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Configuration

You can configure the app by copying config.sample.json to config.json and customising it. The possible options are described here. If you run into issues, please visit #element-web:matrix.org on Matrix.

For a good example of a production-tuned config, see https://app.element.io/config.json

For an example of a development/beta-tuned config, see https://develop.element.io/config.json

After changing the config, the app will need to be reloaded. For web browsers this is a simple page refresh, however for the desktop app the application will need to be exited fully (including via the task tray) and re-started.

Homeserver configuration

In order for Element to even start you will need to tell it what homeserver to connect to by default. Users will be able to use a different homeserver if they like, though this can be disabled with "disable_custom_urls": true in your config.

One of the following options must be supplied:

  1. default_server_config: The preferred method of setting the homeserver connection information. Simply copy/paste your /.well-known/matrix/client into this field. For example:
    {
       "default_server_config": {
          "m.homeserver": {
             "base_url": "https://matrix-client.matrix.org"
          },
          "m.identity_server": {
             "base_url": "https://vector.im"
          }
       }
    }
    
  2. default_server_name: A different method of connecting to the homeserver by looking up the connection information using .well-known. When using this option, simply use your server's domain name (the part at the end of user IDs): "default_server_name": "matrix.org"
  3. default_hs_url and (optionally) default_is_url: A very deprecated method of defining the connection information. These are the same values seen as base_url in the default_server_config example, with default_is_url being optional.

If a combination of these three methods is used then Element will fail to load. This is because it is unclear which should be considered "first".

Labs flags

Labs flags are optional, typically beta or in-development, features that can be turned on or off. The full range of labs flags and their development status are documented here. If interested, the feature flag process is documented here.

To force a labs flag on or off, use the following:

{
   "features": {
      "feature_you_want_to_turn_on": true,
      "feature_you_want_to_keep_off": false
   }
}

If you'd like the user to be able to self-select which labs flags they can turn on, add "show_labs_settings": true to your config. This will turn on the tab in user settings.

Note: Feature support varies release-by-release. Check the labs flag documentation frequently if enabling the functionality.

Default settings

Some settings additionally support being specified at the config level to affect the user experience of your Element Web instance. As of writing those settings are not fully documented, however a few are:

  1. default_federate: When true (default), rooms will be marked as "federatable" during creation. Typically this setting shouldn't be used as the federation capabilities of a room cannot be changed after the room is created.
  2. default_country_code: An optional ISO 3166 alpha2 country code (eg: GB, the default) to use when showing phone number inputs.
  3. room_directory: Optionally defines how the room directory component behaves. Currently only a single property, servers is supported to add additional servers to the dropdown. For example:
    {
       "room_directory": {
          "servers": ["matrix.org", "example.org"]
       }
    }
    
  4. setting_defaults: Optional configuration for settings which are not described by this document and support the config level. This list is incomplete. For example:
    {
       "setting_defaults": {
          "MessageComposerInput.showStickersButton": false,
          "MessageComposerInput.showPollsButton": false
       }
    }
    
    These values will take priority over the hardcoded defaults for the settings. For a list of available settings, see Settings.tsx.

Customisation & branding

Element supports some customisation of the user experience through various branding and theme options. While it doesn't support complete re-branding/private labeling, a more personalised experience can be achieved for your users.

