In need of a good IRC client for Linux but not sure what one to use? We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll be going over the five best IRC clients available on the Linux platform. We’ll cover the features, specific use-cases, and where you can download them.
Please understand that there are dozens of IRC programs on Linux. In this list, we’ve covered fan favorites. If you’ve got a favorite IRC client for Linux not mentioned here, consider telling us below in the comments.
IRSSI is a terminal based IRC client for Unix systems, and it remains one of the most popular choices today. Officially, the client is available on Linux, various BSD operating systems, as well as Solaris and others. The program is open source and is available under the GNU General Public License v2. It is written in the Perl programming language, and supports themes, modules and “scripting.”
Modification for the look and feel of the IRSSI IRC client is straightforward, even if you’re not familiar with programming. All tweaks and anything related to the program is done in a single configuration file in the user’s home directory. Having all configuration in one single file makes backing up, and automation a breeze.
One of the main draws to an application like IRSSI is that it runs anywhere. If you’re a person that finds themselves inside of a terminal a lot on Linux, this chat client is a must. It’ll run on just about everything, and connect to IRC anywhere — even over an SSH session!
The Quassel IRC client is a cross-platform chat client for the next generation, and it has a lot of impressive features. The main feature that puts Quassel so high up on the list is the Quassel Core. With it, users can install a central “core” on a remote server. This core can stay connected to the user’s IRC channels, collecting logs, notifications, and anything they might have missed. Users can then connect their Quassel IRC client to the core and never miss anything.
Aside from the “core” feature, Quassel has other unique features that make it an excellent IRC client, like a dockable nickname list and topic bar, IRC logging in custom formats, command aliases, support for nickname aliases, individual server identities, and more.
Quassel is an interesting IRC client with a lot to offer, especially if you love IRC and use it all the time. If you’re a power user who values customization, consider checking this one out!
WeeChat is an extensible, terminal based chat client for Linux, Mac, and BSD. Unlike IRSSI, the WeeChat client supports IRC as well as Jabber with plans to add support for more protocols. The program is very modular and has a vast library of plugins and scripts to offer. Additionally, scripts in the application support multiple languages (Perl, Python, Ruby, Scheme, Tcl, and Lua).
Terminal-based IRC clients are great to use on servers. A popular use-case for WeeChat (and other terminal IRC clients) is to run it on a remote server, always on, and then resume the session from anywhere.
Even if you don’t care about using WeeChat remotely, it’s an excellent choice, especially If you need to save precious RAM, or prefer using IRC on the command line. To learn more about WeeChat, check out the official website.
HexChat is a free re-implementation of the popular XChat IRC client. The program is open source and available on multiple operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, BSD and other Unix-like operating systems. The primary goal of HexChat is to replace XChat entirely, but add in new features.
The program has a lot to offer, especially for new users, and because of it, it finds itself bundled with a lot of Linux distributions by default. Features for HexChat include multi-server support, automatic connections, a built-in spelling checker, support for scripting in multiple languages (Perl, Lua, and Python), and more.
If you’re new to IRC, HexChat is a good choice. Best of all, you may already have it installed. Open it up and give it a go.
Pidgin isn’t an IRC client, though it does have IRC support. Instead, Pidgin is an open source, multi-platform chat client. Users that casually dabble in IRC may want to try out Pidgin for their needs. Like most clients, the program has support for chat history, multiple server connections, aliases, etc.
Those who only use IRC and swear by it might be a little put off that Pidgin doesn’t focus solely on IRC. That said, if you love the idea of having all of your social chat accounts in the same place as the chat servers you regularly visit, download Pidgin.