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Zulip Chat vs Mattermost Review : Which Open Source Chat Server is Better

Tanuja Chinthagunta

In 2016, Uber made an unexpected move and left Slack for Mattermost. 

The ridesharing company needed an enterprise-grade collaboration tool which Slack couldn’t provide. Hence, Uber decided to create its messaging solution on Mattermost. 


In 2017, both Uber and Mattermost joined hands to implement an upgrade of Mattermost platform, and it eventually met Uber’s need for an uber team communication application. 


Uber’s Shift from Slack makes one question its status as ‘the pioneer of collaboration tools’ and also look for leading alternatives like MatterMost. 


Facing a similar issue of asynchronous chat management, Akamai – the world’s leading content delivery network service provider – was also looking for a better alternative to HipChat, Slack, and Microsoft teams until they tried Zulip.
 
Akamai’s search for a perfect application for their organization ended with ‘Zulip’ because of its exclusive ‘threading features,’ which was a massive win for a large organization like Akamai.

Uber and Akamai’s Shift to Mattermost and Zulip are the testimony to the fact that they both are the next-gen team communication application – yet to be exploited by the masses, but promising enough to make one anticipate of the uber-cool features that will make communication easy and collaboration too much fun!

 

Disclaimer: We are moving Troop Messenger to self-hosted for larger enterprise and government corporations. Since there are so many self-hosted chats applications out there, we’ve started this to perform an in-depth analysis of our competitors with their pros and cons from a customer’s perspective and tried to come up with a better, cleaner and more user-friendly chat alternative. We have an entire article with the results of competitors’ research, covering our feedback on various alternatives. However, this time we would like to focus on two rivals: the well-known Zulip and Mattermost.

  

Zulip and Mattermost: NextGen Team Chat applications

 

  Zulip

Zulip is an emerging leader of business collaboration tools. Known for its killer email threading model, Zulip assures its user to efficiently catch up on the important notifications and conversations while muting the irrelevant ones. Zulip has made a mark among great many collaboration applications and known for providing the advantages of real-time chat. No other application is known for handling synchronous and asynchronous communication as intuitively as Zulip does.

 

   Mattermost 

Mattermost, as open-source messaging software, has earned the trust of millions of users. Not only does it allow the users to create an intuitive workspace but also collaborate across teams without worrying about data privacy or security. A great number of high-security enterprises have been working through Mattermost by connecting their team and deploying automation for maximum benefit.

 

Why are we comparing Mattermost with Zulip? 

There are plenty of team communication and collaboration apps. And Slack is already ruling the charts. It’s apparent for readers to wonder why we are discussing Mattermost and Zulip when there are bosses like Slack, HipChat, Skype and RocketChat.

 

Every organisation is different in terms of functionality, collaboration requirements, team engagement. ‘One Size fits all’ is a myth and definitely not applicable to business collaboration requirements.

 

People today need greater choice, and that is where the one-size-fits-all approach comes to an end.

 

Slack and other similar tools of the same calibre are indeed great but they lack certain specific features that can be accomplished through employing either Zulip or Mattermost.

 

Hence, there’s an imminent need to try out different tools, compare their features, understand how they can be utilised to their full potential, and find the one that fits your business requirements to the fullest.

 

 Mattermost Vs.   Zulip: Unbiased Analysis of all features

Since these two emerging tools are locking horns to compete and win the tag of ‘Next-Gen Team Collaboration Tools,’ a lot of users fail to decide which one is worth their money and time.

 

Hence, we decided to ease the problem by conducting an unbiased review of both these tools, reflect on all their pros and cons to give prospective users a reflection on what to expect with Zulip and Mattermost.

 

 

1. Implementation 

Onboarding and implementation of Zulip for enterprise use are simple. It can be done in a few simple steps. The users need either a Debian or Ubuntu system to meet installation requirements.

 

  Zulip

Step 1: Zulip users can install the latest version from the website. The pre-release version can also be installed using codes provided in the GitHub repository. 

