11 Best IRC Clients for Windows, Mac and Linux in 2022

You probably don’t hear much about IRC (Internet Relay Chat) these days because social media has stolen all the glory. However, it is still alive and well with various IRC clients for Windows, Mac, Linux and even Android.

Collaboration systems like Slack and Discord are the most popular chat options today, but sometimes you just need access to plain text chat servers. That’s what IRC is. It allows you to join multiple channels based on different topics and interests.

Anyone can create a server and have a #games channel dedicated to talking about games. No one controls IRC, so anyone is free to host or change servers as they wish. So, how do you get into the Wild West of online dating? You’ll need an IRC client and we’ll help you find the best one for your system.

IRC clients for Windows

Not all IRC clients are the same. Some of them are only compatible with Windows systems, while more universal ones work with macOS and Linux.

1. mIRC

Price: Free for 30 days, after which you need a user license that costs $20.

Key features:

  • SSL encryption
  • Multi-server connections
  • Friend lists
  • Customizable voice prompts and sounds
  • Message log
  • Notification system
  • System tray notification

mIRC is one of the oldest and most popular IRC clients for Windows. It has been developing since 1995, updating it with great features. It is also user-friendly and easily connects to a server by simply entering its information.

You can use mIRC to communicate and share files on any IRC network in the world. You can send someone a private message or organize group conferences. mIRC comes with the following

2. WeeChat

Price: free of charge.

Key features:

  • Multi-platform support
  • Translated into several languages
  • Supports multiple servers
  • Script manager
  • Customizable stripes
  • Spell check
  • Smart filter
  • Friends list

WeChat is a free and open source IRC client that runs on Windows as well as Linux and macOS. It is very versatile and has detailed documentation for every feature and function.

WeeChat has many premium features despite being a free app, including smart filtering options, a customizable interface, and support for multiple servers. Even more impressive is that it supports 8 scripting languages, including Python, C, Ruby, Lua, Javascript and PHP, thanks to its script manager, which means there is also an active scripting community for WeeChat.

3. Foo IRC

Price: A one-time payment of $1.99 in the Microsoft Store.

Key features:

  • Supports multiple servers
  • Message history
  • Automatic reconnection to the server
  • IRCCloud support
  • Script support
  • Ignore list

Foo IRC is a lightweight application with a minimalist interface. It can run in the background without you noticing. It has a simple, easy-to-use design with color-coded text, and you can install various plugins that change the look and feel of the IRC client.

You can save the servers you visit often and your favorite channels so that you automatically connect to them when you start your computer.

4. IceChat

Price: free of charge.

Key features:

  • Customizable GUI
  • Support for multiple servers and channels
  • Built-in client editor
  • Emoticons
  • Quick connect option

IceChat is one of the most stable IRC clients that fully supports Windows 10 64-bit. It is customizable, easy to use even for those new to IRC clients. All you have to do is register an alias, choose your IRC server, and you’re connected. IceChat also supports multiple servers, so you and your friends can enjoy multiple channels.

You can choose a different GUI theme or use the IceChat editor to make changes. Unlike other IRC clients, IceChat comes with integrated emoticons to add some spice.

5. Pidgin

Price: free of charge.

Key features:

  • Supports all major computer platforms
  • Support for multiple servers
  • Open source development
  • Notification system
  • Supports chat services such as MSN
  • Integrated emoticons

Pidgin is a free, open source, cross-platform IRC client. You can also download it for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Pidgin looks more modern than other IRC clients and offers all the features you want. You can transfer files, receive notifications and use emoticons. Connect to any number of chat channels, including chat services such as MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.

One of the best things about Pidgin is the active global community that contributes to fast bug fixes, feature updates, and plugins.

IRC clients for macOS

Below is a list of clients used exclusively for macOS.

1. Textual

Price: free for 30 days, after which you need a user license that costs $7.99.

Key features:

  • Address book
  • Autocomplete function for commands and names
  • Customizable styles
  • Notification system
  • Embedded image
  • Multi-channel support
  • Supports iCloud

Textual is a premium IRC client designed for macOS. It has a dedicated development team and receives constant support and updates. You can send feature requests to the team.

The first thing you’ll notice is the graphical user interface, which looks like any modern communication program and supports several keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation.