  1. default_theme: Typically either light (the default) or dark, this is the optional name of the colour theme to use. If using custom themes, this can be a theme name from that as well.
  2. default_device_display_name: Optional public name for devices created by login and registration, instead of the default templated string. Note that this option does not support templating, currently.
  3. brand: Optional name for the app. Defaults to Element. This is used throughout the application in various strings/locations.
  4. permalink_prefix: An optional URL pointing to an Element Web deployment. For example, https://app.element.io. This will change all permalinks (via the "Share" menus) to point at the Element Web deployment rather than matrix.to.
  5. desktop_builds: Optional. Where the desktop builds for the application are, if available. This is explained in more detail down below.
  6. mobile_builds: Optional. Like desktop_builds, except for the mobile apps. Also described in more detail down below.
  7. mobile_guide_toast: When true (default), users accessing the Element Web instance from a mobile device will be prompted to download the app instead.
  8. update_base_url: For the desktop app only, the URL where to acquire update packages. If specified, must be a path to a directory containing macos and win32 directories, with the update packages within. Defaults to https://packages.element.io/desktop/update/ in production.
  9. map_style_url: Map tile server style URL for location sharing. e.g. https://api.maptiler.com/maps/streets/style.json?key=YOUR_KEY_GOES_HERE This setting is ignored if your homeserver provides /.well-known/matrix/client in its well-known location, and the JSON file at that location has a key m.tile_server (or the unstable version org.matrix.msc3488.tile_server). In this case, the configuration found in the well-known location is used instead.
  10. welcome_user_id: An optional user ID to start a DM with after creating an account. Defaults to nothing (no DM created).
  11. custom_translations_url: An optional URL to allow overriding of translatable strings. The JSON file must be in a format of {"affected string": {"languageCode": "new string"}}. See https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk/pull/7886 for details.
  12. branding: Options for configuring various assets used within the app. Described in more detail down below.
  13. embedded_pages: Further optional URLs for various assets used within the app. Described in more detail down below.
  14. disable_3pid_login: When false (default), enables the options to log in with email address or phone number. Set to true to hide these options.
  15. disable_login_language_selector: When false (default), enables the language selector on the login pages. Set to true to hide this dropdown.
  16. disable_guests: When false (default), enable guest-related functionality (peeking/previewing rooms, etc) for unregistered users. Set to true to disable this functionality.

desktop_builds and mobile_builds

These two options describe the various availability for the application. When the app needs to promote an alternative download, such as trying to get the user to use an Android app or the desktop app for encrypted search, the config options will be looked at to see if the link should be to somewhere else.

Starting with desktop_builds, the following subproperties are available:

  1. available: Required. When true, the desktop app can be downloaded from somewhere.
  2. logo: Required. A URL to a logo (SVG), intended to be shown at 24x24 pixels.
  3. url: Required. The download URL for the app. This is used as a hyperlink.

When desktop_builds is not specified at all, the app will assume desktop downloads are available from https://element.io

For mobile_builds, the following subproperties are available:

  1. ios: The URL for where to download the iOS app, such as an App Store link. When explicitly null, the app will assume the iOS app cannot be downloaded. When not provided, the default Element app will be assumed available.
  2. android: The same as ios, except for Android instead.
  3. fdroid: The same as android, except for FDroid instead.

Together, these two options might look like the following in your config:

{
   "desktop_builds": {
      "available": true,
      "logo": "https://example.org/assets/logo-small.svg",
      "url": "https://example.org/not_element/download"
   },
   "mobile_builds": {
      "ios": null,
      "android": "https://example.org/not_element/android",
      "fdroid": "https://example.org/not_element/fdroid"
   }
}

branding and embedded_pages

These two options point at various URLs for changing different internal pages (like the welcome page) and logos within the application.

Starting with branding, the following subproperties are available:

  1. welcome_background_url: When a string, the URL for the full-page image background of the login, registration, and welcome pages. This property can additionally be an array to have the app choose an image at random from the selections.
  2. auth_header_logo_url: A URL to the logo used on the login, registration, etc pages.
  3. auth_footer_links: A list of links to add to the footer during login, registration, etc. Each entry must have a text and url property.

embedded_pages can be configured as such:

  1. welcome_url: A URL to an HTML page to show as a welcome page (landing on #/welcome). When not specified, the default welcome.html that ships with Element will be used instead.
  2. home_url: A URL to an HTML page to show within the app as the "home" page. When the app doesn't have a room/screen to show the user, it will use the home page instead. The home page is additionally accessible from the user menu. By default, no home page is set and therefore a hardcoded landing screen is used. More documentation and examples are here.
  3. login_for_welcome: When true (default false), the app will use the login form as a welcome page instead of the welcome page itself. This disables use of welcome_url and all welcome page functionality.