Step 2: In order to set up Zulip, a user will need to run the installer and Zulip’s dependencies. There are multiple installer options, using which one can choose whether or not they want to obtain an SSL certificate for the server. 

Step 3: After the install, you can either import data from the Slack, HipChat, or similar server or simply follow the prompts to set up a Zulip organisation and an admin account as well. 

Step 4: Get the collaboration started through the tutorials provided on setting up outgoing emails, adding team members, maintaining Zulip server, and configuring other third-party applications.

  

 

  Mattermost

For Mattermost Implementation, there are multiple steps to follow-through. The steps are longer as compared to Zulip but easier to follow. Here’s what you need to do for installation:

Step 1: Create a System Architecture Document including server, IP addresses, and network diagram.

Step 2: Collect the required documentation and software for proper implementation

Step 3: Build the deployment environment including staging, development, and staging

Step 4: Install Mattermost and all it component software including MySQL, Nginx, and PostgreSQL

Step 5: Test the deployment by creating and automating tests provided

Step 6: Bulk load data from a JSON file through bulk loading feature. You can import teams, users, channels, posts, and direct messages.

Step 7: Implement a backup feature to protect all your data by storing it in Mattermost database

Step 8: Enable multi-factor authentication for robust security and data encryption

Step 9: Train the administrators on managing matter most

Step 10: Onboard the users.

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Implementation: 4/5 

It’s easy, not exhaustive, and very simple. Zulip implementation doesn’t require thorough technical knowledge.

 

Mattermost Implementation: 5/5  

Mattermost sure has an exhaustive protocol for implementation but it’s the encryption and multi-factor authentication guaranteed at the forefront that earns a user’s trust.

 

 

2. Messaging and Communication

Messaging and calling are the most important features of business collaboration tools, and thus, cannot be neglected.

 

  Zulip

 

When it comes to messaging, Zulip sure is a surprise. With multiple messaging features, it leads the collaboration in a very intuitive manner. Some of the exciting features of Zulip’s messaging include:

  • Markdown optimized threads for chat
  • Inline image, tweet previews, and videos
  • Quote and Code blocks
  • Customised and automatic linking

 

  Mattermost

 

Mattermost ensures a modern communication platform for organisations that are privacy-conscious. Its speciality lies in being able to assure a highly secure messaging platform.

  • Real-Time Messaging and data sharing through the DevOps Lifecycle
  • Discussion, bots, files, and tools together in a shared and central workspace 
  • Have complete control over the data
  • No third-party monitoring of messages sent over
  • Easy-to-deploy solution for managing communication

 

 Our Verdict

 

Zulip Messaging: 5/5  

Mattermost Messaging: 4/5 

 

 

3. API and Integrations

Through APIs and Integrations, the teams can use either of these platforms as an all-in-one application to cater to diverse communication and collaboration needs.

  

  Zulip Integrations

Zulip supports over a hundred native integrations with third-party applications and simultaneously allows the users to integrate many more services, making the platform an all-round tool:

 

  • Integrations: Receive update and alerts from selected services with off-shelf integration for GitHub, Jenkins, Nagios, and many more. Integrations from a great many categories including communication, marketing, HR, monitoring, and productivity tools.
  • API: Zulip ensures RESTful API associated with python binding that makes integration receiving and sending very easy.
  • Zulip’s Zapier Integration: Allows integration of new services without the need to write specific code.

 

  Mattermost Integrations

 Mattermost ensures powerful and seamless integrations that accelerate workflows by helping the teams to do more and get things done faster. Some of the popular categories under which Mattermost supports integrations are:

 

  • Business Operations: Analytics plugin, Antivirus plugins, Bitbucket, and etc.
  • Deployment and Configuration: Ansible Playbook Installer
  • Communication: Amazon AWS SNS Plugin and BigBlueButton Plugin
  • Design: Watermark Plugin and Draw Plugin
  • File Management: File List, Cloud App, and Gyazo plugin
  • Project Management: BotKube and BitBucket
  • Productivity: Appear.in, Autolink Plugin, and Auto Translation Plugin
  • Security & Compliance: Profanity Filter Plugin

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Integrations: 4.5/5 

Mattermost Integrations: 4.5/5 

 

 

4. Pricing and Plans


Both the applications have free plans that interest users to opt for a free trial and analyse how effective each can be for their organization’s communication and virtual collaboration needs.
 

