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How to decide what modules to use? How to configure FreeSWITCH™? 

FreeSWITCH™ has a modular design. This design allows it to be extended without breaking functionality or requiring massive recoding efforts. Each module provides specific functionality and often commands that are related are grouped into one module. You will need to enable the modules that you desire, based on their function. By default FreeSWITCH™ comes with a good set of modules loaded, to enable most basic functionality. Read up on the Default Configuration for more information on the default configuration itself. See also Before You Start for some good information to consider before putting a system into production.

Because FreeSWITCH™ is developed on Debian linux the developer team has a great deal of expertise with linux which is expressed in this page.


 Click here to expand Table of Contents



The following sections will show you each step that you will have to take to build a functional system.


If you are going to route traffic across your network, you need to ensure that you do not have a firewall blocking traffic on the specified network paths. Commonly firewalls are installed at egress points, where your local network connects to the internet. This is not always the case in some corporate environments. If you are not responsible for your network, you may wish to contact the group or individuals who are responsible for it.

Information they may need to enable traffic would include the port numbers. Various protocols use different ports for different things. Some you need bi-directional connectivity, some you only need outbound. Depending on your call scenario you may only need to allow connections that are initiated by your system. If you have any problems with protocols not working, it is recommended that you disable your firewall to the FreeSWITCH™ system, place a test call, and see if the problem persists. A misconfigured firewall is responsible for many common problems.

For more information, including the ports which need to be configured, see the Firewall page.

Configuration Files

FreeSWITCH™ configuration data is stored in XML format. These files are located in the conf directory under the FreeSWITCH™ install directory. By default on a Unix-like system this will be /usr/local/freeswitch/conf. There are preprocessor markup tags that tell the configuration parser to perform tasks, such as including other files, which are carried out before the XML is parsed. It might be worth looking at Default_Configuration_Overview which describes some of the initial default settings. It may be useful to adjust some of them. There are a large number of different configuration files used by FreeSWITCH and fully understanding how they all fit together can take some time.


autoload_configsThese configuration files are loaded automatically into FreeSWITCH. They contain configuration information for almost all core modules.
dialplanThis is the place where you setup your dialplan. There are some examples of how to configure your dialplan included.
directoryThe directory contains all users that may register and use freeswitch as their PBX.
jingle_profilesJingle is the mod that FS uses to handle XMPP. Profiles tell FS how to use the protocol. Each profile has its own ip port.
langTells FS how to say currency etc in different languages
mrcp_profilesMRCP is used to allow FreeSWITCH to use speech recognition and TTS
sip_profilesTells FS how to talk sip. Each profile has it's own port.

Managing your personal configuration files

You should consider using some version control system for managing the FreeSWITCH™ configuration files. The obvious advantage of this is being able easily to keep track of changes you made to the configuration and being able to easily switch back to some old configuration. Furthermore it would be possible to merge changes from the official git source tree configuration into your own configuration tree.

One versioning control system to consider is git. It is used to manage the official FreeSWITCH™ source tree, too. Though this would not oblige you to use it for your configuration files, it is a smart idea to do so, because once you are familiar with git, you have the skills even to manage the FreeSWITCH™ source tree with it.

To set up your own personal git repository, use this command sequence:

cd freeswitch/conf
git init
git add .
git commit -m "Initial commit."

To view the git log just use command:

git log

After you have edited your configuration, to see the changes made use

git diff

Unfortunately it is not so easy to have git merge the conf subdirectory in the original source tree of FreeSWITCH™ into your running conf directory. There are some approaches for this where the most promising would be to use the git subtree script with a complicated setup.

A workaround would be to create a complete clone of the FreeSWITCH™ git source tree and use the conf directory of the clone as your personal conf while compiling FreeSWITCH™ in a complete other clone of the git source directory tree. You feel the overhead.


This guide aims to explain the default configuration layout and how you configure it to your liking. Read up on the default config for more information.

