Quick Hexchat Setup Guide. Windows + Linux.

by intox

Quick list guide:

Long Guide:

This is simple relative to the usual technical difficulty of posts on this blog, but some folks have requested a quick setup guide for hexchat. Hexchat is a fork of xchat, which was an irc client for linux and windows, but ended up monetizing. Hexchat works for both windows and linux well, and is easily set up. In my opnion, it has a better feature set than xchat, too, and is easier to use.

The advantages of using hexchat over a web-based irc client or some other chat engine is that you can auto-join and auto-start it, so you don’t have to worry about connecting. This increases the amount of people in a chat at a given time, and because of that the “chat” (called channel in irc) becomes more active more often.

Step One: Installation

For Windows:

Click here: https://hexchat.github.io/downloads.html

Download and run the first link on the page. (x64 for 64 bit capable machines. If you’re not sure, x86 should work fine for either…) Go through the installer. You don’t really have to worry about changing any of the settings if you don’t want to, the defaults are fine. You can ignore the rest of the download links, those are primarily for developers and will be packaged in the first download link.


As stated on the download page: “Nearly all distributions have official packages for HexChat. On those which don’t, you may use contributed, unofficial packages”. If you’re using linux, you should probably be familiar with the package manager your system is using.

apt-get install hexchat
pacman -S hexchat
sbopkg >> install >> dependencies >> hexchat

etc etc…

Step Two: Basic Server Configuration

Once it’s finished installing, launch it if it hasn’t been launched already. You should be greeted by something like this:


To add a custom server (e.g DnE or night-ops server), simply click “add”. The name doesn’t really matter. “DnE” or “nonet” is fine.

Next, click on the name you just added and on the right click on “edit”. This may seem intimidating if you’re not used to this sort of thing (or maybe not?), but it’s simple. Simply click on the grey box that says “newserver/6667”, and type in the name and port of the irc…


For both DnE and nonet, it is definitely recommended that you use SSL. It is not required, but it increases security for everyone by encrypting the stream making it harder to passively intercept everything. It’s still not necessarily a black-box of security, but it’s much harder to handle SSL connections than plaintext over the net. So the ideal configuration is basically shown in the above picture. For nonet, it’s:


The DnE config is shown in the picture. Easy enough. In the checkboxes, for DnE at least, select “accept invalid SSL certificates”. We don’t bother getting it signed because it doesn’t really increase security and we would have to pay money.

At this point you should be able to connect to the server, although it hasn’t been configured to join any channels. You can manually join channels by typing this command into the bottom chat box:

/join #channel-name

Where the channel name is the name of the chat room. For example: #darknedgy or #the_lounge (for nonet).

Step Three: Basic Channel Configuration

Click on the “autojoin channels” tab and simply click “add” to add any channels you would like to join when hexchat is started. This is pretty straightforward.


Another useful feature hexchat comes with is under the “connect commands” tab, in which you simply click “add” and type in any commands you want to be run when you connect to that channel. I personally have mine set to enter the login command for DnE and I have it supply my password… E.g:

msg NickServ identify username password

Replace username with your username and password with your password, obviously… You can also just type that command in when you log in manually, except with a slash before it:

/msg NickServ identify username password

But it gets tedius and hexchat can handle it for you, so why not?

Step Three: Auto-starting hexchat.

On windows, follow these directions:

Windows Startup Program Quick-Guide

On Linux, you may have to add it to your xinitrc or enable a script in /etc/rc.d. Either way it’s pretty easy, but it’s distro dependent, so I’m not going to cover how to do it for every distro. Just google it…

Now, every time you start your computer hexchat will start and auto-join the servers and channels, and you won’t have to worry about it again.

Feel free to contact me on the DnE forums if you have any questions or need any help… Or on IRC through mibbit or kiwi IRC web-clients.