Tutorial

How to join the Matrix network

There are humanitarian reasons as well as economic reasons to join Matrix. This article assumes that you are willing to give it a try, and I'll explain to you how to join it!

Privacy and data sovereignty are guaranteed on Matrix, but it can be difficult and confusing to join the network. This is a simple tutorial that will help you set up your Matrix account.

Quick guide

If you can't choose, take the following options. Pick Element on step 1. Pick nltrix.net if you speak Dutch and live in Europe, otherwise pick matrix.org on step 2.

Step 1: choose a client

You have to use an app to talk on the Matrix. It doesn't matter which app you choose, however! All are fine, and all can communicate with each other. Moreover, you can always switch apps whenever you change your mind.

If you want to choose a client yourself, you can find a list of available clients here. Otherwise, let me give you some recommendations.

Element

Logo van Element

Element is the app that is actively maintained by the Matrix organisation.

Platforms: Browser, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS

FluffyChat

Logo van FluffyChat

FluffyChat is an open source app that is easy to use and very user-friendly. Its functionality is limited, which means it's both easy to understand but also limited in what it lets you do on Matrix. This app is best fit for children and for people who aren't very familiar with social media.

Platforms: Browser, Linux, Android, iOS

matrixcli

If you're a programmer who hates GUIs and loves to run direct commands in the terminal for all their commands, then matrixcli is just what you need.

What is there to say? It's a command line client. I bet that Vim-lovers enjoy this kind of client.

Miitrix

Miitrix op een Nintendo 3DS

What?! You can talk to the Matrix network from your Nintendo 3DS?! That's right, with Miitrix you can! I don't know why you'd want to, but I guess you could.

Step 2: choose a homeserver

You are free to use whichever server you like. This server will host your account and your data. Currently, you cannot move accounts to different homeservers, so you can currently only switch between homeservers by creating a new account.

I would recommend one of the following homeservers. Alternatively, you can choose a homeserver yourself. The homeservers from this list should be fine.

Server name Domain Description
Matrix Server matrix.org
  • Official Matrix server
  • Up-to-date guarantee
  • Sometimes laggy because it has too many users
NLtrix Server nltrix.net
  • High-performance free Dutch server
  • Very fast for residents in the Netherlands
KDE server kde.modular.im
  • Powered by a donations from a community
  • Really cares about privacy

Step 3: create an account

Install the app that you chose in step 1. Make sure to choose your right homeserver before you create your account. For example, if you choose the NLtrix server in step 2, make sure that you create an account on the domain nltrix.net. Most apps have matrix.org by default.

Step 4: connect to your friends

If you need help, join the room #matrix:matrix.org. Here, strangers on the internet are happy to help you move forward. Additionally, feel free to contact me at @bramvdnheuvel:nltrix.net for support.

If a friend sent this article to you, they'll probably have an account and I'm sure they'll be happy to help you out. Send a chat request to them, and you'll have your own fully end-to-end encrypted message with your friend!

Step 5: connect with people on other platforms

The whole point of Matrix is that it can even talk to people on other platforms! I'll write articles on how you can connect your Telegram and Discord conversations soon. Once I've written them, I'll post them down here.

You can also figure it out for yourself on t2bot.io.

For now, enjoy your truly private conversations on Matrix!