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10 Most Popular Chat & Messaging Protocols

10 Most Popular Chat & Messaging Protocols

In the digital age, chat and messaging protocols have become the backbone of communication, connecting people across different platforms and devices with speed and reliability. From instant messaging apps to sophisticated business communication systems, these protocols ensure secure, efficient, and scalable exchanges of messages. This guide delves into the 10 most popular chat and messaging protocols, exploring their unique features and the roles they play in facilitating seamless digital conversations worldwide.

What is Messaging Protocols?

Known as set rules of rules and specifications, messaging protocols determine how messages get structured, transmitted, and received within a communication system. Meanwhile, messaging protocols leverage authority to exchange data within different entities and establish a connection between receiver and sender in an optimized way.

Moreover, messaging protocols are key in networking technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), communication applications, and the Cloud. Not to forget, all major messaging protocols use TCP/IP protocol for establishing internet communication.

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10 Common Chat and Instant Messaging Protocols

While several chat protocols exist on the internet, there are some of the most common instant messaging protocols on which major chat applications and services rely. Here you’ll find a list of all these protocols:

1. WebSocket

WebSocket is a two-way communication protocol that relies on a TCP connection. Concurrently, this messaging protocol offers instant messaging on large-scale foundations. Meanwhile, persistent connections between the server and client ensure fast and efficient data transfers. Not to forget, WebSocket establishes the real-time communication network on a low latency transmission process.

Ideally, with its bidirectional connection, WebSocket can effectively overcome HTTP limitations, which offer unidirectional communication. All major browsers support WebSocket connection; thus, text chatting becomes easier.


  • Comes with cross-platform support with compatibility on mobile, web, and desktop platforms.
  • Requires only a 2-byte overhead cost which is extremely beneficial as a whole.


  • Reliability remains limited when it comes to the stability of the user’s internet connection.

2. WebRTC

An open-source protocol that enables real-time communications, WebRTC is like a framework or set of APIs that establishes voice, text, and video functionalities in browsers and devices. Thus, WebRTC is typically used to establish P2P connections with low-latency connections. WebRTC plays a great role in the messaging platforms for an interruption-less connection.

Moreover, you don’t need third-party service because WebRTC protocol message offers a rich multimedia experience. In general, WebRTC leverages authority to connect with TCP as a way to bypass firewalls existing within two devices.


  • All modern browsers easily support WebRTC communication networks to support chat and other connections.
  • The data transfer process is fully encrypted, so you don’t need to worry about data breaches.


  • WebRTC incurs a very high maintenance cost that may become difficult for some people.


Also called Session Initiation Protocol, SIP is amongst instant messaging protocols utilized in chat applications to deliver messages across devices and networks. Meanwhile, SIP for Instant Messaging can deliver messages over networks without causing interruptions or delays.

It works for sending short messages and managing real-time communication between two people. Moreover, the SIP/SIMPLE protocol can run on a TCP or UDP port. Meanwhile, the debugging is extremely simple with text messages on this network.


  • The protocol is easily scalable and reliable, allowing extended support for the chat apps.
  • You can easily integrate this SIP protocol into other available software on the internet.


  • Connection is highly dependent on the network bandwidth of your internet connection.

4. XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol)

XMPP is an Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol previously known as Jabber. This chat protocol transmits XML data that offers stable messaging in a real-time scenario. Moreover, XMPP is generally called a cross-platform protocol with its use cases on iOS, Web, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android devices.

When it comes to the applications of XMPP, you will experience multi-chat support, instant messaging, and multimedia streaming. In addition, the scalability of the XMPP protocol allows messaging within wider distances and across multiple locations. For building chat applications, this protocol is essential.


  • File sharing, voice calls, and video calls are also supported on this protocol for extensive communication.
  • With a decentralized architecture, experience no single-point failure. Thus, the connection remains stable.


  • The protocol is relatively slow as compared to other messaging protocols.


