Searching for the best WordPress live chat plugin to add live chat support to your WordPress site?
3CX Live Chat is a free WordPress live chat plugin that offers a ton of flexibility for setting up your own chat system, along with advanced support for phone calls and video chats if you want those abilities (though you can also just stick to live chat).
With the new 3CX StartUP plans (released in 2022), it’s now easier than ever to get started with 3CX Live Chat on your site. Plus, you get access to a generous forever-free plan with no branding and support for up to ten agents.
In our hands-on 3CX Live Chat, we’ll show you how you can use this free live chat plugin to start chatting with your customers.
3CX Live Chat Review: What the Plugin Does
3CX Live Chat is a free WordPress live chat plugin that lets you create a cloud-hosted or self-managed live chat system for your WordPress site.
Who is 3CX? It’s a company that offers a full suite of business communications. In addition to live chat, they also offer app-free video conferencing tools and a phone system. However, we’re specifically focusing on just the live chat features in this review.
To simplify the process of setting up the live chat, 3CX launched a new StartUP product, which gives you an easy way to set up a free cloud-hosted live chat system that supports:
- Text chatting via your website
- Facebook Messenger and SMS integrations (WhatsApp integration is also currently being finalized)
- CRM integration
- Audio calls
- Video calls
You can choose exactly what to enable. For example, you could only enable text chatting, or you could allow text and audio (but not video calling).
Visitors can also convert between the different methods pretty seamlessly. For example, a visitor could start with live chatting and then easily move to an audio call just by clicking a button in the chat interface to carry on a discussion with the same operator.
To respond to your visitors, you get a bunch of different options including:
- Web browser.
- Dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android.
- A native Windows app along with a progressive web app (PWA).
You’ll also get a bunch of productivity features to help you work more effectively:
- Assign chats to specific agents.
- Transfer chats between agents.
- Set business hours and holidays.
- Attach files to chats.
How to Set Up and Use 3CX Live Chat
Now that you know what 3CX Live Chat does, let’s get into how to set up 3CX Live Chat on your WordPress website.
For this tutorial, we’re going to look at creating a hosted instance using 3CX StartUP, which is a setup where 3CX will host the live chat system for you for free. This simplifies things a bit and ensures that your live chat is always working properly. It also reduces the load on your WordPress site’s server because it won’t need to do the work of powering the live chat system.
If you’re interested in creating a self-managed system instead, you also have the option to host your own instance using 3CX Dedicated. However, we’re not going to cover that in this review because we’re focusing on the 3CX StartUP instead as a go-to solution for startups and small companies.
Here’s how it works…
1. Register for a Free 3CX StartUP Account
To get started, you’ll want to register for a free 3CX StartUP account, which you can do by going here:
We’ll talk more about pricing later on, but the basic idea is that your account is free forever for the live chat system and up to ten users. So you won’t need to enter a credit card now (or ever) because you won’t need to pay anything.
Once you enter your email to create your account, you’ll need to verify your email by clicking the link that 3CX sends you.
You’ll then see a screen to fill out the rest of your account details:
Next, you’ll have the option to create up to ten users who will have access to your live chat system. If you’re not ready to do this quite yet, you can always do this later (don’t stress!) – just click Next to advance:
You’ll then be asked if you want to create a SIP trunk. You only need to do this if you want to make external calls from your account and have a real phone number, which you do not need for this tutorial:
If you’re fine with talking via the website/chat (or not using audio at all), you can just click No and advance.
2. Set Up the 3CX Live Chat System
Next, you’ll be asked if you want to set up live chat for your website. This time, you’ll want to choose Yes.
Once you do that, you’ll see another question where you can tell 3CX that you’re using a WordPress site and enter your WordPress site address.
After clicking the Set button, 3CX will give you your 3CX Talk URL.
Keep this URL handy because you need it to configure the 3CX Live Chat plugin on your site in a second. We recommend copying it to a safe place while you finish out the setup process:
On the last step of the setup process, you’ll see details for your account’s web client. This is where you’ll be able to log in and respond to customer chats. Or, you can also use the dedicated apps – more on those later.
You should also receive an email with these details, so don’t freak out if you accidentally misplace them.
3. Install 3CX Live Chat WordPress Plugin and Add Talk URL
Next up, head over to your WordPress site and install the free 3CX Live Chat plugin from the WordPress.org directory.
Once you activate the plugin, go to the new 3CX Live Chat area in your WordPress dashboard and add the 3CX Talk URL that you got in the previous step.
