Best Live Chat Software 2021

Best Free Live Chat Software

Searching for the best free live chat software? A list of our top suggestions is below.

Live chat solutions help organizations of all types connect with their website visitors in real time. Some live chat solutions on the market today combine live chat tools with advanced features like chatbots, email campaigns, and on-site pop-ups. These combined chat-and-marketing tools can get expensive, and they might be unnecessarily complex if you’re only searching for basic chat functionality. Many live chat tools have free plans that will let you chat with visitors at no charge. We’ll provide you with these choices below.

All of our recommendations are based on research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing these live chat solutions. More details regarding our research process can be found on our live chat category page.

Table of Contents

What is Live Chat Software?

Live chat software is a software tool that allows company representatives to converse with website visitors. This happens through an inbox or dashboard on the company side, and through a chat window, called a “widget”, on the visitor’s end. Live chat facilitates customer communication and quick support without the hassle of phone lines or the long delays of email support. Live chat is rapidly becoming a staple website feature for customer support purposes.

While there’s a wide array of live chat software available on the market today, some don’t offer free plans or the free plans are so sparse that they’re only moderately valuable. We’ve reviewed many live chat solutions and put together a list of the four best free live chat tools.

What Features are Found in Free Live Chat Software?

There are a few key features that are found across our top four free live chat options: tawk.to, Tidio, Gist, and Freshchat. These features are sorted from most to least important.

Best

Top Free Live Chat Software

Here’s a quick overview of our top four free live chat solutions. If you see one that interests you, take a look at our full reviews to determine whether the software will effectively support your organization.

1: tawk.to

Tawk.to is easily one of the best free live chat solutions available. It’s used on over three million websites worldwide and remains free forever, so you won’t be charged for anything unless you add advanced features like screen sharing or branding removal. Features found within tawk.to include:

  • Unlimited agents
  • Ticketing capabilities
  • Canned responses
  • Robust integrations
  • Reports

One of tawk.to’s most unique offerings is their chat agents for hire, which start at a low cost of $1 per hour. This is ideal for companies who wish to outsource their live chat management.

The biggest drawback is that tawk.to has a slightly dated interface that’s less intuitively designed than competitors’ interfaces. However, this drawback does not outweigh the product’s value, which is why it’s our #1 free solution.

tawk.to
Rating: 90
Starting Price: Free

Tawk.to is a free live chat solution with over 3 million users. It focuses solely on live chat, with features like ticketing and screen sharing, and tawk.to also allows customers to directly hire virtual assistants and chat agents. Tawk.to is the best free live chat software and would benefit any company searching for a free option.

Pros:
  • Entirely free
  • More robust than competitors' free plans
  • Tawk.to customers can directly hire chat agents and virtual assistants
Cons:
  • Not quite as user-friendly as paid competitors
  • No chatbot or email marketing features
  • Must pay to remove "Powered by tawk.to" branding

2: Tidio

Tidio is a live chat and marketing software that’s used on over 300,000 websites worldwide. Across live chat softwares, it has one of the best free plans due to the variety of features included. This is the only free plan on our list that includes a chatbot.

Notable features in Tidio’s free plan include basic chatbot capabilities, email marketing, basic email templates, and event tracking for emails. The free plan includes three support seats. The biggest drawback is that the reports are not the most detailed or reliable.

Tidio
Rating: 85
Starting Price: $18 per month

Tidio is a live chat and email marketing software that’s used by over 300,000 websites. It offers features like chatbots and email marketing templates. Given its ease of use, Tidio is ideal for those searching for a hassle-free live chat solution.

Pros:
  • Advanced and varied chatbot workflows
  • Interface is user-friendly
  • Flexible pricing options
Cons:
  • Chat notifications can be unreliable
  • Included reports are fairly basic
  • Somewhat limited integrations list

3: Gist

Gist is a live chat and marketing software with over 10,000 customers. It has free plans for Support (live chat), Marketing (email campaigns), and the All-In-One plan, which combines Support and Marketing capabilities.

Notable features in Gist’s free plan include unlimited chat history, canned responses, basic email templates, and event tracking for emails. The free plan only includes two support seats, however, which may hinder organizations with a large support team.

Gist
Rating: 88
Starting Price: $29 per month

Gist is a customer messaging software with over 10,000 customers. Its notable features include event tracking and cross-channel campaigns. It is ideal for anyone looking for an affordable mid-tier customer messaging solution.

Pros:
  • Free plans are more robust than competitors' free plans
  • Advanced cross-channel messaging capabilities
  • Buildable forms and popups to capture and convert leads
Cons:
  • Chat history feature is not designed practically
  • Customer support wait times can be long
  • Limited integrations list

4: Freshchat

Freshchat offers a free plan with a whopping 100 seats, which is notable because most free plans only offer one or two seats. It also includes an automatic integration with Freshdesk, the company’s helpdesk solution.

The features included in the free plan are 10,000 monthly unique visitors, live chat capabilities, and conversation labels. Freshchat’s free plan doesn’t include visitor segmentation, which is helpful for grouping specific customers for campaigns.

Freshchat
Rating: 84
Starting Price: $19 per agent per month

Freshchat is a messaging software offered by Freshworks, a company with a wide variety of products. Its main features include live chat and email campaigns; Freshchat also includes advanced in-house reports. Overall, Freshchat is a solid yet slightly expensive live chat solution.

Pros:
  • Advanced in-house reporting metrics
  • Free plan comes with 100 seats - more than most competitors offer for free
  • Effective and user-friendly
Cons:
  • Chatbot is expensive and only included in most expensive plan
  • Lacks integrations found in similar tools
  • Comes at a higher cost than similar competitors

Check Out These Free Trials

While some live chat solutions offer a free plan, many others also offer free trials of their advanced paid plans. These trials usually range from seven to 30 days and allow you to test a wide range of the platform’s features. Live chat companies that we’ve reviewed, yet that either don’t offer a free plan or have a lackluster free plan, are described below.

SolutionNotes
Crisp
  • 14 day free trial
  • No credit card is required
  • Free trial of the Unlimited Plan
Zendesk Chat
  • 14 day free trial
  • Free trial of the Enterprise Plan
  • No credit card required
  • All features available in the trial
HelpCrunch
  • 14 day free trial
  • No credit card is required
  • Free trial of Standard or Premium Plans
  • Customers can request trial of Enterprise Plan
LiveChat
  • 14 day free trial
  • Free trial includes free trial of ChatBot product
  • Credit card information is not required
Olark
  • 14 day free trial
  • Credit card information is required
  • Free trial includes all features
Intercom
  • 14 day free trial
  • Credit card information is required
  • Free trial of Start or Grow Plans
  • Custom chatbots not included
Pure Chat
  • 30 day free trial
  • No credit card is required
  • Trial of the PRO Plan
  • All features included in the trial
Katelyn Anderson

Katelyn is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses of technology markets & products and writes software-related content. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Psychology. Her main areas of interest are content creation, user experience, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn.

Katelyn is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software

Get the latest from SoftwarePundit

We'll share our latest software reviews, technology tips, and deals.

*