Zulip has plans to suit the requirement of various teams. Plans made for small teams are cheaper and has limited features, and plans designed to curate the needs of large enterprises meet the full-fledged requirements for virtual collaboration.

 

  Zulip Cloud Pricing:

  • Free Plan: Allows unlimited access to Zulip with a file storage capacity of 5 GB
  • Standard Plan: Priority commercial access to Zulip with a file storage capacity of 10 GB, priced at $6.67 per user per month.

 

  Zulip On-Premise:

  • Community Support: Self-service installation, LDAP directory integration, and all standard features of Zulip. This plan is open source and free.
  • Enterprise Plan: Self-service installation, LDAP directory integration, and all standard features of Zulip with high availability assistance. For an enterprise plan, pricing varies depending on the support required.

 

 

  Mattermost

Mattermost has two plans dedicated to serving both small and large scale companies, and each plan offers state-of-the-art scalability and security standards.

  • Enterprise E10: E10 package, available at $3.25 per user per month, is ideal for small-scale companies needed data security.
  • Enterprise E20: E20 package, available at $8.50 per user per month, is ideal for high-trust enterprises and organisations from regulated industries.

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Pricing: 4.5/5 

Mattermost Pricing: 4.5/5 

 

 

5. Supporting OS and devices

  Zulip

With Zulip, the users get to seamlessly switch from different devices, operating software, and web-based operation.

  • Mobile Application: Zulip is available as a mobile application for Android, iOS, and Windows devices.
  • Desktop Application: Zulip is available as a desktop application for android, macOS, Linux, and Windows devices.
  • Browser: Zulip works great in a pinned browser tab and also multi-desktop chat applications like Franz and Rambox.

 

   Mattermost

Mattermost is an open-source and self-hosted application that can be accessed on multiple devices

  • Mobile Application: Mattermost is available as a mobile application for Android, iOS, and Windows devices.
  • Desktop Application: Mattermost is available as a desktop application for android, macOS, Linux, and Windows devices.

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Supporting: 5/5  

Mattermost Supporting: 4/5 

 

 

6. Notification

Notifications are pop-ups that appear and notify a user of any event, mentions, or activities in the application. In both these tools, notifications can be configured as required by the end-user.
 

  Zulip

 

Zulip is known for it’s highly configurable and easily-ordered notifications. Users can change notifications and push-ups texts as per their preferences, schedules, and office hours. Exciting notification features of Zulip include:

 

  • Audible notifications
  • Do Not Disturb mode
  • Stream-Wide announcements
  • Emails for the missed and important messages
  • Alert words
  • @-mentions for specific tasks or users
  • Optional weekly emails
  • Desktop Notifications

 

 

  Mattermost 

 

Notification Configuring with Mattermost is easy. There are different types of notifications including mobile push notifications, a browser tab notification, email notifications, and muted notifications. When a user joins a team, Mattermost will notify them for the following things:

 

  • Direct messages sent to the user
  • Use of any specific keyword or mentions
  • Mention of the user’s name in a channel
  • Notification when using @all and @channel

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Notifications: 4/5 

Mattermost Notifications: 3/5 

 

 

With search features, application users can find specific texts that match the search terms entered in the search bar of a channel or thread.

 

  Zulip

 

With Zulip, Search within a synchronous and an asynchronous chat is made simple through the multiple keyboard shortcuts. It assures effective communication through the use of text editor, and promote the use of keyword through keyboard shortcuts. Mastering a few shortcuts can totally change a Zulip user’s experience:

 

  • The basics: Commands for sending a reply to a message, new private message, new unread topic.
  • Navigation: Commands for searching messages, previous message, first message, text message, scroll up and search people
  • Narrowing: Commands for narrowing to an unread topic, private messaging, PM conversation, and unread PM conversation.
  • Composing messages: Commands for replying only to the author, new stream message, and quote to the author.
  • Message actions: Commands for editing last message
  • Drafts: Commands for toggling to drafts view
  • Menus: Commands for toggling the shortcuts and gear menu
  • Streams settings: Commands for scrolling through the stream and creating a new stream.

