Telegram is a popular broadcasting and chat app that's seen astronomical growth in the past few years. But Telegram has a dark side, and is missing some features you'd want in a community platform.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to 20 Telegram alternatives. Each of these Telegram competitors offers something different, but there’s something here for everyone.
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What is Telegram?
Telegram is a community chat app that brings together messaging and calling, with the ability to broadcast to large groups and organize channels. The chat app lets its 500 million users send and react to messages, add interactive stickers, build bots, and create groups around shared interests.
It also has monetization options since Telegram lets you sell subscriptions.
Why look for a Telegram alternative?
There are two primary reasons people look for Telegram alternatives: Telegram's dark side and limited features. Here are the challenges to building on Telegram:
- It’s been plagued with security and privacy issues, from spam bots and phishing to malware and cyber criminality.
- Although it advertises as being "encrypted",security experts have pointed to potential vulnerabilities.
- Telegram focuses on top-down discussions (no way to scale a community)
- Only admins in groups can publish (subscribers can vote in polls).
- There's no way to customize.
- Telegram is missing comprehensive monetization features.
Telegram is a decent messaging and broadcasting app. But these alternatives are safer and give you better ways to build a digital business.
20 Telegram alternatives
1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is the ultimate Telegram alternative. Mighty is a unified member platform that combines community, content, courses, and commerce. That means that it works as a community chat app but it's also got a powerful forum, livestreaming, and messaging features built in.
You can build and customize a community, easily inviting the people you want there or even selling memberships – you can collect payment in currencies from around the world, or even monetize with token-gating.
Mighty lets you customize flexible community Spaces, with features like live streaming, live events, messaging, member profiles, and -- of course -- chat.
It has a secure chat function, from 1:1 to group chats to messaging all members. And, unlike Telegram, it’s both secure and safe. You get to decide who’s in your community – you can even add a membership questionnaire if you want to screen potential members.
Once people are in, there are also lots of community moderation and reporting tools, meaning that spam and phishing are pretty much non-issue in a Mighty Network.
The real game-changer for a Mighty Network is that it comes with community AI built-in. Mighty Co-Host™ runs on Chat GPT and can create a Big Purpose, community name, brand, landing and sales pages, and more. Try it!
Besides chat, Telegram also gives you a broadcasting feature. And in the same way, each Mighty Network has native live streaming built in.
With a full set of event scheduling and RSVP features, plus a great app, Mighty Networks is an awesome Telegram alternative. The community plan starts from $33/mo.
WhatsApp is another Telegram alternative that’s really well-known, especially outside North America. It’s a chat app that lets you message 1:1, create group chats, and have video & voice calls. The calls use wifi or data instead of calling minutes, which can be great for people who need to call out of the country a lot. The messaging function is powerful, and you can send different types of messages like audio, images, documents, or videos.
WhatsApp’s other claim to fame is its security features, with end-to-end encryption. These security features, although not perfect, are still considered much better than Telegram’s. WhatsApp does a good job replicating Telegram’s chat features, but isn’t the best replacement for building groups of people who don’t know each other or for live streaming.
You probably know about Discord. It’s a forum-builder with a mix of live streaming tools built in. Created for gamers to share about the games they love plus show off their skills, Discord has some good features. You can chat with other members, create channels, and grow a community.
In terms of its online forum, you can customize member roles and members can have back and forth chats. There are some monetization features with Discord, but you need to apply to them in order to sell plans and not everyone gets accepted.
The other thing that makes Discord a good Telegram alternative is its event features. As we mentioned above, you can create a live event if you have the Stage mod. This gives you the option to share your screen (remember it was invented for gamers), but you can also go live and chat with your members while you broadcast.
Discord works best for a free community, without monetization, and it’s really good for what it was invented to do – bring gamers together.
Viber is another community and chat option that’s an alternative to Telegram. It works well as a community chat, giving you a space to bring members together, organize conversations, and appoint admin.
Viber has really good security and privacy features. It has user verification options plus end-to-end encryption, giving you a combination of safety factors. And it has other cool tools, like setting messages to disappear after a certain time. Viber also has a phone connection so you can call landlines and mobile numbers around the world.
All together, Viber is a great chat-only Telegram option. But, there’s a catch. It’s missing the comprehensive community features that a real community platform has – it’s possible to create huge chat groups, but usability isn’t really anything more than a group chat. 1,000 people in a group chat is a nightmare. And it’s not made for monetization either, so if you want to earn from broadcasting or communities, you’d be better to go a different way.
5. MS Teams
Let’s talk about another Telegram alternative: Microsoft Teams. MS Teams was launched to be a corporate, remote work solution. It has a really solid chat engine that lets you create individual and group chats – since it's primarily used for work, this is usually with people from your organization. Teams is a fantastic way to organize work at an office.
Another thing Teams does well is events. It integrates with MS Office to add “one-click” event scheduling, giving you functionality for meetings and webinars. The MS Teams event has a good interface, an in-meeting chat, and it’s easy to join and invite others (although users either need to use Teams or a Microsoft Edge browser). MS Teams is also a really secure software with end-to-end encryption.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Telegram for the office, to organize work, MS Teams is a really good option. It doesn’t work as well for building a community that doesn’t know each other, with no real forum features. And it wouldn’t really work for a community you want to monetize. It’s also not great for broadcasting, working much better for meetings.
