Pidgin IRC Quickstart Guide

Published by: @akovia - August 7, 2013
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Difficulty: Beginner Est Time: 25mins Software: General Category: Website

This guide will use the Pidgin universal chat client, but the general instructions should apply to just about any chat/irc client. Pidgin is completely free and will work on Windows, Linux, or Mac.

UPDATE: 10/29/15

We now have a web based IRC channel that makes this much easier for those new to IRC. Under the community tab at the top of the page you will find a link labeled “Chat With Us“. The server has also changed which is now properly reflected in this tutorial for those who still prefer a dedicated multi chat client.

More information and references will be at the end of this guide, but for now we’ll jump right in.

1. Download Pidgin and install from the link provided above. When it’s installed and open, you will have 2 windows:

  • Buddy List
  • Conversation Window (title of window changes depending on what tab is open)

2. Set up Account

In the Buddy List window,

  • go to Accounts > Manage Accounts > Add
  • Select IRC from the Protocol Dropdown
  • Input the username you want
  • Input as the server
  • Save and close

3. Make channel a favorite

In the Buddy List window, go to

  • Buddies > Add Chat
  • Select the freenode account you just created (if not already selected)
  • Insert as the channel
  • Optional – Enable Autojoin when account connects
  • Add (Now this channel will be added to your Buddy List)

4. Join the chat

  • Double Click on the favorite you just made in your Buddy List or…
  • Buddies > Join a Chat in the Buddy List Window or Conversation > Join a Chat in the Conversation Window.
  • (Make sure to set the server to and the channel to

This will open a new conversation tab in the conversation window and you can now start chatting. All of the other tabs are server messages and can be ignored for now. To clear the clutter you can R-Click on the tab and choose Close Other Tabs.

What’s Next?

Well if you intend on joining often and don’t want someone else to get your nickname, you should register with the server. This will protect your nickname for 90 days of inactivity. If you don’t log in for more than 90 days, then the nickname becomes available for anyone to use.

To talk to any IRC server, you type into the chat box as normal but you start the command with a special “switch” Most often this is the “/” or sometimes a “.“. So a simple command would look something like this:

/nick mynickname

Also, it’s good to remember that these commands are not posted to the chat channel for all to see as long as you start the command with a /, so try not to forget 🙂

So to register your nick, follow the instructions here.

Well that’s it for now. Myself or someone else will be happy to help with further questions once you’ve made it to the channel. As promised, here is some further reading if you are new to IRC and want to learn more.

IRC Help (This is pretty much the bible of all things IRC. Peek around or hit the Getting Started link)

Freenode  (This is the network we are on and has a plethora of information on chatting on this network. Check out the FAQ)

If there is enough interest I will write another guide about configuring pidgin to automate some tasks like logging in with credentials, tips on usage, and masking your host.


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