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The Top 13 Slack Alternatives

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For the Boomer generation, freedom meant car ownership. This notoriously independent group born between 1943 and 1960 shrugged off their overbearing parents and zipped around the country in Impalas, Mustangs, and Cortinas. Boomers coveted the open road, independence, and even disconnection.

That story isn’t true for Millennials.

For Millennials, liberation is access to the Internet and online chat.

Millennials, as a community-oriented generation, tend to be “plugged in” at all times—be it on their computer, on their phone, or even on their watch. For a majority of young people, being completely disconnected for an undefined period of time is terrifying—and it’s not just disconnection from the internet, but disconnection from their peers.

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Given that Millennials now make up a majority of the workforce, it’s no wonder that online communication tools have reached new heights. Project management software like Asana and Crocagile are dedicated to rethinking email. “Social media” is now not just a household word, but an essential networking phenomenon.

And chat? Be it for personal use or for business, chat has far evolved from AOL Instant Messenger (which, believe it or not, still exists).

The big daddy in business chat is Slack—so much so that a reviewer from The New York Times gleefully wrote,

Slack has a few unusual features that make it perfectly suited for work, including automatic archiving of all your interactions, a good search engine and the ability to work across just about every device you use. Because it is hosted online and is extremely customizable, Slack is also easy for corporate technology departments to set up and maintain.

These features have helped turn Slack into one of the fastest-growing business applications in history. After only a year in operation, Slack now serves about half a million workers every day as a partial replacement for email, instant messaging and face-to-face meetings. Its base of users is doubling every three months…

I have a feeling of intimacy with co-workers on the other side of the country that is almost fun. That’s a big deal, for a job.

In other words, Slack is not only highly effective at what it does, but it’s cornered much of the collaboration software market.

For now.

Innovation breeds further innovation, so much so that Slack alternatives are emerging quicker than Apple fans on a new iPhone release day.

With hundreds of chat options, I distilled the top Slack alternatives using these four parameters:

  • Free or affordable for small business
  • Works well with small and medium enterprises (though may have options for enterprise companies)
  • Web-based
  • Adds something a little extra

With that in mind, I compiled the best 13 Slack alternatives available today. Since each stands on its own, they are not ranked but rather listed alphabetically.

FREE Slack Alternatives Comparison Chart:

Get the chart to compare all these options at a glance!

Azendoo

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Azendoo is quick to claim that it’s much bigger than just a chat platform. The team communication software focuses on alleviating Slack’s clutter problem.

To deal with it, Azendoo’s “discussions” center around one topic that can include documents and images. Communication happens in the comments, so each group of conversations is already filtered for relevance.

Azendoo’s version of channels, or “subjects,” can host multiple discussions, keeping everything clean.

Price: $9/user/month or $90 for the year

Bitrix24

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I’ve written about Bitrix24 a few times before; it’s been named one of the best free project management software options, one for the best project management software for entrepreneurs, and as one of the best free CRM software options on the market.

That’s no easy feat.

Beyond having most of Slack’s features (Bitrix24 doesn’t have the ability to export chat history), Bitrix24 goes above and beyond with no limit on search history, completely free video conferencing, and free screen sharing.

Bitrix24 also has build-in tasks, document management, and CRM features. It also now offers free unlimited users in their unpaid version!

Price: Free with options to upgrade starting at $39 per month

Contriber

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If you’re reliant on Dropbox and Google Apps, Contriber might be your best bet.

This team-based project management application focuses on the bigger picture, allowing project managers to have an overview of what’s happening in the company and, most importantly, how decisions were made right in chat logs.

At the heart of the workspaces are flows that focus on specific topics. Each flow acts a ‘forum’ for discussions, assigning tasks, and sharing files. Quickly combine related flows into groups and use various color schemes to structure the workflow. This makes communication and information retrieval much more efficient, and gives teams a quick and comprehensive visual overview of their projects.

While not a pure chat option, Contriber is good for larger teams looking to match projects with communication and decision-making.

Price: Free; upgraded plans start at €18 for six months

eXo Platform

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eXo Platform sports a 4.5/5 overall score at Capterra—in other words, its users are happy with the product. One reviewer says,

eXo is a great solution for both social and portal service demand based on its various features. I must say that it just likes a combination of everything from intranet, social network to blog, wiki,… [sic] everything in one. Therefore, with eXo, maybe I don’t have to think of any other website since it has covered all what I want and all what I need.

Beyond traditional chat functions, eXo offers an all-in-one reference system, where a company can host wikis, task management, project management, forums, and even document management. And because eXo is open source, it’s entirely customizable.

If you’re looking for a hefty solution that offers a whole lot more than just advanced chat, check out eXo.

