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Installing the system dependencies

To install Sydent's dependencies on a Debian-based system, run:

sudo apt-get install build-essential python3-dev libffi-dev \
                     sqlite3 libssl-dev python-virtualenv libxslt1-dev

Creating the virtualenv

To create the virtual environment in which Sydent will run:

virtualenv -p python3 ~/.sydent
source ~/.sydent/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install --upgrade setuptools

Installing the latest Sydent release from PyPI

Sydent and its dependencies can be installed using pip by running:

pip install matrix-sydent

Installing from source

Alternatively, Sydent can be installed using pip from a local git checkout:

git clone
cd sydent
pip install -e .

Running Sydent

With the virtualenv activated, you can run Sydent using:

python -m sydent.sydent

This will create a configuration file in sydent.conf with some defaults. If a setting is defined in both the [DEFAULT] section and another section in the configuration file, then the value in the other section is used.

You'll most likely want to change the server name ( and specify an email server (look for the settings starting with email.).

By default, Sydent will listen on This can be changed by changing the values for the configuration settings clientapi.http.bind_address and clientapi.http.port.

Sydent uses SQLite as its database backend. By default, it will create the database as sydent.db in its working directory. The name can be overridden by modifying the db.file configuration option. Sydent is known to be working with SQLite version 3.16.2 and later.

SMS originators

Defaults for SMS originators will not be added to the generated config file, these should be added to the [sms] section of that config file in the form:

originators.<country code> = <long|short|alpha>:<originator>

Where country code is the numeric country code, or default to specify the originator used for countries not listed. For example, to use a selection of long codes for the US/Canada, a short code for the UK and an alphanumertic originator for everywhere else:

originators.1 = long:12125552368,long:12125552369
originators.44 = short:12345
originators.default = alpha:Matrix


A Dockerfile is provided for sydent. To use it, run docker build -t sydent . in a sydent checkout. To run it, use docker run --env=SYDENT_SERVER_NAME=my-sydent-server -p 8090:8090 sydent.

Caution: All data will be lost when the container is terminated!

Persistent data

By default, all data is stored in /data. The best method is to put the data in a Docker volume.

docker volume create sydent-data
docker run ... --mount type=volume,source=sydent-data,destination=/data sydent

But you can also bind a local directory to the container. However, you then have to pay attention to the file permissions.

mkdir /path/to/sydent-data
chown 993:993 /path/to/sydent-data
docker run ... --mount type=bind,source=/path/to/sydent-data,destination=/data sydent

Environment variables


These variables are only taken into account at first start and are written to the configuration file.

Variable Name Sydent default Dockerfile default
SYDENT_CONF sydent.conf /data/sydent.conf
SYDENT_DB_PATH sydent.db /data/sydent.db


Sydent uses matrix-is-tester ( to provide black-box testing of compliance with the Matrix Identity Service API. This can be run as follows:

pip install git+
trial matrix_is_tester

The SYDENT_PYTHON enviroment variable can be set to launch Sydent with a specific python binary:

SYDENT_PYTHON=/path/to/python trial matrix_is_tester

The matrix_is_test directory contains Sydent's launcher for matrix_is_tester: this means that Sydent's directory needs to be on the Python path (e.g. PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/path/to/sydent).

Sydent also has some unit tests to ensure some of its features that aren't part of the Matrix specification (e.g. replication) keep on working. To run these tests, run the following with Sydent's virtualenv activated from the root of the Sydent repository:

trial tests

Internal bind and unbind API

It is possible to enable an internal API which allows for binding and unbinding between identifiers and matrix IDs without any validation. This is open to abuse, so is disabled by default, and when it is enabled, is available only on a separate socket which is bound to localhost by default.

To enable it, configure the port in the config file. For example:

internalapi.http.port = 8091

To change the address to which that API is bound, set the internalapi.http.bind_address configuration setting in the [http] section, for example:

internalapi.http.port = 8091
internalapi.http.bind_address =

As already mentioned above, this is open to abuse, so make sure this address is not publicly accessible.

To use bind:

curl -XPOST 'http://localhost:8091/_matrix/identity/internal/bind' -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"address": "", "medium": "email", "mxid": ""}'

The response has the same format as /_matrix/identity/api/v1/3pid/bind.

To use unbind:

curl -XPOST 'http://localhost:8091/_matrix/identity/internal/unbind' -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"address": "", "medium": "email", "mxid": ""}'

The response has the same format as /_matrix/identity/api/v1/3pid/unbind.


It is possible to configure a mesh of Sydent instances which replicate identity bindings between each other. See docs/