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

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 below for details.
  5. Enter the URL into your browser and log into Riot!

Releases are signed by PGP, and can be checked against the public key 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.

Desktop Installation for Debian Stretch

  1. Add the repository to your sources.list using either of the following two options:
  • Directly to sources.list: echo "deb stretch main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
  • As a separate entry in sources.list.d: echo "deb stretch main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/riot.list
  1. Add the gpg signing key for the riot repository: curl -s | sudo apt-key add -
  2. Update your package lists: sudo apt-get update
  3. Install Riot: sudo apt-get install riot-web

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. See 'config.json' if you'd like to host your own. tracks progress on replacing this with something better.

Building From Source

Riot is a modular webapp built with modern ES6 and requires a npm build system to build.

  1. Install or update node.js so that your node is at least v8.12.0 (and npm is at least v5.x).

  2. Clone the repo: git clone

  3. Switch to the riot-web directory: cd riot-web.

  4. Install the prerequisites: npm install.

  5. 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:


    Note that running npm install will undo the symlinks put in place by scripts/ so you should run npm install first, or run npm link matrix-js-sdk and npm link matrix-react-sdk after running npm install.

    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
    npm install # re-run to pull in any new dependencies
    # Depending on your version of npm, npm run build may happen as part of
    # the npm install above (
    # If in doubt, run it anyway:
    npm run build
    cd ../matrix-react-sdk
    git pull
    npm install
    npm run build

    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

  6. Configure the app by copying config.sample.json to config.json and modifying it (see below for details).

  7. npm run 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 npm run dist is not supported on Windows, so Windows users can run npm run 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.


You can configure the app by copying config.sample.json to config.json and customising it:

For a good example, see

  1. default_server_name sets the default server name to use for authentication. This will trigger Riot to ask https://<server_name>/.well-known/matrix/client for the homeserver and identity server URLs to use. This is the recommended approach for setting a default server. However, it is also possible to use the following to directly configure each of the URLs:
    • default_hs_url sets the default homeserver URL.
    • default_is_url sets the default identity server URL (this is the server used for verifying third party identifiers like email addresses). If this is blank, registering with an email address, adding an email address to your account, or inviting users via email address will not work. Matrix identity servers are very simple web services which map third party identifiers (currently only email addresses) to matrix IDs: see for more details. Currently the only public matrix identity servers are and In the future, identity servers will be decentralised.
    • Riot will report an error if you accidentally configure both default_server_name and default_hs_url since it's unclear which should take priority.
  2. features: Lookup of optional features that may be enabled, disabled, or exposed to the user in the labs section of settings. The available optional experimental features vary from release to release.
  3. brand: String to pass to your homeserver when configuring email notifications, to let the homeserver know what email template to use when talking to you.
  4. branding: Configures various branding and logo details, such as:
    1. welcomeBackgroundUrl: An image to use as a wallpaper outside the app during authentication flows
    2. authHeaderLogoUrl: An logo image that is shown in the header during authentication flows
  5. integrations_ui_url: URL to the web interface for the integrations server. The integrations server is not Riot and normally not your homeserver either. The integration server settings may be left blank to disable integrations.
  6. integrations_rest_url: URL to the REST interface for the integrations server.
  7. integrations_widgets_urls: list of URLs to the REST interface for the widget integrations server.
  8. bug_report_endpoint_url: endpoint to send bug reports to (must be running a server). Bug reports are sent when a user clicks "Send Logs" within the application. Bug reports can be disabled by leaving the bug_report_endpoint_url out of your config file.
  9. roomDirectory: config for the public room directory. This section is optional.
  10. roomDirectory.servers: List of other homeservers' directories to include in the drop down list. Optional.
  11. default_theme: name of theme to use by default (e.g. 'light')
  12. update_base_url (electron app only): HTTPS URL to a web server to download updates from. This should be the path to the directory containing macos and win32 (for update packages, not installer packages).
  13. cross_origin_renderer_url: URL to a static HTML page hosting code to help display encrypted file attachments. This MUST be hosted on a completely separate domain to anything else since it is used to isolate the privileges of file attachments to this domain. Default: This needs to contain v1.html from
  14. piwik: Analytics can be disabled by setting piwik: false or by leaving the piwik config option out of your config file. If you want to enable analytics, set piwik to be an object containing the following properties:
    1. url: The URL of the Piwik instance to use for collecting analytics
    2. whitelistedHSUrls: a list of HS URLs to not redact from the analytics
    3. whitelistedISUrls: a list of IS URLs to not redact from the analytics
    4. siteId: The Piwik Site ID to use when sending analytics to the Piwik server configured above
  15. welcomeUserId: the user ID of a bot to invite whenever users register that can give them a tour
  16. embeddedPages: Configures the pages displayed in portions of Riot that embed static files, such as:
    1. welcomeUrl: Initial content shown on the outside of the app when not logged in. Defaults to welcome.html supplied with Riot.
    2. homeUrl: Content shown on the inside of the app when a specific room is not selected. By default, no home page is configured. If one is set, a button to access it will be shown in the top left menu.

Note that index.html also has an og:image meta tag that is set to an image hosted on This is the image used if links to your copy of Riot appear in some websites like Facebook, and indeed Riot 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 Riot as above, but run RIOT_OG_IMAGE_URL="" npm run build. Alternatively, you can edit the og:image meta tag in index.html directly each time you download a new version of Riot.

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. Requires Electron >=1.6.0

To run as a desktop app:

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

  2. Install electron and run it:

    npm install electron
    npm run 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 wine --without-x11
brew install mono
brew install gnu-tar
npm install
npm run 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:

sudo npm install nativefier -g


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 npm run 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
npm install
npm install source-map-loader  # because webpack is made of fail
# see

Then similarly with matrix-react-sdk:

git clone
pushd matrix-react-sdk
git checkout develop
npm link ../matrix-js-sdk

Finally, build and start Riot itself:

git clone
cd riot-web
git checkout develop
npm install
npm link ../matrix-js-sdk
npm link ../matrix-react-sdk
npm 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, npm run 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
  • npm run 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 npm run 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