Price: Starts at $2,400 for 25 users

Fleep

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In Fleep, you can send messages to anyone with an email address—no more “walled gardens” where you can only chat with other people on your platform. If you’re sick of asking people to sign up for different chat platforms just so they can communicate, Fleep is a great option. And since it can act as an all-inclusive communication tool, you may as well get rid of the business world’s biggest productivity suck: email.

One way that Fleep differentiates itself from Slack is that it’s “user centric” instead of “team centric.” I chatted with Katheriin Liibert, Fleep’s Communication Manager, who explained,

Fleep is user-centric (me and my conversations) while Slack is team-centric (our team and our conversations)…

Slack’s team-centric approach suits well for the people who need to work only internally within one specific team, it’s easier manage the team members and team conversations.

Fleep’s user-centric approach suits well for the people who need to work with different people across organizational borders or who work simultaneously in different teams.

In other words, Fleep is great for both outbound and inbound communication and gives Slack a real run for its money.

Price: Free; premium is available for €1 per user / month for a limited time

HipChat

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If you’re familiar with Atlassian, you may have heard of its self-hosted chat option, HipChat.

Claiming to have better uptime and reliability than Slack, HipChat offers native video chat, powerful JIRA integrations (like ticket tracking in the chatroom), the ability to track server health with a slash command, and customer sentiment monitoring services.

Like eXo Platform, HipChat also has outstanding customer reviews on Capterra. One reviewer explains,

The pros are endless. Integrates well with other Atlasssian tools. I would like to see mentions from JIRA and Confluence directly to a user instead of a group. This will work as a great notification tool. Even better would be a JIRA and Confluence notifications integration. Something like the notification icon/button on the top right corner of Confluence.

Another user humorously adds, “Pros: emoticons. Cons: not enough emoticons.”

Price: Free; $2 per user, per month for premium features

Jostle

Jostle_DISCUSSIONS

Jostle has a unique approach to communication; as CEO Brad Palmer explained to me, Jostle acts as an “Organization as a Platform.” What does he mean by that?

The concept here is a platform that clarifies workplace teams, makes internal communication happen at all levels, and surfaces information/expertise across the organization. For dispersed organizations, Jostle’s platform becomes the most tangible realization of the company itself – the go-to place to participate in workplace culture, understand organizational goals, and celebrate success. Jostle is achieving unheard of (over 5X industry norms) organization-wide employee participation levels, as measured across its diverse customer base.

Where Jostle shines is not necessarily in individual teams, like Slack, but across organizations (their primary demographic is businesses with over 25 global employees). They aim to fix the problem of people disregarding chat software; if your company has 5,000 people and only a 400 are using their given communication client, the benefits of chat search and advanced communication tools are moot. That’s why Jostle user engagement is its number one customer success metric.

The end result? A gorgeous system that everyone uses. Check it out.

Price: Scales with company size; starts at $8 per employee per month for a 25-person company

Kaleo Software

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One of the greatest benefits of chat is having a ton of business information being stored and shared between employees—and one of the most frustrating problems is being able to find specific topics that you knew you chatted about at some point.

Kaleo Software addresses that exact painpoint.

Kaleo delivers an in-app experience, so you don’t need to go outside of your existing workflow to get the answer you need. You ask a question and get an answer, no more hunting and guessing to find the information you need to get the job done. No more bugging your manager with questions they’ve answered 100 times, and no more chat searching.

Ever.

Price: Scales with company size; starts at $8 per employee per month

Moxtra

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The difference between communication and collaboration is the fundamental differentiator between Slack and Moxtra. Moxtra emphasizes teamwork with chat, service integration, document collaboration and annotation, teleconferencing (audio and video), conference recording and broadcasting, and screen sharing, along with a majority of Slack’s features, like direct messages and useage statistics.

Moxtra also does particularly well on mobile for both Android and iPhone. Looking at reviews from the Google Play store, the consensus is that the “app is awesome, the bugs are gone and the operation is smooth.” And as for Apple products? Just mosey over to the productivity section of the Apple iPad business store, where Moxtra is featured. iOS users um up the experience as “Awesome.”

Plus, Moxtra already has integrations with the Apple watch. How cool is that?

Price: Free; upgrades available starting at $7 per user, per month

Pie

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Pie is a mobile-first chat program that, as Pieter Walraven, CEO, says, has “Mainstream appeal.” (He adds, “Usable by non tech people… ex: your mom”). While the emphasis is on iOS and Android, they also offer a web version and an installed platform for Macs.

Pie is great for creative companies that have lots of media—if your work revolves around GIFs, videos, music, shared links, and files, Pie easily sorts and stores all of your shared media. Need to find something quick? Hop onto Pie’s powerful search engine to find exactly what you’re looking for.

