Brief: Zulip is an open-source collaboration platform that pitches itself as a better replacement to Slack. Let us take a closer look.

Messaging and collaboration platforms make a big difference when it comes to your work.

While there are several options available, Slack is a popular one used by many organizations. But, what about an open-source alternative to Slack that you can self-host?

Zulip is one such software.

Zulip: Open Source Collaboration Messaging App

zulip chat new

If you want to explore, I must mention that there are more open-source alternatives to Slack out there.

Here, I focus on Zulip.

Zulip is a free and open-source messaging application with paid hosted options and the ability to self-host.

It aims to provide a similar experience to Slack while striving to help you improve the effectiveness of conversations using topics.

In contrast to channels in Slack, Zulip chat adds topics (which are like tags) to quickly filter through the conversations that matter to you.

Features of Zulip

zulip chat screenshot

You get most of the essential features with Zulip. To list the key highlights, you can find:

  • Markdown support
  • Topics for channels
  • Drag and drop file support
  • Code blocks
  • GitHub integration to track issues
  • Email notification support
  • Self-host option
  • Message editing
  • GIPHY integration
  • Video calls with Zoom, Jitsi, or BigBlueButton

In addition to the features mentioned, you should expect the basic options that you usually get with Slack and others.

Also, you can integrate it with Matrix and IRC if you want.

zulip settings

In my brief test usage, the user interface is good enough for effective communication. However, I failed to find any dark mode or the ability to change a theme.

It looks more straightforward than Slack so that it can improve the user experience side of things.

Install Zulip in Linux

Zulip is available as an AppImage file from its official website. You may refer to our guide on using AppImage in Linux in case you need help.

It is also available as a snap package. So, you can utilize either of them for any Linux distro.

You can also install it through the terminal for Ubuntu/Debian-based distros using APT. Take a look at its official instructions if you want that.

Zulip is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You should also find it available for Android and iOS mobile phones.


Considering that you can use Zulip on the web, desktop, and smartphones, it is a suitable replacement for Slack.

Have you tried it yet? What messaging platform do you use to collaborate for work? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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