If you’re looking for a Telegram alternative for the office, Slack is also a great one. Slack is older than MS Teams, and was built with a similar goal – organizing coworking. It’s the darling of a lot of remote offices (the ones that aren’t using Teams, that is), and it works great.
Slack works more like a forum than Teams does – falling somewhere in between a forum and a chat software. It lets you organize discussions into different channels, as well as by thread. You can invite others into a thread by @mentioning them, and it lets you add lots of different types of content. Slack works really well for 1:1 audio meetings, “huddles,” that give you the power to call someone in real time.
Some of the limitations of Slack: It’s not quite as versatile as MS Teams as a business solution, requiring integrations (ie. with Zoom) to do some of the video meeting features Teams has. It’s also not great for monetization OR for live events.
All this means that Slack works best for organizing work teams, but it could work for a free community – which is what some creators are using it for. But if you want to really grow your membership or monetize, you’d probably ned to move to a different platform.
Snapchat is a messaging app that’s another option for those looking for an alternative to Telegram. It’s primarily for sharing video and photos, and you can add on different creative features to these like emojis, text, or filters. You can send these snaps as 1:1 Messages or share publicly as a story.
The unique (and famous) thing about Snapchat is that the snaps disappear after a set amount of time – meaning that they can be viewed once in many cases. Snapchat can be used to add your friends, although you can also connect with people nearby.
Snapchat was launched to counteract the idea that anything you create online sticks around forever. It focuses on quick interactions and personalization. Snapchat works as a Telegram alternative only for 1:1 or group photo/video messaging.
8. Google Chat
Google Chat is Google’s answer to chatting with friends, sort of like Facebook Messenger. You need to send an invitation to chat with someone and, if they accept, you’re off to the races. Google Chat is pretty simple (much like other Google products), but it works really well for 1:1 or small group chats.
Google Chats has taken a lot of notes from Slack, and it works in a similar way. There are Spaces that let you either create a discussion space OR a group chat. To this, you can add Google Docs, Calendar and Google Meet invites, plus video, emojis, and GIFs. It has a lot of good functionality, and like Slack, would work really well for an office – especially if it’s an office that uses Google Drive products.
As an alternative to Telegram, Google Chats has the chat function as well as the encryption. This makes it a great chat app. It’s simple and free, and it’s popularity is growing. Google is limited in the same way other chat and work apps on this list are. It’s not great for community-building, best for people who already know each other. There’s no real forum-type organization, it’s just a running thread of conversation (if you missed some, you’d have to try to scroll up). It also wouldn’t really give you features for monetization.
9. Facebook Groups
If you're looking for a Telegram alternative that actually does a lot of the same things, Facebook Groups is an option. Like Telegram, Facebook lets you cultivate large groups of people ("members") and curate content for them. And like Telegram, you can broadcast to the group (either via posts or livestreaming). People can react and join the conversation.
Facebook gives you an app on your phone that pretty much everyone is familiar with.
The biggest downside of Facebook Groups as an alternative to Telegram is that you can't monetize. This is a bummer if you're looking to earn from your following.
But there's more. The chat functions in a Facebook Group itself get really messy when you have a lot of people chatting--it's not a place to hold a group conversation. AND there are two downsides unique to social media platforms: you have to fight the algorithm, and it has some of the same privacy concerns Telegram has.
Geneva is a Telegram alternative that focuses on hosting group video chats. It's got ways to organize chatrooms (video, text, and audio rooms) and forums that help organize larger conversations.
Geneva is definitely equal to Telegram when it comes to video calling (either 1:1 or groups), and they've created a cool interface. You can create and schedule events with Geneva, and the app will give notifications to members when it starts.
And, if you're into text content, Geneva also has a blog post and discussion option (although these aren't as strong features as the video chat).
Geneva is a free platform, but it's missing a way to monetize. So if you're looking for a Telegram competitor that you can build a business on, it's not the right choice.
If you're looking for a Telegram alternative that will give you mass streaming features, Twitch has to be on the list.
Like with Telegram, you can build a following on Twitch. And if you're a streamer looking for an audience, Twitch is probably a better place to grow.
It started as a gaming platform, but there are all sorts of streamers on there. You can talk about pretty much everything.
AND Twitch does monetization better than Telegram, giving you more ways to monetize: you can sell ads, sponsorships, or traditional subscriptions. It also has a bit more customization features than Telegram has.
For livestreamers, Twitch is a pretty tempting alternative. But remember, it's missing the chat and messaging features of Telegram--it's a place to build an audience, not a community.
Sticking with livestreaming options, YouTube has some good features as a Telegram alternative. Like Telegram, you can use it to stream out to an audience. The livestreaming tools are integrated really well with the platform, and viewers can add comments, questions, etc.
If you're a video creator, YouTube also has the advantage of being the world's second largest search engine. This means that even if people miss your livestream, they can catch your content by searching for it (even for years to come). And if you snip the best parts of it into shorts, viewers can find you organically that way too.
