutter, Unity, iOS, and Android to help your team build and launch chat in days instead of months.
  • Offline support and optimistic UI updates to ensure chat still works well if the internet connection is unreliable.
  • A global edge network to guarantee optimal latency and performance under any network conditions.
  • Stream proudly has zero channel limitations. 
  • A catalog of engaging features like reactions, threads, unread counts, message editing, URL previews, invites, read indicators, and typing indicators.
  • Stream's technical support average response time is less than 30 minutes.

Where Twilio falls short:

  • Low Concurrent Connections: Twilio limits the number of concurrent connections to only 100k between all subaccounts compared to Stream, which benchmarks up to 5M users in a single channel. 
  • Limited SDKs: Only offers an iOS and Android SDK compared to Stream, which supports many frameworks and languages.
  • Low MAU Counts: Twilio counts users who receive messages (but don't connect to chat) as active users. Stream and most competitors in the chat API space only count a user as active when connected to the chat web socket.
  • Channel Limitations: Twilio limits each conversation to 1K participants/channel and a user can only be a member of 1K channels compared to Stream, which has no limitations.
  • Unpredictable Pricing: Twilio pricing is determined by MAU but becomes unpredictable based on how many users share and receive multimedia content.
  • Slow Technical Support: Twilio's technical support is notoriously slow if you are not an Enterprise customer.

Start Building With Stream

Stream enables you to build a custom in-app messaging experience for any use case without the limitations of Twilio.

View our demos, tour the API, and browse the tutorials listed below to gain inspiration for your own app.

If you like what you find, start building for free with Stream for 30 days by signing up for a trial.

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