Mattermost vs Slack: A Deep Dive on Choosing the Best Platform for Your Team

default image

Hey there!

So you‘re looking to upgrade your team‘s communication and collaboration game. Nice! 😎 You‘ve probably come across Mattermost and Slack – two of the top players when it comes to taking teamwork to the next level.

I‘ve personally used both platforms extensively over the past 5 years. And let me tell you, they have their pros and cons depending on your team‘s needs.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through how Mattermost and Slack compare across all the essential factors like features, security, integrations, pricing, use cases – you name it!

My goal is to help you make the most informed decision on which platform will take your team‘s productivity to the next level. Let‘s dive in!

A Quick Intro to Mattermost and Slack

First, a quick word on what exactly these platforms are all about.

What is Mattermost?

Mattermost is an open source, self-hosted online chat platform for team communication. It was originally developed internally by a game development company called SpinPunch before being released publicly in 2015.

Here are some key things to know about Mattermost:

  • It‘s designed for private cloud or on-premises deployment, so your data stays within your infrastructure.

  • Companies have full control and ownership over their Mattermost installation and data.

  • Beyond just chat, Mattermost aims to be a virtual office allowing teams to collaborate in one place via messaging, file sharing, workflows, and video conferencing.

  • There‘s a free open source Team Edition, plus paid enterprise plans that add advanced security, management, and support capabilities.

  • Integrations and plugins allow customizing Mattermost to fit a team‘s specific needs and workflows.

According to Mattermost Inc., the platform is used by over 10,000 organizations globally including Samsung, SAP, Airbus, Department of Defense, and Uber.

What is Slack?

If you haven‘t heard of Slack, you must be living under a rock! 😂 Launched publicly in 2014, it has quickly become the hottest team chat app on the market.

Here‘s a Slack snapshot:

  • It‘s a centralized SaaS app that hosts communication data on AWS servers.

  • Designed as an instant messaging platform for teams to collaborate.

  • Channels, bots, and integrations aim to streamline workflows and keep conversations organized.

  • Over 156,000 paid customers and millions of daily active users.

  • Companies like IBM, Shopify, Capital One, and Target rely on Slack for team communication.

  • Slack Technologies was acquired by Salesforce in 2020 for an impressive $27.7 billion!

So in summary – Mattermost brings communication data on-premises for control while Slack hosts everything in the cloud for convenience. But they share the same goal…enabling teams to better communicate and collaborate!

Now let‘s get into the details of how they compare.

Comparing Key Features

Mattermost and Slack have many overlapping features like messaging, file sharing, app integrations, and more. But the platforms take different approaches that impact the user experience.

Let‘s explore some of the most important differences when it comes to features and functionality.


Channels provide a way to separate conversations across teams, topics, and projects. Here‘s how Mattermost and Slack stack up on channels.

Mattermost Channels

Some key things to know about Mattermost channels:

  • Public channels are open to the whole team while private channels limit access.

  • Bots and integrations can be added to channels to streamline workflows.

  • Users get access to messaging history based on channel membership.

  • Threaded messaging maintains context within fast-moving conversations.

Slack Channels

Slack takes a similar channel approach:

  • Public channels promote transparency while private channels restrict sensitive topics.

  • Integrations and bots are configured per channel.

  • Search history is based on channel membership.

  • Threads organize discussions while retaining context.

My take is that Mattermost and Slack provide equally capable channels to segment conversations across groups and topics.

One advantage Slack has is Shared Channels that let you invite external clients or partners to collaborate in a channel. Mattermost doesn‘t offer this natively yet.

But overall, you can‘t go wrong with either platform when it comes to managing team discussions across channels.


Security is make-or-break for a lot of organizations when choosing a team chat platform. Mattermost and Slack take very different approaches here.

Mattermost Security

As an open source, self-hosted tool, Mattermost gives companies full control and ownership over their communication data.

  • Encryption secures messages at rest and in transit.

  • Compliance controls like access restrictions and audit logs can be tuned to meet regulatory requirements.

  • On-premises deployment keeps data within your firewall and physical servers.

According to Mattermost, this gives enterprises the ability to manage security and compliance on their own terms based on internal policies and industry regulations.

Slack Security

As a SaaS tool, Slack provides robust security but with less room for customization:

  • Slack encrypts data by default with Amazon managing the encryption keys.

  • Some compliance options but not as flexible as Mattermost for niche regulations.

  • Access logs provide visibility into how your company‘s Slack workspaces are utilized.

  • Robust infrastructure like penetration testing and bug bounties improve security posture.

My opinion: Mattermost is the clear winner when it comes to config-to-the-metal security and compliance flexibility. For teams working under strict regulations like healthcare and finance, this is a big deal.

