I find myself watching streams with huge amounts of viewers (30k+) and joining the chat makes my IRC client (Hexchat) freeze and/or crash at times as it tries to list all the users and keep up with joins and leaves. I'm looking for a client that


  • supports Windows 7 and 8
  • can cope with large amount of text backlog and users (totally hiding the userlist is a valid option)
  • ability to save connection details


  • supports Linux
  • ability to auto-connect on startup
  • has or supports a dark theme
  • supports text colors
  • Have you tried irssi? It failed to connect to #twitchplayspokemon when it was super-duper popular, but maybe it'll work with slightly smaller streams. On Windows make sure you get the Putty/cgiwin version.
    – badp
    Mar 13, 2014 at 21:19
  • I'm curious - what channel/server? And is this the 32 or 64 bit build of hexchat? Would make testing options easier if we knew what was blowing up. Mar 13, 2014 at 23:52
  • @Journey 64 I think, #nipgamingtv and #esltv_cs on twitch
    – 3ventic
    Mar 13, 2014 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


You should use Irssi. It's a lightweight, usable terminal client for IRC. A good setup for Twitch chat from inside Irssi looks like this:

$ mosh localhost  # on channel join irssi shows all channel members; this can take a while
                  # mosh is an ssh variant that will avoid displaying those
$ irssi           # Get your oauth token from http://twitchapps.com/tmi
> /server add irc.twitch.tv 6667 oauth:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx your_twitch_username
> /ignore #streamerusername JOINS PARTS MODES
> /join #streamerusername

All windows are numbered:

  1. The initial window irssi opens on startup is window 1.
  2. When you join your first channel, that's window 2.
  3. The special user jtv will periodically send you a few twitch.tv-specific metadata (like user colors) on window 3. You could close this window by switching to it and issuing \q, but there's little point.
  4. If you were to join a second channel, that would be window 4.

By default you only see one window at a time. On the status bar, by default in blue, it tells you what window you're looking at and what channel that is. A line such as [Act: 3] tells you that there's activity on the window 3. If you were highlighted in that channel, the window number will be (by default) colored in pink, as opposed to the default white.

Press Alt-(number) to switch to the respective window. Press Alt-A to switch to one of the windows in the Act list. If you're not using screen, tmux or byobu, you can also switch between windows with Alt-/.

Why irssi?

  • It's usually lightweight enough for large streams (although it failed for me to join, say, the Twitch Plays Pokemon streams when they had ~80k concurrent viewers)
  • It can run natively on Windows; if you want that, make sure you do use the cygwin setup.


  • While it does not show a userlist by default, irssi still maintains a userlist internally (/names). This is less than ideal for Twitch.
  • There's no obvious way to save a server connection with a specified username and password. There's probably a way but I don't know of any myself.
    • If you could save the server properly, you can add the -auto switch to the right \server add incantation to make it connect automatically.
  • The default theme of irssi is grey on black; many themes are available online and they can go further than changing the display colors. A gallery of popular themes is available here
  • You can't use them with Twitch but chat coloring can be done with Ctrl-C,number; see also this page with the other keyboard shortcuts.

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