How to Set Up Your Own Instant Messaging Server

Chat Icon Instant messaging is not just for personal use. It is also a great way for employees to communicate with one another in the corporate world. If you are in IT, then setting up an instant messaging server can be a great benefit to your company. And the best part is that you can set one up without spending a dime. In the following tutorial, I would like to guide you through the easy process of installing my personal favorite IM server software, Openfire.

Openfire is an open source IM server software that uses the Jabber protocol. This means that any IM client that supports jabber can connect to your server.

Step 1: Figure out which computer you want to make your IM server. The good thing is that Openfire uses very little resources. You can view the requirements here.

Step 2: Download the Openfire installer.

Step 3: Run the setup wizard.

Step 4: When the installation finishes, you will run Openfire for the first time. Click “Launch Admin” to bring up the configuration.

Step 5: Next, choose your language and click “Continue”.

Step 6: Now you will configure your server settings. The “Domain” will be what you want to call your Openfire server. Leave the default ports unless you would rather use something else.

Step 7: Next, you will be able to choose your database settings. For the easiest setup, choose “Embedded Database”.

Step 8: Next, you will choose how you want to control your users. If you have an LDAP server you can configure Openfire to work with it. For the easiest setup, choose “Default”.

Step 9: Next, you will set up your administrator account.

Step 10: You are now finished with the initial configuration. Now click “Login to the admin console”.

Step 11: Once you login, you can now view and change all of your detailed settings.

Step 12: Click on the “Users/Groups” tab to manage your users.

Step 13: Now go to another PC and install your favorite Jabber client. You can view a list of them here. You can connect to your new IM server by using the server name (domain) and ports you specified in step 6.

If you have any experience setting up an IM server please feel free to share.

About The Author


Casey (Surname withheld for contractual and professional reasons) has contributed many great articles on He successfully started his own IT consultancy well over 10 years ago. While going through this tough yet rewarding experience he found there was a terrible lack of focused support out there for computer techs to start their own IT company. So he gravitated towards training and mentoring other computer technicians who want to create a part time or full time income as an IT consultant. He initially wrote courses to help computer technicians start their own IT consulting business (or side business). Many articles also help the general public save thousands of dollars in professional help by helping them DIY. He doesn't contribute directly to often any more due to leading a full family life and being Technical Director a at major US company (hence the requirement for privacy). However his contributions span over 10 years and some have been extremely popular (with so many comments we had to stop accepting more on some, and thousands of shares although it looks fewer after our change to https - we must get around to fixing that!). Having said this, we work to ensure his work is updated and continues to remain relevant.


  • wignari

    Reply Reply October 1, 2009


    The list of Client can be found here

    The Link on the post is down

    • Casey

      Reply Reply October 3, 2009

      I have fixed the link. Thanks!

  • Missi

    Reply Reply October 21, 2012

    Thank you ,it’s very informative, but what about if i want to build my own Instant messaging software, can u help me to do so? if yes i will be so very happy.
    Waiting for ur response
    Best regards

  • Annette Jones

    Reply Reply December 1, 2014

    Ihave installed OpenFire according to your instructions. However, When the Admin Console opens, it will not allow me to log in. I typed the UID and PW carefully when creating and when trying to log in. Any suggestions?

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