The most popular collaborative document editor on the web.
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Making collaborative editing the standard on the web


Etherpad lite is a really-real time collaborative editor spawned from the Hell fire of Etherpad. We're reusing the well tested Etherpad easysync library to make it really realtime. Etherpad Lite is based on node.js ergo is much lighter and more stable than the original Etherpad. Our hope is that this will encourage more users to use and install a realtime collaborative editor. A smaller, manageable and well documented codebase makes it easier for developers to improve the code and contribute towards the project.

Etherpad vs Etherpad lite

 EtherpadEtherpad Lite
Size of the folder (without git history)30 MB1.5 MB
Languages used server sideJavascript (Rhino), Java, ScalaJavascript (node.js)
Lines of server side Javascript code~101k~9k
RAM Usage immediately after start257 MB (grows to ~1GB)16 MB (grows to ~30MB)

Etherpad Lite 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 client implementations available for this API, listed on this wiki page. There is also a jQuery plugin that helps you to embed Pads into your website

Visit to test it live

Also, check out the FAQ, really!



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 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.

Next steps.


You'll need gzip, git, curl, libssl develop libraries, python and gcc.
For Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install gzip git-core curl python libssl-dev pkg-config build-essential
For Fedora/CentOS: yum install gzip git-core curl python openssl-devel && yum groupinstall "Development Tools"

Additionally, you'll need node.js installed, Ideally the latest stable version, be careful of installing nodejs from apt.

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

  1. Move to a folder where you want to install Etherpad Lite. 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.

You like it? Next steps.

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 Lite instances from the same installation.)

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

Helpful resources

The wiki is your one-stop resource for Tutorials and How-to's, really check it out! Also, feel free to improve these wiki pages.

Documentation can be found in docs/.


Things you should know

Read this git guide and watch this video on getting started with Etherpad Lite Development.

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

You can debug Etherpad lite 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).

Getting started

You know all this and just want to know how you can help?

Look at the TODO list and our Issue tracker. (Please consider using jshint, if you plan to contribute code.)

Also, and most importantly, read our Developer Guidelines, really!

Get in touch

Join the mailinglist and make some noise on our freenode irc channel #etherpad-lite-dev!

Modules created for this project

  • ueberDB "transforms every database into a object key value store" - manages all database access
  • channels "Event channels in node.js" - ensures that ueberDB operations are atomic and in series for each key
  • async-stacktrace "Improves node.js stacktraces and makes it easier to handle errors"



Apache License v2