Again, YouTube's strengths are as a livestreaming and video platform. If you're trying to build community and memberships, it's definitely not the right choice.
Plus, monetizing on YouTube is a pain--you have to get to their threshold to get approved for ads: 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. Otherwise, you've got to get creative about it.
Flock is a Telegram alternative that looks a lot like a basic Slack or Discord; it organizes group discussions as a forum. It does, however, also include messaging and calling features: voice + video calling between either two people or groups.
Its basic set of community-building features includes channels for sharing content, files, voice notes, and polls.
Unfortunately, Flock is missing both monetization and customization features--pushing it toward the bottom of this list. It is an alternative to Telegram, but definitely not the best one.
Discourse is a basic forum function that could be an alternative to Telegram if you want to stick to text discussions. It's pretty analog, missing both video and livestreaming tools. Instead, Discourse is a basic community that lets you organize discussions--it feels a bit like having your own reddit or Quora.
The code to Discourse is open source; it's live on GitHub if you want to use it. If you're a developer, this is a way to get a community platform for cheap.
But most people have to pay for hosting and install on Discourse, making it less effective. And since Discourse is really not a strong community platform either, it's probably only a viable Telegram alternative for those wanting an open-source platform.
Teamspeak is a chat platform built for gamers, much like a Discord or Steam Chat. But some of its functionality makes it a viable Telegram alternative.
It comes with a chat and voice interface; it's even the official chat engine for the popular game Overwatch. The conversation channels come with military-grade encryption that's well-rated.
Like Telegram, Teamspeak lets you organize your conversation into channels.
Unlike Telegram, THERE IS NO VIDEOCHAT feature on Teamspeak. That's important to know. It could be a cool option for broadcasting and voice features, but it doesn't have video. And there are no monetization features either.
Like Mighty Networks, Circle is a community platform that can work as an alternative to Telegram. It has a combination of forum, course, and livestreaming features to build a community around a shared interest. And your members can share text and video content.
Circle lets you organize larger community conversations, with member profiles and chat and messaging. And it gives you some community branding features like light & dark mode and custom icons.
Circle previously only had an iOS app, but they added an Android one recently. They've also recently added different ways to deliver courses.
However, Circle is still missing many of the advanced community features Mighty Networks has, and there are additional charges for more members, admins, and moderators (all of which are unlimited in a Mighty Network).
Chanty is a Telegram alternative that feels a bit like Slack. It's made for the workplace, and has ways to share content and organize it into spaces. It also has some project management features and Kanban views.
The built-in voice and video calling can be used for conversations between 1:1 or groups of people, and Chanty has a few branding options that include light and dark mode.
Unfortunately, Chanty has no native monetization features.
Skype has been around for a long time. It was one of the pioneers of video calling (and was bought by Microsoft in 2011). Skype is still a decent platform for video calling, making it a viable Telegram alternative.
You can use Skype for messaging, including things like emojis and reactions. But the real strength of Skype is its calling features. It can do video calling and screen sharing between devices, but it also has a landline calling feature (for a price), meaning you can do both chats and old-school phone calls.
Again, Skype is a Telegram alternative for calling and chatting. It's not a Telegram alternative for building a community or monetizing a following.
Finally, let's talk about Signal. It has end-to-end encryption like Telegram--encryption so good that apparently even the company can't access your messages.
Signal comes with video calling and messaging features, that they call a "simple, powerful, and secure messenger."
Signal is a great choice for Telegram alternative for those worried about encrypting messages. And it even has a feature like Snapchat for disappearing messages. It's a fantastic messenger app.
Signal is not a broadcasting app (although it does have a stories feature), nor is it a community-building app. It's a simple messaging Telegram alternative for those wanting to chat with friends.
Best branded community app
Let's round out this list with a Telegram alternative for those established creators who want to build community, broadcast, and message on their own app. Mighty Pro brings G2's top-rated community platform (Mighty Networks) and deploys it on your native app in the App Store and Google Play Store.
You get all the community features you need: livestreaming, live events, discussion forums, chat & messaging, content options, activity feeds, and more, all on customizeable Spaces. And you can monetize any mixture of these, selling subscriptions, bundles, and one-time offers.
Your app lives on your members' devices, with notifications and livestreaming that happen under your brand. And you get advanced analytics to see what's working and what isn't.
When you build on Mighty Pro, you'll work closely with Account Executives and Community Strategists who have scaled 7-figure creator brands and 8+-figure subscription businesses.
We've built apps for Adriene Mishler, Drew Binsky, Sadie Robertson Huff, TED, and Christy “Code Red” Nickel.
Book a call with us and we'll show you what we could build together!
Ready to start?
If you’re ready to get your online conversation started, come try Mighty Networks! It’s a powerful chat and community platform that will give you all the versatility you need to WOW your members. Plus, it’s super safe, a cultivated group of people chatting about things that matter to them.
Add in live events, course features, live streaming, and even the option to create your own branded app, and it’s the best Telegram alternative. Oh yeah, and it’s also ranked the #1 community software by G2. Come see what you could build with it! It’s free to try.