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    26.06.2024

    Seeking a self-hosted alternative to Slack? We recommend investigating Rocket.Chat

    server one
    HOSTKEY

    As one of the most popular and widely used corporate messengers, Slack has earned its place as a go-to communication platform for many organizations. However, beneath its sleek interface and user-friendly features lies a complex web of concerns that can't be ignored. As a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution, Slack comes with all the drawbacks associated with cloud-based services:

    • Cloud Storage Risks: By storing your data in a third-party cloud, you're essentially entrusting it to another entity's care. This can lead to concerns about data breaches, unauthorized access, and the potential for sensitive information to fall into the wrong hands.
    • Vendor Lock-In: When you rely on a SaaS platform like Slack, you're at their mercy. If they decide to change their terms of service or discontinue your account, you may be left scrambling to find an alternative.
    • Standardized Experience: While Slack offers some customization options, its core functionality is designed to cater to a broad audience. This can result in a one-size-fits-all experience that may not meet the unique needs of your organization.
    • Subscription Fees: While Slack offers a free plan, its paid tiers come with significant subscription fees that can add up quickly – especially if you're using the platform for large teams or enterprises.
    • Hidden Costs: Additional features and integrations may require additional licenses or subscriptions, leading to unexpected costs down the line.
    • Single Point of Failure: By relying on a SaaS platform like Slack, you're creating a single point of failure that can have far-reaching consequences if it goes down.
    • Limited Control: When you're not in control of the underlying infrastructure and architecture, you're at the mercy of the provider's decisions and limitations.

    Order a virtual or dedicated server with pre-installed corporate messenger Rocket.Chat! You can choose a server located in a data center across Europe or the USA, or Turkey.

    Dedicated servers VPS

    Slack Alternatives

    If you're looking for a way to maintain complete control over your team's communication, while also ensuring the security of sensitive information and avoiding costly subscription fees, then exploring open-source alternatives is definitely worth considering.

    Open-source solutions offer a level of transparency and customization that can be hard to find in commercial SaaS platforms. By having access to the source code, you can:

    • Customize the platform to meet your organization's specific needs
    • Ensure data security by implementing robust encryption and authentication measures
    • Avoid vendor lock-in, as you're not reliant on a third-party provider
    • Save costs, as open-source solutions often require minimal or no subscription fees

    Some popular open-source alternatives to Slack: Rocket.Chat and Mattermost. At HOSTKEY, we rely on Rocket.Chat as our go-to communication platform. And for good reason! Here are some of the key features that make it an ideal choice for us:

    1. Open-Source Code: Our choice of Rocket.Chat is rooted in its commitment to transparency, as it offers an open-source community edition that can be used freely, including for commercial purposes. To access this version, you'll need to either agree to install the Pro version and then opt out of it in favor of the Starter or free versions, or employ a clever workaround involving variable settings and cloud-based registration.
    2. Self-Hosted Installation: With Rocket.Chat, we have the flexibility to install it on our own servers or cloud hosting platforms, giving us complete control over our instance.
    3. Security and Confidentiality: Our data is safeguarded by robust security measures, including two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and compliance with the ISO-27001 standard, ensuring that our communications are protected from unauthorized access.
    4. Collaboration Features: As a team, we benefit from Rocket.Chat's comprehensive set of features, which include: creating separate channels for projects or thematic discussions; assigning various roles and permission levels to ensure secure information sharing; and more. These features enable us to streamline our workflow, enhance productivity, and maintain a high level of collaboration within our organization.
    5. Customizable Presence: With Rocket.Chat, we can fine-tune our availability by setting custom statuses and profiles, allowing others to quickly grasp our current level of responsiveness.
    6. Seamless Integrations: Our instance seamlessly integrates with other applications and services, providing an extensive range of connection options that enhance functionality and productivity. This harmonious fusion enables us to streamline our workflows and maximize our potential.
    7. Data Storage Flexibility: We have the freedom to store our data on either our hosting server or a third-party storage solution, allowing us to choose the option that best suits our needs.
    8. Cross-Platform Accessibility: Rocket.Chat supports both web-based and mobile applications, enabling us to access our instance from anywhere, at any time. Whether we're using our desktop computers, mobile devices, or web browsers, we can effortlessly engage with our team and stay connected.
    9. Dynamic Resource Allocation: With Rocket. Chat, we can effortlessly manage our chat rooms by allocating resources with precision. This flexibility allows us to create and assign rooms according to specific themes or projects, ensuring seamless communication and collaboration.
    10. Community Management Tools: Our instance comes equipped with robust community management tools that empower us to modulate content and maintain a safe and healthy atmosphere within our chat rooms. By leveraging these features, we can foster a culture of inclusivity, respect, and open dialogue.
    11. Integrated Video Conferencing and Audio Calls: Rocket. Chat offers built-in video conferencing and audio call capabilities, allowing us to connect with team members and stakeholders in real-time. Additionally, the platform supports multiple languages and multimedia messaging, ensuring that our communications are both effective and inclusive.

