Parent: Internet and Networking

Introduction & Screenshot

XChat is a graphical Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client for chat room and instant messaging use. It supports multiple channels, has a variety of plugins, and has versions for the major operating systems. There is also XChat-GNOME, a version of XChat with a simpler GUI and fewer options.

XChat is no longer maintained since 2013 and has been removed from the Debian and Ubuntu repositories. Hexchat is an IRC client that is based on Xchat.

IRC is commonly used in the open source community. There are many IRC networks, the most popular in the open source community is, chat channels (equivalent to chat rooms), such as #ubuntu, #kubuntu, and #debian. Most open source projects such as Ubuntu have at least one channel where you can ask for help.

To connect to an IRC server you need an IRC client. Ubuntu's default client is irssi, which lacks a graphical interface. If you want a simple to use, GUI client, install XChat which can be found in the Universe Repositories.

  • xchat.screenshot.png

Installation & Starting XChat

XChat is not installed by default. It is located in the Universe section of the Ubuntu repositories (in Ubuntu 20.04 and earlier). Install XChat by opening Synaptic (System, Administration, Synaptic Package Manager) and highlighting xchat. XChat and it's associated packages will be installed when the user selects Apply. XChat can also be installed via terminal with the command: sudo apt-get install xchat. XChat-GNOME is also in the Universe repository and is listed as xchat-gnome.

Note that xchat is not available in Ubuntu's repositories starting from Ubuntu 20.10.

1. To start XChat: Applications -> Internet -> XChat IRC or you can run the following command in the terminal: xchat.

Configuring XChat & Connecting to a Server




Select the Server List and Complete the User Information:

Enter Channel & Password Information:

  1. Network List
    • Nick Name: Use a unique, non offensive name.
    • Second Choice: If your nick name is taken this will be used.
    • Third Choice: If you first and second are taken, you have a third choice. If all three are taken you may need to try some more names, or the server might choose something for you.
    • User Name: A name to go with your hostname (for example: (Optional)

    • Real Name: Your real name (Optional)
    • Networks: The Ubuntu channels are located on You may also select Ubuntu Servers if presented with that option.

  2. Edit Server
    • Access this page by selecting Edit after highlighting the desired server.

    • In Favorite Channels, the user can preselect IRC channels to join on connecting. Multiple channels may be entered, separated by a comma. Do not use spaces between channels. Example: #ubuntu,#kubuntu,#debian

    • If you have registered, you may place your nickserv password in the Nickserv password block to allow automated password entry on log on.

Complete configuration instructions can be found on the Help pages.

Connecting to Ubuntu IRC

  • Once you have properly configured XChat, log on to libera by clicking the Connect button on the Network List page.

  • You can join additional channels by typing the following. This example joins the ubuntu IRC channel:

    • /join #ubuntu
  • Once your nickname is accepted you can register your nickname by typing the following command in XChat
    • /msg nickserv register <password> <email>
  • If you want to associate your email address with your nickname (in case you lose your password) just type this command in XChat
    • /msg NickServ set email <>

Settings for Networks

You may want to put in special settings for a particular network, such as auto-joining a certain room, or passwords.

Select a server and click edit.

  • Server Password: Where your nickserv password goes.
  • Join channels: This automates connecting to your favorite channel(s).
  • Connect command: Some times you might want a send a command to the server when you join.
  • Nickserv password: Don't use this field on libera.
  • Character Set: UTF-8 is recommended

Connecting to a Server

Press Connect to connect to the server. It is possible to connect to more then one server in the same time, you should press Connect in New Tab in that case.

Once connected, you can view a list of all available channels on the server from the main menu: Server, List of Channels, Download List. The list can be quite large; filters make searches for a specific channel much easier.

How to use XChat

Using XChat is really simple, just start typing and join the online Ubuntu community. If you have no experience with IRC read An introduction to IRC

  • xchat.online1.png}

Once XChat is connected, the main menu bar appears. XChat is highly customizable. In this screenshot, note the menu bar at the top, the tabbed channels at the bottom, and the white text box where the user types messages for transmission to the IRC channel. Colored nicks can be enabled via Settings, Preferences, Interface, Text Box setting. Changes take effect when XChat is restarted.

To leave a single channel, right click on the tab and select Close, or type /part in the message window. To log off all connected channels, exit XChat or from the main menu: Server, Disconnect.

External Links


CategoryApplications CategoryInternet

XChatHowto (last edited 2021-07-03 11:30:35 by guiverc)