How-To Session: Using Pidgin with IRC

pidginMany times the question is asked on Linux forums? What is the best IRC client? While, there is no TRUE answer to this question, you often will see the popular clients such as good old IRSSI, Xchat, Putty, mIRC, and sometime Pidgin. The reason Why I am teach you Pidgin today is the simple fact that it handles practically ALL protocols, not just IRC, such as Xchat. If all you do is use IRC,I suggest you check out Bodhizazen’s Xchat Page 

That said, let’s continue. I will assume you have downloaded and installed Pidgin already. If you have not done so, download Pidgin from HERE. Once installed , launch Pidgin. 

Now, initially, you will not have a “registered” nick. If you do already have a Nick, please skip this paragraph. Once Pidgin is running go to “Accounts > Manage Accounts” on the Pidgin Menu Bar. Here you will see all your accounts if you have any. Click “Add” to add an account.

In this next menu you will see the account setup.  Enter the information as follows:

  1. Protocol:  IRC
  2. Username: Your Desired IRC username
  3. Server: “”  (ignore quotes)
  4. Password: the future password you want set (we will do this in a sec.)
  5. Local Alias: Anything but not neccessary
  6. Click on Advanced (may have to close out and re-open edit window)
  7. Port: Not neccessary
  8. Username: Ive had debate about this, but I always enter the same info from the first “Basic” page here
  9. Real Name: your real name or anything you wish it to be.
  10. Click Add and then Close

You should see a “Nickserv” window pop up.  This is the “nickname” service that maintains all Nicks.  We will now register you nick you have chosen above.  Follow theses steps:

  1. If you do NOT have the nickserv window up type “/msg nickserv help” or Go to Accounts > Manage , and disable then enable your IRC account.  If you do not get ANY window for IRC, go to Buddies > Join Chat, and enter an IRC channel such as “#ubuntu”
  2. Type “hi” to make sure your Nick is the one you want
  3. Now we have to register the nick, type “/msg nickserv register NICK PASSWORD EMAIL”
  4. In the above there is a space after nick, password, and email.
  5. This should notify you that your registration information has been posted to your email
  6. Log into that email account and open the message.  You will see a command to enter into your IRC window.  With Pidgin, do NOT copy this message, copy and paste often does not work for Pidgin
  7. Once you have entered the command you will be prompted to log in

To log in:

  1. Type “/msg nickserv id NICK PASSWORD”  where nick is your nickname, and password is your password, space after nick.
  2. You should be identified now.

Thats it, now to join a chat, you can do 1 of 2 things:

  1. On the Pidgin menu bar, click Buddies > Join Chat, and enter the channel such as “#ubuntu”
  2. In the nickserv or any IRC window, type “/join #ubuntu”

To auto-join a Channel:

  1. first join the channel like the above example
  2. Click on the “Conversation” > “+Add” option on the chat window.  Fill out the appropriate fields.  If channel does not have a password, leave this blank.
  3. This will allow you to auto-join a channel and add the #channel to your buddy list, most likely at the bottom

To quit a channel:

  1. “/quit” will completely* disconnect you from IRC in all channels.  If you wish to reconnect, this is odd I know, you must go to your Accounts page and disable, and re-enable your IRC account
  2. “/part #channel MESSAGE” will part just that channel with a message
  3. Click the “x” on the tab of the Pidgin chat window , this will remote close the channel.

To Logout

  1. “/msg nickserv logout”

If you log on another machine and get a strange nick, such as numbers appended to underscores to your nick:

  1. This means that you left Pidgin running on another machine most likely
  2. In the nickserv window preferably (if you mess up people will see you password), type: “/msg nickserv ghost NICK PASSWORD”
  3. From there type “/nick NICK” to make sure you are using the nick you had before
  4. Then type “/msg nickserv id PASSWORD” where password is your password.

That’s It!  I will most likely do another How-To on more advanced commands, but if you need any more assistance, feel free to comment here or use the “Contact Us” page to send me an email or message.

Note: When you are done chatting, CLOSE, QUIT, or PART, your IRC session so you do not have to ghost.  I do this to myself all the time 🙂  Also,when you start pidgin again, you will get a message about your nick already being registered and then that you are “already identified”  This is typical.




About professorkaos64

Posted on 20090319, in How-To, Software and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Very nice write up on Pidgin. I agree, pidgin does well with multiple protocols, including IRC, and is a nice tool in the armormentarium.

  2. Very nice write up! I found it trying to figure out how to have Pidgin auto-reconnect to irc. Very clear. Thanks!!!


  3. Anonymous Coward

    If you configure an irc host in pidgin, it will open a few chat windows upon startup. If you close these chat windows (NickServ, Global etc.), is there a way to reopen them, other than restart pidgin?

  4. Thanks for sharing. Indeed Pidgin is the linux chat client i use…

  5. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Thank you!

    • professorkaos64

      Look closely at your email you get, there should be an unsuscribe button on it somewhere. If not, please let me know and I will look over my admin console for something.

  6. Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this
    post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always
    kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him.

    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    • professorkaos64

      This is an older post, and its hard to maintain many of them, being only by myself, but I enjoy writing my thoughts down a lot. Thanks for reading!

  7. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of
    volunteers and starting a new project in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on.
    You have doone a extraaordinary job!

    • professorkaos64

      You’re welcome. This is a side hobby of mine. This article is a bit old, but glad to be of service.

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