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Riot (formerly known as Vector) is a Matrix web client built using the Matrix React SDK.

Riot is officially supported on the web in modern versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Other browsers may work, however official support is not provided. For accessing Riot on an Android or iOS device, check out riot-android and riot-ios - riot-web does not support mobile devices.

Getting Started

The easiest way to test Riot is to just use the hosted copy at The develop branch is continuously deployed by Jenkins at for those who like living dangerously.

To host your own copy of Riot, the quickest bet is to use a pre-built released version of Riot:

  1. Download the latest version from
  2. Untar the tarball on your web server
  3. Move (or symlink) the riot-x.x.x directory to an appropriate name
  4. If desired, copy config.sample.json to config.json and edit it as desired. See the configuration docs for details.
  5. Enter the URL into your browser and log into Riot!

Releases are signed using gpg and the OpenPGP standard, and can be checked against the public key located at

Note that Chrome does not allow microphone or webcam access for sites served over http (except localhost), so for working VoIP you will need to serve Riot over https.

To install Riot as a desktop application, see Running as a desktop app below.

Important Security Note

We do not recommend running Riot from the same domain name as your Matrix homeserver. The reason is the risk of XSS (cross-site-scripting) vulnerabilities that could occur if someone caused Riot to load and render malicious user generated content from a Matrix API which then had trusted access to Riot (or other apps) due to sharing the same domain.

We have put some coarse mitigations into place to try to protect against this situation, but it's still not good practice to do it in the first place. See for more details.

The same applies for end-to-end encrypted content, but since this is decrypted on the client, Riot needs a way to supply the decrypted content from a separate origin to the one Riot is hosted on. This currently done with a 'cross origin renderer' which is a small piece of javascript hosted on a different domain. To avoid all Riot installs needing one of these to be set up, hosts one on which is used by default. tracks progress on replacing this with something better.

Building From Source

Riot is a modular webapp built with modern ES6 and uses a Node.js build system. Ensure you have the latest LTS version of Node.js installed.

Using yarn instead of npm is recommended. Please see the Yarn install guide if you do not have it already.

  1. Install or update node.js so that your node is at least v10.x.
  2. Install yarn if not present already.
  3. Clone the repo: git clone
  4. Switch to the riot-web directory: cd riot-web.
  5. Install the prerequisites: yarn install.
  6. If you're using the develop branch then it is recommended to set up a proper development environment ("Setting up a dev environment" below) however one can install the develop versions of the dependencies instead:
    Whenever you git pull on riot-web you will also probably need to force an update to these dependencies - the simplest way is to re-run the script, but you can also manually update and rebuild them:
    cd matrix-js-sdk
    git pull
    yarn install # re-run to pull in any new dependencies
    cd ../matrix-react-sdk
    git pull
    yarn install
    Or just use - the continuous integration release of the develop branch. (Note that we don't reference the develop versions in git directly due to
  7. Configure the app by copying config.sample.json to config.json and modifying it. See the configuration docs for details.
  8. yarn dist to build a tarball to deploy. Untaring this file will give a version-specific directory containing all the files that need to go on your web server.

Note that yarn dist is not supported on Windows, so Windows users can run yarn build, which will build all the necessary files into the webapp directory. The version of Riot will not appear in Settings without using the dist script. You can then mount the webapp directory on your webserver to actually serve up the app, which is entirely static content.

Running as a Desktop app

Riot can also be run as a desktop app, wrapped in Electron. You can download a pre-built version from or, if you prefer, build it yourself.

To build it yourself, follow the instructions below.

  1. Follow the instructions in 'Building From Source' above, but run yarn build instead of yarn dist (since we don't need the tarball).

  2. Install Electron and run it:

    yarn electron

To build packages, use electron-builder. This is configured to output:

See for dependencies required for building packages for various platforms.

The only platform that can build packages for all three platforms is macOS:

brew install mono
yarn install
yarn build:electron

For other packages, use electron-builder manually. For example, to build a package for 64 bit Linux:

  1. Follow the instructions in 'Building From Source' above
  2. node_modules/.bin/build -l --x64

All Electron packages go into electron_app/dist/

Many thanks to @aviraldg for the initial work on the Electron integration.

Other options for running as a desktop app:

  • points out that you can use nativefier and it just works(tm)
yarn global add nativefier

The configuration docs show how to override the desktop app's default settings if desired.

Running from Docker

The Docker image can be used to serve riot-web as a web server. The easiest way to use it is to use the prebuilt image:

docker run -p 80:80 vectorim/riot-web

To supply your own custom config.json, map a volume to /app/config.json. For example, if your custom config was located at /etc/riot-web/config.json then your Docker command would be:

docker run -p 80:80 -v /etc/riot-web/config.json:/app/config.json vectorim/riot-web

To build the image yourself:

git clone riot-web
cd riot-web
git checkout master
docker build -t vectorim/riot-web .