Together, the options might look like this in your config:

{
   "branding": {
      "welcome_background_url": "https://example.org/assets/background.jpg",
      "auth_header_logo_url": "https://example.org/assets/logo.svg",
      "auth_footer_links": [
         {"text": "FAQ", "url": "https://example.org/faq"},
         {"text": "Donate", "url": "https://example.org/donate"}
      ]
   },
   "embedded_pages": {
      "welcome_url": "https://example.org/assets/welcome.html",
      "home_url": "https://example.org/assets/home.html"
   }
}

Note that index.html also has an og:image meta tag that is set to an image hosted on element.io. This is the image used if links to your copy of Element appear in some websites like Facebook, and indeed Element itself. This has to be static in the HTML and an absolute URL (and HTTP rather than HTTPS), so it's not possible for this to be an option in config.json. If you'd like to change it, you can build Element, but run RIOT_OG_IMAGE_URL="http://example.com/logo.png" yarn build. Alternatively, you can edit the og:image meta tag in index.html directly each time you download a new version of Element.

SSO setup

When Element is deployed alongside a homeserver with SSO-only login, some options to ease the user experience might want to be set:

  1. logout_redirect_url: Optional URL to redirect the user to after they have logged out. Some SSO systems support a page that the user can be sent to in order to log them out of that system too, making logout symmetric between Element and the SSO system.
  2. sso_redirect_options: Options to define how to handle unauthenticated users. If the object contains "immediate": true, then all unauthenticated users will be automatically redirected to the SSO system to start their login. If instead you'd only like to have users which land on the welcome page to be redirected, use "on_welcome_page": true. As an example:
    {
       "sso_redirect_options": {
          "immediate": false,
          "on_welcome_page": true
       }
    }
    
    It is most common to use the immediate flag instead of on_welcome_page.

VoIP / Jitsi calls

Currently, Element uses Jitsi to offer conference calls in rooms. A set of defaults are applied, pointing at our Jitsi instance, to ensure conference calling works, however you can point Element at your own Jitsi if you prefer.

More information about the Jitsi setup can be found here.

The VoIP and Jitsi options are:

  1. jitsi: Optional configuration for how to start Jitsi conferences. Currently can only contain a single preferred_domain value which points at the domain of the Jitsi instance. Defaults to meet.element.io. This is not used if the Jitsi widget was created by an integration manager, or if the homeserver provides Jitsi information in /.well-known/matrix/client. For example:
    {
       "jitsi": {
          "preferred_domain": "meet.jit.si"
       }
    }
    
  2. jitsi_widget: Optional configuration for the built-in Jitsi widget. Currently can only contain a single skip_built_in_welcome_screen value, denoting whether the "Join Conference" button should be shown. When true (default false), Jitsi calls will skip to the call instead of having a screen with a single button on it. This is most useful if the Jitsi instance being used already has a landing page for users to test audio and video before joining the call, otherwise users will automatically join the call. For example:
    {
       "jitsi_widget": {
          "skip_built_in_welcome_screen": true
       }
    }
    
  3. voip: Optional configuration for various VoIP features. Currently can only contain a single obey_asserted_identity value to send MSC3086-style asserted identity messages during VoIP calls in the room corresponding to the asserted identity. This must only be set in trusted environments. The option defaults to false. For example:
    {
       "voip": {
          "obey_asserted_identity": false
       }
    }
    
  4. widget_build_url: Optional URL to have Element make a request to when a user presses the voice/video call buttons in the app, if a call would normally be started by the action. The URL will be called with a roomId query parameter to identify the room being called in. The URL must respond with a JSON object similar to the following:
    {
       "widget_id": "$arbitrary_string",
       "widget": {
          "creatorUserId": "@user:example.org",
           "id": "$the_same_widget_id",
           "type": "m.custom",
           "waitForIframeLoad": true,
           "name": "My Widget Name Here",
           "avatar_url": "mxc://example.org/abc123",
           "url": "https://example.org/widget.html",
           "data": {
              "title": "Subtitle goes here"
           }
       },
       "layout": {
          "container": "top",
          "index": 0,
          "width": 65,
          "height": 50
       }
    }
    
    The widget is the content of a normal widget state event. The layout is the layout specifier for the widget being created, as defined by the io.element.widgets.layout state event.
  5. audio_stream_url: Optional URL to pass to Jitsi to enable live streaming. This option is considered experimental and may be removed at any time without notice.

