Jitsi – The Open Source Video Conferencing Solution

Hi there! With remote work exploding, video calls have become as common as email for keeping teams connected. But consumer-grade apps like Zoom and Skype may not cut it for secure enterprise use. You need customizable tools protecting confidential data — without paying a fortune.

Well I‘ve got great news…there‘s a free self-hosted solution giving you complete control called Jitsi!

In this jam-packed guide, we‘ll dive into everything that makes Jitsi tick and how to get it running for your business. I‘ll unpack why open source video chat is the future. Grab a coffee and let‘s get to it!

Rise of Video Conference Calls

Working from home has become standard for knowledge workers. Virtual meetings keep collaboration humming despite employees spread worldwide.

In fact, the video conferencing market has exploded since COVID-19:

  • over 60% growth in 2020 reaching $14.8 billion [source]
  • projected to hit $50 billion by 2026 [source]

However, widely used apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet centralize control in their respective vendors.

For regulated industries like healthcare and banking, this can be problematic. Privacy and compliance take a backseat to shareholder interests.

Not to mention, closed source code opens the door for spying, hidden backdoors, and security vulnerabilities.

This is where Jitsi comes to the rescue! Now let‘s see what makes it special…

What is Jitsi?

Jitsi is a 100% open source video conferencing suite you host yourself, on your own servers and infrastructure. This gives you:

  • Full transparency into encryption protocols and access controls for ironclad security
  • Ability to self-audit code rather than trusting third parties
  • Unbeatable flexibility meeting specialized use cases
  • Significant cost savings compared to SaaS apps

The project originated in 2003 by Emil Ivov and publicly launched in 2015 after extensive development. The active community has contributors worldwide.

Architecturally, Jitsi relies on these core components working in harmony:

  • Jitsi Meet – Browser-based conferencing frontend. Built in JavaScript.
  • Jitsi Videobridge – SFU server managing video routing. WebRTC powered on Java.
  • Jicofo – The focus manager coordinating streams.
  • Prosody – XMPP chat server for signaling between clients.

This is all bundled up nicely into prepackaged apps and Docker containers, configurable to your needs.

Now let‘s jump into getting your own system online!

Installing Jitsi on Your Servers

Thanks to excellent documentation and images preconfigured by the Jitsi community, standing up your own infrastructure is straightforward.

I recommend using Docker to avoid wrestling with dependencies and OS-level quirks. But reference the manual guide if you have special customization requirements.

Docker Deployment

First, ensure Docker and Docker Compose are ready to go on your Linux distribution of choice. Test with docker run hello-world.

Next, create a docker-compose.yml file for your setup. Here‘s a simple template to start:

version: ‘3‘
    image: jitsi/prosody
    restart: always
    image: jitsi/jicofo
    image: jitsi/jvb
    image: jitsi/web
    restart: always
     - "80:80"
     - "443:443"

Fire it up with docker-compose up -d and your meetings are ready! Adjust configurations like disabling authentication by editing the compose file.

So simple right? Now let‘s look at hosting considerations.

Cloud Hosting Options

While Jitsi can run on a single Linux laptop for testing, production deployments need robust infrastructure sustained 24/7:

  • CPU and memory resources for bridging video streams
  • Geographic distribution bringing conferencing closest to users
  • Network bandwidth without choking on media traffic
  • Quick autoscaling capabilities

I recommend leveraging cloud platforms so you don‘t reinvent the wheel on hosting. Top options:

Kamatera offers preconfigured VMs optimized for Jitsi starting at $4/month. This amazing value gets you up in 60 seconds rather than Days designing infrastructure yourself.

DigitalOcean makes setup a cinch through their drag-and-drop Jitsi Marketplace app. Great for getting rolling in minutes with minimal command line work.

Vultr shines for easy global expansion to 100+ locations worldwide. Their control panel provides monitoring and alerts to keep performance humming.

Between these three, you can be video conferencing within a lunch break! Costs stay minimal since open source avoids expensive per-user licensing.