Slack may work great if your security needs are relatively basic. But companies dealing with highly sensitive data may prefer the granular control of Mattermost.


The ability to connect external tools is table stakes for maximizing a team chat platform. Mattermost and Slack both aim to improve productivity through integrations.

Mattermost Integrations

As an open source platform, Mattermost really shines when it comes to building custom integrations.

  • APIs make it possible to connect internally managed systems and Mattermost programmatically.

  • 500+ pre-built integrations support apps like Jira, GitHub, Jenkins, and more.

  • Webhooks and bots allow teams to build tailored integrations to meet niche needs.

  • Zapier expands integration options to thousands of additional web services.

  • Plugins extend functionality with new capabilities like polls, reminders, and more.

Slack Integrations

Slack also offers strong integration options:

  • APIs enable custom integrations similar to Mattermost.

  • 2,000+ apps available right from the Slack App Directory.

  • Bots allow apps to interact conversationally through messaging.

  • Zapier provides access to thousands of other web services.

The takeaway? Both Mattermost and Slack cover the integration basics. But in my experience, Mattermost‘s custom integrations provide more fine-tuned control for teams relying on niche internal tools and processes.

Workflow Streamlining

Optimizing processes through automation and integration accelerates team productivity. Mattermost and Slack take slightly different approaches here.

Mattermost Playbooks

Mattermost integrates workflow management directly into the platform via Playbooks:

  • Checklist templates guide teams through standard processes like new employee onboarding.

  • Playbook Builder allows no-code automation using triggers, actions, and notifications.

  • Workflows become transparent to the wider team by integrating into Mattermost conversations.

Slack Workflow Builder

Slack offers workflow automation through the Workflow Builder tool:

  • Preconfigured workflow templates require no code.

  • Graphical workflow editor to model processes with approvals, forms, etc.

  • Integrations with Slack apps and external tools.

  • Conversational interactions through messaging and buttons.

The verdict? Both platforms aim to simplify workflow automation with easy drag-and-drop tools. Mattermost Playbooks seem more deeply integrated while Slack offers prettier templates upfront. Which is better depends on your team‘s needs.

For complex workflows, Mattermost allows precision control natively from within channels. Slack provides simpler graphical workflows to get started quickly.


At its core, communication comes down to messaging capabilities. How do Mattermost and Slack compare?

Mattermost Messaging

Mattermost offers a messaging platform on par with Slack:

  • Group messaging across channels, DMs, and threads.

  • Formatted text via Markdown.

  • Emojis and custom memes make things fun.

  • @mentions notify team members of important messages.

  • Built-in video conferencing.

  • Notes and polls provide interactive messaging options.

Slack Messaging

Slack shares many of the same features:

  • Channel, group, and DM conversations.

  • Threads and Markdown formatting.

  • Fun emojis and GIFs.

  • @mentions for drawing attention.

  • Native video chat through Huddles.

  • Ephemeral messages.

My take? It‘s essentially a wash between the two platforms when it comes to core messaging capabilities. Both support the features teams need to communicate in real-time.

Individual teams may prefer one platform over the other for niche features like polls or notes. But you can‘t go wrong with either for general messaging needs.

Search and Archiving

Accessing messaging and file history is crucial for referencing past decisions and discussions. How do Mattermost and Slack compare in this department?

Mattermost Search

Mattermost offers complete access to searchable message history and files:

  • Instant cross-channel search with filters to refine queries.

  • Deep linking shows results in surrounding context.

  • High precision search powered by Elasticsearch (optional).

  • No arbitrary limits on searchable history based on plan.

Slack Search

Slack provides similar yet more confined search capabilities:

  • Quick cross-channel search with handy filters.

  • Deep linking to view messages in context.

  • Search history limited from 10,000 to unlimited messages based on plan.

  • Additional costs for extended data retention periods.

The lowdown? Mattermost places no data retention restrictions or fees on search access. For teams heavily reliant on message history, this can provide big value.

However, Slack offers a friendlier search interface out of the box. So convenience vs. unlimited access comes down to each team‘s needs.

How Mattermost and Slack Compare on Pricing

Budget is an important factor when weighing these platforms. Here‘s an overview of Mattermost and Slack‘s pricing models.

Mattermost Pricing

As open source software, Mattermost offers flexible pricing options:

  • Mattermost Team Edition is free for unlimited users – even for commercial use.

  • E10 plan starts at $3.25 per user/month billed annually. Adds enterprise security and management features.

  • E20 plan starts at $8.50 per user/month billed annually. Includes granular permissions and SSO.

  • Custom Enterprise pricing available for large-scale deployments.

