Setting up your organization

Welcome to Zulip! This page will guide you through trying out Zulip, migrating your organization from other team chat tools (if needed), getting everything set up, and inviting others to join.

If you are joining an existing organization, we recommend checking out our guide to Getting started with Zulip.

If you encounter any problems as you're getting started, please drop by our friendly development community and let us know!

Trying out Zulip

You can start by reading about how Zulip’s unique topic-based threading combines the best of email and chat to make remote work productive and delightful.

It's also easy to try out Zulip for yourself.

  1. Check out the Zulip app. You can:

  2. Create a Zulip Cloud organization for free in just a few minutes. This is a great way to explore Zulip even if you plan to self-host.

  3. Invite your teammates to explore Zulip with you. They will have a variety of perspectives on what's important in a chat app.

  4. Run a week-long Zulip trial with your team, without using any other chat tools. This is the only way to truly experience how a new chat app will help your team communicate. You can:

Choosing between Zulip Cloud and self-hosting

Whether signing up for Zulip Cloud or self-hosting Zulip is the right choice for you depends on the needs of your organization.

If you aren’t sure what you need, our high quality export and import tools (cloud, self-hosted) ensure you can always move from our hosting to yours (and back). No matter which option you go with, free or heavily discounted pricing is available for most non-business uses.

Advantages of Zulip Cloud

  • Simple managed solution, with no setup or maintenance overhead. Sign up with just a few clicks.
  • Always updated to the latest version of Zulip.
  • Anyone can start with Zulip Cloud Free.

Advantages of self-hosting Zulip

  • All self-hosted plans offer the same 100% open-source software. Organizations that do not require support with their installation can always use Zulip for free with no limitations.

  • Retain full control over your data and simplify compliance by self-hosting Zulip behind your firewall.

  • We work hard to make it easy to install, back up, and maintain a self-hosted Zulip server. Self-host Zulip directly on Ubuntu or Debian Linux, in Docker, or with prebuilt images for Digital Ocean and Render.

  • Customize Zulip for all your needs. It's easy to develop and maintain custom integrations and features.

Learn more about self-hosting Zulip.

Migrating from other chat tools

If your organization is moving to Zulip from another chat tool, you can use Zulip's tools to import your data, including users, channels, messages, and more. Follow the detailed import guides:

You can only import a workspace as a new Zulip organization. Your imported message history cannot be added into an existing Zulip organization.

Create your organization profile

The information in your organization profile is displayed on your organization's registration and login pages, and (optionally) in the communities directory. Your organization profile picture is also used for switching between organizations in the Desktop app.

Edit organization profile

The organization description supports full Markdown formatting, including bold/italic, links, lists, and more.

Your organization profile picture should be a square image. It will be displayed at 100×100 pixels, or more on high-resolution displays.

  1. Click on the gear () icon in the upper right corner of the web or desktop app.

  2. Select Organization settings.

  3. On the left, click Organization profile.

  4. Edit your organization name, type, description, and profile picture.

  5. (optional) Click Preview organization profile to see a preview of your organization's login page in a new browser tab.

  6. Click Save changes.

Zulip Cloud customers who wish to use this feature must upgrade to Zulip Cloud Standard or Zulip Cloud Plus.

You can customize the logo users see in the top left corner of the Zulip app. For best results:

  • The logo should be a wide rectangle image with an 8:1 width to height ratio. It will be displayed at 200×25 pixels, or more on high-resolution displays.

  • Make sure your logo has a transparent background, and trim any bordering whitespace.

To upload a logo:

  1. Click on the gear () icon in the upper right corner of the web or desktop app.

  2. Select Organization settings.

  3. On the left, click Organization profile.

  4. Under Organization logo, upload a new logo.

Make sure to test the logo in both light theme and dark theme.

Customize organization settings

Review the settings for your organization to set everything up how you want it to be.

  1. Click on the gear () icon in the upper right corner of the web or desktop app.

  2. Select Organization settings.

  3. Click on the Organization settings and Organization permissions tabs, as well as any others that are of interest.

A few settings to highlight:

For many other settings, e.g., message and topic editing permissions, you can experience how Zulip works for your organization before deciding what settings are best for you.

Create channels

Channels organize conversations based on who needs to see them. For example, it is common to have a channel for each team in an organization. Because Zulip further organizes messages into conversations labeled with topics, there is generally no need to create dedicated channels for specific projects.

We recommend setting up some channels before inviting other users to join Zulip, so that you can automatically subscribe everyone to the right set of channels.

If you later create additional channels, no worries! You can always add a group of users or all the members of another channel to a new channel.

Add clear descriptions to your channels, especially public channels.

How to create a channel

  1. Click on the gear () icon in the upper right corner of the web or desktop app.

  2. Select Channel settings.

  3. Click All channels in the upper left.

  4. Click Create channel on the right.

  5. Fill out the requested info, and click Create.

For more details about channel settings, see Create a channel.

Tips for creating channels

  • It's often best to start with just a few channels, and add more as needed. For small teams, you can start with the default channels and go from there.

  • For large organizations, we recommend using a consistent naming scheme, like #marketing/<name> or #mk/<name> for all channels pertaining to the marketing team, #help/<team name> for <team name>'s internal support channel, etc.

  • For open source projects or other volunteer organizations, consider adding default channels like #announce for announcements, #new members for new members to introduce themselves and be welcomed, and #help so that there's a clear place users stopping by with just a single question can post.

Customize settings for new users

Customize settings for new users to get them off to a great start.

Invite users to join

Before inviting users, you may want to delete any test messages or topics.

How to invite users to join

  1. Configure allowed authentication methods. By default, Zulip allows logging in via email/password as well as various social authentication providers like Google, GitHub, GitLab, and Apple. Users can log in with any allowed authentication method, regardless of how they signed up.

  2. Invite users by sending email invitations or sharing a reusable invite link.

  1. Allow users to join without an invitation.

  2. Configure the appropriate email domain restrictions for your organization.

  3. Share a link to your registration page, which is for Zulip Cloud organizations.

To get everyone off to a good start, you may wish to share the guide to Getting started with Zulip.

You can link to your Zulip organization with a nice badge.

Create user groups

User groups allow you to mention multiple users at once, notifying them about a message. For example, you may choose to create user groups for teams in your organization.

How to create a user group

  1. Click on the gear () icon in the upper right corner of the web or desktop app.

  2. Select Group settings.

  3. Click Create user group on the right, or click the plus () icon in the upper right.

  4. Fill out the requested information, and click Continue to add members.

  5. Add users who will be members of the group, and click Create.

Note: You will only see the Create user group button if you have permission to create user groups.

Set up integrations

Zulip integrates directly with dozens of products, and with hundreds more through Zapier and IFTTT. Popular Zulip integrations include GitHub, Jira, PagerDuty, Sentry and Twitter.

Further reading