5 Popular and Free Live Chat Software Tools

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These free tools allow you to address customer concerns quickly to boost satisfaction and increase retention.

Popular Free Live-Chat header image

In 2019, 36% of U.S. shoppers used live chat to engage with customer service teams, making it one of the most frequently used service channels as per a Capterra survey. Also, around a quarter of U.S. customers (27%) prefer live chat for service interactions.

In case you need more convincing, the majority of customers (82%) think that it’s important for websites to have customer service options, such as live chat or chatbots, to offer a good shopping experience.

Clearly, live chat is a popular option among customers, but keeping up with their demand doesn’t have to be costly. There are several live chat software tools that vendors offer for free, and we’re not speaking about trial versions that you must upgrade after the trial period.

In this article, we’ve listed five popular free live chat software tools. We’ve curated this list based on search engine results page (SERP) data and the number of reviews (20+) on Capterra’s directory. You can find our full methodology here.

Here are our top picks listed alphabetically.

5 popular free live-chat software tools

1. Chaport

Chaport is a cloud-based live chat software solution that offers capabilities such as file sharing, typing insights, widget customization, group chats, and reporting.

Its free plan provides unlimited chats, 30-day chat history, and basic widget customization. It also offers an email address request form that helps agents collect visitors’ email addresses for consolidating data. While an unlimited number of operators can be registered on the free plan, only one operator can be online at a time.

Appearance customization options in Chaport Appearance customization options in Chaport (Source)

We analyzed user reviews of Chaport to understand what buyers like and the areas they think need some improvement. Here’s what we found.

Pros

Cons

Reviewers say that Chaport is easy to use for first-time users. They also like the fact that they can customize the chat widget’s placement on their website to improve customer engagement. Some users say that the tool doesn’t let customers reply to service operators’ emails directly when they receive a response to their ticket. This makes the process time-consuming for end customers.

Product Information

Cost to upgrade: Upgrading to the “pro” plan costs $9.80 per operator, per month when billed annually. The price increases to $14 when billed monthly.
Most suitable for: Small businesses that need only one live agent at a time can opt for this solution.

2. Chatra

Chatra is cloud-based live chat software that allows unlimited concurrent chats on multiple websites, even on the free plan. However, it offers only one agent account on the free plan.

Users on all plans have access to features such as offline messaging, chat history for visitors as well as agents, and emailing of chat transcripts. Agents can leave notes about a specific customer or a chat session that other agents can refer to during future interactions.

Live chat queue in Chatra

Live chat queue in Chatra (Source)

We analyzed user reviews of Chatra to understand what buyers like and the areas they think need some improvement. Here’s what we found.

Pros

Cons

Users like that Chatra’s free plan offers many advanced features, including emailing of chat transcripts, access to the software API, and integration of Google Analytics. A few users think that the tool should offer more than one agent account for the free plan and an improved iOS app that doesn’t lag frequently.

Product Information

Cost to upgrade: The paid version costs $15 per agent, per month when billed annually. The cost increases to $19 when billed monthly.
Most suitable for: Small businesses or solopreneurs that need only one live agent at a time.

3. Pure Chat

Pure Chat is cloud-based live chat software that provides unlimited chats and chat history for users of all plans. Its free version allows three live chat operators and offers canned responses, trigger-based actions, file transfers, and integration with other software applications.

It also provides an engagement hub—an advanced version of a business contact page—that centralizes communication channels, including live chat, email, phone number, Twitter handle, and location, into a single bar widget that is displayed on every page of the website. It makes it easier for customers to communicate with businesses.

Pure Chat’s live chat dashboard

Pure Chat’s live chat dashboard (Source)

We analyzed user reviews of Pure Chat to understand what buyers like and the areas they think need some improvement. Here’s what we found.

Pros

Cons

Users like that the free version offers several premium features, including advanced chats. They also like that a chatbot is available to reply to customer queries when they are offline. To chat with customers, operators have to step outside of their WordPress admin dashboard, onto Pure Chat’s website. Users say that this makes the service process cumbersome and irregular.

