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Etherpad: Really real-time collaborative document editing
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A really-real time collaborative word processor for the web

Demo Etherpad Animated Jif


Etherpad is a really-real time collaborative editor scalable to thousands of simultanious real time users. Unlike all other collaborative tools Etherpad provides full fidelity data export and portability making it fully GDPR compliant.

Try it out



  • nodejs >= 6.9.0 (preferred: nodejs >= 8.9)

Uber-Quick Ubuntu

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
git clone && cd etherpad-lite && bin/

GNU/Linux and other UNIX-like systems

You'll need gzip, git, curl, libssl develop libraries, python and gcc.

  • For Debian/Ubuntu: apt install gzip git curl python libssl-dev pkg-config build-essential
  • For Fedora/CentOS: yum install gzip git curl python openssl-devel && yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
  • For FreeBSD: portinstall node, npm, curl, git (optional)

Additionally, you'll need node.js installed (minimum required Node version: 6.9.0). Ideally, the latest stable version is preferred. Please note that the packages offered on some operating systems are outdated. In those cases, we recommend installing nodejs from official archives or compiling it from source (avoiding yum/apt).

As any user (we recommend creating a separate user called etherpad):

  1. Move to a folder where you want to install Etherpad. Clone the git repository: git clone git://
  2. Change into the new directory containing the cloned source code: cd etherpad-lite

Now, run bin/ and open in your browser.

Update to the latest version with git pull origin. The next start with bin/ will update the dependencies.

Next steps.


Prebuilt Windows package

This package works out of the box on any windows machine, but it's not very useful for developing purposes...

  1. Download the latest Windows package
  2. Extract the folder

Now, run start.bat and open http://localhost:9001 in your browser. You like it? Next steps.

Fancy install

You'll need node.js and (optionally, though recommended) git.

  1. Grab the source, either
  1. start bin\installOnWindows.bat

Now, run start.bat and open http://localhost:9001 in your browser.

Update to the latest version with git pull origin, then run bin\installOnWindows.bat, again.

If cloning to a subdirectory within another project, you may need to do the following:

  1. Start the server manually (e.g. node/node_modules/ep_etherpad-lite/node/server.js)
  2. Edit the db filename in settings.json to the relative directory with the file (e.g. application/lib/etherpad-lite/var/dirty.db)
  3. Add auto-generated files to the main project .gitignore

Next Steps

Tweak the settings

You can modify the settings in settings.json. If you need to handle multiple settings files, you can pass the path to a settings file to bin/ using the -s|--settings option: this allows you to run multiple Etherpad instances from the same installation. Similarly, --credentials can be used to give a settings override file, --apikey to give a different APIKEY.txt file and --sessionkey to give a non-default SESSIONKEY.txt. Once you have access to your /admin section settings can be modified through the web browser.

You should use a dedicated database such as "mysql", if you are planning on using etherpad-in a production environment, since the "dirtyDB" database driver is only for testing and/or development purposes.

Secure your installation

If you have enabled authentication in users section in settings.json, it is a good security practice to store hashes instead of plain text passwords in that file. This is especially advised if you are running a production installation.

Please install ep_hash_auth plugin and configure it. If you prefer, ep_hash_auth also gives you the option of storing the users in a custom directory in the file system, without having to edit settings.json and restart Etherpad each time.

Plugins and themes

Etherpad is very customizable through plugins. Instructions for installing themes and plugins can be found in the plugin wiki article.

Helpful resources

The wiki is your one-stop resource for Tutorials and How-to's.

Documentation can be found in doc/.


Things you should know

Understand git and watch this video on getting started with Etherpad Development.

If you're new to node.js, start with Ryan Dahl's Introduction to Node.js.

You can debug Etherpad using bin/

If you want to find out how Etherpad's Easysync works (the library that makes it really realtime), start with this PDF (complex, but worth reading).


Read our Developer Guidelines

Get in touch

mailinglist #etherpad-lite-dev freenode IRC!


Etherpad is written in JavaScript on both the server and client so it's easy for developers to maintain and add new features.


Etherpad is designed to be easily embeddable and provides a HTTP API that allows your web application to manage pads, users and groups. It is recommended to use the available client implementations in order to interact with this API.

jQuery plugin

There is a jQuery plugin that helps you to embed Pads into your website.

Plugin Framework

Etherpad offers a plugin framework, allowing you to easily add your own features. By default your Etherpad is extremely light-weight and it's up to you to customize your experience. Once you have Etherpad installed you should visit the plugin page and take control.

Translations / Localizations (i18n / l10n)

Etherpad comes with translations into all languages thanks to the team at TranslateWiki.


Visit the FAQ.


All donations go to the Etherpad foundation which is part of Software Freedom Conservency


Apache License v2

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