Simple Ajax Chat – Add a Fast, Secure Chat Box


The simplest possible persistent chat solution!

Fully self-hosted: No 3rd-party account required 🙂

Simple Ajax Chat makes it easy for your visitors to chat with each other on your website. Simply add a shortcode to any post or page and done! Instant chat forum anywhere. The chat form is fully customizable with many options, so you can create the perfect chat box for your visitors.

Check out the Live Demo of Simple Ajax Chat »

New Pro version supports unlimited chats!

Simple Ajax Chat is fully self-hosted with NO 3rd-party service required. Many (if not all) of the other free chat plugins require registration and monthly service from a 3rd-party provider. With Simple Ajax Chat, there is no 3rd-party: WordPress is all that’s required. Own your chats!

Difference between SAC free and SAC Pro

The main difference between SAC free and SAC Pro? Easy:

  • SAC free supports 1 chat form
  • SAC Pro supports unlimited chat forms

Pro can do everything free can do and SO much more. Customize each chat form with unique features. SAC Pro is an all new plugin written with smarter, faster code and all the latest techniques. Get SAC Pro »

SAC Features

  • The simplest possible persistent chat
  • Fully self-hosted: No 3rd-party account required
  • Ajax goodness loads new chats without page refresh
  • Smart chat processing optimizes for performance
  • Works with all browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.)
  • Works with all mobile devices (iPhone, Android, etc.)
  • Display easily via shortcode or template tag
  • Display chat box in multiple locations
  • Regularly updated & “future proof”
  • Supports custom CSS styles
  • Strong anti-spam security
  • Clean HTML markup

More Features

  • Plug-&-play: no configuration required
  • Built-in control panel to edit and delete chats
  • Define your own list of banned words and phrases
  • Display chat messages in ascending or descending order
  • Display custom content before/after the chat form
  • Option to play sound alert for chat messages
  • Option to restrict chat to logged-in users
  • Option to restore default plugin settings
  • Option to enable browser notifications
  • Export all chat messages via CSV file
  • Supports emoticons and emojis 🙂

Customize Everything

  • Limit maximum number of chat messages
  • Limit maximum length of each chat message
  • Advanced customization via filter hooks
  • Option to use textarea for larger input field
  • Option to use logged-in username as the chat name
  • Option to enable/disable URL field for chat names
  • Load JavaScript only when chat box is displayed
  • Customize the update interval for Ajax requests
  • Customize the fade-in colors for new chats
  • Customize the fade-duration for new chats
  • Plus much more!

That’s a LOT of awesome features, but the Pro version has WAY more. Compare features (free vs. pro) »


This plugin collects voluntary user chat data (i.e., Name, Chat Message, and optional URL field). It also gives the administrator the option to collect or not collect user IP information. Aside from those two things, this plugin does not collect or store any user data. This plugin uses a few cookies for the chat functionality. It does not connect to any third-party locations. Minimal impact on privacy.


This plugin supports translation into any language »


Simple Ajax Chat is developed and maintained by Jeff Starr, 15-year WordPress developer and book author.

Support development

I develop and maintain this free plugin with love for the WordPress community. To show support, you can make a donation or purchase one of my books:

And/or purchase one of my premium WordPress plugins:

Links, tweets and likes also appreciated. Thank you! 🙂

Snimke zaslona

  • Simple Ajax Chat: Chat Box
  • Simple Ajax Chat: Plugin Settings (panels toggle open/closed)



  1. Upload the plugin to your blog and activate
  2. Visit the settings to configure your options

More info on installing WP plugins


Once the settings are configured, you can display the form anywhere using the shortcode or template tag.


Use this shortcode to display the chat box on a post or page:


Template Tag

Use this template tag to display the chat box anywhere in your theme template:

<?php if (function_exists('simple_ajax_chat')) simple_ajax_chat(); ?>

More chat forms and features

The free version of SAC supports one chat form that can be displayed anywhere. The Pro version supports unlimited chat forms and great features like Google reCaptcha, private chats, mute/ban users, and much more. Get SAC Pro »


To upgrade Simple Ajax Chat, remove the old version and replace with the new version. Or just click “Update” from the Plugins screen and let WordPress do it for you automatically.