If you want to use live chat sitewide, check the Enable in all pages box and then save your changes. Alternatively, you can also only enable live chat on certain pages:
Then, make sure to save your settings.
And that’s it! Your live chat is officially active and your visitors can start chatting with you.
Here’s what it looks like with the default behavior – you’ll learn how to customize it next:
4. Configure 3CX Live Chat Widget Using the Web Client
While the 3CX Live Chat plugin lets you control which pages to activate the live chat widget on, you’ll access pretty much all of the other settings from the web client.
The web client is where you can change colors and styles, along with behavior (such as whether or not to allow audio and/or video chats/calls).
You received your web client details on the last step of the setup process (they’ll also have been emailed to you). They should look something like this:
- URL: https://1047.3cx.cloud/webclient
- Username (extension number): 17610
- Password: v3rS8eN33T02JAt7
Here’s how to access the live chat settings:
- Log in to the web client.
- Click the Office Settings option in the lower-left corner.
- Select Voice & Chat under the Configure heading.
- Click the pencil icon next to your live chat instance to open its settings.
Now, you’ll get a simple settings area to configure live chat behavior.
For the design, you can choose from a few premade styles or choose the Customize option to create your own.
Once you’re happy with everything, make sure to save your settings.
You also might want to explore some of the other settings, though these aren’t required. For example, under the Office hours tab, you can set up the schedule for when you’re available.
If you need to add a new user/agent, you can do that from the Users tab.
5. Start Responding to Visitors
Now, you’re ready to start responding to visitors.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a few ways that you can do that:
- The web client interface.
- iOS and Android mobile apps.
- Native Windows desktop app.
- Progressive web app (PWA).
You can also switch between them seamlessly. For example, you could start a conversation via the web client and then move to the mobile app when you need to leave your computer.
When new conversations come in, you’ll automatically get notifications via whatever apps/channels you’re using and you can respond.
For live chats, you’ll get notifications much like someone messages you via a texting app. Here’s what it looks like to respond to a live chat session from the web interface:
You can also transfer chats to other agents if needed.
If you’ve enabled audio or video calls, those will obviously require more immediate attention.
If a customer initiates one of them, you’ll hear a phone ringing and also see a big notification popup that looks a lot like the iPhone call screen:
You can also manage calls from a separate Calls area in your web client:
3CX Live Chat Pricing
The 3CX Live Chat Plugin is available for free at WordPress.org.
3CX then also offers a forever-free plan called 3CX Startup Free which supports the following:
- Up to ten users/agents
- Cloud-hosted version
- All live chat features, including mobile and desktop apps
- No 3CX branding on the live chat box (unique)
The 3CX StartUP Free plan also gives you access to some of 3CX’s other features, such as video conferencing for up to 25 participants and one inbound number. Again, we didn’t cover these features in the review, but you get them for free if you’re interested in them.
If you need to exceed 10 users and/or you want access to other features such as a Facebook Messaging integration and SMS support, the paid plans start at just $150 per year ($12.50 per month) for all features for up to 10 users.
Up to 20 users would cost $250 per year ($20.83 per month).
I think its pricing is one of the most unique things about the 3CX Live Chat plugin and StartUP plan.
First off, the free plan is a lot more generous than most other WordPress live chat solutions that you’ll find. You get up to 10 agents and there’s no 3CX branding even on the free version. The branding is a big positive because most other free live chat plugins require branding unless you pay.
Second, there’s no per-agent pricing like you’ll find in a lot of other WordPress live chat tools.
For example, another popular WordPress live chat solution changes $16 per month per agent, which would cost you $160 per month for 10 agents. In contrast, the entry-level paid version of 3CX Live Chat is $12.50 per month for up to 10 agents, which breaks down to just $1.25 per month per agent, or just ~8% of what the other service charges.
So even if you need the paid version of 3CX Live Chat, it’s still going to be a lot more affordable than most other WordPress live chat plugins, especially if you have a lot of agents.
Final Thoughts on 3CX Live Chat
Overall, 3CX StartUP offers an easy, cost-effective way of setting up a live chat system on your WordPress site.
Most sites will be fine with the free version, which has generous terms – up to 10 agents and zero branding from 3CX.
If you want access to more features such as the Facebook Messenger integration and/or support for more agents, the paid plans are still a lot more affordable than other options, with no per-agent pricing like a lot of other tools.
If you’re interested, you can try it out 100% for free – just follow the steps in this tutorial and you’ll be up and running in around five minutes or so: