Ably vs. Liveblocks: realtime collaboration platforms compared

Discover why Ably is the better choice for building scalable, collaborative experiences with superior quality of service guarantees.

Creating a collaborative environment around your applications is often just one of the many realtime experiences users have come to expect.

If you are looking to incorporate realtime chat, broadcast updates, sync data and more, you need to select a platform that can support what you need.

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What is Ably?


Ably is a realtime experience platform. Founded in 2016, our realtime APIs and SDKs help you create multiplayer collaboration and a host of other realtime experiences ‘in-app’, without having to build the underlying infrastructure.

Ably’s Spaces, Pub/Sub Channels and LiveSync (coming soon) products can be used separately or in combination to not only unlock end-to-end realtime messaging but to create a host of collaborative features including: live avatar stacks, live cursors, member locations, live updates, component locking, annotations, chat, comments, notifications and more. 

Ably’s Spaces SDK powers the features you need to enable synchronous collaboration for teams and manage their participant state.

Our upcoming product LiveSync helps you deal with app state management between the frontend and your own backend systems with ease.

Explore Spaces Get started with a free account

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What is Liveblocks?


Liveblocks is a realtime collaboration infrastructure for developers, first launched in 2021. It provides a set of APIs and tools to add multiplayer features to applications.

Developed purely for multiplayer, they offer a fully hosted solution and toolkit to modularly embed collaborative experiences into products.

Interested to discover other realtime collaboration solutions? See our list of Liveblocks alternatives

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Ably vs Liveblocks: platform & feature comparison

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Performance, reliability, scalability, and messaging guarantees

Before considering anything else, you need to trust your realtime collaboration platform provider can deliver a dependable user experience at scale. Performance, reliability, scalability, and superior messaging guarantees are critical factors for any solution that enables the building of collaborative applications. These characteristics directly impact the user experience and can make or break the success of any realtime collaborative experience.




Uptime guarantee

99.999% uptime SLA for all paid pricing plans.

See the Ably service status page

No uptime SLA for standard plans.

99.99% uptime SLA exclusively for enterprise customers.


<65ms round-trip latency (P99).

Learn more about Ably’s predictably low latencies


We have not identified any documentation that indicates Liveblocks latencies.


We are only limited by the amount of capacity that Amazon AWS can provide us, which is practically limitless. 

That’s why Ably is able to send billions of messages to millions of concurrently-connected devices, over millions of pub/sub channels. 

Note that every component of the Ably service affected by increased load is designed to automatically scale pre-emptively to meet demand.

Learn more about using Ably at scale


We have not identified any documentation that covers the scalability of Liveblocks - how many concurrent connections can be handled.

Global edge network

Ably has data centers in 7 regions:
- Singapore
- Ireland
- Germany (Frankfurt)
- Ohio, US
- North Virginia, US
- California, US
- Australia (Sidney)

Our network also consists of 385 edge acceleration points of presence (PoPs) distributed all over the world.

Learn more about Ably’s infrastructure

Liveblocks manages a global edge network but we were not able to find any details on performance or locations.

Multi-region architecture


The Ably service comes with a globally-distributed, multi-region mesh architecture, with no single point of congestion, and no single point of failure.

Key capabilities:
- Data replication across multiple regions.
- Latency-based DNS routing, thus minimizing latency and ensuring maximum performance for clients no matter their location.
- Binary encoded messages to further optimize performance.
- Self-healing clusters and automatic routing around network and server failures.
- Dynamic elasticity and automatic scaling to meet any demand.

Learn more about Ably’s globally-distributed architecture


We have not identified any documentation that indicates whether or not Liveblocks can support multi-region architecture.

Guaranteed message ordering

The order in which subscribers receive messages on a channel anywhere in the world will always be the same order that the messages were originally published.


Explore Ably's guaranteed message ordering implementation


Guaranteed message delivery (exactly-once)

Ensures the message can neither be lost nor delivered twice (or more times).


Learn how you can achieve exactly-once semantics with Ably


Automatic reconnections with continuity


Explore Ably's implementation of automatic reconnections with continuity


The Liveblocks WebSocket connection engine handles offline and reconnections.

