Push Notifications

Best Firebase Alternative for Realtime Messaging and Notifications in 2024

Anjali Arya
March 25, 2024
Evaluate top Firebase alternatives for real-time messaging & notifications: AWS SNS, Azure Notification Hubs, Google Cloud Pub/Sub, Apache Kafka, and RabbitMQ. Compare features, pricing, and ecosystems. Includes case studies and code samples.

Firebase offers an extensive set of tools and services for rapid application development. However, specific projects demand tailor-made solutions beyond Firebase's native capabilities. When searching for Firebase alternatives, consider real-time messaging and notification services. These services typically prioritize high availability, scalability, and performance.

This article explores five leading alternatives to Firebase for real-time messaging and notifications. After introducing each candidate, we dive into features, pricing, and ecosystem compatibility. Let's begin!

Firebase Features Recap

  1. Realtime Database: Firebase's flagship feature, the Realtime Database, is a cloud-hosted NoSQL database enabling real-time data synchronization and storage between users. Data stored in the Realtime Database can be accessed directly from client-side code, ensuring low-latency interactions.
  2. Cloud Firestore: A flexible, document-oriented NoSQL database built for mobile and web applications requiring scalable storage and fast, predictable responses. Cloud Firestore simplifies data modeling, supports transactions, and maintains strong consistency.
  3. Authentication: Streamlined user management, including various sign-in methods like email/password, phone, social logins, OIDC, and SAML identity providers. Authentication ensures safe, protected user accounts while minimizing implementation overhead.
  4. Cloud Storage: Store images, audio, video, or files seamlessly with simple file uploads and downloads for authenticated users. Firebase handles resizing, compressing, and serving media content efficiently.
  5. Cloud Functions: Execute custom JavaScript server-side logic in response to events triggered by Firebase products. Scale stateless functions alongside traffic patterns automatically, eliminating operational burden.
  6. Hosting: Serve static assets like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript from CDN-enabled global Edge Cache locations, delivering snappy load times and reliable caching. Deploy pre-rendered single-page applications effortlessly.
  7. Test Lab: Test applications on physical devices hosted in Google's labs, covering thousands of combinations of OS versions, screen sizes, and hardware configurations. Access detailed reports highlighting UI inconsistencies, slow transitions, and potential bugs.
  8. Predictions and Analytics: Utilize machine learning algorithms to analyze user behaviors, forecast churn probability, and assess revenue potential. Gain insights from aggregated usage metrics, demographics, audience retention rates, and conversion funnels.

When considering Firebase alternatives, examine the strengths of:

  • Supabase
  • Parse 
  • Kuzzle
  • Back4App 

Each platform brings unique advantages, catering to varying use cases, budget constraints, and technical expertise. While Firebase offers impressive features for real-time messaging and notifications, exploring alternative options tailored to meet specific project requirements doesn't hurt. Today, we will discuss five notable Firebase alternatives for realtime messaging and notifications, evaluating them along dimensions such as features, pricing, and ecosystem compatibility.

Now, let us introduce the competitors!

AWS Simple Notification Services (SNS)

Amazon Web Services hosts a myriad of cloud computing services, among which AWS SNS rivals Firebase for real-time messaging and notifications. Targeting application-to-application and application-to-person communication, SNS guarantees high throughput, minimal latency, and steadfast message delivery.

Key Benefits of AWS SNS over Firebase messaging and notifications

  • Managed Durable Pub/Sub Messaging: Simplified administration with auto-scaling and redundancy.
  • Multiple Communication Channels: Email, SMS, mobile push, and HTTP/HTTPS notifications.
  • Interoperability with Other AWS Services: Direct access to complementary AWS services.
  • Consumption-Based Billing: Only pay for utilized resources, reducing expenses.

Case Studies

  • Netflix: Capitalizes on SNS for automated error reporting and incident escalation procedures.
  • Slack uses AWS extensively. Here’s an architecture diagram of how Slack uses AWS for their customers. 

Case Study: 

Slack integrated SNS to route incoming messages from external sources to appropriate Slack channels. Adopting SNS allowed Slack to centralize their messaging bus, maintain lower latencies, and achieve higher scalability. Read more in the official case study.