Note: uninstalling the plugin from the WP Plugins screen results in the removal of all settings and chat messages from the WP database.

Restore Default Options

To restore default plugin options, either uninstall/reinstall the plugin, or visit the plugin settings > Restore Default Options.


Simple Ajax Chat cleans up after itself. All plugin settings and chat messages will be removed from your database when the plugin is uninstalled via the Plugins screen.

Stopping spam

This plugin works in two modes:

  • “Open Air” mode – anyone can chat
  • “Private” mode – only logged-in users can chat

“Private” mode stops all automated spam, but registered users may still send “spammy” chat messages. Likewise, the “Open Air” mode is super effective at blocking automated spam, but some manual spam may get through. As a general rule, the longer your chat forum is online, the more of a target it will be for spam.

Alternately/additionally you can use .htaccess to block spammers. It’s an easy, super-effective method for controlling access to your site.

Browser Notifications

SAC provides optional browser notifications. When enabled in the plugin settings, all of the notification stuff happens automatically, depending on your browser settings. For example, if your browser is set to deny all site notifications, then you won’t see any SAC notifications. Likewise, if your browser is configured to allow notifications (and they are enabled in the settings), then you will see the notifications display whenever you are visiting the chat box and someone leaves a message. For more infos, check out the documentation for your specific browser.

Other Notes

Some additional notes just FYI:

  • The chat markup includes sac-online class for online users
  • Includes template of all CSS hooks (located @ /resources/sac.css)
  • Timestamp for each chat message included in chat markup

Like the plugin?

If you like Simple Ajax Chat, please take a moment to give a 5-star rating. It helps to keep development and support going strong. Thank you!


How do I change the alert sound?

Open the directory /resources/audio/ and replace the files msg.mp3 and msg.ogg with your desired audio files. You will notice lots of alternate sound files included in that same directory. Simply rename any pair of files to replace the defaults.

Where can I find a complete list of CSS selectors?

Check out sac.css located in the resources directory.

Can we auto-delete chat messages on a set time interval?

Yes, please see this post at Auto-Clear Chats.

Does it work with mobile devices?

Yep, the chat plugin works great on iPhones, Android devices, and just about anything that supports JavaScript.. the functionality is achieved using Ajax.

Is it possible to whitelist SAC plugin files?

Yes, check out Simple Ajax Chat .htaccess whitelist and/or Whitelist POST access with .htaccess

How do I hide “Latest Message: X minutes ago”?

Add this CSS:

#sac-latest-message { display: none; }

You can add that to the plugin setting, “Custom CSS styles” or your theme styles, wherever. If adding via the plugin setting, make sure that the associated setting, “Enable custom styles” also is enabled.

How do I hide the Name, URL, etc. labels on the form?

Add this CSS:

#sac-form label { display: none; }

You can add that to the plugin setting, “Custom CSS styles” or your theme styles, wherever. If adding via the plugin setting, make sure that the associated setting, “Enable custom styles” also is enabled.

How to remove the “say it” button?

You can hide the “say it” submit button, so the user must press enter to submit chats. Add this CSS:

#sac-user-submit { display: none; }

You can add that to the plugin setting, “Custom CSS styles” or your theme styles, wherever. If adding via the plugin setting, make sure that the associated setting, “Enable custom styles” also is enabled.

The form is not displaying correctly, looks all messed up?

Simple Ajax Chat is designed to look great on any of the default WP themes and most other themes as well. Even so, every theme is different, and it’s impossible to test on the hundreds of thousands of themes that are available. So if the chat form is not looking awesome on your theme, it’s because your theme for whatever reason is applying its own particular styles. If this is the case, you can try disabling the plugin setting to “Enable custom styles”. If that doesn’t help, you can include your own custom CSS, or customize the plugin’s default styles. Alternately, you may include custom CSS via your theme’s stylesheet, and/or modify your theme’s CSS as needed to make things display as desired. Tip: to see how the chat form should look, check it out using any of the default WP themes.