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Collaboration features

End-users are coming to expect a number of core multiplayer features to facilitate ‘in-app’ collaboration and enhance the team-work experience - live avatar stacks, live cursors, live locations, live updates, field locking and more.

You’ll want to make sure the platform you choose has through the architectural challenges of integrating these features, so you can focus on the UX.

Collaborative features



Create a collaborative space

A space is a virtual area of your application defined by you. Realtime collaboration between users takes place in the space, and any number of spaces can be defined in your application. A space can be anything from a web page, a sheet within a spreadsheet, an individual slide in a slideshow, or the entire slideshow itself.

How to create or retrieve a Space.


With Liveblocks you can create a digital space in which people collaborate - they call a room. You can require your users to be authenticated to interact with rooms.

Avatar stack

Display an avatar stack to show the online status of end-users within a space - online and connected.

How to show online status of members.


You will need to use their low level APIs to build out this feature.

Live cursors

Display the location of end-users' cursors in realtime, within a space.

The live cursor API automatically batches messages and provides the message rate required for smooth performance of 100s of simultaneous cursors.

How to track the cursors of members.


You will need to use their low level APIs to build out this feature.

Member location

See which part of a space end-users are interacting with by displaying which component they have selected, or are viewing. A location could be a cell, a field, a slide or anything else in your application.

How to track member location.


You will need to use their low level APIs to build out this feature.

Component locking

Ably’s component locking API enables end-users to optimistically lock specific UI components while making their edits, so there’s no confusion with other collaborators or disruption to overall collaboration in the space.

How to lock UI components.


You will need to use their low level APIs to build out this feature.

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Realtime features

Creating a collaborative environment around your applications is often just one of the many realtime experiences users have come to expect.

If you are looking to incorporate realtime chat, broadcast updates, sync data and more, you need to select a platform that can support what you need.

Realtime features




Presence provides the functionality to identify and communicate individual behavior in realtime. It allows you to be aware of other clients that are currently “present” on a channel, synchronizing online user state across devices.

Presence Docs

Presence feature represents people’s movements and actions inside ‘the room’. People in the room are able to see what others are doing in real-time.

Only up to 30 as standard.

Don't allow for more granular subscriptions to avoid unnecessary messages.

Can’t find documentation on whether or not Liveblocks automatically deals with connection states.

Flexible pub/sub messaging


Ably offers reliable, low-latency pub/sub messaging that can enable serverless communication - with guaranteed message delivery.

Pub/Sub Channels docs.


Liveblocks has a broadcast capability, which can be used to broadcast events to notify in real‑time other connected clients to the room.


We retain two minutes of message history as a default, so if clients disconnect they can properly catch up upon reconnection. Useful for chat or live feeds. You can choose to persist the last message for up to 365 days. Persisted messages retain ordering.

We also enable customers to plug in their own database to get messages beyond what’s retained in our history.

History docs.

Instead of history Liveblocks have an ‘Undo/redo’ capability for previous actions. We have been unable to identify from their website, how far back you can apply this (how many edits back).

Liveblocks provide their own persistent storage.

Channel rewind & persistence

Channel rewind and persistence simplify the problem of joining a collaborative session “late” and needing to catch up on edits.

Persistence & rewind docs

Instead of channel rewind Liveblocks have an ‘Undo/redo’ capability for previous actions. We have been unable to identify from their website, how far back you can apply this (how many edits back).

Liveblocks provide their own persistent storage.

Push notifications

Send push notifications directly to collaborator's devices, regardless of whether they are currently active in the app or not.

Push notifications docs


Can’t find documentation on whether or not Liveblocks supports push notifications.

Message interactions

Makes it very easy to interact with messages previously sent to a channel. This comes in handy if you’re building in a comment feature where users can interact with a message – for example by ‘liking’, replying, quoting, or adding an emoji reaction.

Message interactions docs


Can’t find documentation on whether or not Liveblocks supports different message interactions.

