Mattermost vs. Slack: Which Communication App Is Best for Your Team? [2024]

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which Communication App Is Best for Your Team? [2024]

Author Chloe
Author Chloe

Chloe Wang

March 11, 2024


Mar 11, 2024


10 min read

Which should you choose, Mattermost or Slack
Which should you choose, Mattermost or Slack
Which should you choose, Mattermost or Slack
Which should you choose, Mattermost or Slack

While the internet was designed to be a fast way to share information and communicate, most of us know this isn’t always the case in practice. If you’ve ever been CC’d on a long email thread, you know what we mean.

Communication platforms like Slack and Mattermost promise faster and smoother communication. But how effective are they?

Do they make it easy for modern companies to communicate across offices, countries, and continents?

That’s what we’re here to find out. In this detailed comparison, we’ll compare Mattermost and Slack in terms of key features, usability, pricing, and more.

Mattermost vs. Slack in a nutshell

After doing a deep dive into each platform across a variety of categories, here’s what stood out to us:

  • Mattermost is an open-source messaging and collaboration platform. If you use the self-hosted option, you get access to all features for free (except hosting expenses).

  • Slack is a more mature platform with more polished features. But communication features beyond chat are heavily restricted in the free plan.

  • With Mattermost’s self-hosted plan, you can control user data and privacy.

  • Slack offers limited live collaboration features through the Slack Canvas, unlike Mattermost.

  • Slack’s popularity makes it a better option for many existing tech stacks. It integrates with thousands of third-party apps and platforms.

However, neither platform offers a complete communication and collaboration platform like Lark. Do you want chat, video conferencing, project management, calendars, and email in one platform? Lark offers all of that and more in our free plan. (Read our detailed comparison of Lark vs. Slack for more information.)

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which has the best features?

Both are chatting platforms designed to make online team communication smoother. But for the volume and power of features, who comes out on top between Mattermost and Slack?

Mattermost vs. Slack features comparison image.

Mattermost’s top features

  • Robust instant messaging features: Channels, threaded messaging, mentions, reactions, formatted messages, message search, emojis, and more.

  • File sharing: Share files stored on the platform or other Amazon S3-compatible cloud storage. The Cloud Free plan limits storage to 1GB for the entire workspace.

  • Voice calls: Available within the app. There’s no default limit for self-hosted plans, but the recommended max is 200 participants.

  • Screen sharing: Share your screen with everyone in a channel or group.

  • Video conferencing: Video calls are available through third-party integrations. Plugins allow you to hold video calls within the app.

  • Mobile apps: Mattermost offers a robust mobile app on iOS and Android phones.

  • Customization of theme and layout: Change the theme, color, logo, and layout of your interface.

  • Full data ownership: Full control of all your data and data handling procedures — with self-hosted plans. If you have strict compliance requirements, this makes it a solid option.

What makes Mattermost stand out is its customization options and the full control over your data. The downside is that it lacks robust collaboration features like live document editing. It was created as a team chat app, and its features reflect that.

Slack’s top features

  • Sleek team chat features: Channels, threaded messaging, mentions, pinned messages, reactions, search, formatted messages, emojis, and more.

  • Status, schedule, and notification controls: Slack allows users to control exactly what they want to be notified about and when.

  • File storage and sharing: Upload and share files with users in channels or direct messages. The free plan limits file storage to 5G per workspace.

  • Voice and video calls with screen sharing: With free plans, you can hold 1:1 voice or video calls in DMs. With paid pans, you can create “Huddles” for up to 50 participants.

  • Mobile apps: Slack offers a robust mobile app for iPhone and Android users.

  • Active collaboration: Slack Canvas allows users to collaboratively create plans or brainstorm in real time. Limited to one canvas per channel or DM in free plans.

Slack also started focused on chat, but its large user base has powered active development into something closer to a collaboration platform. Your teams can collaborate in real time with built-in video calls and Slack Canvas.

However, it’s still not a comprehensive digital workspace for your team. But many options, including Slack and MS Teams, fall short here.

If you want a complete platform with project management tools, full document editing, a built-in digital whiteboard, advanced analytics, and more collaboration features, Lark is a better choice.

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which is the easiest to use?

Slack’s ease of use in a company setting versus other live chat tools made it popular more than ten years ago. It launched with a sleek interface and pioneered many features like channels and pinned messages.

But in 2024, most other chat alternatives have similar layouts and features, and Mattermost is no exception.

Mattermost vs. Slack usability comparison illustration

The layout is similar, with a navigation bar to the left and the chat feed to the right. You can easily share files by clicking the appropriate icon.

For experienced users, Slack’s extensive keyboard shortcuts and Slackbot make it a smoother experience. But for the average user, the difference in usability isn’t that great.

The main difference is the difficulty of getting started.

With Mattermost, you’re most likely going with a self-hosted solution. That may not be an issue if your company has a robust IT department with experienced data architects. However, setting up a private server has a sharp learning curve for smaller companies. Just getting the budget and team together can take days or weeks.

With Slack’s free cloud-hosted plan, you can get started in a few minutes. Of course, this is also true for most Slack alternatives. (Mattermost used to offer a free cloud plan but discontinued it in July 2023.)

But to us, both platforms fail in terms of usability because you have to rely on third-party platforms to truly collaborate. That means you need to jump between multiple tabs or windows while in a live chat or call. With Lark, you can communicate, collaborate, and complete your work on a single platform.

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which has the best integrations?

When it comes to integrations, both Mattermost and Slack have a lot of options:

  • Mattermost offers over 600 integrations, but the free version imposes a limit of five integrations.

  • Slack has over 2,400 third-party integrations but limits free users to ten.

Slack not only offers a lot more extensions, but many extensions are more extensive and useful. This is a natural side effect of its higher popularity.