Code Example:

        import boto3
        import json

        def lambda_handler(event, context):
            # Create SNS client
            sns = boto3.client('sns')

            # Set topic ARN and message payload
            topic_arn = "YOUR_TOPIC_ARN"
            msg_payload = {
                "default": json.dumps({"key1": "value1", "key2": "value2"}),
                "email": json.dumps({"subject": "New Message Received", "body": "Checkout updated values."})

            # Publish message
            response = sns.publish(TopicArn=topic_arn, Message=json.dumps(msg_payload))

            return response

Refer to this guide for setting up AWS credentials and installing `boto3`.

Azure Notification Hubs

Microsoft's Notification Hubs facilitate push notifications to mobile devices across various operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows, and Baidu. Tag expressions, scheduling, and template-based notifications empower developers to craft fine-grained messaging strategies.

Key Benefits of Azure Over Firebase Messaging and Notifications

  • Cross-Platform Support: Wide coverage for various operating systems and devices.
  • Tag Expressions and Templates: Improves granularity and customization for message transmission.
  • Affordable, On-Demand Pricing: Minimizes monetary commitment with pay-per-use plans.

Case Studies

Google Cloud Pub/Sub

Enterprises pursuing dependable messaging between decoupled applications favor [Google Cloud Pub/Sub](https://cloud.google.com/pubsub). Combining Google Cloud Platform benefits with event-driven architectures, Pub/Sub becomes a compelling choice for businesses adhering to hybrid or multicloud environments.

Key Benefits of Google Pub/Sub Over Firebase

  • Reliability and Security: Impressive stability and rigorous encryption standards.
  • Three Delivery Patterns: Pull, push, and streaming models cover diversified use cases.
  • Integration with Additional Google Cloud Services: Straightforward interaction with adjacent Google Cloud offerings.
  • Generous Free Tier: Initial 90 days or limited quotas for no charge.

Case Studies

Apache Kafka

LinkedIn originally developed Apache Kafka for ingesting and analyzing massive amounts of data in real-time. Nowadays, Kafka powers mission-critical use cases spanning finance, gaming, retail, and more.

Key Benefits of Kafka Over Firebase Messaging and Notifications

  • Partitioned Commit Logs: Divided structures for improved parallelism and failover resilience.
  • Schema Registry and Connectors: Versatile tools for data serialization and third-party integration.
  • Multi-Broker Clusters: Decentralized networks mitigate vulnerabilities and bottlenecks.
  • Commercial Editions Available: Commercial support and enhanced features accessible for purchase.

Case Studies

  • Netflix: Transfers 6 petabytes of data daily using Apache Kafka clusters.
  • Instagram: Optimizes post feed loading times employing Kafka.


Last but certainly not least, RabbitMQ distinguishes itself as another prominent open-source message broker. Serving enterprises since 2007, RabbitMQ focuses on simplicity, extensibility, and portability, winning over countless developers worldwide.

Key Benefits of RabbitMQ Over Firebase Messaging and Notifications

  • Versatile Protocol Support: Advanced compatibility with common protocols, including AMQP, MQTT, and STOMP.
  • Modular Design: Ample plugin choices expand functionality.
  • Management Console and CLI Toolset: Intuitive interfaces simplify administrative duties.
  • Active Development: Regular releases incorporate improvements and bug fixes.

Though sometimes you don’t need to change the messaging component for simple issues which could arise in your own notification service. Firebase is used by millions of businesses, is a trusted brand, and most certainly every Android push notification service providers use this. 

You can try the push notification service from Firebase or APNS using a 3rd party push notification service for SAAS tools like SuprSend. Here’s an architecture diagram showing how it would work.

In the channels, you can have your own push notification service via Firebase while we handle all your messaging brokers/ queues and send notifications to the client devices. With native integration to Firebase, our SDKs store and match the device tokens automatically enabling you to just trigger the notification and relax, while SuprSend handles all the tech complexities unless the push notification is delivered to the recipient. 


Throughout this review, we explored five worthy alternatives to Firebase for real-time messaging and notifications. Whether you choose AWS SNS, Azure Notification Hubs, Google Cloud Pub/Sub, Apache Kafka, or RabbitMQ, remember to weigh the pros and cons according to your project's unique needs. Happy developing!

Incase you want to use push notification service without building the notification system from scratch, try our SuprSend, where you can connect your existing Firebase and APNS API to trigger notifications, along with templates, workflows, fallback mechanisms and more. Signup now to use the 30 days sandbox for testing.

Written by:
Anjali Arya
Product & Analytics, SuprSend

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