Conflict‑free data types


Avoid conflicts through field locking, using presence. Enables multiple users to edit the same document at the same time - locking cells, fields, sections.


Use conflict‑free data types to enable people to edit the same document in real‑time.

Liveblocks automatically resolves the conflicts.

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Supported languages, integrations, and protocols

Look for platforms that offer SDKs in your preferred language and seamless integrations with your backend.





25+ realtime (and REST) client library SDKs targeting every major language and development platform:
- Android
- Flutter
- Java
- Scala
- Objective-C (iOS)
- Swift (iOS)
- MacOS
- tvOS
- JavaScript
- Node.js
- NativeScript
- React Native
- Clojure
- Cordova/PhoneGap
- Go
- Kotlin
- Laravel
- .NET
- Mono
- Unity
- Xamarin & Xamarin forms
- Python
- Ruby

In addition, we also provide MQTT, message queue (AMQP), and STOMP client libraries. 

Download an Ably SDK

Liveblocks supports the following frameworks:
- React
- React Native
- JavaScript

3rd party integrations

We offer a wide variety of integrations, so you can easily connect Ably to your preferred tech stack.

- Custom
- Zapier

Serverless platforms
- AWS Lambda
- Cloudflare Workers
- Google Cloud Functions
- Azure Functions

Streaming & queuing platforms
- Apache Kafka
- Apache Pulsar
- Amazon Kinesis
- Amazon SQS
- RabbitMQ

(NEW) You can automate the provisioning, management, and testing of Ably realtime infrastructure via our Terraform integration.

Limited number of integrations. Liveblocks only offer webhooks - currently in beta.


The Ably protocol, which is used for realtime communication between the Ably servers and client SDKs is WebSocket-based. Note that we offer fallback transports such as XHR Streaming and XHR polling, for environments where WebSockets aren’t supported.

We believe interoperability is key, so we also support additional protocols:
- Server-Sent Events

Explore the protocols supported by Ably

Liveblocks is WebSockets based and doesn’t support any other messaging protocols, such as MQTT, SSE, or AMQP. 

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Security and compliance

Security and compliance are front of mind for many collaborative use cases. Encryption, authentication, roles and permissions, and compliance with standards like SOC 2 are essential requirements for any collaborative multiplayer solution.





TLS encryption.

256-bit AES encryption using private keys. This way, message payloads are opaque, can never be decrypted by Ably, and can only be decrypted by other clients that share your secret key (end-to-end encryption).  

Learn more about Ably's encryption


Can’t find documentation on whether or not Liveblocks supports TLS/SSL and AES-256 encryption.



Ably authentication capabilities:
- API keys (basic authentication). Recommended to be used server-side. 
- Tokens with fine-grained access controls for the client-side. Note that Ably supports ephemeral & revokable tokens, and JWTs. 

Learn more about Ably’s authentication mechanisms


Tokens - configurable through choice of Next.JS, Firebase, NuxtJS, Express.

Configurable chat roles & permissions


Ably allows you to set various permissions for API keys and tokens (e.g., right to subscribe to channels and presence events, right to publish, right to retrieve message history).

Explore Ably's configurable rules and permissions


Rooms can have different permission types assigned at three different levels: default, groups, and users.


SOC 2 Type 2, HIPAA, GDPR, EU and US-only data storage.

Learn more about Ably’s security and compliance

SOC 2 coming soon.

Data governance

Data governance is not a concern with Ably. We only store data such as chat messages for short periods of time (2 minutes in case persistent data isn’t enabled, and up to 72 hours if it is enabled). 

We offer integrations with tools like Kafka, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon SQS, and we support queues and webhooks, so you can easily move your chat data into your own long-term storage, and govern it as you see fit. 

Have to use Liveblocks data store.

Enterprise customers can request a Data Processing Agreement (not available for other tiers).

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Pricing and support

Is the pricing model flexible, scalable, and clear? What support options are available?




Free package

Our free package allows you to build a proof of concept and explore Ably’s features.

The free package comes with:
- 6 million monthly messages.
- 200 peak concurrent channels.
- 200 peak concurrent connections.

