If you are running an organization which builds products then help desk software is inevitable. Every product has issues and every customer will find a new one for you. This doesn’t mean your development team or testing team missed them, it just means your end users have a different perception.

When a user calls up and reports an issue you need to record it and take action on it and provide a resolution or workaround for the user. Can you imagine what would happen if you don’t record it properly? Chaos, your product reputation goes down the sink.

In short, you need a system to organize issues and feedback then help desk software is your best companion.

Especially if you are a start-up, you may not be able to spend more bucks on products like these and that’s why there are free help desk software’s available on the web which you can make use of and in return you could probably buy these generous folks a cup of coffee too.

Some of these software’s work under different license models and i have tried my best to pick only the free ones over here, but still i request you to validate them before you use. If you happen to know or you are currently using a better “free” help desk software drop a note and I will add it to the list.

1) RT – Help Desk Software

Help Desk Software

  • RT the request tracker not only helps you to interact from your mobile or desktop but also via email.
  • RT is ready to be connected to systems like Nagios, MediaWiki and Subversion.
  • It is mobile friendly and works seamlessly on Android & iPhone devices.
  • PGP support for outgoing and incoming emails.
  • Support for tracking Service Level Agreements and building a knowledge base.
  • Dashboards and relationship graphs for better analysis.

2) MantisBT

The Bug Tracker

  • System Requirements – Operating System: Supports and runs on Windows, MacOS, OS/2, Linux, Solaris and the BSDs // Web server: Microsoft IIS or Apache // Database: MySQL (recommended), PostgreSQL, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server databases.
  • Once you have installed remove the admin folder from the root and also change the default user administrator (password: root)
  • You can add Projects, create users, add tags, custom fields etc.
  • You can also create advanced filters to search issues.
  • MantisBT will suit perfectly for an IT development project since it is a bug tracker and uses the fields like Steps to reproduce, and Severity which you can find when you report an issue, refer Report Issue Page.

3) Free Help Desk Software

Admin Settings Page

  • Free Help Desk Software requires PHP 5.3 + and MySQL 5+ and the installation file size is around 1 MB only.
  • Once you have copied all the files into the server, create a database called helpdesk in your MySQL server and open the site.sql file from the downloaded zip file content and run it against your database, this will create the required tables in your database.
  • Next rename the fhd_config_sample.php to fhd_config.php and enter the database details. You are now good to run the installation.
  • Once installed use the default username, which is admin and password is test, to login into the admin dashboard.
  • Settings like using captcha with registration, admin approval for registered users, login attempts, etc. can be configured in the fhd_config.php file.
  • Just like any help desk software this too has the ability to create a Ticket, Search existing Tickets, create users etc.
  • You can add Departments, Request Types (Query, Request, and Bug) and Device Type for which the ticket is being created.
  • Overall it’s a light-weight software with minimal capabilities.

4) osTicket

Support Ticket System

There are two editions available – self-hosted which is completely free and the cloud hosted which requires you to pay, which you could try for 30 days if you want.

You can download the free software by providing your name and email address.The zip file size is around 6.84 MB.

System Requirements: You must have PHP v5.3 or greater and MySQLi extension for PHP available in order to install osticket.

Download and extract the zip file.

Upload the files from the upload folder to your server and rename the ost-sampleconfig.php under include folder to ost-config.php. Also create an empty database in MySQL and provide the same during your installation and you should have your help desk system up and running without any issues.

Features:

  • You can create offline page, landing page and a thank you page for your users.
  • You can set default ticket options like default status of the ticket, ticket number format, enable CAPTCHA which is turned off by default, etc.
  • You can specify Agent Authentication Settings like password expiration policy, lock-out enforcement during failed login attempts, Agent Session timeout.
  • Alerts can be created at various levels like new ticket, New Message, Internal Note, Ticket assignment, ticket transfer, overdue ticket and system alerts.
  • Create SLA’s and easily track a ticket that doesn’t meet them.
  • You can create Ticket Filters which will help you to route your incoming tickets appropriately.
  • You can create Email templates (Agent Email Templates, End-User Email Templates) and use them for your communication purposes.
  • You can list emails in your banned list to automatically reject them.
  • You can add one or more agents and group them together under Teams. You can define an Agent’s permission using Agent Groups.
  • Finally the dashboard will give you the detailed statistics of your Ticket Activity which you can get for a specific time range.

5) Hesk

Hesk Dashboard

If you are looking for very simple help desk software then Hesk is the right choice for you. The installation file size is just 795 KB.

Hesk system requirements are PHP 5.3.0 and above, MySQL 5.0.7 and above.

Once you have downloaded the zip file, locate the installation guide under /docs/step-by-step-guide.html which is pretty neat and perfect.

Features:

  • You can create users and provide either Administrator permission or Staff permission.
  • You can create categories, set priority for a category and assign tickets to them.
  • You can create canned responses.
  • You can also create a Knowledgebase for the FAQs that could your end users.
  • You can create reports for daily and monthly basis. Reports can also be generated per user or per category basis.
  • You can also create custom fields to collect additional information from your customers.

Other Help Desk Software’s

I didn’t try these below software’s but thought you might want to take a look:

  1. https://getbrimir.com/ – This needs Ruby on Rails
  2. http://www.troubleticketexpress.com/download.html – Looks simple and neat.
  3. https://www.otrs.com/download-open-source-help-desk-software-otrs-free/ – It needs to be setup as a separate server, will try and write more about it when i get time.
  4. http://www.spiceworks.com/free-help-desk-software/ – You need to register in order to download and i am very lazy to do that, if you have tried let me know how it went.
  5. http://www.eticketsupport.com/ – Last updated on 2008, if it works for you then i am happy :-)
  6. http://slick-ticket.com/ – Looks promising but didn’t try it.
  7. http://liberum.org/ – requires IIS, ASP, SQL Server.