Product Information

Cost to upgrade: Two package upgrades, namely, “growth” and “pro,” are available. They start from $39 and $79 per month (annual billing) and include 4 and 10 operators, respectively. Prices increase when billed monthly, and extra charges apply for additional operators.
Most suitable for: Small businesses that have existing software they want to integrate with a live chat solution.

4. tawk.to

tawk.to is a cloud-based live chat software solution that doesn’t limit any features to free subscribers. It allows businesses to hire live chat agents, starting at $1 per hour.

Key features of tawk.to include real-time monitoring, native mobile apps, customizable widgets, a built-in ticketing system, canned shortcuts, desktop/mail notifications, and data encryption.

Tawk.to’s dashboard

Tawk.to’s dashboard (Source)

We analyzed user reviews of tawk.to to understand what buyers like and areas they think need some improvement. Here’s what we found.

Pros

Cons

Users like that they receive detailed information about visitors, including their location, number of visits, and activity on a webpage. Agents can see what customers are typing into the chat box (even before they receive a message), which helps address queries faster. A few users think that the software dashboard needs to be simpler for beginners and non-technical users. They also point out that it needs to be refreshed constantly, as updated information takes time to sync up.

Product Information

Cost to upgrade: No paid version; option to hire agents starting at $1 per hour.
Most suitable for: Considering hired agents are shared by multiple companies (and as a result, the cost of hiring is split), tawk.to is suitable for small and midsize businesses with fluctuating agent demand.

5. Userlike

Userlike is a cloud-based live chat solution that offers chat customization, forwarding of chat transcripts, and automatic customer profile creation, among other features. Its free version provides only one chat widget (i.e., one unique chat window configuration for a site) and one operator. However, it offers unlimited chats.

The software allows users to create operator groups, usually segregated by department or role. These groups help reduce waiting queues (as customers can directly select which department to speak to) as well as manage agent workload. Customers can also rate chat sessions and give instant feedback to operators.

Agent and customer views in Userlike

Agent and customer views in Userlike (Source)

We analyzed user reviews of Userlike to understand what buyers like and areas they think need some improvement. Here’s what we found.

Pros

Cons

Users like that the free version offers unlimited chats and allows them to customize the chat panel as per their website look. Users would like to receive automated prompts/suggestions of FAQs and other knowledge base articles, based on the keywords customers type into the chat box.

Product Information

Cost to upgrade: Annual billing costs $29 per month for three users and widgets, $99 per month for five users and widgets, and $299 per month for 10 users and widgets. Each pricing plan has its own set of feature upgrades.
Most suitable for: Small businesses or solopreneurs that need only one agent and basic live chat software.

Which free live chat software should you choose?

Now that you’ve gone through our software recommendations, consider following the below steps to decide which live chat tool you should actually choose.

  • Compare the number of operators in the free plan: Eliminate tools that don’t meet your needs in terms of the number of live operators.
  • Ascertain the upgrade cost: If you’re planning to upgrade in the future, ensure that the upgrade cost of the software you select is within your budget. This will come in handy when you decide to scale up your business. Also ensure that the upgraded plan has all the features you require.
  • Read user reviews: Read user reviews on Capterra to assess user sentiments about the tools listed in this article.

For more information on live chat software, you can check out the following resources:


Methodology

We used Google SERP data to find free live chat software tools and shortlisted 38 products (as found on April 15, 2020).

Out of these 38 products, we retained 12 that were more popular based on their occurrence on various software lists.

We then evaluated each product and shortlisted those that fulfilled the following criteria:

  • The product is a free, stand-alone version of the software.
  • It’s not a trial version of the software wherein users must purchase a product version after a limited amount of time.

Once a tool was classified as free, we analyzed it against the following criteria:

  • It has at least 20 reviews published on Capterra (as on April 20, 2020).
  • It meets our live chat software definition: Live chat software allows companies to chat with customers in real time via their website. Its use for customer engagement is predominantly for support, although it’s more rapidly expanding to be used by sales and marketing teams to help drive customer engagement.

This check verified basic live chat capabilities and appropriateness for the category. Products were classified as live chat software if they contained the following core feature:

  • Real-time consumer-facing chat: An embeddable chat widget on a website, often using HTML, that provides consumer-facing live chat support or sales between customers and agents.