    While Rocket.Chat offers an attractive alternative to Slack, it's essential to consider the following aspects when making the switch:

    1. Free Version Limitations: Our free version of Rocket. Chat comes with certain limitations compared to its paid counterpart, such as notifications tied to EOL software versions.
    2. Intuitive Interface: Slack boasts a more refined and intuitive interface that is widely regarded as more user-friendly, particularly for those without technical expertise.
    3. Integration Landscape: Slack's vast ecosystem of integrations (over 2000) far surpasses Rocket. Chat's offerings, making it a more comprehensive platform for teams seeking to streamline their workflows.
    4. Functional Differences: Rocket. Chat lacks Slack's Workflow Builder and Canvas features, with other functions implemented differently or relying on third-party plugins. A careful evaluation of these differences is crucial when deciding which platform best suits your organization's needs.

    Self-Hosted Rocket. Chat: A Customizable Solution

    Using Rocket.Chat in a cloud-based SaaS variant will not be a good option, because in fact you're switching from one service provider to another and getting the same risks, possibly only winning on price. So it's worth considering deploying the service either on your own hardware or on hosting server resources. We at the company provide an opportunity to deploy Rocket.Chat through our app store, where you immediately get a pre-configured and ready-to-use service, and all you need to do is customize it 'to yourself'.

    Since Rocket.Chat is an open-source platform, it's essential to consider the following points:

    1. You don't need to set up channels and users from scratch in Rocket.Chat. There's an option (with some limitations) to migrate everything from Slack. For more information on migration, refer to the official documentation.
    2. Cloud services, like virtual servers, are not just advanced technologies but also a cost-effective solution for all parties involved. This also helps reduce expenses for service providers. It's necessary to have backup copies of data and information.
    3. Rocket.Chat's message and channel database can grow exponentially due to file sharing or multimedia content, potentially consuming server resources, particularly RAM. Therefore, it's better to store messages on a dedicated data storage solution (NAS, S3, etc.), as well as backups.
    4. Although Rocket.Chat is free, the notification system, as mentioned earlier, relies on foreign servers and requires constant updates for both server-side and client-side components. It's essential to be prepared that notifications in mobile clients may stop working due to sanctions. However, this can be bypassed - for example, by writing approximately 100 lines of code for a Telegram bot.
    5. Integration with third-party applications may be restricted by GeoIP, but the ability to rent VPS/VDs in any country where our servers are located resolves issues related to external service usage (and plugin work). The server is yours, and you decide who gets access. No one prevents you from adding support for desired functionality yourself.
    6. You'll need to perform tasks related to setup, updates, and maintenance on your own, delving into the developer's documentation. Alternatively, consider hiring an external administrator. On the other hand, you won't depend on SaaS provider whims and will receive a controlled platform tailored to your needs with predictable behavior. The update process is painless if done regularly for minor versions (for example, from 6.1 to 6.2, then to 6.3, etc.).

    So what's the takeaway? Rocket.Chat may not be 100% perfect, but it's a good alternative to Slack, and our extensive experience with Rocket.Chat at our company proves that. Yes, abandoning a service where everything is taken care of by the provider can be daunting, as you'll need to handle administration and support on your own.

    However, it's essential to remember this simple truth: 'If someone else has access to your resources and can restrict your access to information without your knowledge, then those aren't really your resources and information.'

    Do you use Slack? Which platform are you prepared to migrate from?

    Order a virtual or dedicated server with pre-installed corporate messenger Rocket.Chat! You can choose a server located in a data center across Europe or the USA, or Turkey.

    Dedicated servers VPS

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