IRC is one of those things that either you get or you don’t. You probably know IRC as chat rooms. But if you said that to a diehard IRC user, he or she would give you a dirty look or two because "chat room" is a term originally popularized by AOL. And to be technically correct, IRC has no chat rooms. They’re called channels. Maybe that’s a nerdy nit-picky thing, but it wouldn’t be the internet without nerds getting ticked off over minutia like that.

The best app for IRC depends on what OS you’re using. IRC is best used with a true client rather than the web-based way (like Mibbit, which seems to get increasingly banned on many IRC servers these days, hence the reason I don’t use nor recommend it).

On Windows, the best IRC client is mIRC. It’s been around seemingly forever (even as far back as the Windows 3.1 days) and has proven time and time again to be a solid, stable chat app.

On Mac OS X, the IRC app used most is Colloquy. Were I using OS X I would use that and nothing else for IRC purposes. It is the best for the Mac, no question. And you can even go mobile with it.

On Linux, XChat is the best. I have tried several different IRC apps over the years with Linux, but time and time again I keep going back to XChat whenever I’m using a Linux distro.

Platform independent IRC applications (works in any OS):

  • Chatzilla – A Firefox add-on.
  • Pidgin – Primarily an instant messaging client but also does IRC. Note for Mac users: Adium uses the same backend Pidgin does and also does IRC the same way.

Do you use IRC?

If you do, what’s your OS and preferred IRC app of choice? Let us know in the comments.