Setting up my own NINJAM server to host “real time” global jam sessions on Ubuntu

Some friends and I have been experimenting with NINJAM over the past couple of weeks and it got to the point where I wanted to run my own NINJAM server, rather than relying on the public servers or Jan Bucholtz’s. if you want to find out more about NINJAM there is a good overview at

It turned out to be relatively easy, although took a little bit of tinkering.

Download the NINJAM server source code from

I then needed to make sure I had the software installed to be able to compile the application:
“sudo apt-get install build-essential”

I unpacked the source code:
“tar xvzf ninjam_server_0.06.tar.gz”

Change into the directory where the ninjamsvr.cpp code resides. In my case this was:
“cd ninjam_server_0.06/ninjam/server”

Compile the code

Take a copy of the example configuration file
“cp example.cfg myconfig.cfg”

After making some changes to the well documented config file you can start the server application by typing;
“./ninjamsvr myconfig.cfg”

I needed to amend my router’s port forwarding to make sure the server was visible to the outside world and that was it.

I’ve chosen to secure my ninjam server with userid/passwords, rather than leave it open to anonymous users. If you want to have a go at a NINJAM sometime, or just to borrow the server for your own test, let me know and I’ll set up a password for you.

Another point worthy of note – because NINJAM relies on a repeating sequence of chords to sync up everyone’s parts, it is important to get the number of bars set correctly. After experimentation I found that if you multiply the number of bars required by four you get the value at which to set the BPI. Therefore, for a 12 bar progression set the BPI to 48.

7 thoughts on “Setting up my own NINJAM server to host “real time” global jam sessions on Ubuntu

  1. Thank you very much for this,. I know you wrote it some time ago, but it’s been very helpful in getting me up and running. Cheers.

    • My pleasure Dave. I’d forgotten all about this – I’m going to have to revisit. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Dave, thanks for this. I guess like a lot of working musicians at the moment, I’m looking at setting up a Ninjam server for remote working. I’ve got to the stage above where I have the server running but need some help – the videos I’ve seen say “open Ninjam” but I don’t have and can’t find a Ninjam app to open so I have a console? I use Reaper so I can get online using the Reaper Client but I really need private sessions.
    Hope you can help.

    • Hi Barry. It is a long time since I’ve done this, but IIRC it was related to adding the Reaper NINJAM plugin to a track in Reaper. I found a guide at that will hopefully help. Good luck!

      • Hi Dave…Very new to this. trying to set up my own server…keep getting error messages in terminal(working on a Mac) Are you able to post your .cfg file or share somehow so I can compare and see where I am going wrong. Any help is appreciated! Thanks 🙂

      • Hi. I no longer have it installed so don’t have a config file to share. What error messages are you getting? IIRC correctly I didn’t do that much change to the example.cfg config file – just disabled anonymous users and set a different port number. It took me a while to sort out port forwarding on my router.

  3. Thanks Dave, I have the Ninjam plugin open in Reaper and can play along but I can’t set up my own server. I’m actually getting some help on the Cockos forum from PLJones the author of that guide but we haven’t solved it yet.
    Cheers – stay safe & well.

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