Now, let‘s explore all the ways Jitsi bends to your will…

Administration and Configuration

What sets Jitsi apart from other video conferencing apps is customizability. You‘re not locked into fixed features or assumptions from vendors about how you collaborate.

Let‘s cover popular examples of tailoring Jitsi to your needs as an open source application:


Make video chats shine with your corporate logo, color scheme, and graphics overrides for a bespoke meeting experience. Available via both built-in theming controls and raw CSS tweaks.

Access Controls

Manage access through secure domains, lobby screens, waiting rooms, and password protections. Keep your private company meetings, well…private! Integrate enterprise authentication for unioning logins.


Sync calendar invites from Office 365. Chat within Slack channels. Livestream townhalls to YouTube. The open API enables endless mashups combining Jitsi with existing toolchains.


Add more Jitsi instances behind fast load balancers like NGINX. Beef up bridge servers for increased capacity. The modular architecture means you can grow infrastructure as demand necessitates.

And this is still just scratching the surface! Having source code means nothing limits your innovation.

Now let‘s explore some highlights of Jitsi‘s impressive built-in collaboration toolset…

Built-In Feature Highlights

Beyond flexible core video chat, Jitsi offers powerful enhancements:

Mobile Apps – Join conversations seamlessly from iOS and Android devices. This is a must have for organizations with a mobile workforce.

Live Streaming – Broadcast events publicly to unlimited viewers on YouTube, Facebook and custom RTMP endpoints. Great for virtual events and panels!

Remote Support – Share specific application windows rather than entire desktops during troubleshooting sessions, avoiding oversharing sensitive data.

And much more – An thriving open source plugin ecosystem expands possibilities even further with whiteboards, closed captions, chatbots, Q&A queues and more.

Troubleshooting Tips

Like any complex software, snags can happen with Jitsi but are easy to triage. Follow this checklist:

  • Pixelated video? Check server CPU usage and scale capacity if bridges maxed out transcoding streams.

  • No audio? Verify client devices have working mics accessible and unmuted.

  • Laggy performance? Use MTR tools to check for network packet loss or jitter anywhere on path between clients impacting real-time media.

  • Errors in logs? Search community forums for specific symptom details and helpful developers ready to assist.

Stuck troubleshooting? The incredibly supportive community makes overcoming any snag quick and painless.

Beefing Up Security

While Jitsi enables private secure video out of the box, shoring up access given self-hosted nature is smart. Here are key areas to lock down:

Apply OS patches – Harden Linux images against latest threats using your cloud provider‘s automated updates or in-guest agents like ClamAV watching file systems.

Inspect activity – Feed auth logs to aggregation tools like the ELK stack. Set alerts detecting abnormal traffic indicating breach attempts. Make attackers’ job harder.

Harden networking – Place bridge servers in private subnets, limiting ingress and egress gateways. Enforce VPN access policies. Require MFA authentication.

Audit configurations – Scan running Docker containers and hosts using tools like Lynis and CIS Benchmarks to catch any oversight leaving gaps.

The open source community rapidly flags then patches identified vulnerabilities with transparent release notes. However inherited risk still motivates hardening your specific implementation and data flows.

Now onto the exciting future of video chat innovation!

The Future of Open Source Video Conferencing

Jitsi represents just the beginning providing private secure conferencing, free from vendor limitations. The passionate open source community moves incredibly fast shipping updates aligned to user needs – not shareholder interests.

I‘m excited to see extended plugin integrations, mobile experience maturity especially iOS, and large scale stress testing matching proprietary giants.

The world needs open decentralized alternatives as video chatting becomes essential. No big tech censorship, snooping or price gouging.

Jitsi delivers all of this in spades. I‘m thrilled to see where community innovation leads video conversations next! The future looks bright and open.

So what are you waiting for? Deploy your very own Jitsi server this weekend! Then sleep easy knowing video calls serve your purposes, not shareholders.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to help Jitsi revolutionize your organization‘s conferencing experience. Talk soon!