Bug reporting

If you run your own rageshake server to collect bug reports, the following options may be of interest:

  1. bug_report_endpoint_url: URL for where to submit rageshake logs to. Rageshakes include feedback submissions and bug reports. When not present in the config, the app will disable all rageshake functionality. Set to https://element.io/bugreports/submit to submit rageshakes to us, or use your own rageshake server.

  2. uisi_autorageshake_app: If a user has enabled the "automatically send debug logs on decryption errors" flag, this option will be sent alongside the rageshake so the rageshake server can filter them by app name. By default, this will be element-web, as with any other rageshake submitted by the app.

    If you are using the element.io rageshake server, please set this to element-auto-uisi so we can better filter them.

If you would like to use Sentry for rageshake data, add a sentry object to your config with the following values:

  1. dsn: The Sentry DSN.
  2. environment: Optional environment to pass to Sentry.

For example:

{
   "sentry": {
      "dsn": "dsn-goes-here",
      "environment": "production"
   }
}

Integration managers

Integration managers are embedded applications within Element to help the user configure bots, bridges, and widgets. An integration manager is a separate piece of software not typically available with your homeserver. To disable integrations, leave the options defined here out of your config.

  1. integrations_ui_url: The UI URL for the integration manager.
  2. integrations_rest_url: The REST interface URL for the integration manager.
  3. integrations_widgets_urls: A list of URLs the integration manager uses to host widgets.

If you would like to use Scalar, the integration manager maintained by Element, the following options would apply:

{
   "integrations_ui_url": "https://scalar.vector.im/",
   "integrations_rest_url": "https://scalar.vector.im/api",
   "integrations_widgets_urls": [
      "https://scalar.vector.im/_matrix/integrations/v1",
      "https://scalar.vector.im/api",
      "https://scalar-staging.vector.im/_matrix/integrations/v1",
      "https://scalar-staging.vector.im/api",
      "https://scalar-staging.riot.im/scalar/api"
   ]
}

Administrative options

If you would like to include a custom message when someone is reporting an event, set the following Markdown-capable field:

{
   "report_event": {
      "admin_message_md": "Please be sure to review our [terms of service](https://example.org/terms) before reporting a message."
   }
}

To add additional "terms and conditions" links throughout the app, use the following template:

{
   "terms_and_conditions_links": [
      { "text": "Code of conduct", "url": "https://example.org/code-of-conduct" }
   ]
}

Analytics

To configure Posthog, add the following under posthog in your config:

  1. api_host: The hostname of the posthog server.
  2. project_api_key: The API key from posthog.

When these configuration options are not present, analytics are deemed impossible and the user won't be asked to opt in to the system.

There are additional root-level options which can be specified:

  1. analytics_owner: the company name used in dialogs talking about analytics - this defaults to brand, and is useful when the provider of analytics is different from the provider of the Element instance.
  2. privacy_policy_url: URL to the privacy policy including the analytics collection policy.

If you would like to encourage matrix.org users to sign up for a service like Element Matrix Services, the following configuration options can be set. Note that if the options are missing from the configuration then the hosting prompts will not be shown to the user.

  1. hosting_signup_link: Optional URL to link the user to when talking about "Upgrading your account". Will contain a query parameter of utm_campaign to denote which link the user clicked on within the app. Only ever applies to matrix.org users specifically.
  2. host_signup: Optional configuration for an account importer to your hosting platform. The API surface of this is not documented at the moment, but can be configured with the following subproperties:
    1. brand: The brand name to use.
    2. url: The iframe URL for the importer.
    3. domains: The homeserver domains to show the importer to.
    4. cookie_policy_url: The URL to the cookie policy for the importer.
    5. privacy_policy_url: The URL to the privacy policy for the importer.
    6. terms_of_service_url: The URL to the terms of service for the importer.

