While working on a local network, network users often want to communicate locally, without the need of an internet connection.

In this case, they will need a LAN messenger, that allows network users to exchange messages and files locally, without the need of a centralized server.

In this article, we offer you several open-source free LAN messenger that can be installed, and used totally free of charge for anyone.

1- LAN Messenger

LAN Messenger is our first pick it works on all popular platforms, and comes with dozens of useful features and simple user-friendly interface for anyone to use.

LAN Messenger encrypts messages by default, using AES encryption with RSA as the key exchange mechanism.

It supports file transfer out-of-the-box, and comes with  built-in notification, broadcast messaging, contact manager, a logger, and multilingual interface.

LAN Messenger works on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

The app is built using C++ and Qt, and it is released under GPL-3.0 License.

2- BeeBEEP

BeeBEEP Messenger

BeeBEEP is a free open-source P2P LAB messenger that does not require any server to exchange messages between users.

It is an ideal solution for office users who use the same local network.

BeeBEEP is originally developed by Marco Mastroddi, who released it as an open-source project under the GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3).

BeeBEEP Features

  • Easy to use (no server required)
  • Secure peer to peer chat
  • Groups
  • File and Folder Transfer (with resume feature)
  • Message history (all messages can be saved)
  • Offline messages
  • BeeBOX (a shared folder as DropBox but in your computer)
  • BeeSHARE (share your file and folders like p2p software)
  • Desktop sharing
  • Voice messages

3- Squiggle

Squiggle is a free server-less peer to peer LAN messenger. Just download and run it, and you're ready to talk to everyone on your LAN.

It is written using C# and intended for Windows users.

Squiggle is released under the MIT License.

Squiggle Features:

  • Server-less peer to peer LAN chat, No installation required. Just download, unzip and run
  • Group chat, Broadcast chat and Private chat
  • Bridge for connecting two LANs across subnets or WAN.
  • Supports localization i.e. you can replace the translation file to use Squiggle in your native language.
  • Fast (multiple) file transfer
  • Spell Check, Buzz, Emoticons, Audio Alerts, Tray Popups
  • Contact groups, Display message, Display Pic, Chat commands, Message aliases
  • Chat history, Status history
  • Voice Chat

4- Technitium Mesh

Technitium Mesh is a secure, anonymous, peer-to-peer (p2p), open source instant messenger designed to provide end-to-end encryption.

The primary aim of this instant messenger is to provide privacy which is achieved using cryptography and anonymity using Tor network.

It can be used over Internet and private LAN networks (without Internet) for instant messaging and file transfer with support for private chats and group chats.

Technitium Mesh  is an open-source project, released under the GPL-3.0 License.

The app currently is available only for Windows operating systems. (Windows Vista, 7, 8.1, and 10).

Technitium Mesh Primary features

  • P2P that uses Distributed Hash Tables (DHT).
  • Private: No metadata is recorded or stored
  • Works on LAN without any internet connection
  • Supports anonymous profiles using Tor Network to hide user identities
  • Uses RSA 2048-bit keys to generate profiles.
  • The protocol is secured with AES 256-bit encryption with Authenticated Encryption.

5- termchat

termchat is a terminal LAN messaging app that works directly from your terminal and allows messages exchange for all local network users without any central server connection.

The app is easy to configure, use as it comes with a set of easy to remember commands.

termchat is written in the Rust programming language, and can be installed using Cargo (Rust package manager), or at Arch Linux directly from the AUR packages repos.

For other platforms and operating systems, users can clone the repo, and build it from source.

termchat is released under the Apache-2.0 License.

6- KouChat

KouChat is a free lightweight LAN chat app for Android and desktop. It is a cross-platform app, written in Java which means it runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

With KouChat you don't need to worry about extensive app configuration or hidden tricks, it is click and run app.

The app comes with a built-in system tray icon, system notification, chat topics option and other dozen features.

It is originally developed by "Christian Ihle", who released it as an open-source project under the GNU LESSER GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
Version 3.

KouChat highlights

  • Group chat with all the connected users.
  • Private chat with any user.
  • Choose your own nickname.
  • Set the topic of the group chat.
  • System tray / notification area support.
  • See who is currently writing.
  • Send and receive files.
  • Use away mode when you don’t want to be disturbed.
  • Choose the color to use for your own messages and info messages.
  • Chat logging.
  • Console mode.
  • Smileys.
  • Send messages in any language supported by Unicode.
  • No configuration needed.

Download KouChat

  1. Desktop Download
  2. Android: F-Droid, Google Play

7- Khernet

Khernet is a free open-source lightweight chat application for your local LAN.

It is a portable app that can work directly without install, and it does not require any centralized server.

Khernet is released under the MIT License, which allows commercial and personal use, modification, distribution, but it comes without any liability and warranty.

Khernet Features

  • Portable mode and installed mode.
  • No centralized server.
  • Use emojis on contact names 🙂.
  • E2E (End-to-end) encryption.
  • Supported types of messages: Text (includes emojis), Markdown (includes emojis), Image, GIF, Audio, Video, and Any binary file.
  • Online and offline updates (for restricted environments 🤐)

8- Meshenger

Meshenger is a free Android messenger that allows voice and video calls over the local network without any internet access.

It is an open-source app that is released under the GNU General Public License v3.0.

Meshenger Highlights:

  • uses IPv6 link local by default
  • encrypted communication
  • encrypted database
  • database backup
  • night mode

Download Meshenger

9- Hive Chat

Hive Chat is a free cross-platform features-rich  local network app that allows users to exchange messages, and files without being online.

Hive Chat supports large file exchange by default as it uses multithread TCP server since its last official release, it also allows users to customize, edit images as they share it, and it comes with other many useful features.

Beyond its support for Windows, Linux, and macOS, Hive Chat is the only app on this list that works directly on Raspberry Pi and ARM embedded Linux systems.

10- Lanchat

Lanchat is a free lightweight open-source LAN chat and file transfer app that works for different platform such as Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Unfortunately, it is no longer developed and maintained by its original developer, but it is usable and stable.

11- Tuber-time

Tuner-time is a free web-based open-source P2P (Peer-to-peer) video chat that is designed for corporate LAN networks.

The project is released as an open-source under the MIT License.

Tuber-time features

  • Video chat with up to 15 people (limited only by user interface)
  • Buttons to selectively mute audio and turn off video
  • Client and server written in a single language: JavaScript
  • Supported without client software by browsers with WebRTC

12- Video Chat (LAN)

Video Chat is a free simple video chat application over the local network that uses sockets to exchange data, messages and stream.

It is originally developed by Anil Shanbhag & Ashwin Paranjpee, IIT Bombay, in a Hack Night over the weekend, for educational purposes.

13- Softros LAN Messenger

This one is a free LAN messenger for android that allows Android users on the same network to chat privately and securely.

It does not have any ads, on in-app purchase, and supports VPN out-of-box.

Final thought

LAN chat apps and messengers are essential tools not only for personal and individual usage, but also for corporates which has a local secure private network.

As we listed the best popular open-source free LAN messenger and chat alternatives, we listed only the most usable ones as our collection has 30+ projects, but either incomplete or abandoned projects.

If you know of any other open-source similar project that we didn't list here, email us, and we will add it.