IRC aka Internet Relay Chat is purely a text-based platform for communication. It holds the reputation of being old, reliable, and most opaque in online chat technology.
What keeps users intrigued is the fact that IRC is loggable, scriptable, and free in all senses of the word.
However, the initial learning curves may feel very steep to explore or get started, especially for newbies.
So, if you are new to its world, you better chose your medium wisely. You may find some clients are best for Windows while some work well on others.
Keeping that in mind, here are some best IRC clients sorted as per their compatibility with your favorite Operating Systems.
Best IRC Client For Windows
1. Foo IRC
Foo IRC is an IRC client for windows featuring a tablet-friendly minimalist interface. Despite its lightweight installation size, the app brings plenty of goodies on the table.
From multi-server support to IRC Cloud support, Foo IRC never fails to deliver its core purpose- being an efficient chatting experience. Using the beta version, you can run the app in the background, allowing you to conduct crucial tasks simultaneously.
The client lets you save your favorite servers and channels. Plus, it will auto-connect to your favorite servers and channels once you start it.
The client features a bright and mesmerizing GUI bursting with colors. The nicknames appear in color-coded texts and you have multiple plugins at your disposal to equip your user interface with more rich graphics.
Price: $1.49 (one time pay)
- Multi-server and cloud support
- DCC chat and send
- Auto reconnects
- Supports SSL, proxies
- Dedicated ignore list, type history
- FiSH encryption
- Only available in Windows Store
IceChat remains one of the few IRCs that flawlessly supports 64bit Windows 10. Featuring a user-friendly GUI, the app seamlessly connects with multiple servers and channels, allowing them to establish multiple chat sessions in different channels.
The client comes with a wide range of customized features such as changing themes, writing custom commands, creating custom popups, and a text editor.
It also features a built-in emoticon option, taking you one step ahead from the generic text-only window. Thanks to its dedicated team of developers, you will always have constant access to cool & exciting plugins.
- Multiple servers and channels support
- Powerful GUI
- Built-in emoticons and editor
- Compatible with Windows 10 64 bit (only Icechat 9)
- Source code not available
HexChat is an open-source IRC client with an easy to use interface including a lot of customizable features. The client allows you to create unlimited channels and arrange in both tabs and tree structure.
To keep the interface tidier, you can even hide certain features like user lists, menu, and topics bars, etc. Plus, you can also integrate some quick access buttons allowing you to perform operator actions, sending files, and changing channel flags.
HexChat comes with a myriad of plugins and scripts with an extensive set of libraries to enhance the overall functionalities of the platform.
Besides chatting, the client also allows you to control music player, add RSS feeds, play small-size games as well as translate texts to Leetspeek.
Price: Free when downloaded from the official website. The demo version of the app is also available in the Windows app store with a $10 subscription price. However, the features of the demo version are exactly the same as the main app available on the official website. So, technically you are not missing anything by using the free version.
- User-friendly interface
- Works flawlessly in all Windows versions
- Multilingual translation
- Support multiple networks
- Requires plugins to type certain characters
Pidgin is a fully functional open-source IRC client for windows with many cool features. The app allows you to log into multiple chat accounts and talk with your friends- all under one platform.
Pidgin supports various popular chat networks like Bonjour, Jabber, XMPP, Zephyr, SILC, Novell, Gadu-Gadu, etc. Moreover, you can also transfer files, create custom smileys, buddy icons, and receive typing notifications, which adds an extra layer of fun to your user experience.
Its proactive development process is one of its best features. With a global scale of user contributions, rapid bug fixes and constant feature updates are something quite prominent in Pidgin.
Currently, pidgin only supports Windows, Linux, and Unix-based operating systems. Overall, you can refer Pidgin as a hub for plugins comprising a massive amount of built-in plugins and contributions from third-party developers.
Price– Free of Cost and NO Ads
- Support popular chat services like Google Talk, MSN, AIM, etc.
- Complete open-source with no-ads
- Convenient notification features
- Highly customizable with plugins
- No native VoIP support
Best IRC client For MAC
Textual is an actively developed IRC client for mac that lets you experience new features as soon as they are released.
The client is backed by a dedicated beta team, who works relentlessly to deliver substantial updates and bug fixes on the go. Besides, you can also add your feature requests and suggestions in the platform and the beta team will surely look into it.
The client works seamlessly in new versions of mac allowing flawless navigational supports like keyboard shortcuts, access through the start menu, etc.
Moreover, you will also get options on whether to open all channels in one window and open them separately.
Quite easy to install, Textual comes with a dedicated installation folder where you can securely store your scripts, configurations, and snippets as well as move them when needed.
Price: $7.99 for one license (30 days free trial).
