Collaboration Software

Mattermost: The Open Source Slack Alternative

Explore how Mattermost, an open-source team communication tool, offers a self-hosted, secure, and highly customizable messaging environment, making it a unique alternative to conventional SaaS messaging tools for diverse companies, from startups to large enterprises.
Dominic Kent
Dominic Kent is a content marketer specializing in unified communications and contact centers.

As an alternative to typical SaaS messaging tools, Mattermost simplifies team communication by bringing your collaboration into a self-hosted and searchable environment. 

Let's look at how Mattermost helps companies to have the discussions that matter. 

What is Mattermost?

An open-source solution to everything you didn't like about proprietary collaboration tools. 

Created by a video game company who were sick and tired of their primary SaaS messenger, two versions are available:

Team Edition

  • The private-cloud workspace solution designed for deployment by non-technical users with necessary IT skills. With apps for your desktop and mobile devices, this solution brings team communication into a single environment, with instant search, continuous archiving, and a bunch of third-party integrations. 

Enterprise Edition

  • Everything that you'd expect from the Team version, with a little extra enterprise flavor. This version comes with advanced security, higher-grade messaging, and a bunch of scalability tools for users. 

Who is Mattermost suitable for? 

According to CEO Ian Tien, Mattermost was designed "by developers for developers." 

While that might strike anxiety into the hearts of a lot of today's UI designers, the app is incredibly easy to use and customize.

This much-loved tool has proved to be a popular choice for engineering teams around the world, as well as groups like Uber, the Department of Defense, and a host of leading game brands.


Worried about privacy?

With a highly customizable environment, Mattermost is perfect for companies that handle highly sensitive data, such as those in the healthcare or military sectors.

Data stays inside of your organization's network at all times, so you don't have to worry about eavesdropping.

There are also added benefits like:

  • Freedom: You're never locked into a specific tool, so you can expand and scale your enterprise messaging experience to suit your needs. 
  • Diversity: Use your collaboration tools however you see fit. Mattermost works with Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, and more. 
  • Easy to manage and upgrade: Running as a Docker image, Linux binary and in various other forms, you can easily update and maintain your system according to your needs. 
  • An incredible community: The vibrant community ensures that you can access dozens of community applications and integrations, including those with Giphy, Jenkins, JIRA, Gitlab, and Redmine.

Features and functionality

So, if you go beyond the open-source USP, what do you get?

Well, at face-value, the experience is very similar to Slack. 

This is far from a bad thing. 

In a recent survey, 31% suggested they prefer the Slack UI to that of any other collaboration tool.

31% of businesses prefer the SLack UI to other team collaboration apps

Mattermost offers both group and direct 1:1 messaging. Teams can create channels, public and private conversations, and even specific meeting agendas

Like with most collaboration tools, you can share files, search for valuable content, and reduce your everyday email clutter too. 

The tool is also highly scalable, with cluster-based high availability deployment and horizontal scaling available. 

The feature breakdown looks like this:

  • Real-time collaboration across all devices and operating systems
  • Secure, scalable, and self-hosted messaging
  • DevOps support for shipping software faster
  • Complete ownership over your data with company IP protection
  • Safeguarding against major security incidents
  • 1-1 and group messaging
  • Fully searchable message history
  • File, image, and link sharing
  • Multi-language support
  • Emojis and rich text formatting
  • Voice, video, and screen sharing
  • Do-not-disturb and notification customization
  • Deployments in the cloud, on-premises, and in pre-built images

Though many companies consider Mattermost to be an alternative to Slack, it can be supplementary too. 

Mattermost is Slack compatible and can support a set of outgoing and incoming webhook integrations with your Slack collaboration experience. 

What About Security?

Open-source solutions give today's highly regulated businesses the additional peace of mind they need. 

There's a dedicated team in the Mattermost community working on your security - like your own personal digital guards. 

Additionally, you can deploy Mattermost behind your company's firewall, or implement it into a private network with access through a VPN. 

The open-source code regularly goes through regular penetration testing, and there's access to single sign-on too. 

What's more, TLS encryption is supoorted using AES-256.

This means all your conversations are protected at rest and in transit. 

Other security benefits of Mattermost include:

  • Disaster recovery, intrusion detection, and constant archiving
  • Brute force attack protection
  • Team and user control via a web-based interface
  • Multi-factor authentication available
  • Remotely revoke PC, web, and mobile sessions

Real-life use cases: How people are using Mattermost

Still not sure whether Mattermost is right for you?

Checking out some real-life case studies should help with that. 

For instance, did you know that Uber uses Mattermost to handle 70,000 concurrent connections that send around 200 messages per second

When building uChat, Uber needed a secure and scalable communication solution that adhered to its unique requirements. 

Uber uChat was built on Mattermost

With Mattermost, Uber created about 20,000 chatrooms to support ongoing conversations between individual employees and groups. 

Similarly, Wargaming, one of the biggest companies in the gaming industry, deployed Mattermost as an on-premises solution for collaboration.

They needed an on-premises tool that could serve up to 180 million players at once.

Mattermost allows Wargaming to constantly grow with a highly-available and scalable architecture. 

What's Next for Mattermost?

Mattermost is one of the leading collaboration app options for businesses that have custom needs to address and serious privacy concerns. 

Recently, the company's unique approach to messaging earned it a $50 million funding round, ensuring that Mattermost has what it takes to continue competing with Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Cisco Webex Teams in the years ahead. 

Up until this year, Mattermost had been operating almost entirely without funding, using its own revenue and contributions from an open-source community.

Now, the funding that Mattermost achieved this year will allow it to work even harder at offering a unique solution to the team collaboration needs of countless companies. 

We can't wait to see what Mattermost does next. 

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