This layout is in no way required, you can minimize the configuration to just one file if needed. The main config file is called freeswitch.xml, you don't need to change it in any way, it just loads all other config files.


vars.xml is used to define a couple of variables that are used system wide. NOTICE you can not comment these X-PRE-PROCESS lines out. They will still be active in an XML comment.

See Config_vars.xml for example.

In the default configuration the vars.xml file is used to define some preprocessor variables. In a first time setup you will most likely want to set:

  <X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="outbound_caller_name=FreeSWITCH"/>
  <X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="outbound_caller_id=8777423583"/>
  <X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="call_debug=false"/>

directives for use in other portions of the configuration.

The default port of FreeSWITCH is also defined in:

<param name="sip_port" value="5060" />

Security advice

Be careful with your passwords. A good idea is to use preprocessor variables for all your passwords and define them all in a user only readable/writable file FS/conf/PASSWORDS.xml (FreeSWITCH config top level directory). As a benefit you will have a nice reference file for all your passwords.

To have these passwords read, you need to put the following line at the bottom of FS/conf/vars.xml:

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="include" data="PASSWORDS.xml"/>

Then you define the loads of password like this:

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="default_password=669933"/>

In this example, the default_password is defined in FS/vars.xml, but redefined at the end where we include the PASSWORDS.xml file containing another default_password. The redefinition is done so that the FS/conf/vars.xml can even be shared without the password being compromised.

Don't forget to chmod your FS/conf/PASSWORDS.xml:

chmod 600 PASSWORDS.xml

You should define all your passwords with a fixed scheme like this:

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="PASSWORD_default_vm=448899"/>
<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="PASSWORD_sipgate_939393=113388"/>

Notice the default passwords go first, they are the first thing to consider changing / abolishing.

You can use your password variables in the dial plan like this (note the double "$"):


<param name="password" value="$${PASSWORD_default_vm}"/>


So that you really understand how things are to be done, I will now show you my real life PASSWORDS.xml file from my main 24/7 FreeSWITCH installation here:

Just kidding! ;-)


autoload_configs is a directory where a lot of the freeswitch configuration resides. This directory is located in conf/autoload_configs. The default freeswitch.xml preprocesses XML files matched by the glob conf/autoload_configs/*.xml


See modules.conf.xml for an example of modules.conf.xml. 
modules.conf.xml tells freeswitch which modules to load. There are certain modules required for operation so you should not edit this file unless you know that you wish to add or remove a specific module


mod_sofia is used to create SIP endpoints in FreeSWITCH. If you are familiar with Asterisk, each SIP Profile in mod_sofia is similar to chan_sip in Asterisk, though much more powerful.

The sofia.conf.xml file contains a "X-PRE-PROCESS" directive that includes other XML files (within, by default, conf/sip_profiles/) that define one or more "SIP Profiles". A SIP Profile is a SIP UA (User Agent or an endpoint), which communicates with other SIP endpoints.

In practical terms, files that talk to your service provider should go under conf/sip_profiles/external/

named perhaps,

A "User Agent" ("UA") is an application used for running a certain network protocol. A Sofia User Agent uses the SIP protocol.

See Sofia_Configuration_Files for an example sofia.conf.xml.

See also SIP Network Elements on wikipedia.

SIP Profiles

The SIP Profiles in FreeSWITCH can lead to confusion. Unlike other softswitches (like Asterisk), FreeSWITCH allows you to handle media (calls, video, etc.) differently based on where the equipment is attached to your network. This assists with security and offers added functionality.

SIP Profiles allow you to define paths to devices or carriers that may live inside or outside your network. A FreeSWITCH profile is defined as a unique combination of i.p. address and port number. You could have SIP profiles for your internal network, or multiple profiles for each subnet of your internal network, or even completely different protocols like IPv6 as profile definitions. This helps FreeSWITCH identify how to route different types of calls when necessary, and also gives you the flexibility to tailor your dialplans based on the source or destination of a call.

In the Vanilla example configuration there are two default categories for where a SIP Profile can reside, named "internal" and "external", each serving a broad, general purpose. External SIP profile is generally used to communicate with your PSTN gateway or "SIP trunk" service provider, such as FlowRoute, CallCentric, or similar company providing telephony service via SIP to you. The Internal sip_profile is used to communicate with devices on your local network that register with FS.