- Support multiple plugins
- Direct Client-to-Client (DCC) file transfer support
- Full, native support for IPv6
- ZNC integration
- Wide range of keyboard shortcuts
- Occasional connection drops while using VPN
2. XChat Aqua/Azure
XChat Aqua/Azureis a powerful IRC client with a lightweight user interface. The app works flawlessly in all versions of apple devices.
Besides, the client also supports all popular scripting languages providing a safe & secure proxy server to connect.
As a top IRC client for mac, Xchat Aqua comes with a dedicated beta team that works effortlessly to bring you constant feature updates and bug fixes.
It is a fully automated IRC client offering time-efficient features like automatic command completion, auto syntax completion, and nick completion.
You can also send encrypted texts to other users and they can decrypt the text with a passcode.
For more professionalism, the developer has provided a spell-checking feature, which keeps your texts free from spelling and grammatical errors.
- Support encrypted private one-on-one conversations
- Support Basic-syntax scripts
- On-screen display of messages
- File transfer support
- Compatibility issue with some screen size
3. Lime Chat
If you are looking for a fast and stable IRC client for your Mac, then your search will probably end at LimeChat. Written on a highly sophisticated RubyCocoa framework, the client seamlessly connects to multiple servers with a fully secure SSL encryption.
The client stays active for 10 minutes in the background. Meaning, you can minimize the client and do your other tasks without losing the connection.
It also features a lightweight and performance-enhanced user interface that allows you to navigate around channels through the mouse or tapping the arrow buttons on the keyboard.
You will also receive real-time notifications for new messages, or highlights, even while you are on a different channel. Since the app also supports auto-lock, you can take a few minutes of coffee or bathroom breaks without any worry.
- URL automatically turns to clickable links
- Support landscape mode
- Support message highlighting and vibration
- Auto Authentication support for Nickserv
- SSL & SASL authentication support
- No DCC support
Best IRC client for Linux
WeeChat is a multi-platform IRC client with a vivid user interface written completely in C language. To offer more flexibility, the app also comes with plugins written in Python, Ruby, and Perl.
As a terminal-based client, you can detach yourselves from an instance and rejoin it again through a terminal multiplexer.
Apart from Multi-servers support, the app also features other add-ons like proxy support, nicklist, IPV6, DCC, SASL authentication, and many more.
The platform supports up to 256 colors with attractive elements like smart filtering, customizable bars, including built-in script supports in 8different languages. The app offers a full navigational advantage through the keyboard.
Meaning, you can conduct major changes like switching windows, changing text styles, etc. all through keyboard shortcuts. Another notable feature of Weechat is its mobile support. You can connect your existing IRC server with a smartphone phone without facing any network connection difficulties.
Price- Free of cost
- Works perfectly in poor connection
- Flexible and scalable design
- Attractive and colorful interface
- Active community support
- Updated Scripts
- Needs to install an additional plugins for OTR
Quassel is also a successful IRC platform with an open-source license under GPL. The app offers an efficient chat feature with a simple-to-use interface. The app is widely distributed, making it possible for single and multiple front-end clients to establish a connection with one core client.
All you have to do is set up an on-line core and access the app from anywhere. This imaging IRC client for Linux also comes with a PPA maintainer that enables you to use this app on Ubuntu.
The GUI of Quassel comprises of a simple yet well-structured layout through which you can connect to multiple channels.
It also allows you to broadcast messages or send them privately to other users. Some exciting features of Quassel include custom font settings, zooming, and a dedicated ignore button to disbar users from groups.
Price: Free but comes with Ads
- Supports IPV6, SSL, Proxy, SASL, TLS, CTPC, etc
- Minimalist GUI
- Low CPU and RAM consumption
- No DCC Support
Konversation is a highly productive IRC client for Linux from the KDE platform licensed under GNU. It boasts an On-Screen Display feature that generates an overlay message every time someone mentions your nick.
As a result, you don’t have to keep your window open all the time. Apart from a simple GUI, the availability of insurmountable features remains the key takeaway of the app.
It features a URL catcher that allows you to access a website just with a single click. Secondly, the channel bookmarker feature allows you to insert special characters without any elaborate typing.
If you use certain commands quite frequently, then you can use Quick Buttons in the app to eliminate repetitive typing.
Overall, the Konversation holds an extensive range of exciting features in its arsenal coupled with an extremely professional UI design and constant community support.
- Attractive OSD display
- Professional-looking UI
- Constant feature updates and bug fixes
- Built-in URL catcher and channel bookmarker
- Updating the app overwrites personal configurations
We hope you liked our effort. Irrespective of the client you choose, give yourself sufficient time to learn and perform relatively small operations. Let’s know which IRC client is your favorite and why? even if it is not listed here. Either way, our readers would love to know