AMQP is an Advanced Message Queuing Protocol that supports asynchronous messaging. With this real-time messaging protocol, experience use cases in multiple communication platforms and messaging apps. After all, AMQP has a structure based on binary protocols that deliver instant messaging with greater reliability.

Meanwhile, the protocol is fully secure and efficient while also providing encryption through TSL or SASL. For all the sophisticated applications, AMQP is undoubtedly an excellent communication protocol.


  • Offer peer-to-peer communication that allows message sharing across wider distances, including file sharing.
  • This protocol uses a QoS mechanism for efficiently delivering your messages.


  • It consumes more power and battery compared to other protocols available on the internet.

You may also like: AMQP vs MQTT: How to Choose Instant Messaging Protocols?

6. Facebook Messenger Protocol

This is an Android messaging protocol integrated with the Facebook application. Meanwhile, this instant messaging service allows users to communicate with their loved ones across the globe. The protocol generally supports multiple features that help extend the communication experience. Not only messaging, there is also an option to communicate via audio or video chat.

This chat protocol provides real-time communication without interruptions or signal lags. Using the application itself is very simple and convenient.


  • Supports group chats, emojis and reactions, voice notes, file sharing, and other chat facilities.
  • By using third-party services, users can make ChatBots that improve lead generation within the businesses.


  • Features like payments aren’t relatively available in every country. Thus, there must be equality on a national basis.

7. Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

Termed as an instant messaging protocol, IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, it simultaneously offers instant messaging support within two or more devices. With this messaging protocol service, you can have group discussions through private messages or even via chat rooms.

Meanwhile, it’s possible to run IRC on the TCP or UDP port. In general, IRC developed before the World Wide Web (WWW). Hence, looking at today’s network developments, IRC may not perform to the best capabilities as desired.


  • Offers real-time communication support that comes with effective and stable network connectivity.
  • The protocol is robust and reliable, so you will not face network breakdowns.


  • There isn’t any voice or video call support in this protocol, that makes it a restrictive option.


MQTT is a Message Queuing Telemetry Transport that offers a lightweight instant messaging service. For IoT connections, the MQTT protocol message provides excellent assistance. Meanwhile, MQTT runs on the network layer while it transfers data bi-directionally. The MQTT messaging protocol authorizes a TCP connection.

The delivered messages through the MQTT connection are totally encrypted with TLS standards. Hence, you don’t have to worry about the security of the messages.


  • Very minimal CPU resources are utilized in the MQTT communication protocol.
  • For all low-powered applications, the MQTT protocol is ideal for communication apps.


  • The MQTT messaging protocol does not support video streaming, which is a significant drawback.

9. RCS (Rich Communication Services)

Rich Communication Services, RCS, is a text-based protocol specifically designed for MMS and SMS messaging. With RCS protocols in the communication apps, users can create group chats, send media, or read receipts. Moreover, the text character length is limited to 8000 characters. The connections get established in the real-time scenario while data gets delivered through a TCP port.

RCS offers an interactive text messaging facility to ensure a richer yet more immersive overall experience. In addition, the RCS instant messaging protocol is ideal for creating extensive chat applications for Android.


  • It’s amongst the best protocols for making chat applications have sales and purchase options.
  • Multiple data types are supported, including PDF, location data, pictures, videos, and more.


  • There are potential security issues as there isn’t availability of end-to-end encryption within this protocol.

10. CoAP

Termed a Constraint Application Protocol, CoAP is a lightweight application-layer protocol that can even work with low-powered networks. Meanwhile, this real-time messaging protocol is particularly used for IoT devices, where it delivers instant messaging through SMS texts on different mobile networks. The protocol runs on UDP and offers a single-directional protocol.

Concurrently, the protocol establishes quick, fast, and efficient communication within the devices. Generally, the protocol follows the client-server model, where the CoAP client requests the CoAP servers to manipulate or access data resources.


  • CoAP is a highly scalable protocol that is possible to use within different devices.
  • This protocol supports resource-constrained devices for enhanced performance.


  • There isn’t any broadcast option available, which exists in other communication protocols.