The profile names "internal" and "external" are purely arbitrary and only provided as examples. You can name your profiles anything that makes it easier to manage your FreeSWITCH installation. This is particularly useful in multi-tenant and toll switch configurations to identify and control different users groups and carriers. Small test installations might only need a single profile, such as internal.xml in the Vanilla example. Adjust to your needs and experiment.



File Location: conf/sip_profiles/internal.xml

This profile typically refers to devices that reside on your internal network. Those devices will inherit all configuration options in the internal profile you setup. This is typically your internal phones with extensions. By default, these devices must use SIP authentication.

The Internal (formerly called "default") SIP profile is configured to listen on the primary IP address of the machine (unless you set $${domain} to something else in vars.xml) on port 5060 (the default SIP port). The internal SIP profile authenticates calls and is not suitable for configuring trunks to providers or outside phones, in most cases. Use the External profile for configuring trunks to providers or outside phones.

The Internal profile should be used if you intend to handle registration for sip clients (i.e., a SIP registrar). You may wish to skip to the section Getting_Started_Guide#directory to configure additional sip clients.

Authenticated users of this profile are normally set (via the variable user_context) to use the dialplan defined in the default context.

See Config_default.xml


File Location: conf/sip_profiles/external.xml

This profile generally refers to devices or gateways that reside outside of your network. Generally this is where you define your external trunks/VoIP carriers/etc. Again, those devices will inherit all configuration options in the external profile you setup.

The External (formerly "outbound") profile handles outbound registrations to a SIP provider. The SIP provider sends calls to you, and you send calls to your provider, through the external profile. The external profile allows anonymous calling, which is required as your provider will never authenticate with you to send you a call. 

In order to secure your FreeSWITCH it is wise to link your outbound profile to a dialplan context other than 'default', which in the default configuration is the where authenticated users are placed.

The default port for external connections is 5080. This means that if you are trying to connect a remote phone to your FreeSWITCH box, you must set it to connect on port 5080, or change your ports around. As an example, in X-Lite, if you are connecting to FS from the outside, set your server as "".

The dialplan for this profile (per-default) is defined in the public context

Other Profile Concepts

Ideas for other SIP profiles you might end up building:

  • Routing IPv6
  • Having multiple profiles for different networks or subnets
  • Having multiple profiles for different remote hosts/endpoints (remote offices, etc.)


See Config_directory.xml for a sample configuration.
The directory holds authentication credentials for SIP endpoints that will register to FreeSWITCH (most commonly users). The directory configuration default is configured to process the glob conf/directory/default/*.xml by the configuration included in freeswitch.xml conf/directory/*.xml.
This may seem confusing, but the default will work in most cases. Feel free to look at the examples in: conf/directory/

User Directory Configuration

See Config_1000.xml for a simple (1000.xml) configuration of a user (endpoint) which will register to FreeSWITCH.


The FreeSWITCH dialplan is a full-featured, XML-based call-routing mechanism. (There also exists support for Asterisk-like dialplans as well as really fancy real-time and/or back-end database-driven dialplans).

The best place to get started in learning about the FreeSWITCH dialplan is the Dialplan page here on the wiki. It discusses the basics of the FreeSWITCH dialplan. If you need an XML primer, check out the information on the Basic_XML page which will get you pointed in the right direction. There are two other important resources for you to learn more about the dialplan:

It is recommended that you compile FreeSWITCH with the default configuration and make sure it works before you start making customizations. Note that the default config files, including the default.xml dialplan, are often updated.

It makes sense to put your custom dialplan entries into the extensions subdirectory under conf/dialplan. You may create one or more XML files in this subdirectory, all of which will be included in the dialplan thanks to an "include" directive in the default.xml file. By keeping your customized extensions separate from default.xml you will be able to update default.xml without having to re-enter your custom extensions.

Gateway Configuration

See SIP Provider Examples for sample gateway configurations for different providers. 

