Alex Porubay in web app development, mobile app development, app development Marketing Specialist • Cleveroad Sep 18, 2018 · 2 min read · ~100

Disclosed: How Much Does It Cost to Make an App Like Instagram in 2018? How Much Does It Cost to Make an App Like Instagram in 2018?
The photo sharing phenomenon is becoming more and more popular over the years and, therefore, the demand for engaging social media platforms is on the rise. It's no surprise Instagram has conquered the market of photo sharing platforms and the love of users. What's more, thanks to Facebook, Instagram also became a powerful marketing tool for individual and business use.
Such a stunning success and ever-growing demand for interesting products have made many entrepreneurs think of how to make Instagram app of their own. If you're one of them then you're at the right place.
To calculate the cost of the project, you need to be clear as for functions and features it will have. Basing on the fact that the future applications star is going to be an Instagram-like, let's look at what the app building is actually about and what its main features are.

The evolution of Instagram

Successful digital products never stop evolving. Except for multiple new features which have appeared over the years, Instagram has undergone a variety of design changes which were both minor and major.
It's needless to say how important the user experience is for driving new users and retaining the existing ones. Nowadays, UI/UX design is just one more component that helps to stay competitive by delivering a good experience to app users. If you look at apps like Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, you will notice that their technically complicated features are wrapped into an easy-to-use sheath due to their harmony with the design.
So, all the features your app is packed with should also be wrapped into an aesthetic design to enhance the user experience. Correspondingly, if you want to create app like Instagram you have to be ready to invest not only in the technical side of your product but design as well.
However, the design isn't the only thing Instagram has improved over the years. There is also an impressive list of technical features introduced to the app between 2017-2018:
  • Stories Highlights -- a section where users can import their ongoing and past stories so that others could see them on a constant basis.
  • IGTV -- a YouTube rival with horizontal videos.
  • Shoppable posts -- business accounts are now able to mark their goods on photos.
  • Explore page -- it was rethought and redesigned. 
This is far from the full list of features arrived for this period of time. As you see, constant product development is a must if you want to create an app like Instagram that's capable of competing with other big players.
We built a variety of photo sharing apps for customers from all around the world. And one of the things we've learned is that photo sharing apps have to stand out from the crowd and offer unique features. For example, the app Fademarks we were working on is designed to place user photos on a map instead of a traditional feed which is a more convenient way of sharing photos for certain audience. Such a step has helped this app to find its place in the overcrowded market.
Think of the uniqueness of your app and what new opportunities it brings to users. That is the only way to create something worthy.

Instagram technology stack

Even if you're a non-technical founder, the knowledge of IT basics and technologies your app is running on will be a huge plus for you. In this section, we define the Instagram technology stack which might suit your app too or at least provide guidance for you.

Technologies used for Instagram app development

  • JavaScript
  • Python 3
  • Java
  • Objective-C
  • React
  • Django
  • React Native

DevOps tools used for Instagram app development

  • Webpack -- JavaScript module bandler.
  • Babel -- JavaScript compiler. 
  • Sentry -- cross-platform application monitoring.
  • HAProxy -- load balancer and proxy server.
  • Jest -- JavaScript unit testing.
  • Nuclide -- Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
Instagram technology stack
As you see, Instagram has an extensive infrastructure, which is not surprising in view of the engineering need for withstanding heavy loads as well as the company's ever-growing demand for rapid mobile development. The last is the reason why the they have chosen React Native as a part of the technology stack.