Matrix and Element Homeserver questions

Hi, I installed the Matrix Synapse, and Element app. My goal is to convince my friends to migrate our WhatsApp and Discord communities to this setup. Now I have a few questions…
First, instructions on the app store say to use:

(http://umbrel.local:8008 or http://<synapse-tor-hidden-service-url).

when directing Element to your homeserver. The former works, and I was able to create an account and login BUT The latter (http://synapse-tor-hidden-service-url) returns an error of

Homeserver URL does not appear to be a valid Matrix Homeserver

When searching their githubs for advice on Tor addresses, I returned nothing. As I imagined this would be the way to access my element instance remotely, what should be done? Editpeople are reporting that this works using web browser version of element through Tor Browser! Nice.

It appears when testing federation of my Synapse instance, it returns a SRV records error. This would explain why I can not connect to any groups or connect to anyone outside my homeserver. How do I fix this? I’d like to be able to join groups :slight_smile:

It sounds like this might be riding up against whatever the synapse domain is set to and my DNS settings but I am not sure how to change that via umbrel. **** EDIT**** this sounded fun so I took the weekend to just build a separate synapse server and run element on it. In that I have learned much and the DNS stuff I was way off and is for directing a purchased domain towards the public IP of your server. Not really relevant here.

Any advice greatly appreciated!


mine got stuck making the keys in element. not sure if its a firewall setting but it doesnt look like im blocking anything. looks like you got further than I. looks like someone could make a video on each of the new apps on how to do it once they get figured out


Hey Joe, what happens when you just try to open the matrix synapse instance from your umbrel apps page? Does it say “Synapse is running”?


yes, it says “it works synapse is running”

what works: through Tor Browser (iphone: Onion Browser).
homeserver: http://yourhomeserver.onion

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I’ve had no luck from an android phone using Element. I can’t connect to my homeserver http://myhomeserver.onion or http://myhomeserver.onion:PORT_NUMBER

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me too - can’t connect iphone using Element app :thinking:

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How do I even find my “synapse-tor-hidden-service-url”? I can get onto my homeserver locally using Element installed on my Umbrel, but have no idea how to connect to it through any other device.

Tor Browser → yourumbrelremoteacess.onion (shown in umbrel settings tor!) → log-in → launch Element from your umbrel apps ->see your “synapse-tor-hidden-service-url” in status bar from tor browser…

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Thanks Olli! I found that, and I am trying to run the Element Android app with Orbot in VPN mode. Still doesn’t want to find my homeserver address. I can log into Element’s webapp via tor browser just fine, so I know I have the right url.

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I just tried Orbot in full vpn mode and now I get a new error. “No network. Please check your internet connection”
I also tried using http://myhomeserverurl, http://myhomeserverul:8008. No luck.
Without Orbot I get “Cannot reach a homeserver at this URL, please check it”

I took the weekend and created a separate server to experiment with all this. Very fun, but as I am very new to all this there was a LOT for me learn. I got the whatsapp bridge working in this separate server, but I’m not sure I’m ready to poke around my umbrel node to get all that ironed out. Maybe once I feel stronger with all this stuff.

Check the permissions available to the Element app. I had the same issue but it was resolved when I enabled all the permission available for the Element app in the android settings.

Thanks for the reply. I just gave the app all available permissions. Still no luck. If it works for you, can you list the steps. Are you running Orbot or something else, prior to starting element? Are you using an http://yourserverurl.onion:port_number or no port, or https vs http?

Http://synapse_tor_address.onion <- how I got this is I logged into the Umbrel UI and copied the tor address. It has some stuff at the end /matrix blah blah, delete that so you have just the .onion at the end. Then I enabled the element app in Orbot. Connect Orbot to the TOR network by clicking start and make sure you turn on VPN mode. After that I was able to have Element connect. Now I just need to figure out what to do with it :slight_smile:

were you able to connect to other matrix domains?

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Are you saying there is a Synapse Tor address? The only Tor address I see is in settings, but that’s for my Node. When I launch the Synapse App, it’s referencing my local http://local_ip:port/_matrix/static. Everything else makes sense (thx for details on Orbot).

Yes, each app on the umbrel has its own Tor address. Login to umbrel on a Tor browser and open the Synapse app. You will note the address the app opens in is not the same as your umbrel’s address.

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Cool. I’m able to connect to my server from Android Element app. Thx for the help.

With selfhosted matrix behind tor, you can’t communicate/join rooms on I have Embassy node with selfhosted matrix and manage it to work. I’m in few rooms which start9labs devs created and it’s working. I have created new matrix account on Umbrel. I can’t join these rooms, I can’t send messages between these two accounts. Was anybody successful using matrix on umbrel?