Outbound registrations to providers can also be made in the outbound profile. See Clarification:gateways for a clarification

Dialing Out Via Gateway

Add the following included dialplan snippet us11cc.xml (in $FS/conf/dialplan/default/us11cc.xml) for 11 digit dialing (typical in the U.S.) via your newly created gateway configuration above. Remember: the default configuration provided by FreeSWITCH does not include a dialplan rule for outbound calls via the gateway you've defined so it does not know how to route calls to your new gateway. You will need to add something similar to the following.


The above snippet will be appended into $FS/conf/dialplan/default.xml where the statement

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="include" data="default/*.xml"/>

appears. That command will traverse the dialplan directory and the default/ sub-directory and load all properly formatted .xml files that it finds. The <include> tags in the snippet make this eligible for inclusion in the parent default.xml dialplan.

Note that the condition statement tests the destination_number, which is an internal FS variable, against the template beginning with the digit 9, then the digit 1, then 10 more digits following. But the parenthesis only enclose the 1+10 digits which comprise the dialed digits you will send to the carrier, in this case CallCentric. Leading with digit 9 allows you to have any range of extensions in the 1xxx block without worrying about code collision and is a customary prefix digit for outward dialing in many PBX configurations, so it is familiar. The channel variable $1 will be assigned the contents enclosed by the parenthesis, so that later you can use $1 in the bridge command to form your dial string.

The log application will print whatever text and variables follow and post it at the INFO log level, equivalent to loglevel=6 so that you may see the destination number printed on the fs_cli or console.

Receiving An Inbound Call From Gateway

Add the following to public.xml (in $FS/conf/dialplan) to receive inbound calls via your newly created gateway. Make sure to change the White House public phone number to your actual inbound DID from your provider. This will transfer all inbound calls to extension 1000 in the context named "default". Remember, you can have multiple endpoints register to one account ( See Multiple Registrations ). You will need to add something similar to the following for each DID number to transfer to the desired FS extension. Please note that this will only transfer the incoming DID call to the dialplan serving the default context; you will also need to ensure that the extension number specified here exists in the default dialplan to bridge with an endpoint/user if that is your desire (See Dialplan_XML#Example_9 ).


If you want users to register with something other than the number that will reach them, then contact mapping is for you.

Each provider or carrier works differently. We have numerous examples of carrier configurations under Interop, but many require updating. If you have updated configurations, please post them in the blog comments at the bottom of the Interop -> Providers page for your carrier. Thanks.

Running FreeSWITCH

Starting FreeSWITCH™ is done from the command-line. The location of the executable varies depending on your system. If you are starting FreeSWITCH™ for testing or development, note the many command-line switches.

Starting in Unix-based Systems

Now that you have compiled and configured FreeSWITCH™ its time to place a test call to ensure that everything is working so far. To start FreeSWITCH™ change to the bin directory under the FreeSWITCH™ installation directory, and run FreeSWITCH™. Typically this is:

cd /usr/local/freeswitch/bin

Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS Startup Scripts:

cp build/freeswitch.init.redhat /etc/init.d/freeswitch
chmod 755 /etc/init.d/freeswitch

Starting in Windows-based Systems

The Visual Studio project runs via an executable located under the debug or release folder of your project's directory tree (depending on how your project was built). On a debug build of the Windows system start FreeSWITCH™ as follows:


The FreeSWITCH™ console will be available after successful loading of the application.

Command Line Parameters

These are the optional arguments you can pass to freeswitch as displayed by:

freeswitch -help



Shutting Down FreeSWITCH

To exit the FreeSWITCH console, simply type 'shutdown' or '...' (three dots). If you do not wish to shutdown FreeSWITCH when logging out, start the process inside of a "screen" session; In Windows, FreeSWITCH™ may be started as a service. It is not recommended that you start FreeSWITCH™ as a service until you are certain your configuration is valid. Also, if started from a remote login session (i.e. ssh) it is not advised to terminate the connection with FreeSWITCH left in the foreground. Use the automated startup method for your operating system.

