8 Zendesk open source alternatives to try in 2024

Sara Ana Cemazar
February 16, 2023
min read

Let’s face it: Zendesk is great. It’s one of the most popular helpdesk tools out there.

But, it also has its shortcomings, and there are numerous competitors on the market.

A portion of these Zendesk alternatives are open source solutions. The unique advantages of open source software play well into the customer service space, and they are here to stay.

After all, open source solutions are no longer reserved for small businesses and teams. They are successfully being integrated into enterprise businesses, and have proven to be a highly suitable choice for organizations in regulated industries like healthcare, government, and education.

Read on to find out what are the best Zendesk open source alternatives to try in 2023.

Why professionals look for Zendesk alternatives at all?

Yes, Zendesk is a tool that many professionals use to their advantage. However, there are also drawbacks to it, and you're probably reading this article because of one of the following reasons:

  • Lack of additional features: many Zendesk users opt for its alternatives because they want to build a custom product tour or add a chatbot. Zendesk doesn't go beyond classic ticketing system functionalities.
  • Price: the cheapest pricing plan starts at $49 per agent/month but it doesn't involve a lot of features an agent needs. Smaller teams need cheaper, leaner solutions.
  • Poor customer support: Zendesk is a big company with many clients, and getting through to their customer service can take long.
  • Outdated interface: it might not be a functional disadvantage, but we all like to see a good UI.
  • Separate channel management: it's not the easiest to track customer inquiries if they come through separate channels.

Why should you consider an open source alternative to Zendesk?

In opposition to closed source or proprietary software, open source software has publicly available code. This means that people - usually developers - can see the code, copy it, make changes to it, suggest changes to enhance it, and more.

The transparency of the code has led to specific open source advantages like flexibility, enhanced security, scalability, and agility. These benefits are also present in open source alternatives to Zendesk.

Moreover, some open source solutions can also be deployed on-premises, giving organizations data sovereignty.

1. Cost efficiency

Even though it’s a great solution, Zendesk pricing is a bit steep. It has four pricing tiers depending on the size of the company, but the cheapest plan also includes limited features.

Therefore, smaller teams are restricted from using higher-level functionalities they might want.

On the other hand, open source alternatives to Zendesk are often much less expensive. Most solutions even have free versions to help the smallest teams start out.

2. Flexibility

Many companies want to customize their helpdesk solutions to better fit their specific needs. However, customization is very costly - and lengthy - with proprietary software.

Although Zendesk is very flexible, open source software is literally yours to take and build upon. Open source helpdesk solutions are customizable, scalable, and offer the possibility for numerous integrations that extend its usability.

3. More control over your customers’ data

In today’s business world, data security is a valuable currency. Customers are realizing the importance of data privacy and they want their data safe.

Since Zendesk is a SaaS-based solution, they have control over your customers’ data. On the other hand, self-hosted Zendesk alternatives allow you to have full control over your data by deploying the software on-premises.

Moreover, several debates on open source software security have yielded the conclusion that the open source tools are more secure than their closed source counterparts. This is due to the vast open source community checking the code - proprietary software simply doesn’t have the luxury of so many eyes on the code!

➡️ Check out the six benefits of open source software for enterprise businesses to get the whole picture.

8 best Zendesk open source alternatives

Let's jump right to it: what are the best open source alternatives to Zendesk? ⬇️

1. Rocket.Chat

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Rocket.Chat’s open source customer service solution allows you to manage all customer communication from a single place. This self hosted alternative to Zendesk supports an entire ecosystem to charge your customer service - including channels like Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, Email, Telegram, Live Chat, and SMS.

On one hand, users love Rocket.Chat because it gives them the opportunity to be customer-centric. On the other hand, managers are happy to be given tools to act faster and become data-driven.

Since it can be deployed on premises, Rocket.Chat is one of the most secure collaboration tools on the market today.

