I'm looking for a quick text outline tool that I can host on my own server supporting real-time editing for multiple users and change-history.


2 Answers 2


Etherpad fits that perfectly.

Etherpad is a highly customizable Open Source online editor providing collaborative editing in really real-time.

We used to use it at my workplace (until Google Apps basically replaced it). Some notes:

  • For change history, it offers time slider, which is well implemented. It's easy to see when and who added/removed something.
  • Rarely users were out-of-sync, and after someone reconnected, changes were lost. This happened only a few times.
  • Each document have read-only URL. This is useful for sharing something with public/customers/some other group that should not edit it. For example, sharing in-progress FAQ file directly from Etherpad is way nicer than copy-pasting content to some other page after each update.
  • Each user is assigned a color, and all modifications are highlighted with that color. This makes it easy to see who wrote something, without going to history slider. Unfortunately, everyone can click "Clear Authorship Colors", and there's no way to undo that.
  • Supports importing and exporting HTML and plain text.
  • Supports all basic formatting operations (bold, italic, underline, lists, numbered lists, indenting).

Try Firepad - an open source real-time collaborative code editor used by Atlassian Stash, Nitrous, Koding, ShiftEdit, Kobra.io.

As an alternative, try Google Collide.

  • 1
    Thanks for those two interesting hints. The docs of Firepad say, it "uses Firebase for cloud data storage and synchronization". Does it provide an alternative operation mode that does not depend on external providers? Commented May 8, 2016 at 22:14
  • 1
    @Jens Piegsa Apparently, Firepad is not really a self-hosted solution; it requires the Firebase infrastructure. The only self-hosted part is the code which inserts the editor into your web page.
    – Klaws
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 19:38

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