Ventrilo is a lightweight VOIP server used not only for voice communication, but it also acts as a chat room of sorts. It is extremely simply to install and configure. Used widely by gamers around the world Ventrilo allows conversations with multiple users with just the tap of a button. The advantage of the Ventrilo client over many other VOIP clients is that you can chat to anyone using your keyboard shortcut while other applications are running in the foreground.
The Ventrilo server comes in two flavours. Firstly you have the public version which is free but has a limited amount of slots. Secondly you have the professional version which can be somewhat costly but host thousands of users. In this article we will be installing the public version which is available for download from this website.
To start out, download the latest Linux server version.
Next you will need to extract the file, preferably to the home or root user directory from where it can be run.
tar -zxvf ventrilo*.tar.gz
Next you will need to open up the directory and edit the ventrilo_srv.ini file with your chosen text editor. I prefer nano, but you can use vi or any other editor. If you do not have nano installed, it can simply be installed using yum
yum –y install nano
Once you have opened up ventrilo_srv.ini you will need to change a few of the lines to suit the way you want to configure your server. As you can see from the screenshot I have simply changed the name, phonetic and admin password. The password I have used it just simply for demonstration purposes, I would suggest using a strong password with atleast 8-10 alphanumeric characters.
Next you will need to start Ventrilo, however you should note that the application only runs when your session is running. To avoid having to keep SSH active I recommend using screen, which will allow you to run Ventrilo from the background in a session. If you are unfamiliar with how to use screen, please refer to this page
Once you have loaded screen, enter the following command to start the server.
Next you will need to download the client from the website, which is used to chat and administer users. Once again you will need to visit the download page and download the client which is suitable for your operating system.
Once the client has been installed you will need to enter two pieces of information. First you will need to enter your username by clicking on the box next to the arrow. Then you will need to enter the IP of your server so that you can connect. You should not need to change your port or any other details, the default will be sufficient. If your server is running correctly a box should appear saying “MSG: Server is available. Press connect”.
Once you have logged into the Ventrilo server you will need to right click on your name, and then click on server admin followed by login. Once you have entered your password which you entered in the configuration file, you should now be able to see an “A” at the top next to the title, which means you are logged in as the administrator.
If you right click on your name and click server admin again, you will now notice that you can select more options. These options range from being able to kick users, edit user permissions and modify server settings. You can also create new rooms which can be used for communicating separately to other users, such as an administrator’s room.
To create an administrator’s room you will need to right click on the “Unixmen ventrilo” title and select channel admin followed by create. Setup of the channel is simple enough and I will leave it up to your digression on how you would prefer to set it up. One example can be seen below.
Joining the administrator’s room is simply a matter of double clicking the room and entering the channel password if necessary.
Finally to start chatting you will need to click setup, edit your sound card details accordingly and select a hot key for talking. I find that left control is the easiest to use.