How to Choose the Best Messaging Protocol for Your Business

Choosing the best chat and messaging protocol for your business involves balancing functionality, performance, security, and scalability to meet your specific communication needs. Here’s a structured approach to making an informed decision:

1. Identify Your Business Needs

  • Communication Type: Determine whether your focus is on customer support, internal team communication, or both.
  • Feature Requirements: Identify must-have features such as file sharing, voice and video calls, end-to-end encryption, etc.
  • Integration Necessities: Consider how the protocol needs to integrate with your existing systems like CRM, ERP, or custom applications.

2. Evaluate Protocol Types

  • XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol): Offers flexibility and a wide range of features but can be complex to implement.
  • MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport): Ideal for IoT applications and scenarios requiring low power consumption and bandwidth.
  • WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication): Supports browser-based real-time communication, perfect for voice and video conferencing.
  • SIP (Session Initiation Protocol): Widely used for VoIP and video conferencing services, offering robustness and scalability.

3. Consider Performance and Scalability

  • Latency: Low latency is crucial for real-time interactions. Choose a protocol known for efficient message delivery.
  • Scalability: Ensure the protocol can handle growth in users and message volume without a drop in performance.

4. Assess Security Features

  • Encryption: Look for protocols that support end-to-end encryption to ensure communication privacy and security.
  • Authentication and Authorization: Protocols should provide mechanisms to securely authenticate and manage users.
  • Compliance: Ensure the protocol complies with relevant regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA) if applicable.

5. Review Support and Community

  • A strong developer community and comprehensive documentation can significantly ease implementation and troubleshooting. Consider protocols backed by active communities and reliable support resources.

6. Analyze Cost Implications

  • Implementation Costs: Some protocols may require more investment in development and infrastructure.
  • Operational Costs: Consider ongoing costs, including server maintenance, updates, and scaling.

7. Conduct a Pilot Test

Before finalizing your decision, implement a small-scale pilot to evaluate the protocol in a real-world scenario. This will help identify any potential issues and assess the protocol’s suitability for your needs.

ZEGOCLOUD Chat API: A Premier Choice for Chat App Development

When exploring the landscape of messaging protocols for developing a chat app, it’s essential to consider not just the underlying technology but also the practicality of implementation and the richness of features offered. For businesses aiming to create robust, scalable, and feature-rich chat applications, selecting a comprehensive and developer-friendly API can significantly streamline the development process. This is where ZEGOCLOUD Chat API enters the conversation as a highly recommended solution.

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ZEGOCLOUD Chat API stands out for several reasons, making it an excellent choice for developers seeking efficiency and innovation in chat app development:

  • Ease of Integration: ZEGOCLOUD Chat API simplifies the development process with easy-to-integrate SDKs, allowing you to focus on creating a seamless user experience rather than dealing with the complexities of messaging protocols.
  • Comprehensive Feature Set: Offering a wide array of functionalities including text messaging, file sharing, voice and video calls, and real-time notifications, ZEGOCLOUD provides developers with the tools to build interactive and engaging chat applications that meet modern users’ expectations.
  • Scalability and Reliability: Designed to support chat applications at any scale, ZEGOCLOUD ensures your app remains responsive and reliable as your user base grows, thanks to its robust infrastructure and efficient messaging protocols.
  • Security and Compliance: With end-to-end encryption and adherence to international security standards, ZEGOCLOUD Chat API guarantees the privacy and security of your communications, an essential aspect of any business application.
  • Global Support and Low Latency: Leveraging a worldwide network of data centers, ZEGOCLOUD offers low-latency messaging services, ensuring that your chat app delivers instant communication experiences regardless of users’ locations.

Incorporating ZEGOCLOUD Chat API into your chat app development project means choosing a path of reduced development time, access to cutting-edge features, and the assurance of scalability and security. For businesses and developers looking to create in-app messaging that stands out in the crowded market of today, ZEGOCLOUD presents a compelling, feature-rich option that aligns with the latest trends and user demands.

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