No credit card required.

Get started with a free Ably account

Free starter package that includes:
- 100 MAUs.
- 1 seat.
- Community support.
- 10 simultaneous connections per room.

Monthly active users are calculated as the number of unique users with at least one connection in a month. Users connected on localhost or .test domains are not included in billing.

Pricing model

There are 2 paid tiers: Pay As You Go, and Committed Use. 

Pay As You Go pricing is calculated as follows:
- $2.50 / million messages.
- $15.00 / thousand peak concurrent channels.
- $15.00 / thousand peak concurrent connections.

Compared to the Free tier, the Pay As You Go plan offers a couple of extra benefits, such as data replication across regions, and a 99.999% uptime SLA.   

If you are looking to exceed 25.000 channels, 25.000 connections, or 2.5 billion messages, we recommend the Committed Use tier.

Similar to the Pay As You Go tier, Committed Use offers a 99.999% uptime SLA. In addition, it comes with volume discounts and add-ons like:
- Premium support.
- Active traffic management.
- Dedicated private cluster.
- HIPAA compliance.
- EU/US-only traffic.
- PrivateLink.
- SSO.
- Customized rate limits.

Learn more about Ably’s pricing

There are 3 paid tiers: Pro, StartUP and Enterprise.

The Pro package is intended for those looking to support between 200 - 25000 MAUs. Pricing starts at $29 a month, billed annually and includes:
- 200 MAUs.
- Unlimited seats.
- 20 simultaneous connections per room.
- Email support.
- No SLA.

NB: Pricing increases if you exceed the number of allowed MAUs ($0.29 per extra MAU).

Once you hit around 2000 MAUs it makes more sense to upgrade to StartUp.

The StartUp package is intended for those looking to support between 2000+ MAUs, although calculator stops at 100k suggesting this is when to move to Enterprise. Pricing starts at 2000 MAUs, for $299 a month, billed annually and includes:
- 2000 MAUs.
- 30 simultaneous connections per room.
- Webhooks.
- Email support.
- No SLA.

NB: Pricing increases if you exceed the number of allowed MAUs ($0.19 per extra MAU).

Enterprise packages include:
- Custom MAUs.
- Custom seats.
- Priority support.
- Optional custom solution.
- Webhooks.
- Optional SLAs and DPAs.

Customer support

Customer support is included in the package you choose - Free, Pay As You Go, or Committed Use (we don’t charge extra specifically for support).

Live chat and email support are available for all Aby users, irrespective of their plan. 

The Committed Use plan comes with additional support channels and benefits, including:
- Full architectural review & guidance.
- Critical incident escalation pager facility.
- Direct access to Ably engineers.
- Support over Slack and phone.
- Dedicated customer success manager.

For the Free and Pay As You Go plans, support is available between 9AM-5PM (UK & US East business hours). Meanwhile, for Committed Use customers, support is available 24/7, all year round. 

Guaranteed response times:
- Best effort for users on the Free plan.
- 1 day for Pay As You Go customers.
- 1 hour for Committed Use customers.

View Ably support options

Customer support is included in the package you choose - Free, Pro, StartUp and Enterprise.

Free - Community support only.

Pro - Email & community support only.

StartUp - Email & community support only.

Enterprise - Priority support, email & community support.

No further details on what is included under ‘Priority support’ could be found on the website.

Note: This comparison was created based on documentation and resources freely available online. The content was last updated on 1st June 2023. Be sure to double-check everything before you make any decisions. If you do find anything incorrect or out of date, then please let us know.


Power not only collaborative features, but all your realtime needs with Ably

Unlike Liveblocks, Ably goes far beyond multiplayer experiences. We can help you with many other realtime use cases:

  • Broadcast realtime event data, such as live scores and traffic updates.

  • Enable conversations in realtime with Live Chat, from customer support to live streaming.

  • Deliver cross-platform push notifications at scale.

  • Keep your backend and frontend in realtime sync.

  • Add realtime asset tracking capabilities to urban mobility and food delivery apps.