Disclaimer

The content in this piece provides the opinions and points of view expressed by users and doesn’t represent the views of Capterra.

Looking for Help Desk software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Help Desk software solutions.

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Comments

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you are missing a new live chat solution .
https://www.we-talk.co

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You are miss one of my favourite live chat solution. https://www.liveadmins.com

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I think you would fine IMsupporting is free. We use it. Weird you removed them for not being free lol

https://www.imsupporting.com/pricing/

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We have been using Hibox https://www.hibox.co for almost a year and we are pretty happy with it because in addition to letting you communicate in real time with group chat it also includes a task management tool so you can also keep track of everything your team is working on. We made the switch from email and are not looking back. Also has a free version. I recommend it.

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Thanks for the list, there is one more I can suggest which one can test it out for free for 14 days with a much impressive range of features that I suppose most of the solutions lack.
https://www.tagove.com/ Tagove is one such provider.

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Hi Cathy,

You made a mistake on the “Cons” for tawk.to.. We collect emails on tawk.to without paying them 1 cent, it is the only truly free app in this list.

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I’d say the Jabber/XMPP group chat feature has seen a quite good adoption rate, often with openfire as the server which also provides LDAP integration. http://cont.lu/2y367co

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Nice tips! I adore modern technologies especially live chats. Try http://www.chat4.website me and my customers are happy to keep in touch all the time

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Some of the great product, but you missed one of favourite – http://www.tagove.com

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Hello Cathy!

Thanks you for your awesome collection but I know some more, you can test it maybe too:

https://www.jakweb.ch/live-chat-3 <- selfhosted

and a totally free Live Chat that u can download here: https://www.jakweb.ch/download/f/1/live-chat-light

greetings from germany and sorry for my terrible english. :/

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Hi Cathy,

Informative post.

Instead of an open source tool, I would prefer a cloud-based tool because it offers greater flexibility and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. An online live chat tool is more efficient compared to its Opensource counterpart because the user (business owner) doesn’t have to worry about cost effectiveness, managing the solution, data theft, security concerns etc.

You can check out ProProfs Chat, a cloud-based live chat tool that allows businesses to communicate with their visitors.This free software help organizations to answer customer questions in real-time and offer quick help. All you need to do is just add ProProfs Chat to your site and monitor visitor activity in real-time, respond faster with canned responses, engage in proactive chat, track your support agent’s performance via post-chat feedback surveys, offer customer support, handle multiple visitor queries simultaneously and much more.

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Hey Cathy!
Thanks for an awesome collection of live chat software. From the above list, I tried FreshDesk and found it’s really an all-in-shop for customer satisfaction.

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Thank you Cathy. I will try a few of them and pick my best. Great post.

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Ok not one of them in the the list are ‘Free’.

Even the open source ones are not free in anyway. (no im not implying open source software needs to be free)
Where are the Free ones that were meant to be listed? you tagged ‘free live chat software’ as part of the blog yet there are none.

Great article don’t get me wrong.
It is informative but it doesn’t fully cover what is actually tagged for the blog post.

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Hi Cathy! Helpful post! There is some new live chat software with many features for free
https://www.netroxsc.com/system/free-live-chat-software/

Incredible customization widget.
https://www.netroxsc.com/system/features/customization/

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Thanks for sharing. I have been using Zopim and now I move to tawk.to

Those are great tools but there are always limitation and that is not good for business.

I will try some that you have share to us.

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“Hey Cathy! Great Post!
I have been using https://www.live2support.com/ for my business and yes! it has helped me in making my customers happier than ever. With the realtime visitor monitoring, my operators instantly understand the reason behind a customer’s confusion or problem and the autoprompt assists in resolving those problems right there which has been fetching us more customers. Live Chat solutions are incredible!

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Great list! A couple of ones I hadn’t heard of before. One I definately recommend those looking for a self hosted open source version to check out, live helper chat. The documentation is a tad rough but the platform is great and packed full of features.

[…] The Best Open Source and Free Live Chat Software – Capterra Blog […]

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