Textual supports all Mac versions. Easy to navigate, configure, and customize. The client is well documented and you can use multiple programming languages ​​to create your addons. You can save your plugin configurations and scripts in a dedicated client installation folder.

2. LimeChat

Price: free of charge

Key features:

  • SSL encryption
  • Notifications and highlighting of chat messages
  • Embedded links are automatically clickable

If you need a free lightweight IRC client for your Mac system, LimeChat is your choice. It is protected by SSL encryption and allows you to connect to multiple servers at the same time.

LimeChat isn’t as great as Textual, but the performance and functionality is there. It can send chat notifications to every channel you’re connected to; it supports keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation and can stay active in the background.

3. XChat Aqua/Azure

Price: free of charge

Key features:

  • Supports basic scripts
  • Encrypted messaging system
  • Autofill function
  • Supports file transfer
  • Integrated spell checker

XChat Aqua/Azure is a lightweight IRC client designed for Mac systems. It can auto-complete commands, aliases, and protects you from grammatical errors with a built-in spell checker. You can also share files with other users.

XChat is a free app that has at least one unique feature that other clients lack. This allows your message to be encrypted and the recipient can decrypt it with the correct password. This is very good if you are concerned about security.

IRC clients for Linux

The Linux community does a lot of work to continually develop IRC and improve security and functionality. Whether you prefer a graphical, console, or web IRC client, there’s something for everyone.

Note: WeeChat, mentioned in the Windows section above, is one of the best IRC clients for Linux and Windows. Be sure to try it!

1. Conversation

Price: free of charge

Key features:

  • Overlay notifications on the screen
  • Key combinations
  • Automatic URL detection
  • Channel bookmarks
  • Supports DCC file transfer
  • Ability to configure using scripts

Konversation is the best choice for people who focus on productivity. Several features set this Linux IRC client apart from others, including the On-Screen Display and Hotkeys tools.

The GUI looks simple, but you don’t need to keep the client window open to keep track of private messages and chat mentions. The On-Screen Display feature generates a pop-up message when someone enters your nickname. You can just set up a client, connect to a server, and then go about your business until someone sends you a message.

The hotkeys feature can turn any command into a hotkey shortcut. Say goodbye to repetitive typing. Add a URL interceptor and file transfer support and you have a solid IRC client for Linux.

2. Irssi

Price: free of charge

Key features:

  • Customizable with modules, scripts, and themes
  • Autologin
  • Special key bindings
  • Detects pasted text
  • Multi-platform support

Irssi is a command-line IRC client for Linux and other Unix systems. It doesn’t have a graphical user interface, so only use Irssi if you like working with terminal commands. However, you can still customize the look and feel of the client with different themes.

Irssi is easy to set up and configure. It is an open source IRC client, so there is an active community developing and creating scripts that extend its functionality. You can download hundreds of scripts from the Irssi script repository to get features not available in the standard package.

By default, Irssi supports remote connection options, custom keybindings, logging, all the basic features you get with most IRC clients.

3. ERC

Price: free of charge

Key features:

  • Support for multiple servers and channels
  • Function of automatic connection to the channel
  • Converts URLs to clickable buttons
  • Highlights
  • Timestamps
  • Notification system
  • Logs of past actions

ERC is an IRC client with an Emacs text editor that allows you to easily modify and customize it to suit your requirements and style. If you love programming, you’ll appreciate the ability to create your own functions and commands.

By default, ERC contains all the features that an IRC client should have. It supports multiple channels, one-to-one private messaging, keyword and nickname highlighting, and notifications. ERC is the best choice if you need a lightweight IRC client for your Emacs or XEmacs editor.

Bonus: IRC client for Android

IRC is not just for computer geeks. If you want to chat on the go, you can get a mobile IRC client app for your Android smartphone or tablet.

IRCCloud

Price: free of charge

Key features:

  • Maintains a connection to the server without accessing data
  • Chat history is synchronized with the cloud
  • File exchange
  • Notification system

IRCCloud is a basic IRC client for Android that lets you connect to your favorite IRC channels. IRCCloud stays online even if the connection is unstable. The client will continue to work and will automatically connect to the channel you were using. Don’t worry about losing your chat history because it’s synced to the cloud.

Although IRCCloud is an Android IRC client, IRCCloud works like most desktop IRC clients. You can share and receive files, get notified when someone mentions your nickname, and customize it with scripts.

What is your favorite IRC client? Let us know in the comments!

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