Real-time collaborative document editing – Etherpad-lite

If you are looking for a way to edit a document in a collaborative way, like writting some documentation, or a formal email, an interview, or any document you wish others people to edit in real time with you, don’t look further!

Etherpad is a “really-real time” collaborative opensource editor that allow works at the same time on a same document.

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Written in Javascript, Etherpad is multilanguage and support import/export in many formats. But also the strength of Etherpad is its great customization through a large range of plugins.

The best is still to try it!

Interested? Here is how to install Etherpad on your own server.



1) Install requirements

On top of a LAMP server, you will also need gzip, git, curl, libssl develop libraries, python and gcc. So, in root, simply run:

apt-get install gzip git-core curl python libssl-dev pkg-config build-essential

2) Install nodejs and npm

You will also need node.js, ideally the latest version, but to ease the installation I’m using the one in the repo, like what I did for Laverna (Self-hosted alternative to Evernote)

– If you use Ubuntu, simple run (in root)

apt-get install nodejs npm

– If you are on Debian (Wheezy?) like me, you can install nodejs from wheezy-backports (modify your source.list accordingly) and run (in root):

apt-get install nodejs nodejs-legacy curl

and for npm, you can use the installer

curl | sh

3) Clone their latest git version in your /var/www folder

(You will need git obviously, from the repo)

cd /var/www
git clone git://

4) Start Etherpad

Simply run (No need for root)


and then simply go to http://YOURIP:9001

Voila, you should now have a working Etherpad. But you can still tweak it a lot, like changing the SQL database by MySQL (dirtyDB is the default one and should not be used for production server), or add an admin username/password, change the port, the name of the instance, etc..

All these settings can be updated in settings.json and the comments are pretty straightforward so I will not go into the details.

Actually, they have a very good wiki with all the tutorials needed, like how to configure Etherpad as a service, or how to put Etherpad behind a reverse proxy with SSL.

So for more information, I suggest you to visit directly their wiki.




Loves to discover web-based apps to install on his own server@home and write articles about it


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