FreeScout is an open-source and self-hosted application cloned from both HelpScout. It also provides a helpscout login feature. Even though this application is a clone, it was developed from scratch with no outside codes and had no copyright issues with neither Help Scout nor Zendesk.
The goal of developing this open source help desk written in PHP+ (Laravel framework) was to create an app that allows users to enjoy the full benefits of Zendesk and Help Scout without giving up their privacy or getting entangled in services that they cannot control.
Hence, the result is a product that is powerful enough to handle shared mailbox, email management, and analytics while staying lightweight enough to not place a load on servers and browsers.
Features of FreeScout
As an open-source application, FreeScout helps to provide professional customer support and ticketing services.
Aside from this, it also comes with other arrays of features, including the following:
- It has a mobile application that is 100% mobile-friendly
- It comes with a multilingual option, including English, German, French, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch.
- It allows for seamless email integration and web installation
- It also allows for phone conversations that can be quickly followed. Conversations can be merged, starred, moved between mailboxes, forwarded, or sent to multiple recipients at once
- There is an option for push notification and auto-replies. Replies can also be saved with even the feature to rate satisfaction
- It has simple email commands, and open tracking system, with flexible notifications for user agents
Mobile and Web Versions
FreeScout solutions usually have the same modules and functionalities for both web and phone versions, and both administrators and support agents can efficiently operate using mobile apps.
Requirements for installation or shared hosting include Nginx/Apache/IIS, PHP 7.1 – 8.x, and MySQL 5.0+/MariaDB 5.0+/PostgreSQL.
How to Install
Before you can download, install, and deploy this open-source help desk, you would need to first install and configure the requirements listed above, depending on which of them you decide to use.
However, once you have the requirements in place, you can then install the application.
The two methods of installation include using a web installer and manual installation. Using a web installer, you do not need to create a .env file manually. You only need to open the web installer and follow all the instructions.
For the most part, the installation wizard will guide you through the steps using the process below:
- First, it would check to confirm PHP extensions
- Then check for folders permissions
- Next, it will choose the type of database, whether MySQL or PostgreSQL, before entering database details
- Lastly, you will choose application time zone and admin user
On the other hand, the manual installation method is mostly for advanced users who can comfortably deploy and use the SSH console. But if you still decide to go ahead with it, below are the processes to use:
- Copy the .env and make all the necessary adjustments in the file
- Generate APP_KEY needed in the file above
- Clear cache and click “apply” on .env file changes
- Create a symbolic link that connects “public/storage” to “storage/app/public”
- Create the tables
- Create the admin user
FreeScout is an open source help desk with a solid and robust build. The product can be quickly installed and deployed and is popular amongst many agencies, especially those that take customer support tickets.
Even though it cost a little to set up and maintain, many users agree that the value it provides is more significant than what is attainable with its high-priced, closed-source alternatives.