On the go and need to communicate and fast? Pie offers “quick reply,” where users can one-click communicate that they’re in a meeting, low battery, or on your way.

That can come from a click on the phone, web, or even an Apple Watch.

Best of all?

100% free.

Rocket.Chat

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Rocket.Chat, like eXo Platform, is an open source Slack alternative. This means that if your IT team wants to make it their own, go crazy.

Rocket.Chat has lots of features that Slack just doesn’t offer. This includes:

  • Audio and Video Conference
  • Built-in Live-chat for Websites
  • Federation
  • Screen-Sharing
  • Self-Registration
  • Theming and Branding

Beyond that, Rocket.Chat is incredibly intuitive. My cat could use it if she wanted.

Oh, and for the technically inclined? Rocket.Chat not only offers iOS, Android, and downloaded versions for Mac and Windows, but it’s also available for Linux.

100% Free

Ryver

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When it comes to a completely free Slack alternative that isn’t open source, Ryver is likely your best bet. They cost a grand total of no dollars and zero cents, aren’t funded by advertising, and offer unlimited chats, data, guests, post, search, teams, and users.

You’re not going to find a better deal on this list.

Ryver aims to take on Slack’s limited free version, offering threaded posts and discussions along with a number of paid Slack features, like unlimited integrations and guest access.

100% Free

Team Tracker App

Team Tracker App is a Slack alternative from Gray Matrix, a U.S. and India-based software company. It was developed to be mobile-first, though members can “deep dive” when they’re on their desktop computer.

Team Tracker App is great for industries based in the field—one could even argue that it could be used as a cheap field service software alternative that uses Getting Things Done as a guiding philosophy.

But don’t let Team Tracker App’s emphasis on mobile deter the your office. Team Tracker App is great at filtering what’s important, and limiting the homescreen to just that, so the end user doesn’t get overloaded with “to dos.” With an emphasis on enterprise processes like sales calls, field ops, and service deliverables, Team Tracker App forces its users to communicate on a simple and straightforward system, with everything tying back to projects.

As Santosh Maharshi, cofounder of Team Tracker App, told me, “We aim to build clean, simple and productive task based communication app.” They indeed did just that.

Price: $3 per user, per month or $30 per user, per year subscription

More?

There are hundreds of apps and software products pushing onto the communication scene claiming to be the next top slack alternative, but these thirteen are the cream of the crop.

Did I miss any? Have you used any of these products? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a Content Marketing Analyst for Capterra, a free online resource that quickly matches businesses to their software needs. She specializes in construction, project management and school administration . She also runs her own blog on content marketing. On the rare occasion Rachel isn't writing, she's reading, hiking, jogging, or spending time with her friends and family.

Comments

Tried Bitrix24 and Fleep. Liking both a lot. I am going to go on a limb and say that these two are actually better than Slack

Glad you’re finding something that’s working for you!

Bitrix24 looks like a good middle ground between email, social network and Slack. As much as I hated Yammer, Slack gets too noisy fast. Will see if Bitrix24 sticks with us or not, but it looks quite promising.

Have you evaluated Socialcast by VMware? We’ve been using them for the past year or so and we’ve had a ton of success with it so far. The software itself is more of a fully built collaboration solution with a web, iOS, and Android app, but they have a dedicated app specifically for the chat feature on the roadmap for Q2. I would encourage anyone evaluating chat solutions to check it out. It’s pretty slick.

some of you guys mention bitrix24, which is on our org’s list as well, ’cause it show very promissing based on the free “trial” we gave it.
but I am a bit puzzled b/c I was unable to find almost any info about it on the web. meaning reaviews, comparisons, discussion, etc.. almost nothing. like nobody uses this thing, no matter how cheap and good it is, compared to it’s much more costly competitors.. :/
any ideas why is that?

Thank you very much for your great and helpfull job!

Hey, nice list. It seems i have to try Pie and Rocket.Chat. Never heard of them before 🙂
Up to now, i can recommend Mattermost (http://www.mattermost.org/) as a free and open source alternative.

Another one that my team is using is mattermost. Its an open source slack like and we loved it.

I work with ThreadKM which combines team chat with visual work management (kanban boards) – and can be integrated with your system(s) of record (e.g. your DMS). All in secure SaaS or on-premise (all with powerful search). The combination of capabilities is compelling to users and leadership. For more see: http://www.threadkm.com.

Hi – interesting article. Just wanted to add another alternative: Matrix (http://matrix.org) is an open standard and we also provide open source, apache 2 licensed implementations for web, android and iOS.

The goal is for Matrix to connect together all the various communication services and make them interoperate – infact we already have a bridge to Slack!