The chat form is visible but new chats are not displayed?

If this is happening, and/or if you are receiving a “Failed opening required” error message, most likely your site’s wp-load.php file is not located in the usual default location (i.e., it has been moved to a custom location). If this is the case, you will need to edit the paths in /simple-ajax-chat-core.php (line 4) and /resources/sac.php (line 10). At some point I will be revamping the plugin so that this modification won’t be necessary.

How do I fix weird characters displayed in the chat box?

If you are seeing question marks or other weird characters or symbols in chat messages, you can try one of the following solutions:

  • Uninstall (delete) the plugin, and then re-install. Note that this technique resets all settings and deletes all chat messages.
  • Or, if you don’t want to lose any settings or chat messages, you can run the following SQL command: ALTER TABLE wp_ajax_chat CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;

Either of these techniques should resolve any weird character issues. Note that the SQL command assumes you are using the default database prefix, wp_. So make sure to edit that part of the command if you are using a custom database prefix.

How do I customize the login-required message?

By default, the login-required message is “You must be a registered user to participate in this chat.” To customize this message, check out this forum post.

Chat Box not working in certain browsers (e.g., Chrome)?

Certain plugins (e.g., Shield Security) may implement security headers that prevent SAC from working properly. To resolve this issue, visit the “HTTP Headers” tab and go to “Security Headers tab” (or similar depending on which plugin you are using). There you can set the “Referrer Policy” to “Same Origin” and then save changes. SAC immediately should start working properly, but you also may need to clear the browser cache and hard reload the page.

How to translate form inputs?

If the form inputs like “Submit” button are not showing translation. You can work around by adding the following jQuery snippet:

<script>jQuery(function() { jQuery('#submitchat').val('Whatever'); });</script>

That needs to be included in your theme after jQuery is loaded. Then change #submitchat to the ID of the form input. Change Whatever to whatever you want to display for the text.

How to show the date/time of each chat?

Add the following CSS to the plugin setting, “Custom CSS styles”:

ul#sac-messages li.sac-chat-message::before { content: "[ 'attr(data-time)' ]"; color: #777; }

After saving changes, that CSS will display the chat date/time next to each message, for example:

[ 2021-08-30,08:35:57 ] Chat User: Hello this is a chat message left in August of 2021.

How to display chat box and form in vertical fashion?

By default, the chat box and form are displayed side by side. Here is a quick tutorial to display them vertically, so the chat form is below the chat box. This is useful for optimizing SAC for limited space on the page.

Got a question?

Send any questions or feedback via my contact form


08. siječnja 2024.
Very good intention, but there should have been a little more choice of colors in the free version.
25. rujna 2023. 1 odgovor
This plugin is exactly what I was looking for. It works very well with my wordpress site. There is one caveat though! If it is installed on a public page on your website it displays posts very slowly. I'm pretty sure this is because their security has to work overtime trying to weed out chat submissions from internet BOTS trying to hack to your site. I figured out that it works perfectly if you have the page set as private, and require a password.
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If you like Simple Ajax Chat, please take a moment to give a 5-star rating. It helps to keep development and support going strong. Thank you!

New Pro version supports unlimited chats!


  • Fixes XSS bug with Name field
  • Tests on WordPress 6.4


  • Tightens security/validation of display options (Thank you WP Plugin Review Team)
  • Tests on WordPress 6.4


  • Improves /exports/ .htaccess rules
  • Updates default translation template
  • Updates custom banner notice
  • Tests on WordPress 6.4 (beta)


  • Improves support panel logic
  • Improves .htaccess directives
  • Improves plugin documentation
  • Adds custom notice on settings page
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 6.3 (beta)


  • Tweaks settings UI
  • Improves responsive styles
  • Improves logic for sac_i18n_init()
  • Improves logic for sac_require_wp_version()
  • Improves logic when calling get_current_screen()
  • Replaces some global variables with constants
  • Moves WP Resources panel to its own function
  • Removes SES Pro from WP Resources panel
  • Generates new translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 6.1 + 6.2 (beta)
  • Tests on PHP 8.1 and 8.2