If you're building a custom branch, or want to use the develop branch, check out the appropriate riot-web branch and then run:

docker build -t vectorim/riot-web:develop \
    --build-arg USE_CUSTOM_SDKS=true \
    --build-arg REACT_SDK_REPO="" \
    --build-arg REACT_SDK_BRANCH="develop" \
    --build-arg JS_SDK_REPO="" \
    --build-arg JS_SDK_BRANCH="develop" \

Labs Features

Some features of Riot may be enabled by flags in the Labs section of the settings. Some of these features are described in


Before attempting to develop on Riot you must read the developer guide for matrix-react-sdk, which also defines the design, architecture and style for Riot too.

You should also familiarise yourself with the "Here be Dragons" guide to the tame & not-so-tame dragons (gotchas) which exist in the codebase.

The idea of Riot is to be a relatively lightweight "skin" of customisations on top of the underlying matrix-react-sdk. matrix-react-sdk provides both the higher and lower level React components useful for building Matrix communication apps using React.

After creating a new component you must run yarn reskindex to regenerate the component-index.js for the app (used in future for skinning).

Please note that Riot is intended to run correctly without access to the public internet. So please don't depend on resources (JS libs, CSS, images, fonts) hosted by external CDNs or servers but instead please package all dependencies into Riot itself.

Setting up a dev environment

Much of the functionality in Riot is actually in the matrix-react-sdk and matrix-js-sdk modules. It is possible to set these up in a way that makes it easy to track the develop branches in git and to make local changes without having to manually rebuild each time.

First clone and build matrix-js-sdk:

git clone
pushd matrix-js-sdk
git checkout develop
yarn link
yarn install

Then similarly with matrix-react-sdk:

git clone
pushd matrix-react-sdk
git checkout develop
yarn link
yarn link matrix-js-sdk
yarn install

Finally, build and start Riot itself:

git clone
cd riot-web
git checkout develop
yarn link matrix-js-sdk
yarn link matrix-react-sdk
yarn install
yarn start

Wait a few seconds for the initial build to finish; you should see something like:

Hash: b0af76309dd56d7275c8
Version: webpack 1.12.14
Time: 14533ms
         Asset     Size  Chunks             Chunk Names
     bundle.js   4.2 MB       0  [emitted]  main
    bundle.css  91.5 kB       0  [emitted]  main  5.29 MB       0  [emitted]  main   116 kB       0  [emitted]  main
    + 1013 hidden modules

Remember, the command will not terminate since it runs the web server and rebuilds source files when they change. This development server also disables caching, so do NOT use it in production.

Open in your browser to see your newly built Riot.

When you make changes to matrix-react-sdk or matrix-js-sdk they should be automatically picked up by webpack and built.

If you add or remove any components from the Riot skin, you will need to rebuild the skin's index by running, yarn reskindex.

If any of these steps error with, file table overflow, you are probably on a mac which has a very low limit on max open files. Run ulimit -Sn 1024 and try again. You'll need to do this in each new terminal you open before building Riot.

Running the tests

There are a number of application-level tests in the tests directory; these are designed to run in a browser instance under the control of karma. To run them:

  • Make sure you have Chrome installed (a recent version, like 59)
  • Make sure you have matrix-js-sdk and matrix-react-sdk installed and built, as above
  • yarn test

The above will run the tests under Chrome in a headless mode.

You can also tell karma to run the tests in a loop (every time the source changes), in an instance of Chrome on your desktop, with yarn test-multi. This also gives you the option of running the tests in 'debug' mode, which is useful for stepping through the tests in the developer tools.


To add a new translation, head to the translating doc.

For a developer guide, see the translating dev doc.


Triaging issues

Issues will be triaged by the core team using the below set of tags.

Tags are meant to be used in combination - e.g.:

  • P1 critical bug == really urgent stuff that should be next in the bugfixing todo list
  • "release blocker" == stuff which is blocking us from cutting the next release.
  • P1 feature type:voip == what VoIP features should we be working on next?

priority: compulsory

  • P1: top priority - i.e. pool of stuff which we should be working on next
  • P2: still need to fix, but lower than P1
  • P3: non-urgent
  • P4: interesting idea - bluesky some day
  • P5: recorded for posterity/to avoid duplicates. No intention to resolves right now.

bug or feature: compulsory

  • bug
  • feature

bug severity: compulsory, if bug

  • critical - whole app doesn't work
  • major - entire feature doesn't work
  • minor - partially broken feature (but still usable)
  • cosmetic - feature works functionally but UI/UX is broken


  • type:* - refers to a particular part of the app; used to filter bugs on a given topic - e.g. VOIP, signup, timeline, etc.

additional categories (self-explanatory):

  • release blocker
  • ui/ux (think of this as cosmetic)
  • network (specific to network conditions)
  • platform specific
  • accessibility
  • maintenance
  • performance
  • i18n
  • blocked - whether this issue currently can't be progressed due to outside factors

community engagement

  • easy
  • hacktoberfest
  • bounty? - proposal to be included in a bounty programme
  • bounty - included in Status Open Bounty