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Tinode Instant Messaging Server

Instant messaging server. Backend in pure Go (license GPL 3.0), client-side binding in Java, Javascript, and Swift, as well as gRPC client support for C++, C#, Go, Java, Node, PHP, Python, Ruby, Objective-C, etc. (license Apache 2.0). Wire transport is JSON over websocket (long polling is also available) for custom bindings, or protobuf with gRPC. Persistent storage is any one of RethinkDB, MySQL or MongoDB. A third-party unsupported DynamoDB adapter also exists. Other databases can be supported by writing custom adapters.

Tinode is not XMPP/Jabber. It is not compatible with XMPP. It's meant as a replacement for XMPP. On the surface, it's a lot like open source WhatsApp or Telegram.

Version 0.16. This is beta-quality software: feature-complete but probably with a few bugs. Follow instructions to install and run or use one of the cloud services below. Read API documentation.


The promise of XMPP was to deliver federated instant messaging: anyone would be able to spin up an IM server capable of exchanging messages with any other XMPP server in the world. Unfortunately, XMPP never delivered on this promise. Instant messengers are still a bunch of incompatible walled gardens, similar to what AoL of the late 1990s was to the open Internet.

The goal of this project is to deliver on XMPP's original vision: create a modern open platform for federated instant messaging with an emphasis on mobile communication. A secondary goal is to create a decentralized IM platform that is much harder to track and block by the governments.

Installing and running

See general instructions or docker-specific instructions.

Getting support

Public service

A public Tinode service is now available. You can use it just like any other instant messenger. Keep in mind that demo accounts present in sandbox are not available in the public service. You must register an account using valid email in order to use the service.


TinodeWeb, a single page web app, is available at (source). See screenshots below. Currently available in English, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish. More translations are welcome.


Tinode for Android a.k.a Tindroid is stable and functional (source). See the screenshots below. A debug APK is also provided for convenience. Currently available in English, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish. More translations are welcome.


Tinode for iOS a.k.a. Tinodios is stable and functional (source). See the screenshots below. Currently available in English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish. More translations are welcome.


A sandboxed demo service is available at

Log in as one of alice, bob, carol, dave, frank. Password is <login>123, e.g. login for alice is alice123. You can discover other users by email or phone by prefixing them with email: or tel: respectively. Emails are <login>, e.g., phones are +17025550001 through +17025550009.

When you register a new account you are asked for an email address to send validation code to. For demo purposes you may use 123456 as a universal validation code. The code you get in the email is also valid.

Sandbox Notes

  • The sandbox server is reset (all data wiped) every night at 3:15am Pacific time. An error message User not found or offline means the server was reset while you were connected. If you see it on the web, reload and relogin. On Android log out and re-login. If the database was changed, delete the app then reinstall.
  • Sandbox user Tino is a basic chatbot which responds with a random quote to any message.
  • As generally accepted, when you register a new account you are asked for an email address. The server will send an email with a verification code to that address and you can use it to validate the account. To make things easier for testing, the server will also accept 123456 as a verification code. Remove line "debug_response": "123456" from tinode.conf to disable this option.
  • The sandbox server is configured to use ACME TLS implementation with hard-coded requirement for SNI. If you are unable to connect then the most likely reason is your TLS client's missing support for SNI. Use a different client.
  • The default web app loads a single minified javascript bundle and minified CSS. The un-minified version is also available at
  • Docker images with the same demo are available.
  • You are welcome to test your client software against the sandbox, hack it, etc. No DDoS-ing though please.



  • Multiple platforms:
  • One-on-one and group messaging.
  • Channels with an unlimited number of read-only subscribers.
  • Sharded clustering with failover.
  • Granular access control with permissions for various actions.
  • Server-generated presence notifications for people, group chats.
  • Support for custom authentication backends.
  • Bindings for various programming languages:
    • Javascript with no external dependencies.
    • Java with dependencies on Jackson and Java-Websocket. Suitable for Android but with no Android SDK dependencies.
    • Swift with dependency on SwiftWebSocket.
    • C/C++, C#, Go, Python, PHP, Ruby and many other languages using gRPC.
  • Websocket, long polling, and gRPC over TCP or Unix sockets.
  • JSON or protobuf version 3 wire protocols.
  • User search/discovery.
  • Rich formatting of messages markdown-style: *style* → style.
  • Inline images, file attachments.
  • Forms and templated responses suitable for chatbots.
  • Message status notifications: message delivery to server; received and read notifications; typing notifications.
  • Ability to block unwanted communication server-side.
  • Anonymous users (important for use cases related to tech support over chat).
  • Storage and out of band transfer of large objects like video files using local file system or Amazon S3.
  • Plugins to extend functionality, for example, to enable chatbots.


  • Federation.
  • End to end encryption with OTR for one-on-one messaging and undecided method for group messaging.
  • Replying and forwarding messages.
  • Voice and video messages, location sharing.
  • Previews of attached videos, documents, links.
  • Hot standby.
  • Different levels of message persistence (from strict persistence to "store until delivered" to purely ephemeral messaging).


All client software has support for internationalization. Translations are provided on all platforms for English, Simplified Chinese, Spanish. On all but iOS: Russian, Korean, German. More translations are welcome. Particularly interested in Arabic, Vietnamese, Persian, Indonesian, Portuguese, Hindi, Bengali.

Third-Party Licenses



Android screenshot: list of chats Android screenshot: one conversation Android screenshot: account settings


iOS screenshot: list of chats iOS screenshot: one conversation iOS screenshot: account settings

Desktop Web

Desktop web: full app

Mobile Web

Mobile web: contacts Mobile web: chat Mobile web: topic info

SEO Strings

Words 'chat' and 'instant messaging' in Chinese, Russian, Persian and a few other languages.

  • 聊天室 即時通訊
  • чат мессенджер
  • インスタントメッセージ
  • 인스턴트 메신저
  • پیام‌رسانی فوری گپ
  • تراسل فوري
  • Nhắn tin tức thời
  • anlık mesajlaşma sohbet
  • mensageiro instantâneo
  • pesan instan
  • mensajería instantánea
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