  • Fixes bug with sessions and headers already sent
  • Improves compatibility with
  • Adds new action link on WP Plugins screen
  • Adds custom footer text to plugin settings
  • Improves plugin settings page details
  • Improves plugin documentation
  • Updates “Show Support” panel
  • Updates translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 6.1


  • Improves compatibility with (Thanks Thom @ Automattic)
  • Chat names must include at least one non-whitespace character
  • Chat names support multibyte characters (Thanks @nikita12345)
  • Chat messages must include at least one non-whitespace character
  • Improves anti-spam protection (Thanks @rlama)
  • Changes “User ID” to “Chat ID” in CSV export file
  • Adds nofollow attribute to chat and user links
  • Changes input type to url for user URL field
  • Removes unused audio files msg-snorts-default
  • Improves sanitization of user URL input
  • Adds info about SAC Pro on plugin page
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 6.1 (alpha)


  • Fixes several security issues (Thanks Vlad Ex.Mi)
  • Fixes security issue with exported data (Thanks Austin Turecekn)
  • Improves performance of SQL queries (Thanks Martin V.)
  • Improves resetting of default plugin options
  • Improves display of plugin settings page
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 6.0


  • Updates support panel
  • Improves plugin documentation
  • Improves loading of translations
  • Adds date/time to chats on settings page
  • Updates some links to external resources
  • Changes minimum required WP version to 4.6
  • Tests on WordPress 5.9


  • Adds several options for browser notifications
  • Removes rogue file from languages folder
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 5.8


  • Fixes PHP deprecated notice non-string needles
  • Fixes Uncaught TypeError on Android/Chrome
  • Removes deprecated .po translation file
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 5.7


  • Fixes bug with chat not working on mobile browsers
  • Tests on WordPress 5.6


  • Adds browser notifications (Thanks @benbois)
  • Adds filter hook sac_textarea_atts
  • Improves the chat processing script
  • Increases maximum chat message size in database
  • Fixes bug where chat fails w/ blank referrer
  • Fixes bug with parentheses in chat username
  • Fixes some missing translation strings
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on PHP 7.4 and 8.0
  • Tests on WordPress 5.6


  • Adds filters sac_chat_url, sac_chat_message (Thank you Luca)
  • Updates sets of nonce secret keys
  • Refines plugin setting page styles
  • Refines readme/documentation
  • Tests on WordPress 5.5


  • Fixes bug with Site Health loopback request
  • Fixes bug with targeted loading
  • Fixes bug with Ajax requests and error
  • Fixes bug with invalid chat user names
  • Improves security of form cookies
  • Tests on WordPress 5.4


  • Updates styles for plugin settings page
  • Tests on WordPress 5.3


  • Fixes PHP Warning: stristr(): Empty needle warning
  • Tests on WordPress 5.3 (alpha)


  • Improves loading of scripts and core files
  • Improves logic of sac_enqueue_scripts()
  • Updates some links to https
  • Tests on WordPress 5.3 (alpha)


  • Bumps minimum PHP version to 5.6.20
  • Tweaks plugin settings screen content
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 5.2


  • Updates sac_plugin_action_links()
  • Adds check for admin user for settings shortcut link
  • Tweaks plugin settings screen UI
  • Generates new default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 5.1 and 5.2 (alpha)


  • Tests on WordPress 5.1


  • Adds homepage link to Plugins screen
  • Updates default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress 5.0


  • Fixes PHP Deprecated notice, “The each() function is deprecated”
  • Further tests on WP versions 4.9 and 5.0 (alpha)


  • Refines some details on the plugin settings page
  • Replaces wp_filter_nohtml_kses with wp_strip_all_tags for custom CSS
  • Adds rel="noopener noreferrer" to all blank-target links
  • Updates GDPR blurb and donate link
  • Further tests on WP versions 4.9 and 5.0 (alpha)


