How to Install Zulip Chat Server on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 LTS

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Zulip is an open source, cross-platform chat and collaborative software. It provides threaded conversations efficiently and handles thousands of concurrent chat sessions and is one of the fastest growing open source chat server today.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Zulip chat server on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04.

Zulip has more than 90 native integrations, including Travis CI, Github, Heroku, Zendesk, JIRA, Sentry and hundreds more via third-party plugins and tools. It supports Windows, Mac OSX and Linux systems, including Ubuntu.

If you’re looking for an open source chat server for your organization, then you may want to look at Zulip. It should serve as a great replacement for a paid, closed source versions.

When you’re ready to install Zulip, please follow the steps below:

Step 0: Configure Ubuntu Local Host Domain

Before installing Zulip, you will want to setup Ubuntu local domain on the server. Do do that, run the commands below to open the Ubuntu local hosts file.

sudo nano /etc/hosts

Then type in the server address to domain mapping. You can use your public IP address instead of the local one.  

Should look like the lines below:              localhost              ubuntu1804    

# The following lines are desirable for IPv6 capable hosts
::1     ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters

Save the file and exit

Step 1: Download and Install Zulip Software

Now that you’ve configured Ubuntu local host with your domain and IP, follow the steps below to download Zulip and install. Get the latest package from the link below:

Download link

You can also use the commands below to download via wget and extract.

cd /tmp
tar -xf zulip-server-latest.tar.gz

After extracting the downloaded content, run the commands below to install on your local server with self-signed certificate. For Self-signed cert, you will want to have openssl installed.

If you don’t have OpenSSL installed, use the commands below to install it.

sudo apt install openssl

Install with Self-Signed certificate

Then run the commands below to install with a self-signed certificate (certificate required)

sudo -s ./zulip-server-*/scripts/setup/install --self-signed-cert

Install with Let’s Encrypt certificate

If you have a public facing IP, you can use Let’s Encrypt SSL tool. Use the commands below instead.

sudo -s ./zulip-server-*/scripts/setup/install --certbot

After a brief moment, Zulip should be installed and URL printed on the screen to use.

zulip-django: started
zulip-tornado: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_missedmessage_email_senders: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_user_activity: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_deferred_work: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_embed_links: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_missedmessage_mobile_notifications: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_error_reports: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_digest_emails: started
zulip-workers:zulip_events_email_senders: started
zulip-workers:zulip_deliver_enqueued_emails: started
zulip-workers:zulip_deliver_scheduled_messages: started
+ set +x
+ su zulip -c '/home/zulip/deployments/current/ generate_realm_creation_link'
Please visit the following secure single-use link to register your 
new Zulip organization:

That’s it!

After installing, open the link your browser and create a new Zulip organization.

Zulip Ubuntu Install

Next, create the admin account. This account will be used to manage the chat platform.

Zulip Chat Ubuntu Install

Finally, login and begin using Zulip.

Zulip Ubuntu


Congratulations! you have successfully installed and configured Zulip Chat server on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 LTS servers.

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