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Ejabberd is a powerful and popular open source XMPP server. Ejabberd has been designed from the ground-up with fault-tolerance, easy configurations, and scalability. It is able to utilize resources of multiple clustered machines and can be easily scaled when more capacity is required – By adding more VMs.

Ejabberd enables authenticating users using external or internal databases (Mnesia, SQL), LDAP or external scripts

For storing persistent data, ejabberd uses Mnesia (the distributed internal Erlang database), but you can opt for other storage:

  • SQL databases like MySQL or PostgreSQL
  • NoSQL databases like Riak (also written in Erlang)

Features of Ejabberd XMPP Server

Ejabberd have a modular architecture which allows for high customisability and easy access to the required features, which includes:

  • Store-and-forward (offline messages)
  • Contact list (roster) and presence
  • One-to-one messaging
  • User presence extension: Personal Event Protocol (PEP) and typing indicator
  • User profile with vCards
  • Group chat: MUC (Multi-User Chat)
  • Messaging archiving with Message Archive Management (MAM)
  • Message Delivery Receipts (aka XEP-184)
  • Privacy settings, through privacy list and simple blocking extensions
  • Last activity
  • Metrics and full command-line administration
  • Full feature web support, with BOSH and web sockets
  • Stream management for message reliability on mobile (aka XEP-0198)
    and many many more.

Install Ejabberd XMPP Server on Ubuntu 18.04|16.04

We’re going to install ejabberd from a binary Installer which provides a full-featured ejabberd server without a need for any extra dependencies.

Step 1: Download ejabberd installer.

Go to the ejabberd official download page. Note the latest version of the software.

Export latest version to a variable:

export VER="20.04"

Download the Debian package with wget.


Step 2: Install ejabberd on Ubuntu 18.04

Install downloaded package using the dpkgcommand:

sudo apt install ./ejabberd_${VER}-0_amd64.deb

This will place ejabberd init script under /etc/init.d/ejabberd

  • A system user called ‘ejabberd‘ is created
  • ejabberd application directory is /opt/ejabberd. This is a home for the ejabberd user.
  • When ejabberd is started, the processes that are started in the system are beam or beam.smp, and also epmd.

Step 3: Starting ejabberd service

Since Ubuntu uses systemd init system, we need to copy ejabberd.service  to /etc/systemd/system directory.

sudo cp $(sudo find / -name ejabberd.service) /etc/systemd/system

Reload systemd:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Start the service and enable it to start on boot:

sudo systemctl enable --now ejabberd

Check status by running:

$ systemctl status ejabberd.service
● ejabberd.service - XMPP Server
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/ejabberd.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2020-05-23 10:41:36 CEST; 15s ago
    Process: 6545 ExecStart=/bin/sh -c /opt/ejabberd-20.04/bin/ejabberdctl start && /opt/ejabberd-20.04/bin/ejabberdctl started (code=exited, status=0/>
      Tasks: 23 (limit: 4567)
     Memory: 44.9M
     CGroup: /system.slice/ejabberd.service
             ├─6592 /opt/ejabberd-20.04/bin/epmd -daemon
             ├─6593 /opt/ejabberd-20.04/bin/beam.smp -K true -P 250000 -- -root /opt/ejabberd-20.04 -progname /opt/ejabberd-20.04/bin/erl -- -home /opt>
             ├─6603 erl_child_setup 65536
             └─6632 /opt/ejabberd-20.04/lib/os_mon-2.4.7/priv/bin/memsup

May 23 10:41:34 ubuntu systemd[1]: Starting XMPP Server...
May 23 10:41:36 ubuntu systemd[1]: Started XMPP Server.

Step 4: Create ejabberd XMPP admin account.

You need an XMPP account and grant him administrative privileges to enter the ejabberd Web Admin. Register an XMPP account on your ejabberd server.

Add ejabberdctl command location to your PATH

Locate ejabberdctl.

$ sudo find / -name ejabberdctl

Add the path of to your .bashrc file.

$ vim ~/.bashrc

Set like below – but replace /opt/ejabberd-20.04/bin/ with your version path as found from find command:


Source the file for the new path to be reflected:

source ~/.bashrc

Syntax for user creation.

ejabberdctl register <username> <server_hostname>  <user-password>

In my case, I’ll run the commands below:

$ ejabberdctl register computingforgeeks StrongPassword
User [email protected] successfully registered

Edit the ejabberd configuration file to give administration rights to the XMPP account you created.

$ sudo vim /opt/ejabberd/conf/ejabberd.yml

      - "[email protected]"

Where is your server hostname used when adding the user. You can grant administrative privileges to many XMPP accounts, and also to accounts in other XMPP servers.

Step 5: Access ejabberd Web Admin

The Web Admin should be accessible on  http://ip-address:5280/admin/. Open the URL usng your favorite browser.

When logging in, make sure to enter the full JID as username:

[email protected]

The reason that you also need to enter the suffix is due to ejabberd’s virtual hosting support. You can manage several XMPP domains on a single instance.

For more information, read Ejabberd Administration guides 

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