Test Calls

Test your new FreeSWITCH™ installation by configuring a pair of SIP phones and to place test calls and try out features in the default dialplan. If you're already familiar with Asterisk, you could also start out by Connecting Freeswitch And Asterisk

Register two phones to FreeSWITCH with two different extension numbers.

Let's assume for this example that you have your SIP phones registered as extensions 1000 and 1001.

The default config provides user directory files for extension numbers 1000 through 1019 with a registration password of 1234; the default voice-mail password is the same number as the extension, e.g. Extension 1000 has its voice-mail password set to 1000

Sample softphone configurations can be seen on the Softphones page.

Once you've done that, you can try out a bunch of features already setup in the test dialplan.

Basic Calling

  • Call between 1000 and 1001 by dialing the respective extension.
  • Call 4000 to login to your voicemail box.
  • 870 - Redial last called # from this extension.
  • *69 - Call back the last person to call this extension.
  • 8+[ext] - Place an intercom call to extension [ext]. If no answer, it does not go to voicemail but just keeps ringing. Some phones have additional functionality for intercom calls.

Other Tests

  • 9192 - Info test (prints information to the command line interface).
  • 9193 - Video record test (records video to /tmp/testrecord.fsv)
  • 9194 - Video playback test (plays video from /tmp/testrecord.fsv)
  • 9195 - Echo test (5-second delay before returning echo).
  • 9196 - Echo test (real-time).
  • 9197 - Play milliwatt test tone.
  • 9198 - Tetris, synthesized via tone streaming.
  • 9664 - Test Music On Hold out (if you installed sound files).

Advanced Calling Features

  • 88+[ext] - Eavesdrop on extension [ext] (ex: 881001). That extension must be on an active call. Once connected, you can listen to the call without being heard, or you can...
    • Press 1 to barge into the distant party.
    • Press 2 to barge into the local party.
    • Press 3 to barge into both parties.
  • 5900 - Park a call in a hold queue (First-in-first-out style).
  • 5901 - Pickup a call parked in queue (that was put there via 5900).

Group Assignments 

The below functions involve the idea of keeping a database/table of which extensions belong to one of 100 groups (numbered 00-99).

  • 81+[group] - Add this extension to the calling group #[group] (can be two digits 00-99). A beep tone confirms that the function worked.
  • 80+[group] - Delete this extension from the calling group #[group] (can be two digits 00-99). A beep tone confirms that the function worked.
  • 82+[group] - Simultaneously ring all extensions in group #[group]. The first person to answer will be connected to you automatically.


  • 30+[conf] - Join conference #[conf] - 8kHz quality.
  • 31+[conf] - Join conference #[conf] - 16kHz quality.
  • 32+[conf] - Join conference #[conf] - 32kHz quality.
  • 9888 - Join the conference hosted by the FreeSWITCH team via a SIP Internet connection (8kHz).
  • 91616 - Join the conference hosted by the FreeSWITCH team via a SIP Internet connection (16kHz).

Conference rooms are unique for the bit-level you choose, i.e. 3000 for conference room 00 will not join with participants in 3100 which is also conference room 00. They are different conferences.

Interactive Voice Response

  • 5000 - IVR demo (if you installed sound files).


Preprocessor Commands

The FreeSWITCH™ configuration supports pre–processor commands reminiscent of (but not matching) apache server-side includes:


Add a simple comment

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="comment" data="This is just a comment"/>


Execute a shell command and parse its output [1]

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="exec" data="echo XML config loaded at `date` >> /var/log/fs_config.log"/>


Include another file

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="include" data="vars.xml"/>


Set a global variable

<X-PRE-PROCESS cmd="set" data="my_global_var='some value'"/>

In addition to the pre-processor PIs, which may appear anywhere, the freeswitch.xml file has a root element of "document", and all its children are "section" elements, with "name" attribute values being one of:

Preprocessor commands are included in XML style comment brackets. Even though they appear commented to an XML parser, they are still processed. The comment characters are required or they will not be processed. An example would be:

  <!--#include "switch.conf.xml"-->

Commenting Preprocessor

DO NOT COMMENT THEM OUT with <!-- --> it's wrong and won't take any affect.

