With all the news about COVID19 and the security leaks in Zoom, it is interesting to know what opensource video conferencing alternatives are available like Jitsi. When you are offering IT services, you can offer Jitsi to your customers to create good-will and/or to increase your revenue. In this blog, I will explain how you can install your own Jitsi server and how you can use it. Or, you can use our free server at https://jitsi.yourwebhoster.eu.

Since our servers include 50 TB of data transfer, you do not have to be concerned about hitting the limit of your monthly data transfer.

What is Jitsi?

With Jitsi you can host your own “video conferencing software”. It is an opensource solution for online communication. The team behind Jitsi has started in 2003 by offering such solutions. In a nutshell, here are some interesting features:

  • Communicate using your phone or tablet (iPhone/iPad or Android)
  • Communicate using your PC/Laptop – Linux / Windows / Mac (with a modern browser such as Chrome or Firefox).
  • Record sessions.
  • Encryption included.
  • Raise your hand (to speak).
  • Statistics (so you finally have proof which colleague talks too much).
  • For more features, check out https://jitsi.org/user-faq/ → What are the features of Jitsi Meet?

What are the server requirements for Jitsi?

To start, we recommend to use at least a M4 VPS. This version includes a food amount of processing power to start with. You can always upgrade to larger plans (check out our high performance VPS page).

The amount of processing power you need highly depends on the use case. The software is fairly efficient, which makes M4 an ideal starter kit for your Jitsi server. If you need to, you can upgrade to 20 cores. You can upgrade your server any time. This is ideal if you are not sure what specifications you require.

A test of Jitsi shows that you can have up to 1000 users with a Quad core CPU. The “gotcha” is that in their test, only one person streams to 1000 users at a time. In reality, however, you will probably stream with multiple video streams. So your results may vary.

Jitsi installation tutorial for Ubuntu of Debian

Before you start:

  • Make sure that you at least have 2 GB of RAM. We recommend to have M4 or at minimum.
  • Prepare a subdomain and point it to the server. Edit the /etc/hosts file on the server to include the name as well.
    127.0.0.1 localhost yourdomain.com
  • Open ports 80 (TCP), 443 (TCP) and 10000 (UDP) in your firewall.

Instructions:

  1. Log in as root. This is required to install the software. If needed, use sudo or sudo su.
  2. Add the Jitsi repository:
    echo 'deb https://download.jitsi.org stable/' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jitsi-stable.list
    wget -qO - https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi-key.gpg.key | sudo apt-key add
  3. Install Jitsi:
    apt-get install apt-transport-https
    apt-get update
    apt-get -y install jitsi-meet
    
    
  4. Enter the hostname. In our case, this is jitsi.yourwebhoster.eu.
  5. Navigate with your  Tab key to <Ok> and press Enter.
  6. By default, the option below is selected. Navigate with your  Tab key to <Ok> and press Enter.
    Generate a new self-signed certificate (You will later get a chance to obtain a Let’s encrypt certificate)

  7. Create a free SSL certificate:
    /usr/share/jitsi-meet/scripts/install-letsencrypt-cert.sh
  8. Enter your email address. This is required to get a notification in case there is something wrong with your certificate.
  9. Jitsi will request a certificate. If it fails, make sure that you have configured your DNS correctly and the settings have been propagated over the internet (this may take up to 24 hours in the worst case). If it succeeds, you can start using Jitsi now.

 

How to use your self-hosted Jitsi video conferencing software?

How to use Jitsi on Linux/Windows/MacOS

  1. Open your modern browser (like Chrome or Firefox) and go to your Jitsi install. In our case, this is https://jitsi.yourwebhoster.eu.
  2. Pick a name of the room and click Go.
  3. Tip: Do you want to secure the session with a password? Click on the (i) at the right bottom and enter a password. Only then, new users can join using the password.
  4. Use the legend below

Legend


Click on the screen to share your screen.
Click on the hand to raise attention.
Click on the chat icon to chat.

 

Here, you can configure the microphone and video camera settings. Oh, and you can hang up of course…

 

 

The first symbol allows you to change the screen structure.
The (i) symbol allows you to change the password.
The three dots opens a menu (see below).

 

 

 

There are a ton of options in this menu. You can even blur your background!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to use Jitsi on Android/iPhone

  1. Install the app:
    1. Apple
    2. Android
    3. F-Droid
  2. Click on the hamburger icon.
  3. Click Settings
  4. Enter your Jitsi server. In our case, this is https://jitsi.yourwebhostere.eu. You can also enter your personal email address (for your Gravatar icon) and nickname. Your nickname is viewable for everybody.

Jitsi installation FAQ

Q: Do I need to compile the Android and iPhone app and put it in the store?
A: No, you can simply use the normal Jitsi apps.

Q: How many users can I have on one VPS?
A: Great question! You can check out https://jitsi.org/jitsi-videobridge-performance-evaluation/ for an indication what Jitsi can do with a Quad core CPU. They require only 20% of their CPU for 1000 viewers. 

Q: Can I only use Jitsi with Yourwebhoster.eu?
A: Jitsi is a great piece of opensource software which you can use on any server with Linux/Docker.