But in a world where the average company already uses 371 SaaS apps, is the answer really to use four different collaboration tools? For our team here at Lark, the answer is a clear no. That’s why we’ve created a platform that doesn’t rely on 100s of integrations.

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which has the best pricing?

Which of these two communication tools offers the best pricing and value? Let’s look at the numbers.

Mattermost’s pricing

Mattermost offers a free self-hosted plan, a standard cloud-hosted plan, and custom enterprise plans.

Screenshot of Mattermost's pricing page

  • Free (self-hosted only): includes team chats, audio calls with screen share, workflow automation, and more. You also get full control and auditability of your data.

  • Professional ($10/user/month): guest access, custom user groups, multi-factor authentication (MFA) enforcement, Single Sign-On (SSO) with Google, Office 365, etc.

  • Enterprise (custom pricing): custom admin roles and access controls, channel exports and audit logs, and granular data retention policies. These additional security features are vital for larger firms.

Slack’s pricing

Slack offers a free plan, two standard premium plans, and custom enterprise plans. (These are all cloud-hosted options.):

  • Free: 90 days of message history, one workspace, no data exports, 1:1 video calls, and channel-specific canvases.

  • Pro ($7.25/user/month): Unlimited message history, unlimited canvases, unlimited app integrations, and video calls with up to 50 participants.

  • Business+ ($15/user/month): 99.99% guaranteed uptime, data exports for all messages, SAML-based SSO.

  • Enterprise grid (custom): Built-in employee directory, support for data loss prevention, HIPAA-compliant data handling, and file collaboration.

Which platform offers better value?

If you want a cloud-based chat app, Slack’s free plan is suitable for smaller teams and companies. If you already have an established private cloud, Mattermost’s self-hosted plan is better.

But if you need enterprise-level features, do you want to pay a hefty per-user fee every month just for a chat function? With Lark, you can get a much wider range of functionality for a lower price. We offer you the functionality of Microsoft 365, Slack, and Zoom in a single platform — for just $12/user/month.

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which has the best customer service?

Mattermost offers a varying level of service depending on your plan. With its free plan, you can only access community and self-service support. With the Pro plan, you can access support during weekday business hours (12x5). With custom enterprise plans, Mattermost offers 24/7 service.

Slack also offers a help center and community resources for free plans. Premium plans give you access to 24/7 support. For technical support and faster response times, you need Business+ or Enterprise Grid plans.

If you’re looking for enterprise-grade service, even on regular plans, consider Lark. We offer customer support 24/7, as well as our free plans. Pro users can access hands-on technical support most hours on weekdays (21x5).

For larger teams (100+ users), our experienced customer success managers will personally guide you through onboarding.

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which is the most secure and compliant?

Mattermost is a self-hosted platform, so the security and compliance depend largely upon the infrastructure you set up. It allows users to control their data and incorporate advanced security measures.

And because it’s open-source, all code is stress-tested by developers from around the globe. It also has pre-made security features like multi-factor authentication (MFA), SSO (single sign-on), (certificate-based authentication), and AES-256 encryption for data transmissions.

Slack also offers good security measures such as SSO, two-factor authentication, and information and data governance. However, these features are only available in expensive plans like Business+ or Enterprise Grid. Because this is a cloud-hosted platform, Slack has already set up a secure cloud environment for the software.

Unfortunately, Slack has had a few minor leaks and data security issues in recent years. For example, in 2023, hackers gained access to private GitHub repositories.

At Lark, we take data security and compliance seriously, having passed certifications for SOC 2 Type II, ISO 27001, ISO 27701, and ISO 27018. Our platform also complies with privacy regulations like GDPR, CCPA, APPI, and PDPA by default.

Screenshot of some of Lark's data security certifications

Mattermost vs. Slack: What are other users saying?

Mattermost has a solid customer reputation, with a 4.3 rating on G2. Many customers highlight the customizability and power of a self-hosted platform and its ease of use.

But common complaints highlight the learning curve for self-hosted platforms, underdeveloped audio and video call functionality, notification delays in mobile apps, and a clunky interface.

Slack has a good customer reputation, with 4.5/5 stars on G2. Positive customer reviews typically highlight the sleek interface, ease of use, and wide range of features.

But unsatisfied users mention issues like slow loading speeds, glitches with new features like notes, video conferencing problems, a confusing mobile app, and more. (Slack’s Android app only has 3.7/5 in the App Store.)

If you’re looking for a platform with a sleek experience across devices, consider Lark. We have 4.5/5 stars on G2, and our iOS app has 4.9/5 stars in the App Store.

Mattermost vs. Slack: Which is right for you?

When it comes down to it, there’s no clear better option for every team and company. Your preferred chatting platform depends on your team size, workflow, tech stack, and priorities.

In general, Mattermost is better if you prioritize security and compliance and already have a private cloud set up.

Slack is a better option for teams needing a channel-based communication solution ASAP. You can start without any setup worth mentioning and start working on projects. The wide range of integrations also means it likely integrates with other tools in your tech stack.

But the main flaw of both options is that they’re ultimately not going to lead to a cohesive workflow. Your team members will still need to access multiple other tools to communicate and work together.

Illustration of a workflow using separate collaboration platforms

Looking for a unified collaboration and productivity platform? Try Lark

Good team communication and efficient collaboration involve more than messaging and calls. At Lark, we understand that. That’s why we created a unified platform that offers document collaboration, task and project management, video conferencing, team calendars, and more.

With Lark, jumping from window to window during a meeting with your team is unnecessary. Our Magic Share feature lets the entire team collaborate on files in real time within the call.

Both Mattermost and Slack are solid tools for team chat. But if you want a one-stop platform with advanced features for collaboration, Lark is the right option for you.

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