Slack Pricing

As a SaaS app, Slack offers tiered subscription plans:

  • Free – Limited to 10 app integrations, 10k searchable messages, some usage restrictions.

  • Pro – $6.67 per user/month billed annually. Unlocks all features except compliance tools.

  • Business+ – $12.50 per user/month billed annually. Adds security and controls.

  • Enterprise Grid – Custom pricing aimed at large deployments.

The takeaway? For smaller teams, Slack‘s free tier is nice for getting started. But the pricing advantage goes to Mattermost as teams scale to dozens or hundreds of users.

Rather than paying Slack $12.50/user/month, larger teams can deploy Mattermost themselves at little to no cost. The savings add up!

Of course, you need the in-house resources to deploy and manage Mattermost. But for enterprise teams, major cost benefits exist.

Key Use Cases and Industries

To help narrow down which solution fits your team, let‘s look at some common use cases and industries for Mattermost vs Slack.

Where Mattermost Thrives

Based on my experience, Mattermost brings the most value to technical teams in highly regulated industries:

  • Software Engineering – Integrations with dev tools like GitHub improve agile workflows. Code snippets in chat streamline collaboration.

  • IT and DevOps – Custom APIs tailor Mattermost into internal systems for alerting and project management.

  • Healthcare – Granular security controls assist in achieving HIPAA compliance for protecting sensitive patient data.

  • Finance – On-prem deployment and encryption helps adhere to regulations like SOX and GLBA related to financial data.

  • Manufacturing – Shop floor and field teams can discuss issues and track processes with integrations to machinery and sensors.

  • Higher Ed – Student collaboration on projects with control over data security and access controls.

Where Slack Thrives

On the other hand, Slack is ideal for less technical teams wanting quick setup and broad integrations:

  • Marketing/Advertising – Integrations like MailChimp, Google Analytics, Asana, and Salesforce improve campaign collaboration.

  • Retail & Ecommerce – Customer service and sales teams benefit from seamless communication and file sharing.

  • Professional Services – Law firms, consultants, etc. improve client collaboration through Shared Channels.

  • Non-Profits – Connect remote teams and volunteers working towards a shared mission.

  • Hospitality – Improve guest experiences by streamlining communication and notifications across hotel staff.

So in summary, regulated industries and engineering teams get the most control and customization out of Mattermost. While Slack suits more general business teams needing an off-the-shelf solution.

But these are just guidelines – make sure to examine your team‘s unique needs and priorities.

Key Statistics Comparison

To round out this comprehensive guide, let‘s look at some key statistics for additional insight into Mattermost vs Slack.

table {
font-family: arial, sans-serif;
border-collapse: collapse;
width: 100%;

td, th {
border: 1px solid #dddddd;
text-align: left;
padding: 8px;

tr:nth-child(even) {
background-color: #dddddd;

Metric Mattermost Slack
Total Funding $71 million $1.4 billion
Year Founded 2015 2013
Total Users Over 10 million daily active users Over 156,000 paid customers
Integrations 500+ prebuilt integrations 2,000+ app integrations
Ownership Privately owned Acquired by Salesforce for $27.7 billion in 2020
Deployment Options Self-hosted, private cloud, public cloud SaaS

Key Takeaways:

  • Slack has raised over 20X more funding thanks to its hot SaaS model and recent Salesforce acquisition.

  • Mattermost actually has more total reported daily active users despite Slack‘s brand recognition.

  • Slack has the edge in out-of-the-box integrations while Mattermost touts custom integration flexibility.

  • Mattermost offers private cloud self-hosting while Slack is solely SaaS.

The Final Verdict

So which platform wins in the battle of Mattermost vs Slack? 🥊

The truth is…it depends on your team‘s needs!

Both solutions aim to improve productivity through streamlined team communication and collaboration capabilities.

But key factors like security, control, integrations, pricing, and use cases set them apart:

In summary:

  • Mattermost offers enterprise-grade security and control via private cloud and on-prem options. It also provides deep customization for tailored workflows.

  • Slack operates as an easy-to-use SaaS app with broad integrations. It‘s ideal for general business teams wanting a simple setup.

For highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance, Mattermost provides the compliance flexibility needed. Engineering and technical teams benefit from its custom APIs and self-hosting capabilities.

While Slack fits the bill for sales teams, agencies, and SMBs needing quick collaboration without major security requirements.

So analyze your team‘s workflows, tools, and data security needs. This will point you towards the right platform with the integration flexibility and level of control makes sense.

No matter which way you go, taking your team communication to the next level is a win! Just make sure to choose the solution tailored to your use case.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m happy to chat more about optimizing your team‘s collaboration.

Written by