  • Adds option to disable collection of IP address information
  • Adds rel="noopener noreferrer" to relevant _blank target links
  • Increases max number of characters per chat (from 200 to 1000)
  • Escapes some attributes and markup in the plugin settings
  • Bugfix: Display Mode should not apply to logged-in users
  • Removes text shadows and borders on chat-date tooltips
  • Updates Show Support panel
  • Tweaks settings page UI
  • Generates new translation template
  • Updates plugin image files
  • Tests on WordPress 5.0 (alpha)


  • Response code changed to 200 for “JavaScript not enabled” errors
  • Improves functionality of simple-ajax-chat-core.php


  • To help stop spam on public chat forums, SAC now requires JavaScript
  • Tests on WordPress 4.9


  • Removes extra manage_options check for settings validation
  • Tests on WordPress 4.9


  • Adds further support for customizing logged username
  • Fixes bug with non-JavaScript chat submission
  • Tests on WordPress 4.9


  • Adds “Export Chats” feature via plugin settings screen
  • Adds tooltips to display the date/time of chat messages
  • Adds “Display Mode” setting to display the chat messages as “read-only”
  • Changes id attribute for login-required message: #sac-panel is now #sac-output
  • Adds filter hooks, sac_chat_time, sac_time_since, sac_logged_username
  • Updates default CSS for the setting, “Custom CSS styles”
  • Renames span class from name to sac-chat-name in chat list
  • Adds extra manage_options capability check to modify settings
  • Replaces target="_blank" attributes with rel="external"
  • Changes default URL value from http:// to https://
  • Improves SAC database creation functionality
  • Streamlines Support panel in plugin settings
  • Tests on WordPress 4.9


  • Adds filter hook sac_require_login_message
  • Fixes HTML for chat messages on plugin settings page
  • Tests on WordPress 4.9 (alpha)


  • Tweaked readme.txt 🙂


  • Updates alert panel functionality
  • Removes colons : from chat form labels
  • Adds another layer of security against spam
  • Tweaks styles on plugin settings page
  • Adds class sac-online to chat messages of online users
  • Removes extraneous div when user is logged out and login is required
  • Improves styles for logged out users when login is required
  • Updates database creation script
  • Refines display of settings panels
  • Updates show support panel in plugin settings
  • Replaces global $wp_version with get_bloginfo('version')
  • Fixes some incorrect translation domains
  • Generates new default translation template
  • Tests on WordPress version 4.8


  • Fixed session already started notice
  • Fixed call to undefined function error
  • Relocated session_unset() function
  • Added function sac_is_session_started()
  • Improved security of session cookies
  • Updated plugin author URL
  • Changed stable tag from trunk to latest version
  • Refactored add_sac_links() function
  • Updated URL for rate this plugin links
  • Improved default style for abbr tags
  • Regenerated default language template
  • Tests on WordPress version 4.7 (beta)


  • Streamlined and optimized plugin settings page
  • Replaced _e() with esc_html_e() or esc_attr_e()
  • Replaced __() with esc_html__() or esc_attr__()
  • Added plugin icons and larger banner image
  • Renamed text-domain from “sac” to “simple-ajax-chat”
  • Removed local translations in favor of GlotPress
  • Added sixty-minute interval for auto-clearing chats
  • Fixed bug with targeted URLs including parameters
  • Added sac_filter_user_url hook to enable filtering of user URL
  • Added more attributes to allowed tags for custom content
  • Renamed sac_process_chat_action to sac_process_chat
  • Removed sac_process_chat_filter hook
  • Added sac_process_chat_name filter hook
  • Added sac_process_chat_text filter hook
  • Added sac_process_chat_url filter hook
  • Generated new translation template
  • Improved translation support
  • Tested on WordPress 4.6


Important! Two plugin files have changed names in this version. So DEACTIVATE the plugin BEFORE performing the update. Then after upgrading, reactivate the plugin and you’re good to go.

  • Refactored plugin JavaScript for better performance
  • Swapped names of core plugin and chat process files