I am often asked – what the best Campfire alternative. Or – what’s the best free HipChat alternative. Well, not really often, I think I’ve been only asked once, but yes, in fact, there are a ton of alternatives to these two, including ones that don’t cost anything. The problem with enterprise mobile and enterprise messaging (that’s the fancy word for business chat) is that there are ton of vendors who came out products that came out with very different products. Some are basically WhatsApp or GroupMe clones. Others are fully functional mobile intranets. So let’s look at three best options you have when looking to replace either Atlassian HipChat or Campfire.

1.     Bitrix24

 

Bitrix24 is by far the best Campfire alternative (or HipChat) in my view, both in terms of functions and price (it’s free and nothing gets cheaper than free).

Here’s what you get in Bitrix24 – intranet instant messaging, business chat (solo and groupchat), persistent chat (workgroups), chat history, audiocalls, videocalls, videoconferencing, screen sharing, file sharing, instant notifications (push notifications), mentions, e-mail to chat (workgroup), private or public chat options, channel encryption, extranet users (allowing non-employees participate in discussions with limited access), tasks and projects, CRM. API is available.

The actual chat is just a small part of functions available. You can use Bitrix24 as your mobile intranet for things like employee searchcreating tasks for yourself or your subordinateswork reportsidea managementshared calendarsabsentee and time off managementHRIS and so on.

The best thing about Bitrix24, other than all the functions you get for free, is that you have an option to use either free cloud services or host it on your own server in order to have 100% control over the data. Not surprisingly, the self-hosted version costs money, but it’s very inexpensive - $2300. So when looking for a free alternative to HipChat or Campfire or the alternative that you host on your own servier, that would be my first stop. Chances are it has all you want and more.

 

Bitrix24 available as a web app (works on all browsers), desktop app (PC and Mac) or iOS/Android app. All apps are free. The chat works in all directions PC-PC, PC-Mobile, Mobile-Mobile, Mobile-PC. Linux version is being released next month (perhaps, it’s already available, as we speak).

Integrations and connectors – Google Docs, Google Calendar, CalDav, Gmail, Outlook, MS Exchange, SharePoint, MailChimp, LDAP, Active Directory

 

2.     CoTap.com

 

This recommendation is based more on the founder background, rather than the product itself. CoTap is founded by Jim Paterson – Microsoft Yammer product manager. Right now iPhone app is the only app available. CoTap is a GroupMe clone I was referring to. With Cotap, a customer invites one or more people who exchange messages via SMS or by email if they do not have an account. When joining the Cotap service, co-workers are added to a shared company address book so people can communicate without having to make “friends” with other co-workers.

3.     Jaconda.im

 

Jaconda is my third choice for business chat or chat for a distributed team. It’s not as feature rich as Bitrix24, but it has more functions than CoTap. To be exact, with Jaconda you get web app, ACL for multiuser chat, chat history, file sharing, e-mail to chat, channel encryption, API.

Integrations is where Jaconda stands out as a great Campfire alternative – GitHub, Heroku, Google Code, BitBucket, Subversion, Tender, BeanStalk, Kiln, Pivotal Tracker, RedMine, Capistrano, NewRelic, Assembla, SupportBee and others.

Currently, Jaconda is available only as online service and costs anywhere between $24 and $199 a month. Free 30 day trial is available.

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