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RocketChat vs Zulip: What are the differences?

Introduction RocketChat and Zulip are both popular communication platforms that offer real-time messaging and collaboration features. However, there are key differences between the two that set them apart. In this article, we will explore and highlight these differences.

  1. User Interface and Organization: RocketChat has a more traditional chat interface, similar to popular messaging apps like Slack. It organizes conversations into channels and direct messages, making it easy to navigate and manage communication. On the other hand, Zulip offers a unique threaded conversation model that helps in organizing discussions more effectively. Conversations are grouped into topics and subtopics, providing a structured and focused communication experience.

  2. Message Visibility: In RocketChat, messages sent in public channels are visible to all users in the channel, promoting transparency and open communication. However, in Zulip, messages are private by default and users need to be explicitly added to conversations or topic streams to view and participate in discussions. This ensures better privacy and targeted communication within specific groups.

  3. Message Search and History: RocketChat offers a basic search functionality that allows users to search for messages by keywords. It also provides a complete message history within channels and direct messages. In contrast, Zulip provides advanced search capabilities with support for filtering messages based on different criteria such as sender, recipient, topic, and content. Additionally, Zulip also supports message retention policies, allowing organizations to set rules for storing or purging messages over time.

  4. Integration and Extensibility: Both RocketChat and Zulip offer a wide range of integrations with popular third-party services and applications. However, RocketChat has a larger number of out-of-the-box integrations and a more active community for developing custom integrations. Zulip, on the other hand, provides a powerful API and webhooks for building custom integrations, making it highly extensible and adaptable to specific organizational needs.

  5. Multilingual Support: RocketChat supports multilingual interfaces out-of-the-box, allowing users to switch to different languages based on their preferences. It offers a wide range of language options, making it suitable for global teams with diverse language requirements. Although Zulip supports multiple languages for message translation, it currently does not provide a built-in multilingual interface, limiting the user interface to a single language.

  6. Pricing and Deployment Options: RocketChat is an open-source platform that can be self-hosted on-premises or deployed on cloud services. It offers a free version with limited features and paid plans for additional functionality and support. Zulip, on the other hand, provides a cloud-hosted service with a free tier for small teams and paid plans for enterprise-grade collaboration. It does not offer a self-hosting option, making it more suitable for organizations preferring a cloud-based deployment.

In summary, the key differences between RocketChat and Zulip include their user interface and organization style, message visibility, search and history capabilities, integration and extensibility options, multilingual support, and pricing/deployment models. These differences make each platform unique and cater to different communication needs and preferences.

Decisions about RocketChat and Zulip
Christopher Semmler
CEO at Leonis Holding · | 3 upvotes · 42K views

Mattermost sports higher performance, uses Postgres, is a pure server side application not using up too much of system resources on the client side, and gives an overall enterprise grade impression in general.

Updates go smooth without a hassle, everything is organised logically, and the integration with the OS is absolutely stable. Apart from that, the underlying runtimes and code are mature, proven and stable.

The developers are maybe a bit more cautious in regard to introducing new features, but they maintain a stable experience, not breaking the codebase in order to hastily implement bells and whistles, which are not yet ready for production. Documentation and debugging are fantastic, so running this in enterprise production environment is absolutely approved of.

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Stefan Schuchlenz

We chose RocketChat over other communications suites like Cliq or Slack mainly because we can self-host it on our own infrastructure. Since we have quite some projects going on which demand that we stay in touch with a lot of different stakeholders, pricing was an issue, too. With RocketChat, we have a huge set of features basically for free, RC offers apps for all major devices and systems and overall, we're very happy with it. The only downside is the limited amount of apps and integrations, but we can make due with what we have available.

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Pros of RocketChat
Pros of Zulip
  • 72
    Open source
  • 38
    Can be deployed on premise
  • 32
    Byos (bring your own server)
  • 30
    Faster than Slack
  • 21
    Mobile app for iphone, ipad, and ipod touch
  • 19
    Built using meteor
  • 19
    Desktop client for mac and windows
  • 13
    Easily deployed on Cloud Services (Heroku, etc)
  • 10
    Screen Sharing
  • 9
    Video and audio
  • 9
    Excellent support & service, bar-none
  • 6
    Web client
  • 5
    Amazing product, fast moving development, and BYOS
  • 5
    Multiple Security integrations - LDAP etc
  • 5
    Docker Image for easy setup
  • 5
    Open source
  • 5
    Mobile app for android phone, tablet, and tv stick
  • 4
    Datacontrol
  • 4
    Great development team
  • 4
    Free
  • 2
    Love it - running on R Pi 2
  • 2
    Open source server
  • 1
    Broadcast & Readonly channels
  • 1
    Slack bridge
  • 1
    Linux Client Support
  • 1
    Flexible Integrations
  • 1
    Ldap integration
  • 0
    Threading model
  • 63
    Open source
  • 47
    Great Community
  • 40
    Extensive developer documentation
  • 38
    Powered by Python
  • 34
    Clean & Smooth UI
  • 26
    Full text search
  • 25
    Dozens of integrations
  • 23
    Threading model
  • 21
    On-premise deployment
  • 16
    Fully internationalized
  • 11
    Cross-platform (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android)
  • 4
    Its very good forsearching and chatting with topics
  • 3
    Awesome open source alternative to Slack
  • 3
    Runs very well
  • 2
    Very Nice
  • 1
    LDAP Integration
  • 1
    Mobile Push Notification

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Cons of RocketChat
Cons of Zulip
  • 1
    No full markdown support
  • 1
    Mobile app in Enterprise version only
  • 1
    Many basic features require plugins
  • 1
    Visioconference support is external
  • 1
    No screen recorder
  • 1
    Few options for user customization
  • 1
    Limited message history on SaaS
  • 1
    Poor user customization
  • 1
    Hard to upgrade
  • 1
    Not as well-known as others like it
  • 1
    Integration with most of well known services
  • 0
    The interface require a lot of overhaul

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What are some alternatives to RocketChat and Zulip?
Mattermost
Mattermost is modern communication from behind your firewall.
Slack
Imagine all your team communication in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. That’s Slack. All your messages. All your files. And everything from Twitter, Dropbox, Google Docs, Asana, Trello, GitHub and dozens of other services. All together.
Google Hangouts
Message contacts, start free video or voice calls, and hop on a conversation with one person or a group.
Discord
Discord is a modern free voice & text chat app for groups of gamers. Our resilient Erlang backend running on the cloud has built in DDoS protection with automatic server failover.
Flock
Flock is a communication app for teams. Packed with tons of productivity features, Flock drives efficiency and boosts speed of execution.
See all alternatives