Warning

You are reading a development version of the Zulip documentation. These instructions may not correspond to the latest Zulip Server release. See documentation for the latest stable release.

Customize Zulip

Once you’ve got Zulip set up, you’ll likely want to configure it the way you like.

Making changes

Most configuration can be done by a realm administrator, on the web. For those settings, see the documentation for realm administrators.

This page discusses additional configuration that a system administrator can do. To change any of the following settings, edit the /etc/zulip/settings.py file on your Zulip server, and then restart the server with the following command:

su zulip -c '/home/zulip/deployments/current/scripts/restart-server'

Zulip has dozens of settings documented in the comments in /etc/zulip/settings.py; you can review the latest version of the settings.py template, and if you’ve upgraded from an old version of Zulip, we recommend carefully updating your /etc/zulip/settings.py to fold in the inline comment documentation for new configuration settings after upgrading to each new major release.

Since Zulip’s settings file is a Python script, there are a number of other things that one can configure that are not documented; ask in the Zulip development community if there’s something you’d like to do but can’t figure out how to.

Specific settings

Domain and email settings

EXTERNAL_HOST: the user-accessible domain name for your Zulip installation (i.e., what users will type in their web browser). This should of course match the DNS name you configured to point to your server and for which you configured SSL certificates. If you passed --hostname to the installer, this will be prefilled with that value.

ZULIP_ADMINISTRATOR: the email address of the person or team maintaining this installation and who will get support and error emails. If you passed --email to the installer, this will be prefilled with that value.

Authentication backends

AUTHENTICATION_BACKENDS: Zulip supports a wide range of popular options for authenticating users to your server, including Google auth, GitHub auth, LDAP, SAML, REMOTE_USER, and more.

If you want an additional or different authentication backend, you will need to uncomment one or more and then do any additional configuration required for that backend as documented in the settings.py file. See the section on authentication for more detail on the available authentication backends and how to configure them.

Mobile and desktop apps

The Zulip apps expect to be talking to servers with a properly signed SSL certificate, in most cases and will not accept a self-signed certificate. You should get a proper SSL certificate before testing the apps.

Because of how Google and Apple have architected the security model of their push notification protocols, the Zulip mobile apps for iOS and Android can only receive push notifications from a single Zulip server. We have configured that server to be push.zulipchat.com, and offer a push notification forwarding service that forwards push notifications through our servers to mobile devices. Read the linked documentation for instructions on how to register for and configure this service.

Terms of Service and Privacy policy

Zulip allows you to configure your server’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy pages (/terms and /privacy, respectively).

You can configure this using the POLICIES_DIRECTORY setting. We recommend using /etc/zulip/policies, so that your policies are naturally backed up with the server’s other configuration. Just place Markdown files named terms.md and privacy.md in that directory, and set TERMS_OF_SERVICE_VERSION to 1.0 to enable this feature.

You can place additional files in this directory to document additional policies; if you do so, you may want to:

  • Create a Markdown file sidebar_index.md listing the pages in your policies site; this generates the policies site navigation.

  • Create a Markdown file missing.md with custom content for 404s in this directory.

Please make clear in these pages what organization is hosting your Zulip server, so that nobody could be confused that your policies are the policies for Zulip Cloud.

Miscellaneous server settings

Some popular settings in /etc/zulip/settings.py include:

Zulip announcement list

Subscribe to the Zulip announcements email list for server administrators, if you have not done so already. This extremely low-traffic list is for important announcements, including new releases and security issues.

Enjoy your Zulip installation!

If you discover things that you wish had been documented, please contribute documentation suggestions either via a GitHub issue or pull request; we love even small contributions, and we’d love to make the Zulip documentation cover everything anyone might want to know about running Zulip in production.

Next: Backups, export and import and upgrading Zulip in production.