In today's interconnected world, instant messaging and real-time communication have become integral parts of both personal and professional interactions. Whether it's team collaboration, customer support, or social networking, having a reliable chat server is essential for facilitating seamless communication. One such powerful and versatile chat server solution is ejabberd. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the process of setting up a chat server using ejabberd, covering installation, configuration, and advanced customization options.

Introduction to ejabberd

ejabberd is an open-source XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) server written in Erlang. XMPP is a widely adopted communication protocol designed for real-time messaging, presence information, and online collaboration. ejabberd, known for its scalability, reliability, and extensibility, is used by organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises, to power their instant messaging and chat applications.

Key features of ejabberd include:

  • Scalability: ejabberd is designed to handle large numbers of concurrent connections and users, making it suitable for deployment in high-traffic environments.
  • Clustering: ejabberd supports clustering, allowing multiple ejabberd nodes to work together as a single logical entity, distributing load and ensuring fault tolerance.
  • Extensibility: ejabberd provides a modular architecture with support for plugins and extensions, enabling developers to customize and extend its functionality to meet specific requirements.
  • Security: ejabberd includes built-in support for encryption, authentication, and access control, ensuring secure communication and protecting sensitive data.
  • Cross-platform: ejabberd is compatible with various operating systems, including Linux, macOS, and Windows, making it accessible to a wide range of users and organizations.

Installation of ejabberd

Setting up a chat server with ejabberd is a straightforward process, thanks to its easy-to-use installation process and comprehensive documentation. In this section, we'll walk through the steps to install ejabberd on a Linux-based server.


Before installing ejabberd, make sure you have:

  • A server running a supported Linux distribution such as Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • Root or sudo privileges to install packages and modify system configuration.

Installation Steps:

  1. Update Package Repository:
    sudo apt update
  2. Install ejabberd:

    On Debian/Ubuntu:

    sudo apt install ejabberd

    On CentOS/RHEL:

    sudo yum install ejabberd
  3. Start ejabberd Service:
    sudo systemctl start ejabberd
  4. Enable ejabberd Service to Start on Boot:
    sudo systemctl enable ejabberd
  5. Verify ejabberd Status:
    sudo systemctl status ejabberd

    If ejabberd is running successfully, you should see an output indicating that the service is active and running.

Configuration of ejabberd

Once ejabberd is installed, the next step is to configure it according to your requirements. ejabberd provides a comprehensive configuration file where you can customize various aspects of the server, including domain settings, authentication methods, and access control.

Configuration File Location:

The main configuration file for ejabberd is typically located at /etc/ejabberd/ejabberd.yml. You can edit this file using a text editor such as nano or vim.

sudo nano /etc/ejabberd/ejabberd.yml

Basic Configuration:

Here are some essential configuration options to get started with ejabberd:

  • Hostname:
    - ""
  • Admin User:
    - "[email protected]"
  • Authentication Method:
    auth_method: [internal]
  • Database Backend (optional, default is Mnesia):
    sql_type: mysql
    sql_server: "localhost"
    sql_database: "ejabberd"
    sql_username: "ejabberd"
    sql_password: "password"
  • Module Configuration:
    mod_mam: {}
    mod_ping: {}
      access_from: [email protected]

Advanced Configuration:

For advanced customization and specific use cases, ejabberd offers a wide range of configuration options and modules. Some advanced configuration options include:

  • Clustering:
    - net_ticktime: 60
      - [email protected]
      - [email protected]
  • HTTP Bindings:
      port: 5280
      ip: "::"
      module: ejabberd_http
  • Authentication Methods:
    - sql
    - anonymous
    - internal
  • Access Control Lists (ACLs):
        - "[email protected]"
  • Message Archive Management (MAM):
    db_type: sql

Administration and Management

Once ejabberd is configured and running, you can manage and administer the server using various tools and interfaces provided by ejabberd.

Web Admin Interface:

ejabberd includes a web-based administration interface that allows you to manage users, configure modules, monitor server status, and view logs. The web admin interface is accessible via a web browser by navigating to

Command-Line Tools:

ejabberd provides command-line tools for performing administrative tasks such as user management, module configuration, and server monitoring. Some useful command-line tools include ejabberdctl, ejabberdctl register, and ejabberdctl status.

Logging and Monitoring:

ejabberd logs various events and activities to log files located in /var/log/ejabberd/. You can monitor server logs in real-time using tools like tail or view historical logs for troubleshooting and analysis.

Integration and Customization

One of the strengths of ejabberd is its extensibility and flexibility, allowing you to integrate it with other systems, customize its behavior, and extend its functionality to meet specific requirements.

Integration with External Systems:

ejabberd supports integration with external systems and services through various protocols and APIs. You can integrate ejabberd with LDAP/Active Directory for user authentication, configure external authentication backends, or implement custom authentication modules.

Customization with Modules and Plugins:

ejabberd's modular architecture allows you to customize its behavior and extend its functionality using plugins and modules. You can develop custom modules to add new features, modify existing modules to suit your needs, or install third-party plugins from the ejabberd community.

Integration with Chat Clients:

ejabberd is

compatible with a wide range of XMPP-compliant chat clients, including desktop clients like Pidgin, Adium, and Gajim, as well as mobile clients like Conversations (Android) and ChatSecure (iOS). Users can connect to ejabberd using any XMPP-compatible client and communicate with other users on the server.

Security Considerations

Ensuring the security of your chat server is paramount to protecting sensitive information, preserving user privacy, and maintaining system integrity. ejabberd provides several security features and best practices to safeguard your chat infrastructure.

Encryption and Authentication:

Enable SSL/TLS encryption to secure communication between clients and the server, preventing eavesdropping and data interception. Configure strict certificate validation to ensure the authenticity of server certificates and protect against man-in-the-middle attacks.

Access Control and Authorization:

Implement access control policies to restrict access to sensitive server resources and services. Use ACLs (Access Control Lists) to control user permissions, limit administrative privileges, and enforce security policies based on user roles and groups.

User Authentication and Identity Verification:

Enforce strong authentication mechanisms to verify the identity of users and prevent unauthorized access to the server. Implement multi-factor authentication, password policies, and account lockout mechanisms to enhance security and protect against credential-based attacks.

Regular Updates and Patch Management:

Keep ejabberd and its dependencies up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates. Regularly monitor security advisories, subscribe to security mailing lists, and apply patches promptly to mitigate known vulnerabilities and protect against emerging threats.

Network Security and Firewall Configuration:

Secure your chat server infrastructure by configuring firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and network segmentation to control traffic flows and prevent unauthorized access. Restrict inbound and outbound network traffic to essential services and ports, and implement network security best practices to minimize attack surface.


Setting up a chat server with ejabberd is a straightforward process that enables organizations to deploy a robust, scalable, and feature-rich messaging platform for internal communication, collaboration, and customer engagement. By following the steps outlined in this guide and adopting best practices for configuration, administration, and security, you can build a reliable and secure chat infrastructure to meet the communication needs of your organization.

With ejabberd's flexibility, extensibility, and compatibility with industry-standard protocols, you can tailor your chat server to suit your specific requirements, integrate it with existing systems and services, and deliver a seamless and intuitive messaging experience to users across platforms and devices. Whether you're managing a small team or a large enterprise, ejabberd provides the tools and capabilities you need to create a modern and efficient chat environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and productivity.