How to host a chat server with OpenFire on Linux

OpenFire is a cross-platform, real-time chat server that is based on the XMPP protocol. It’s perfect if you’re looking to host your own chat server but don’t want to deal with complicated apps like RocketChat, Mattermost, and others.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up the OpenFire server on Linux. However, to access your server, you will need to install the Spark client. For more information on Spark, click here.

Installing OpenFire on a Linux Server

Setting up an OpenFire chat server is simple, compared to many other chat services thanks to its method of installation. There is no need to download a bunch of confusing configuration files. Instead, everything is packaged up in DEB and RPM files.

To get the OpenFire server running on your Linux home server (or desktop computer that can stay on 100% of the time), start by launching a terminal and logging into the server. Then, follow the command-line installation instructions outlined below.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu Linux Server, you can quickly install the OpenFire server application by downloading the DEB package directly from the internet. To download the DEB, use the following wget command.

wget https://www.igniterealtime.org/downloadServlet?filename=openfire/openfire_4.6.0_all.deb -O openfire_4.6.0_all.deb

The OpenFire DEB package won’t take too long to download on your Ubuntu Server. Once the downloading process is complete, you can install the software using the following Apt command.

sudo apt install openfire_4.6.0_all.deb

During the installation of the OpenFire DEB package on Ubuntu Server, it will be automatically configured to start at boot using Systemd. It’ll also be configured to start up right away. You can check the status of OpenFire with systemctl status.

systemctl status openfire

After checking the server’s status, open up a browser on your computer and access the following URL and move on to the next section of the guide.

http://ip-address-of-your-server:9090

Debian

If you’re using Debian Linux as a server, you’ll be able to install the OpenFire chat server similarly to Ubuntu Server by downloading the DEB and installing it. To start, use the following wget command to grab the latest release of OpenFire.

wget https://www.igniterealtime.org/downloadServlet?filename=openfire/openfire_4.6.0_all.deb -O openfire_4.6.0_all.deb

After downloading the DEB package to your Debian server, use the dpkg command to install the OpenFire server package to your computer. 

sudo dpkg -i openfire_4.6.0_all.deb

During the installation, you may have noticed some errors appear on the screen. These errors are dependency errors. To fix them, please follow this guide on how to correct dependency issues on Debian.

With the OpenFire DEB package set up on your Debian server, open up a browser tab, go to the following URL, and move on to the next section of the guide.

http://ip-address-of-your-server:9090

Arch Linux

Arch Linux is the only mainstream Linux operating system to support the OpenFire server directly. So, if you’re running Arch as a Linux server, you’ll be able to install the OpenFire server application with the following pacman command.

sudo pacman -S openfire

After the installation, you’ll need to enable and start OpenFire using systemctl manually.

sudo systemctl enable openfire sudo systemctl start openfire

Finally, open up a browser tab, visit this URL, and move on to the guide’s next section.

http://ip-address-of-your-server:9090

CentOS/RHEL

If you have a CentOS or RedHat Enterprise Linux server, you’ll be able to install OpenFire on Linux thanks to the RPM package file they have on their website. To start, use the wget command to download the latest RPM release.

Note: the download link is very long, so we’ve shortened it to save space. 

wget https://bit.ly/34g84oy -O openfire-4.6.0-1.x86_64.rpm

After downloading the RPM file to your CentOS/RHEL server, the installation is straightforward. Using the rpm command, install the package.

sudo rpm -ivh openfire-4.6.0-1.x86_64.rpm

Enable and start the OpenFire server.

sudo systemctl enable openfire sudo systemctl start openfire

Open up the following URL in a browser tab and follow along with the guide’s next section.

http://ip-address-of-your-server:9090

Setting up OpenFire

To set up the OpenFire chat server, follow along with the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Choose the language you speak by selecting it in the OpenFire window.

Step 2: Enter your XMPP domain name. OpenFire should auto-detect this information (your server’s hostname), so it’s OK to leave it blank.

Step 3: Select the type of database you wish to use with OpenFire. If you’re not familiar with databases, go with the “Embedded Database” choice.

Step 4: For “Profile Settings,” choose the “Default” option. It will allow for the most straightforward and fastest deployment of the server. Alternatively, if you prefer more security, choose “Only Hashed Passwords.”

Step 5: Set the OpenFire admin password, and fill out a valid email address in the box. Be sure that the admin password is memorable but also secure. 

Step 6: Select the “Login to the admin console” button to log into your new chat server using admin as the user account and your new password as the password.

Once logged in, the OpenFire chat console will appear. From here, click on “Users/Groups” to begin adding friends to your server. You can also create a group chat area by selecting “Group Chat.”

Remember, you will only be able to access your OpenFire chat server with the Spark client. Download it here.

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