2. UVDesk

Zendesk open source alternative

UVDesk is one of the most popular ticketing systems on the market. It’s also open source, making it easy to customize according to organizations’ specific needs.
More specifically, this alternative to Zendesk helps you to apply your own branding, modify the app, configure mailbox, integrate different modules, and more.

UVDesk offers multichannel support, ticket administration, task management, and Progressive Web App. In any case, UVDesk doesn’t lack in features when it comes to ticketing - offering extensive capabilities to smoothly manage the whole process.

3. Suite CRM

Zendesk open source alternative

Suite CRM is an open source Customer Relationship Management software that allows companies to take a 360 degrees approach to business.

In comparison to other Zendesk open source alternatives here, Suite CRM offers not only customer management module, but also marketing and sales. In that sense, it might be a good pick for businesses that are just starting out and want to have all these functions under the same umbrella.

Suite CRM is serving businesses in numerous industries, such as Tech, Finance, Legal, Energy, Healthcare, and others. It can also be an on-prem alternative to Zendesk.

4. Redmine

Zendesk open source alternative

Redmine is a robust open source tool that goes beyond ticketing functionality - it also features web-based project management.

It doesn’t have limit on the number of projects your team can track, and it can be set up to support different levels of role-based access.

Just as any open source project, Redmine allows you to create numerous custom fields, enabling you to track time entries, issues, users, and projects. It’s accessible in 49 different languages.

When it comes to security, this tool can be deployed on-premises. Therefore, this self-hosted Zendesk alternative gives organizations full control over their data.

5. OSTicket

OSTicket is one of the solutions that frequently finds itself on the lists of open source alternatives to Zendesk. This is no coincidence since its features include custom fields, columns, and queues, ticket filters, agent collision avoidance, canned responses, and more.

All these features combined make for a great helpdesk solution.

The team from OSTicket can also help you with implementation, training, migration, and onboarding. This whole blooded ticketing solution is among customers’ favourite.

6. Best Practical

Zendesk open source alternative

Best Practical’s Request Tracker is a great open source alternative to Zendesk for teams looking for simple customer support functionalities. It enables teams to coordinate tasks and manage customer inquiries coming from email.

You can set up instant alerts and notifications, compliance management functionality, and the solution comes with an Active Directory Integration. It’s distributed under GNU open source license.

7. Faveo

Faveo is an open source ticketing system that offers an extremely easy setup. This powerful, yet simple helpdesk management tool allows teams to manage tickets efficiently.

This self-hosted Zendesk alternative also features a built-in knowledgebase, and supports integration with channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. It can be cloud-based or deployed on premises.

8. FreeScout

Zendesk open source alternative

This open source helpdesk and shared mailbox system is branding itself as a free self-hosted alternative to Zendesk. The solution itself is lightweight, yet powerful - it includes features such as notifications from numerous channels, LDAP integration, spam filter, and more.

The best thing about FreeScout is that it’s free - so it’s a great software to support developing teams in supporting their customers from the beginning.

Why should you consider Zendesk self-hosted alternatives?

In our article, we listed best open source Zendesk alternatives you can choose from to get a more secure and flexible customer service software. A number of these solutions can also be hosted on-premises. Why is that considered an extra benefit?

It means you have complete control over your data - also called as data sovereignty. On-prem Zendesk alternatives allow you to additionally increase security of your solutions and therefore customer data.

In some industries, like government, finance, and healthcare, self-hosted solutions are becoming the new standard. These highly-regulated industries need to safeguard customer communication, thus increasing their need for extra security levels. For example, some on-premise Zendesk alternatives enable HIPAA-compliant messaging with patients in the healthcare industry.

Flexible and secure open source alternative to Zendesk available for self-hosting

Rocket.Chat’s open source technology enables organizations to support effective internal communication as well as communication with customers. 

As one of the best alternatives to Zendesk, Rocket.Chat enables you to handle all customer communication from a single inbox. That helps you boost your customer service teams’ efficiency, as well as to scale your support system.

Find out why customer service teams love Rocket.Chat. Our sales team is just a click away if you have further questions and want to see Rocket.Chat in action!

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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