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Talk Quickstart

Online comments are broken. Our open-source Talk tool rethinks how moderation, comment display, and conversation function, creating the opportunity for safer, smarter discussions around your work.

More than 60 newsrooms use Talk to run their on-site communities, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and IGN.

Read more about our product features and goals here.

We offer hosting and support packages for Talk. [Contact us for more information.](

The documentation available here is pertaining to the technical details for installing, configuring, and deploying Talk.

Talk is a Node application with dependencies managed by Yarn that connects to MongoDB and Redis databases in order to persist data. The following versions are supported:

  • Node 8+
  • Yarn 1.3.2+
  • MongoDB 3.2+
  • Redis 3.2.5+

You can run Talk (and its dependencies) locally or from Docker containers. Docker is used in the local example below for the database and cache, however it is possible to run Talk without Docker by configuring your own MongoDB and Redis instances. We have tested Talk and this documentation with Docker versions 17.06.2+.

An optional dependency for Talk is Docker Compose. It can be used to setup your environment easily for testing. We have tested Talk and this documentation with versions 1.14.0+.


Installation from Docker

To use Talk without major customization you can run the application using our provided docker image.

Start by making a new directory and create a file called docker-compose.yml and copy the following:

# For details on the syntax of docker-compose.yml files, check out:

version: "2"
    image: coralproject/talk:4
    restart: always
      - "3000:3000"
      - mongo
      - redis
      - NODE_ENV=development # remove this line in production
      - TALK_MONGO_URL=mongodb://mongo/talk
      - TALK_REDIS_URL=redis://redis
      - TALK_ROOT_URL=
      - TALK_PORT=3000
      - TALK_JWT_SECRET=password
    image: mongo:latest
    restart: always
      - mongo:/data/db
    image: redis:latest
    restart: always
      - redis:/data
    external: false
    external: false

The environment variables listed above are the bare minimum needed to run the demo, for more configuration variables, check out the Configuration section.

And you can then start it with:

docker-compose up -d

This process will take a minute or two, it has to download docker images for the required databases and Talk as well as setup the environments.

Now that you’ve started the services started using compose, you should see output that resembles the following:

Creating mongo_1 ...
Creating redis_1 ...
Creating mongo_1 ... done
Creating redis_1 ... done
Creating talk_1 ...
Creating talk_1 ... done

Once everything has completed, run docker-compose ps, and you should see something like:

    Name                   Command               State           Ports
mongo_1 mongod      Up      27017/tcp
redis_1 redis ...   Up      6379/tcp
talk_1    yarn start                       Up>3000/tcp

You now have a Talk instance up and running! Continue on to the Setup section for details on how to complete the initial setup and get started using Talk.

Installation from Source

To install Talk from Source, ensure that you have the version of Node as specified above. First we will download and extract the latest codebase of Talk:

curl -sLo talk.tar.gz
mkdir -p talk
tar xzf talk.tar.gz -C talk --strip-components 1
cd talk

From here we need to fetch the dependencies and build the static assets using Yarn:

yarn build

You can either setup the required databases by visiting the docs for MongoDB and Redis, or using the following commands which will leverage Docker:

docker run -p -d redis
docker run -p -d mongo

Didn’t work? Sometimes you may already have a container running on these ports, run docker ps to see what other containers you have running and running docker stop <id> on those containers to stop them.

This documentation assumes that you will be running MongoDB on and Redis on The above Docker commands bind MongoDB and Redis on these interfaces for you.

We should then specify the configuration variables that can be used to run the application locally in a file named .env. This will be read by the application when running in development mode:


This is only the bare minimum needed to run the demo, for more configuration variables, check out the Configuration section.

You can now start the application by running:

yarn watch:server

Continue onto the Setup section for details on how to complete the installation and get started using Talk.


Create Admin Account

With Talk running, you can now navigate to and walk through the initial setup steps.

  • First, enter your Organization Name and Organization Contact Email. This will appear in emails when inviting new team members.

  • Next, create your Admin user. You can specify an Email Address, Username, and Password

  • Finally, enter your list of Permitted Domains, read here about whitelisting domains

During development, ensure you whitelist otherwise the page will not load.

Once the setup wizard has been completed you can log into Talk ( using the email address and password for the Admin user account that you just created.

From here you can test out features in Talk, see comments in the admin interface where you can do moderation, and configure the user experience. In the next step you’ll create some user comments to moderate.

Demo Embedded Comments

If you’ve followed the documentation above, you’ll now have a running copy of Talk. To demonstrate what your own self-hosted copy of Talk can do, we created the demo below that can be used to test the copy that is running now on your machine.

In order for the demo to work, you must add to your permitted domains list. You can do this by visiting now and selecting Tech Settings from the sidebar.

Once you have added the domain of these docs, you can click the button below.

Developer Endpoints

With your local instance of Talk running in development mode (env variable NODE_ENV=development) you should now also be able to access the following developer routes:


At this point you’ve successfully installed, configured, and ran your very own instance of Talk! Continue through this documentation on this site to learn more on how to configure, develop with, and contribute to Talk!