 

 

  Mattermost 

 

Search features in Mattermost can be used for finding messages and specific replies that match the search terms entered by the users. Exclusive Mattermost search terms are:

  • Search modifiers like ‘from: username’ to return results from a certain user
  • Search from Archived channels
  • Multiple-word search terms
  • Before and After tags to find messages from a specific date
  • Quotation marks for finding search results for exact terms
  • Exclusion features to exclude certain post from search results.
  • Hashtags for a post containing that hashtag

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Search: 5/5 

Mattermost Search: 4.5/5 

 

8. Security

 

  Zulip

Zulip’s security system covers all aspects to ensure the information is protected and treated as the highest priority. Some of the security basics include:

  • Zulip clients need TLS encryption and also authentication over HTTPS
  • The on-premise offering of Zulip can be hosted behind a firewall
  • All Zulip authenticated API has a built-in rate that prevents DoS attacks
  • Zulip ensures configurable access control policies
  • Integrated single-sign-on with GitHub, Google, and Active Directory
  • Admins can configure a user’s ability to edit or remove a sent text.

 

  Mattermost 

Mattermost is known for its secure, regulated, and encrypted platform. It’s one of the tools security-conscious companies can easily rely on. It’s so secure that a large number of influential countries have been using it for safeguarding their national security. Mattermost Security features include:

  • Internal data storage on MySQL and PostgreSQL, which means the database a user owns
  • TLS encryption with 2048-bit RSA
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Single-sign-on
  • Certificate-based authentication without and with SAML
  • Secure installation in the user’s data center with advanced security options
  • The operation behind the firewall
  • No need to share Active Directory over the public network

 

 Our Verdict

Zulip Security: 3/5  

Mattermost Security: 5/5 

 

Zulip Vs. Mattermost: key takeaways

 

  Zulip

Specialty: Extraordinary efficiency at managing both synchronous and asynchronous chat through highly effective email modelling.

 

  Mattermost 

Specialty: High-trust messaging tool and most-compelling software for security-conscious companies and developers.

 

Over to You Now:

And if you’re looking for an all-rounder application, try Troop Messenger.

 

Indeed, both Zulip and Mattermost qualify as great team collaboration tools, but with Troop Messenger, you get the specialty features offered by both these applications, and also the ones that are missing.

 

With Troop Messenger, you can do a lot more than simple collaboration. For instance, look at these killer features:

 

  • Burnout: Chat with your team member's confidentiality within a private chat window. Your chats are not stored anywhere, which allows users to have privacy for a stipulated time period.

 

  • Orange Member: Have a hassle-free chat with external members like vendors, customers, who you can add to your Troop Messenger ID, and make them a part of an organization, with features and control access only admin can decide.

 

  • Recall Message: Regret sending a message or wanted to send it to someone else? With Troop Messenger, you never have to worry about this, because recall features allow you to delete sent messages.

 

  • Forkout: Pick different teammates and groups to share a message in just one go.

 

  • Splashboard: A board where you can find all the functional features of Troop Messengers and learn how to use it best.

 

Troop Messenger surprises its users with great features and enhancements with its every latest version updates. The recent release has come up with interesting feature updates; those including wallpapers, advanced notifications, font-size selections, the complete application help seen and accessed from the app itself, TM Bulletin that sends app news, respond later feature, with few UI changes. Check out the app today to experience the change.

We’ve aligned three leading team chat apps for you, with an unbiased analysis of all features of Zulip and Mattermost, and simultaneously briefing Troop Messenger has it all, alongside the above 5 distinctive features.

Take a close look to understand which one suits them best, and has the potential to do the required job for your office collaboration needs.


You are the best judge, after all!

  

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