If you're looking to mirror a setup from our production/development environments, the following config should be used:

{
   "hosting_signup_link": "https://element.io/matrix-services?utm_source=element-web&utm_medium=web",
   "host_signup": {
      "brand": "Element Home",
      "domains": [ "matrix.org" ],
      "url": "https://ems.element.io/element-home/in-app-loader",
      "cookie_policy_url": "https://element.io/cookie-policy",
      "privacy_policy_url": "https://element.io/privacy",
      "terms_of_service_url": "https://element.io/terms-of-service"
   }
}

Miscellaneous

Element supports other options which don't quite fit into other sections of this document.

To configure whether presence UI is shown for a given homeserver, set enable_presence_by_hs_url. It is recommended to set this value to the following at a minimum:

{
   "enable_presence_by_hs_url": {
      "https://matrix.org": false,
      "https://matrix-client.matrix.org": false
   }
}

Identity servers

The identity server is used for inviting other users to a room via third party identifiers like emails and phone numbers. It is not used to store your password or account information.

As of Element 1.4.0, all identity server functions are optional and you are prompted to agree to terms before data is sent to the identity server.

Element will check multiple sources when looking for an identity server to use in the following order of preference:

  1. The identity server set in the user's account data
    • For a new user, no value is present in their account data. It is only set if the user visits Settings and manually changes their identity server.
  2. The identity server provided by the .well-known lookup that occurred at login
  3. The identity server provided by the Riot config file

If none of these sources have an identity server set, then Element will prompt the user to set an identity server first when attempting to use features that require one.

Currently, the only two public identity servers are https://vector.im and https://matrix.org, however in the future identity servers will be decentralised.

Desktop app configuration

See https://github.com/vector-im/element-desktop#user-specified-configjson

UI Features

Parts of the UI can be disabled using UI features. These are settings which appear under setting_defaults and can only be true (default) or false. When false, parts of the UI relating to that feature will be disabled regardless of the user's preferences.

Currently, the following UI feature flags are supported:

  • UIFeature.urlPreviews - Whether URL previews are enabled across the entire application.
  • UIFeature.feedback - Whether prompts to supply feedback are shown.
  • UIFeature.voip - Whether or not VoIP is shown readily to the user. When disabled, Jitsi widgets will still work though they cannot easily be added.
  • UIFeature.widgets - Whether or not widgets will be shown.
  • UIFeature.flair - Whether or not community flair is shown in rooms.
  • UIFeature.communities - Whether or not to show any UI related to communities. Implicitly disables UIFeature.flair when disabled.
  • UIFeature.advancedSettings - Whether or not sections titled "advanced" in room and user settings are shown to the user.
  • UIFeature.shareQrCode - Whether or not the QR code on the share room/event dialog is shown.
  • UIFeature.shareSocial - Whether or not the social icons on the share room/event dialog are shown.
  • UIFeature.identityServer - Whether or not functionality requiring an identity server is shown. When disabled, the user will not be able to interact with the identity server (sharing email addresses, 3PID invites, etc).
  • UIFeature.thirdPartyId - Whether or not UI relating to third party identifiers (3PIDs) is shown. Typically this is considered "contact information" on the homeserver, and is not directly related to the identity server.
  • UIFeature.registration - Whether or not the registration page is accessible. Typically useful if accounts are managed externally.
  • UIFeature.passwordReset - Whether or not the password reset page is accessible. Typically useful if accounts are managed externally.
  • UIFeature.deactivate - Whether or not the deactivate account button is accessible. Typically useful if accounts are managed externally.
  • UIFeature.advancedEncryption - Whether or not advanced encryption options are shown to the user.
  • UIFeature.roomHistorySettings - Whether or not the room history settings are shown to the user. This should only be used if the room history visibility options are managed by the server.
  • UIFeature.TimelineEnableRelativeDates - Display relative date separators (eg: 'Today', 'Yesterday') in the timeline for recent messages. When false day dates will be used.

Undocumented / developer options

The following are undocumented or intended for developer use only.

  1. fallback_hs_url
  2. sync_timeline_limit
  3. dangerously_allow_unsafe_and_insecure_passwords
  4. latex_maths_delims: An optional setting to override the default delimiters used for maths parsing. See https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk/pull/5939 for details. Only used when feature_latex_maths is enabled.