Pither.com / Simon
Development, systems administration, parenting and business

Choosing a live chat application

I want to add a line chart option to PaTMa, both for enquiries and pre sales questions as well as support for subscribers.

But it seems there are a lot of live chat options out there at the moment. So, as much as a record for myself as anything, I thought I'd document the ones I've considered and what I decided.

What do I (think I) want?

I've never had a live chat app running on any of my sites before. I've never manned a live chat app before. So I may well decide I've got these requirements wrong as I gain experience, but this what I currently think I want:

  • Free or very cheap - I have no idea if it will be useful or indeed have much confidence in my selection so I don't want to spend a fortune finding out.
  • Three operators - I have two "volunteers" who will be helping initially. Just to improve availability, not cope with any expected demand!
  • Operator software for Linux (or web), Windows and Android.
  • Pleasant and easy interface for my customers.
  • "Light weight" - lazy loading and not slowing down page rendering.

That's it, so far.

My shortlist


  • Free up to ten operators
  • Paid tier would be quite expensive for three operators (£45/month)
  • Can be tied into the wider Freshworks toolset
  • Interface looks quite good (based on screenshots)
  • Android app reviews are fairly negative and not many downloads


  • Free forever (unless you want to remove branding)
  • Android app has very large install base and generally positive reviews
  • Has wider tools and integrations (although I haven't found a list yet)


  • Free for up to three operators
  • Paid options and rates seem to be reasonably low
  • UK office!
  • Can be used on multiple sites (although with a single theme)
  • Interesting looking integrations list
  • Android app has some negative reviews, but they seem to respond with with fixes

Trying them out

I'm slightly nervous about the potential costs of Freshchat at the moment, hence I've decided to try out Tawk.to first, then Tidio if needed.

I'll come back here in a week or two and replace this paragraph with my findings!

The other contenders


  • Priced in seat/feature bands and per-website.
  • Free tier is only two seats.
  • First paid level is quite expensive (£25/month).

Ruled out due to cost of three operators.


  • Free tier is only one seat
  • Gets very expensive!

Ruled out for too few seats and expensive pricing.


  • Free for one operator (and unlimited free trial for 30 days)
  • Big jump to €149 for two operators, although it is one-time (until the next major version)
  • Include wider helpdesk features
  • Android app reviews are fairly negative

Ruled out for concerns about the Android app and the larger cost that might come before I'm sure about it.


  • Fully open source and self hosted
  • Server install looks really easy (via snap)
  • Live chat feature appears to be "work-in-progress"
  • Android app reviews a little on the negative side

Ruled out for fear of accidentally spending hours or days trying to get it working. But I'd like to come back when it's more mature.

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