Check it out today via any Matrix-client, for example Vector (https://vector.im)

[…] Capterra – The Top 13 Slack Alternatives […]

How does something like Yammer (https://www.yammer.com/) fit into this?

Although I use Slack internally for communicating with members of my team, I have had a few clients who use http://www.glip.com as a tool for communicating.

It offers many of the features that Slack, and it’s competitors / alternatives have, while providing lots of integration for other tools of organization.

Here’s a short list of integration options from Glip:
– Trello
– GitHub
– Asana
– Box
– DoneDone
– Google Drive / Docs
– DropBox
– Evernote
– Hangouts
– Harvest
– Jira
– Mailchimp
– Stripe
– Zendesk
– BitBucket
– PagerDuty
– Zapier.

Honestly I’ve had great experiences with Glip, and honestly think it should have an honourable mention, or make the list if you decide to revise.

For features and integration with other products, or platforms, they have early developments for an Integration API and aim to provide a public API in the near future.

Great note! I’ll keep them in mind when I update on a few months 🙂

We used Slack for a few months, but we quickly outgrew it. Samepage.io has done a much better job at satisfying our real-time collaboration and project management needs. https://www.samepage.io/alternative-slack

If you need end-to-end encryption, Balboa (https://www.balboa.io) is a good alternative.

Right now, it’s the only option out there that does E2E chat, files, voice and video.

We recently released ClearChat into public beta. It’s end-to-end encrypted messaging for teams, thats also fully authenticated.

Missed the link – https://clearchat.com

If anyone is interested into why Slack, HipChat etc are all unsecure, we give a great comparison here: https://clearchat.com/compare

I’ll also mention that ClearChat support file uploads up to 100GB in size.

You might want to check out TMail21 (“Power Threads for Teams”) (https://tmail21.com). TMail21 is not strictly a Slack alternative, but rather complementary to Slack. While Slack is great for synchronous communication, TMail21 is focused on asynchronous communication. It also has a Slack integration that deeply integrates asynchronous threads with Slack chat.

Synchronous conversation is great, up to a point, but it gets overwhelming as the number of users rise as there are only so many conversations one can keep up with simultaneously and the conversations are spread across many groups, channels and chats in a non-threaded manner.

Hi Rachel,
Can you (or anyone else) suggest any group messaging apps that are free (for a group of 8 people) and have a French-language version?

Thanks.

In case someone from IT field is deeply involved in this issue, please list the free open source alternatives to Rocket.Chat that can be installed on the server. Which one have the best potential for now?

NONE of these alternatives has encryption. So what’s the point ?

+1 for Glip!

I use slack exclusively for my day job b/c that’s what my company uses. I’m working on two side projects, outside of work, and for both of them I use, and PREFER Glip. I often wish we would switch to Glip at work but don’t think that could ever happen. Our developers love slack.

Great list – I am testing HipChat and am interested in clear chat, but the site has very very little info. Actually, i’m trying to use it for 1- team of chefs and 2 – Australian immigration service. I may need 2 different platforms – any ideas for something free with – chat, conference, documents, website, IOS + Android and is actually secure?

uShare.to is a great option (http://www.ushare.to)

Does anybody know if any of those options offer the possibility to record and post audio messages right from inside the app? I know slack and hip chat don’t. But it would be an awesome feature to teach pronunciation in language learning. Thanks for your help!
Liz

[…] even after it’s occurred. Slack is the 800-pound gorilla in this domain, but there are plenty of options to choose […]

Great Post Rachel!

Would like to point here one more LAN Chat software Output Messenger ( http://www.outputmessenger.com/ ). This LAN Messenger has all required business communication features including One-to-One Chat, Group Chat, Chat Room, Announcement, Fastest File Transfer, Remote Desktop, Screen Sharing and Internal Mailing etc. Try it for free to know more about its features.

[…] POPULAR ALTERNATIVES: Email, Hipchat, Yammer and others on this list. […]

[…] POPULAR ALTERNATIVES: Email, Hipchat, Yammer and others on this list. […]

[…] POPULAR ALTERNATIVES: Email, Hipchat, Yammer and others on this list. […]

All of the alternatives are great, but all of them are lacking something very important- combination of messaging and Task management.
Workgroup (web.workgroup.im) lets you turn important messages into action items. So chat, automatically becomes an action plan.

The problem with task management, is that nobody likes to open tasks.
Work groups starts with an open discussion, and then lets group members turn messages into action items, and assign them to the right person, before moving on to the next subject.

We are currently using Stackfield.com for our team communication. Part of the decision has been that they are based in Germany and offer an end-to-end encryption for sensitive data. In addition, the tool also offers task management, calendars etc.

[…] POPULAR ALTERNATIVES: Email, Hipchat, Yammer and others on this list. […]

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