Best Live Chat Software 2021 Competitors & Alternatives

Are you considering for your live chat purposes? Before committing to, check out these alternatives to determine the best choice for your organization.

With over 3 million global users, is one of the most popular live chat software platforms on the market. It’s an entirely free solution that we found to be a reliable, yet relatively basic, customer support tool. received a SoftwarePundit Analyst rating of 90 because it offers detailed chat capabilities, ticketing, and a knowledge base free of charge.

There are many excellent competitors in the live chat space that are worth considering. While most of’s top competitors are not entirely free, they offer more functionality, more advanced features, and modern interfaces that are easier to work with.

Throughout this article, we’ll provide an overview of the main competitors and alternatives, which are:

  • Freshchat
  • Olark
  • Tidio
  • Gist
  • HelpCrunch

If you’d like to read an in-depth analysis of before learning about its main competitors, check out our full review. To learn more about our research and reviews, read about our unbiased review process.

Table of Contents Features

The main features offered by are live chat, ticketing, and a hosted knowledge base. doesn’t have some advanced features offered by more expensive alternatives, like email marketing or chatbots. However, offers the best range of features for free. Other solutions include a free plan, but those are often so restricted that they won’t benefit your business in the same way. Our table below provides brief descriptions of’s features.

Live ChatWith’s live chat feature, you get many details for free that competitors charge for, such as:
  • Canned responses
  • Visitor typing preview
  • Satisfaction ratings
  • Screen sharing
TicketingWith, businesses receive a built-in ticketing system that allows agents to track customer concerns. Agents will be able to assign status, the priority level, and assign an agent to each ticket.
Unlimited Chat AgentsMany live chat solutions offer plans that are priced per agent or will have limits on the number of agents you can have using the software. hosts unlimited agents for free.
Agent Chat PagesA fairly unique feature to, the agent chat pages are individual pages assigned to your company’s agents. These pages are customized with your agent’s photos, chat URL, and more. These are great ways for your team to provide direct lines of communication between your customers and the specific agents they’re trying to reach.
Knowledge BaseA knowledge base is a resource designed to address customer concerns and questions with FAQs, blog articles, and more. With, you’ll have access to a hosted landing page that has a built-in chat widget where you can route your customers for a self-help option.

There are also a few additional features that customers can pay for. These features include:

  • Hired chat agents
  • Hired virtual assistants
  • Remove branding
  • Video, Voice, & Screen Sharing Competitor Overview: Features

Below is a chart that compares the features found in, Freshchat, Olark, Tidio, Gist, and HelpCrunch. You’ll notice that major features like website pop-ups and chatbots are found in some competitors but not in, so opt for more advanced tools if your goal is to have a more well-rounded solution. Competitors Feature Chart Competitor Overview: Pricing

As mentioned above, is entirely free. You’ll be able to purchase a few additional features for between $1 per hour and $29 per month.

For the top alternatives, we’ll provide a breakdown of pricing plans and estimated monthly costs per plan.

CompanyPricing Details
  • Sprout Plan: Free for 100 agents
  • Blossom Plan: $19 per agent per month
  • Garden Plan: $39 per agent per month
  • Estate Plan: $59 per agent per month
  • Forest Plan: $99 per agent per month
  • Free Plan: Free for basic features
  • Monthly Plan: $19 per agent per month
  • Yearly Plan: $15 per agent per month
  • 2-Year Plan: $12 per agent per month
  • Free Plan: Free for basic features
  • Chatbot Add-On: Starts at $18 per month
  • Communicator Add-On: Starts at $18 per month
  • Email Marketing Add-On: Starts at $10 per month
  • Free Plan: Free for basic features
  • Professional Plan: $19 to $48 per month
  • Premium Plan: $29 to $128 per month
  • Standard Plan: $15 to $29 per agent per month
  • Premium Plan: $25 to $49 per agent per month
  • Enterprise Plan: Contact HelpCrunch for custom quote

Top Competitors

Below are one-to-one comparisons between and the top alternatives. We’ve researched and hand-tested these tools ourselves and our comparisons are based on that firsthand research.

#1: Freshchat

Freshchat is the competitor on this list that’s closest to in terms of the user experience and included features. is more basic, while Freshchat offers email marketing and a chatbot for a high price. Both are ideal for those who are looking for a support-focused tool rather than a combined marketing-messaging option.

You'll prefer if:

  • You’d like to hire chat agents
  • You want to offer a knowledge base
  • You’d like a free solution that still offers detailed features
You'll prefer Freshchat if:

  • You want more detailed reports
  • You’d like email marketing or a chatbot
  • You already utilize other Freshworks software products

#2: Olark

Olark is a very basic live chat tool that costs between $12 per person per month to $19 per person per month. Olark recently added their own chatbot product, called CoPilot, which is something that doesn’t have. Overall, is simply a better value for the money, because you get a very similar product for free.

You'll prefer if:

  • You’d like similar features free of charge
  • You’d like a knowledge base
  • You want unlimited users
You'll prefer Olark if:

  • You’d like to try a chatbot
  • You’re okay with a 2-year plan
  • You want a more modern interface

#3: Tidio

Tidio offers flexible live chat with add-ons such as email marketing, chatbots, and additional visitor insights. Tidio’s chatbot is a reasonable price and is easy to configure, though we found that chat notifications can be unreliable. is preferable for those who are looking to use live chat primarily for support, while Tidio should be for those looking for a more modern solution that can tackle support as well as marketing.

You'll prefer if:

  • Your main goal is to provide support
  • You’d like a free tool
  • You require reliable message notifications
You'll prefer Tidio if:

  • You want more advanced features
  • You want a flexible pricing model
  • You won’t mind less reliable notifications

#4: Gist

Gist is another chat-and-marketing tool like Tidio, but that offers the best free plan among all competitors. With the free plan, customers get basic live chat, website pop-ups, and email marketing features. will be preferable for those who are searching for ticketing and a knowledge base for free, while Gist will offer a broader set of features.

You'll prefer if:

  • You want to have more than 2 agents in the free plan
  • You need a ticketing tool
  • You don’t mind a slightly clunkier interface
You'll prefer Gist if:

  • You want to utilize chatbots and website pop-ups
  • You want software that’s easier to use
  • You’re looking for an all-in-one tool

#5: HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch was given one of the highest ratings in our live chat category because it offers fantastic value with features like email campaigns, up to five separate chat widgets, website pop-ups, a help desk and knowledge base, and more. HelpCrunch would likely benefit a slightly smaller organization, as it can cost up to $49 per team member, while is an ideal choice for a large customer support team.

You'll prefer if:

  • You’re focused on customer support, not engagement
  • You don’t mind a less intuitive interface
  • You want a ticketing feature
You'll prefer HelpCrunch if:

  • You want a powerful and intuitive tool
  • You can pay up to $49 per team member
  • You want particularly detailed reports and analytics

Bottom Line is a fantastic free live chat tool that will allow you to provide reliable support for your customers. It’s basic, though detailed enough that it outperforms all competitors’ free plans. We recommend it for those looking to provide their website visitors with top-notch support.

We recommend alternatives to for anyone looking to take support a step further with email marketing, chatbots, website pop-ups, and more. Other solutions, like HelpCrunch or Gist, come at a relatively high monthly cost but will afford your organization much more flexibility and functionality.

If you’re interested in signing up with, click here.

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:

  • Accounting software
  • Integration software
  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software
  • Video conferencing software

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