Best Live Chat Software 2021

Live chat software is software that lets your business engage with customers on your website through real-time messaging. Think about all the times you've browsed a web page and noticed a chat box pop up on the bottom right-hand corner, offering a welcome message. This is live chat software.

While there are many use cases for live chat software, the two most common are customer engagement and customer support. Both are key for encouraging your customers to convert while answering all their questions. Read our full introduction to live chat software.

We recommend live chat software for any small business that receives more than a hundred website visits per month, simply because customers will appreciate being able to ask direct questions. If you're not looking to pay a premium to add live chat to your list of tools, solutions like Gist offer free plans that you can use to test live chat with zero risk.

Research Led By:
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Junior Research Analyst

We use a rigorous software review process to create our unbiased, in-depth research.
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Highest Rated Live Chat Software

Live chat software is used by all types of organizations to provide customer support to website visitors. Live chat software can be used for lead generation, customer support, and customer engagement. Different software vendors offer a variety of features including chatbots, ticketing systems, and email campaign capabilities.

Live Chat Software Prices

Live chat software can range from free to upwards of $500 per month. Here are some details that will help you compare prices for the most popular live chat tools.

Software VendorStarting Monthly PriceFree TrialAdditional Information
  • Certain plans are $119 for 5 seats
  • Monthly pricing is roughly $600 per month
  • Additional seats are roughly $80 per month
  • Annual plan comes to a 20% discount off monthly pricing
  • Chat agents for hire from $1 per hour
  • Virtual assistant for hire from $7 per hour
  • Remove branding for $12 per month
  • Video, Voice, & Screen Sharing from $29 per month
  • Yearly subscription comes at a 15% discount from monthly pricing
  • Pro Plan is $25 month for four seats
  • Unlimited Plan is $95 for unlimited seats
  • Chatbots starting at $18 per month
  • Email Marketing starting at $10 per month
  • Additional visitor insights starting at $18 per month

Live Chat Software FAQs

Live chat software is technology that allows companies to engage with their website visitors in real-time, via messaging. It is often utilized as an alternative to phone and email support, providing superior convenience and speed.

There are numerous benefits that live chat softwares offer. These include:

  • Instant messaging with customers
  • Building trust and familiarity with clients
  • Proactively engaging visitors to your website
  • Capturing customer contact information

The cost of live software depends on the features you need. Plans with advanced features are typically more expensive. In general, here's the price you can expect to spend per user per month for live chat software:

  • Entry plans: $0 to $19 per month per agent
  • Standard plans: $20 to $49 per month per agent
  • Business and Pro plans: $50 to $99 per month per agent
  • Enterprise plans: Contact the vendor for pricing

The best live chat software for you depends on your budget and the features you need. The best options for large companies that want an advanced system are LiveChat, Intercom, and Drift. is an ideal tool for companies who want live chat capabilities for free.

The most popular free live chat software is Drift is another popular option, with over 150,000 businesses using the software.

The most common live chat software features are:

  • Live Chat
  • Chat Widgets
  • Chatbots
  • Automated and Canned Messages
  • Helpdesk
  • Integrations
  • Email Campaigns
  • Issue Tracking Systems
  • Reporting

Live Chat Software Research & Advice

Live Chat Comparison

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Zendesk Chat vs. Freshchat

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Zendesk Chat vs. LiveChat

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HelpCrunch vs. Intercom

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Olark vs.

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Freshchat vs. Intercom

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Is or Tidio the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best live chat tool...Read More >

Why You Should Trust Our Recommendations

The team at SoftwarePundit has been testing software since 2017. We’ve hand-tested over 250 software products in that time, including 16 in the live chat category. We applied the same rigorous process to each piece of live chat software that we analyzed. The specifics of our live chat category research process are outlined below.

Katelyn led our analysis of live chat software. She has spent more than 300 hours evaluating leading live chat software systems. To test the live chat tools, she set up a Weebly page and installed each live chat tool on that page. She sent messages back and forth to website visitors, tested key features, and analyzed differences between the software products.

In addition, all research and content was overseen by Bruce Hogan, SoftwarePundit’s Co-founder & CEO. Bruce has more than a decade of experience researching, building, and reviewing the world’s best software products. His technology advice has been featured on a wide range of media sites such as AngelList, CMSWire, Dental Economics, iPhone Life, Reader’s Digest, Thrive Global, U.S. News, and the Zapier Blog.

How We Selected the Best Live Chat Software

We selected the best live chat software based upon a number of criteria. The most important criteria were each software tool’s features, usability, price, and customer support. The details of our analyses are captured in the in-depth reviews we publish about each software tool.

There are a handful of critical features that you should look for in live chat software. We prioritized the following features in our analysis:

  • Website Widget: The widget is the window that allows customers to interact with your business. It’s important that widgets load quickly on a page, can be customized to fit your company’s branding, and support file sending.
  • Automated and canned responses: Automated and canned responses are pre-saved responses that you can send out with quick shortcuts. These tools will save your company time and effort.
  • Chatbots: Chatbots are software programs that are designed to converse with visitors and capture visitor information while your company is offline. It’s imperative that chatbots can be customized to handle complex routing rules, which will direct the visitor to the correct department.
  • Chat and Email Campaigns: Chat and email campaigns are crucial marketing tools for any company. These campaigns should be easy to configure, have the ability to be sent to different segments of users, and report metrics about campaign effectiveness.

How We Evaluated Live Chat Software

We used the same rigorous process to evaluate live chat software as all other software categories. For the live chat category, Katelyn invested several weeks researching, testing, and writing about the tools.

We interviewed the teams at the software companies listed above. Our conversations with the companies included questions about each company’s product, customer base, pricing, customer support, and business strength. After a general interview, Katelyn spent additional time participating in a product demo led by each company. This provided Katelyn with the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the features and functionality of the live chat software.

Katelyn also obtained a free trial of each software tool listed above. She spent several hours testing the key user journeys in each software product. This allowed us to validate the features offered by each product, and to gain an understanding of the software’s usability. To better understand the implementation process and customer experience, Katelyn installed live chat software on a test website that we host.

In addition to conducting conversations with the software companies and hand-testing every piece of software, Katelyn also spent dozens of hours interviewing real customers of the software tools listed above. Customers that provided insights that were included in our analysis and reviews were:

  • David Plumridge: David Plumridge is the founder of ActionBuddy and has been a customer of LiveChat,, Intercom, and other live chat tools.
  • James Graham: James Graham is the CEO and founder of Community Phone. He uses Drift for his customer support efforts.
  • Jeff Moriarty: Jeff Moriarty is the founder of JMoriarty Marketing. He uses Drift for his customer support efforts.
  • Jesse Spencer: Jesse Spencer works with BIS | Grooper. The company currently uses Drift.
  • Mony Georgiev: Mony Georgiev is the founder of Maidily. He uses HubSpot live chat to provide frontend support for his customers.
  • Nastya Kholodova: Nastya Kholodova is the founder and software developer at Voopty. Her company uses Pure Chat.
  • Tamika Scriven: Tamika Scriven is the owner of Allure Wigs. Allure Wigs currently uses Pure Chat to support customers with live chat.