Free Self Hosted Alternative to Zendesk, Freshchat: Chatwoot

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Chatwoot is free open source alternative to Zendesk, Freshchat like software. Here you can install it easily on a server that you own and create channels and agents. For now, it works with Facebook and websites and you can easily configure it. The interface is lite and simple and easy yo use. You can create a unlimited agents here and then handle the chats across various channels. However, the installation process can be tedious, so you have to be extra patient while you are installing this. If you want, you can install and test it locally or you can installĀ  it on Heroku like PaaS services and use it whenever you want.

There are many live chat services out there but they generally come with limitations in the free plan. But Chatwoot here is open source and you can self host it with ease. The entire source code is available on GitHub and you can peek into its code base if you want. You can even deploy it on Windows server as there is detailed documentation mentioned for that. If you have little technical knowledge then you can easily setup this on your server or PC and use it. Or, just don’t worry as I will mention the installation steps below.


Using this Free Self Hosted Alternative to Zendesk, Freshchat: Chatwoot

The best way to install Chatwoot is by using Docker. There is Docker Compose file is given that you can use to build it locally and then launch it. The advantage of using Docker is that it will take care of all the dependencies. You just have to issue a few commands to get it ready.

So, if you have Docker installed, then you simply run the following commands one after another. The build process can take some time, so wait for it to finish.

docker volume create --name=postgres
docker volume create --name=redis
docker-compose build

chatwoot docker build commands

Now, you just run the following command and the server should start. You can now simply open “localhost:3000” in your browser and then proceed with the login. The default user email and password is “” and “123456“.

docker-compose up

chatwoot docker compose up

You are now on the main interface of Chatwoot and here you have to create an inbox first. You can create an inbox for a website or Facebook page. By default, there is only you as the admin but if you want then you can invite multiple people as agents too.

Chatwoot create inbox

After creating an inbox, it will give you a code. You can copy that code and add that in the HTML of your website. The chat widget then will show up and then you can start replying to the messages. If you want then you can even assign a chat to anyone with ease. But do note that you will have to invite your team first for assigning the chats.

Chatwoot platform for replies

There is a reports section in the website and you can use that to see the stats of ongoing and outgoing messages. Here it shows you performance graph that you can analyze.

chatwoot stats

In this way, you can use this simple open source and self hosted live chat platform. You can use it as a support system for your Facebook pages and websites. There is only one time effort you have to put. It is in active development and there will be more features in the later updates. For example, email support is a work in progress and will be available soon in Chatwoot.

Final thoughts

If you are looking for a simple, powerful support platform then Chatwoot is the best one that you can use right now. The setting up process is kinda exhausting, so make sure that you install it on a operating system that supports all of its dependencies. In my case, I installed on Kubuntu and it worked fine. You can now try it on your own and let us know what you think. If you stuck somewhere in the process then you can simply see its GitHub repositories or official documentation for different operating systems.

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