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Etherpad: real-time collaborative document editor

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A real-time collaborative editor for the web

Docker Pulls

Travis (.com)

Demo Etherpad Animated Jif


Etherpad is a real-time collaborative editor scalable to thousands of simultaneous real time users. It provides full data export capabilities, and runs on your server, under your control.

Try it out



  • nodejs
    >= 10.13.0.

GNU/Linux and other UNIX-like systems

Quick install on Debian/Ubuntu

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt install -y nodejs
git clone --branch master && cd etherpad-lite && bin/

Manual install

You'll need git and node.js installed (minimum required Node version: 10.13.0).

As any user (we recommend creating a separate user called etherpad):

  1. Move to a folder where you want to install Etherpad. Clone the git repository:
    git clone --branch master git://
  2. Change into the new directory containing the cloned source code:
    cd etherpad-lite
  3. run
    and open in your browser.

To update to the latest released version, execute

git pull origin
. The next start with
will update the dependencies.

Next steps.


Prebuilt Windows package

This package runs on any Windows machine, but for development purposes, please do a manual install.

  1. Download the latest Windows package
  2. Extract the folder


and open http://localhost:9001 in your browser. You like it? Next steps.

Manually install on Windows

You'll need node.js and (optionally, though recommended) git.

  1. Grab the source, either
  2. With a "Run as administrator" command prompt execute

Now, run

and open http://localhost:9001 in your browser.

Update to the latest version with

git pull origin
, then run
, again.

If cloning to a subdirectory within another project, you may need to do the following:

  1. Start the server manually (e.g.
  2. Edit the db
    to the relative directory with the file (e.g.
  3. Add auto-generated files to the main project

Docker container

Find here information on running Etherpad in a container.

Next Steps

Tweak the settings

You can modify the settings in

. If you need to handle multiple settings files, you can pass the path to a settings file to
using the
option: this allows you to run multiple Etherpad instances from the same installation. Similarly,
can be used to give a settings override file,
to give a different APIKEY.txt file and
to give a non-default SESSIONKEY.txt. Each configuration parameter can also be set via an environment variable, using the syntax
. For details, refer to
. Once you have access to your
section settings can be modified through the web browser.

If you are planning to use Etherpad in a production environment, you should use a dedicated database such as

, since the
database driver is only for testing and/or development purposes.

Secure your installation

If you have enabled authentication in

section in
, it is a good security practice to store hashes instead of plain text passwords in that file. This is especially advised if you are running a production installation.

Please install ephashauth plugin and configure it. If you prefer,

also gives you the option of storing the users in a custom directory in the file system, without having to edit
and restart Etherpad each time.

Customize functionalities with plugins

Basic install

Full Features

Etherpad is very customizable through plugins. Instructions for installing themes and plugins can be found in the plugin wiki article.

Getting the full features

Run the following command in your Etherpad folder to get all of the features visible in the demo gif:

npm install ep_headings2 ep_markdown ep_comments_page ep_align ep_page_view ep_font_color ep_webrtc ep_embedded_hyperlinks2

Customize the style with skin variants

Open in your browser and start playing !

Skin Variant

Helpful resources

The wiki is your one-stop resource for Tutorials and How-to's.

Documentation can be found in



Things you should know

You can debug Etherpad using


You can run Etherpad quickly launching

. It's convenient for developers and advanced users. Be aware that it will skip the dependencies update, so remember to run
after installing a new dependency or upgrading version.

If you want to find out how Etherpad's

works (the library that makes it really realtime), start with this PDF (complex, but worth reading).


Read our Developer Guidelines

Get in touch

The official channel for contacting the development team is via the Github issues.

For responsible disclosure of vulnerabilities, please write a mail to the maintainers ([email protected] and [email protected]). Join the official Etherpad Discord Channel


Etherpad is designed to be easily embeddable and provides a HTTP API that allows your web application to manage pads, users and groups. It is recommended to use the available client implementations in order to interact with this API.

OpenAPI (previously swagger) definitions for the API are exposed under


jQuery plugin

There is a jQuery plugin that helps you to embed Pads into your website.

Plugin Framework

Etherpad offers a plugin framework, allowing you to easily add your own features. By default your Etherpad is extremely light-weight and it's up to you to customize your experience. Once you have Etherpad installed you should visit the plugin page and take control.

Translations / Localizations (i18n / l10n)

Etherpad comes with translations into all languages thanks to the team at TranslateWiki.

If you require translations in plugins please send pull request to each plugin individually.


Visit the FAQ.


Apache License v2

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