Slack has rapidly risen to the top of the online communication platform pile. The instant messaging-cum-team workspace has won many major customers since its 2013 arrival. Slack’s success is built upon a simple understanding — life is all about communication. And email is no longer appropriate for fast-paced working environments.
That isn’t to say there is no place for email. But email conversation threads often become disjointed, tangled messes with multiple respondents. Why waste time when there is simply a better option available?
Here at MakeUseOf, we have a paid Slack subscription. This means we have unlimited members, channels, integrations (extra services you can plug into Slack), and more. But there is an unlimited free option that’s limited to a 10,000 message archive (believe me, that can disappear extremely quickly!) and just 10 integrations. Don’t worry, you can still subscribe to Cat Facts!
If you have a smaller team or limited budget, we’ve got a list of seven Slack alternatives you’ll want to check out.
1. Rocket Chat
Rocket Chat is an open source Slack alternative. This means the chat client is completely customizable if your programming skills are up to scratch. Rocket Chat is a resolute experience out-of-the-box. It offers many features that free and paid Slack versions doesn’t have:
- Audio and video conferences.
- Integrated live-chat for websites.
- Screen sharing.
- Theming, branding, and white label installation packages.
Rocket Chat has an intuitive UI, which further exemplifies the easy experience on this chat platform.
You can use Rocket Chat on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Ryver grants your team a completely free chat platform experience. While Ryver isn’t open source, it does offer free unlimited chat storage, data, guests, posts, search, teams, and users. That’s a lot to pack in. Better still, Ryver isn’t underhanded with its free offering — your weekly team brief won’t be interrupted by a terribly targeted, seizure-inducing flashing advert.
No, Ryver has taken a firm aim at Slack’s free version. By offering threaded posts as well as the some premium Slack features, Ryver will certainly pull people in.
You can use Ryver on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
I think Bitrix24 is a perfect Slack alternative for busy teams seeking to integrate project management into their chat client. Often cited as one of the best free project management tools, Bitrix24 also features many premium Slack components.
Bitrix24 has integrations for social media, task and project management, document management, team calendars, email, and more. Furthermore, Bitrix24 provides a well-received free CRM platform. What a package!
You can use Bitrix24 on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Moxtra is another chat platform with fantastic project management integration. There are two free versions on offer: Individual and Business. The latter provides five service integrations, five participants per meeting (including video, screensharing, and whiteboarding), help desk functionality, as well as an administrative dashboard.
I found Moxtra easy to use during my testing time. There are a significant number of integrations to choose from, and they’ll allow your team to develop a streamlined workflow. One more thing: Moxtra features end-to-end encryption for your team.
You can use Moxtra on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, as well as the Apple Watch.
Fleep! Sorry, it just sounds good. Go ahead: say it out loud.
Now that is taken care of, I can introduce you to a messaging client with a focus on team integration. Fleep does something differently to Slack. While Slack is excellent for chatting with a single team at a time, Fleep lets you reach out and chat to other organizations without leaving the client. Furthermore, it brings those stubborn, email wielding individuals into the fore. So long as you have an email address, Fleep will bring the conversation to you.
Your team can use Fleep’s unlimited message history, unlimited conversations, and unlimited integrations, as well as up to 5 GB file sharing per user.
You can use Fleep on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. A Linux client is planned.
HipChat offers “team chat that’s actually built for business.” That means your team can make use of unlimited and persistent messages, integrated ticket tracking for website and service support, screen sharing and group video chat, along with access to over 200 integrations.
HipChat consistently achieves top scores and glowing reviews. The sheer range of integrations, along with premium Slack features means HipChat could become your team command center. Another major bonus is HipChat’s simple integration with other Atlassian developed tools. If you already use Atlassian products, such as JIRA Service Desk, or Bitbucket, HipChat could be a useful team tool.
You can use HipChat on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
We round-off our Slack alternatives with open source chat client Mattermost. Mattermost are competing with Slack. As such, you’ll find a number of premium Slack features available to your team for free.
Other extremely useful features include threaded messaging, a single account for multiple teams, customizable themes, syntax highlighting for programmers, and a whole lot more.
You can use Mattermost on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Don’t Slack Off
Slack is excellent. It is.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around for an alternative. The Slack alternatives we’ve listed will provide everything your team needs, and in some cases, more than you’d expect from a free service.
With this in mind, consider your requirements, and consider if your free Slack subscription is pulling its weight. Is it time to find a new workhorse?
What chat client do your team use? Do you favor better chat features, or better project management tools? Let us know your thoughts below!