WhatsApp Cloud API or Business API: which hosting to choose?
August 14, 2022 — by Nael C.
6 min read
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Meta, Formerly Known as Facebook, released the WhatsApp Cloud API on May 19, 2022. This means businesses looking to leverage their WhatsApp communication can choose between the Сloud API and On-Premise API, making it a bit tricky for those unfamiliar with the WhatsApp ecosystem to make a choice.
The WhatsApp Cloud API has unique specs and features and is considered to have a newer and more effective infrastructure. It is still going through development, though, so the transition from On-premise API to Cloud API needs to be evaluated case by case.
You can read more about the features and which ones suit your business below.
The WhatsApp Business API is based on the on-premise REST API protocol. On the other hand, the WhatsApp Cloud API is based on the Facebook Graph API.
Graph API, in the context of the WhatsApp Cloud API, refers to the REST API provided by Facebook (Facebook Graph API).
WhatsApp Cloud API: The key characteristic of this Graph API (WhatsApp Cloud API) is that it provides a unified endpoint to get data into and out of the Facebook platform. Through this API, apps can query various data types, including users, posts, events, and more.
This implies the WhatsApp Cloud API offers a more holistic and versatile way to access data from WhatsApp and other integrated platforms within the Facebook ecosystem.
WhatsApp Business API (On-premise API): The WhatsApp On-premise API is a traditional REST API with separate endpoints for different types of resources. This suggests that the On-premise API provides a more specific and granular way to interact with WhatsApp’s business-related features and functions.
What does this mean for non-developers?
WhatsApp Business API (On-premise API): This API is suitable for businesses that require precise control over specific WhatsApp business functions. If a business needs dedicated endpoints for different types of interactions with WhatsApp, the Business API is more appropriate.
WhatsApp Cloud API: This API is more beneficial for businesses that need access to a wider range of data. If a business intends to work with data across multiple platforms within the Facebook ecosystem, including WhatsApp, the Cloud API could be a better choice due to its unified endpoint and versatility.
Regarding the WhatsApp On-premise API, the API software is hosted by BSPs on their servers and data servers. This approach provides greater control over the server and data privacy, customization, location, etc. At 360dialog, for example, we provide Local & Regional hosting according to GDPR laws. This also means that the costs of maintaining this type of account will be higher.
On the other hand, the Cloud API is hosted by Meta servers in North America and is GDPR compliant. There are also local hosting options available upon request. This allows businesses to host their applications or services on Meta’s infrastructure, lowering business costs.
The choice between the two highly depends on the requirements & use cases of businesses.
360dialog offers reliable hosting for both the WhatsApp On-premise API and the Cloud API. Independent software vendors (ISVs) and WhatsApp resellers can make use of several benefits that are mentioned in our partner documentation. Enterprises can ensure they have secure and reliable hosting for their use cases.
Based on 360dialog’s pricing for ISVs and resellers, the Cloud API is more cost-effective, with the Monthly hosting plan per account starting from $15.
On the other hand, the WhatsApp Business API hosting plans start from $25 per month. The WhatsApp conversation-based pricing applies to both the WhatsApp Cloud API and the Business API.
Throughput of messages per second
Compared to On-premise solutions, the WhatsApp Cloud API offers higher potential throughput capabilities and improved performance, allowing businesses to handle more messages efficiently. See Message throughput with Cloud API hosting for more details.
Both APIs ensure secure communication, but with the On-premise API, owners can fine-tune security to match their needs. The Cloud API offers a streamlined solution, relying on Facebook’s expertise in security.
WhatsApp Business API (On-premise API): Subscribers can manage their own Certificate Authority (CA) and Webhook CA certificates. A CA is a trusted entity that issues SSL certificates used by web browsers, for example, to ensure trust in online content by authenticating content sent from web servers.
With the On-premise API, owners have direct control over their certificates, allowing them to customize security settings according to their preferences. This can be especially important for businesses that adhere to specific security regulations.
WhatsApp Cloud API: Meta manages the CA certificates. Also, your Webhooks server needs to support HTTPS and have a valid CA-chained TLS/SSL certificate installed for you to get a Webhook CA certificate. It’s important to note that the Cloud API does not support self-signed certificates.
The Cloud API offers simplicity. Business owners don’t need to worry about managing certificates; Facebook handles it.
Media and Stickerpack Support
Cloud API vs. Business API
Meta is committed to expanding the capabilities of the Cloud API, which gives businesses access to a better-performing API with more features.
Ultimately, deciding to favor Cloud-based or On-premise hosting depends on each business’s unique circumstances and preferences. However, prioritizing the WhatsApp Cloud API helps businesses and specifically Independent software vendors (ISVs) take advantage of Meta’s resources and continuous improvements to the fullest extent.
The table below summarizes the key differences between the WhatsApp Cloud API and the Business API.