A cool way of comment those directive would be:



This is the main configuration file, and the only one that has a fixed name. When you start FreeSWITCH™ it will locate this file and process it. The default freeswitch.xml file includes other files to allow for easier maintenance of configuration data. The default configuration of most of these files is suitable for first time users, until you become more familiar with FreeSWITCH™ it is advised that you leave them to their default settings.

freeswitch.xml is divided into multiple sections, and each section is used by a different component in FreeSWITCH™. The sections are as follows:

  • The "configuration" section has children for switch.conf and modules.conf which are used by the core, as well as a child for each module in use.
  • The dialplan section defines which action to invoke when a call arrvies to the switch.
  • The directory defines the users that can connect to the switch (user agents).
  • The phrases section defines where freeswitch can find the sound files, and if it can use any TTS engines.

The structure below "document" and "section" varies according to the parent. There is currently no dtd/relaxng/xmlschema available to validate the file, though since it does not use xml mechanisms for inclusion that would be an obstacle to true validation (and the limited xml parser used by FreeSWITCH doesn't implement any of the XML standard mechanisms such as external entities or XInclude). XML namespaces are not currently used. There is no application-level versioning within the file.

How Configuration Files Are Parsed

FreeSWITCH begins with its single, master configuration file (conf/freeswitch.xml). This master config file then loads (via "globs" e.g. "*.xml") additional config files. FreeSWITCH 1.0.4 installs with dozens of config files. You may stray daringly far from the stock install and arrange the files (and the loading thereof) however you wish: it's up to you if you want a single, huge config file or a series of config files. Each config file can include none or many other config files. Whatever method you choose, at runtime FreeSWITCH parses all the (one or many) files into a single, huge, resultant "running config" file (located at log/freeswitch.xml.fsxml) which mustn't be edited while FreeSWITCH is running as portions are memory-mapped into FreeSWITCH.

Line Numbers

When the FreeSWITCH console reports a configuration error, the line number it gives is the line number in the "running config" file log/freeswitch.xml.fsxml, not the line number in any individual included file.

Example freeswitch.xml

Below is a snippet freeswitch.xml file. Of course, the bulk of the configuration is found in the included files.


Preprocessor Variables

For now, do not worry about all of the configuration properties, the defaults get you close to a working FreeSWITCH™ installation. This guide will show you the minimum required to get a running FreeSWITCH™ system. After you get it working you may then modify the system to your needs.

The first thing you should do is review conf/vars.xml and conf/freeswitch.xml noting the preprocessor variables.


  • "bind_server_ip" Can be an ip address, a dns name, or "auto".
  • "global_codec_prefs" has a default of G.711 u-law. You can probably leave this alone, unless you need to change it to another codec, but most VoIP equipment will support this codec.

If you need to troubleshoot your configuration, the log/freeswitch.xml.fsxml file contains the entire pre-processed freeswitch.xml file. (For testing and troubleshooting you could replace the freeswitch.xml file with this copy.) Line numbers in error messages refer to this concatenated file.

IP Address

If you have a [multihomed NIC] (Single Link, Multiple IP address) then remember that you may have to set a pre-process variable in the vars.xml file so that FreeSWITCH™ knows what address to listen on.

Multi-Tenant Info / Multiple Company HOWTO

The Multi-tenant page gives details regarding running FreeSWITCH to support multiple separate companies. Multiple Companies is a HOWTO that describes setting up two independent companies on FreeSWITCH, where the files go, what they must contain, etc.

SIP Proxy

FreeSWITCH is a B2BUA (back-to-back user agent). This means that it actually parses each of the SIP messages that it receives. FreeSWITCH can not act as a proxy, for instance by forwarding SIP registrations to a registrar server. Of course, you could cluster multiple FreeSWITCH servers and share registrations using a shared database.

Asterisk Migration

Rosetta stone is a page of common Asterisk -> FreeSWITCH translations.

See Also