How to Chat with Your Contacts in Mozilla Thunderbird

Featured Chatting Pro

There is a cool feature of Mozilla Thunderbird that allows you to use it as an Instant Messenger. You can use it to chat with your contacts on Google Talk, Twitter, XMPP and IRC. Until recently, they supported Facebook Messenger as well, but it is now discontinued.

To enable chat mode, click the three-line menu icon at the top-right of your Thunderbird dashboard. Go to “New Message” followed by “Chat Account.”

Create New Chat Account Thunderbird

In the next step you get to choose from one of the four IM options. We will discuss them one by one.

Chat Account Wizard Thunderbird Options

Google Talk

We discussed earlier how useful Thunderbird can be in setting up your Gmail account. For Google Talk, you do not need to use the same Gmail account – a new one will do just fine.

Google Talk Account Thunderbird

Simply enter your Google password. Thunderbird offers SSL/TLS protection, so you don’t have to worry about security. Additionally, you also have a choice to be prompted for the password each time you log in.

Password Enter Chat Account Wizard Thunderbird

There are one to two additional steps where you get to choose your chat alias. Once finished, a chat icon will be displayed at the top. If for some reason your Google Talk account shows that it is not connected, simply refresh “show chat status.”

Chat Status Thuderbird


Once you choose Twitter, you will initially be asked to provide your username. Then it will lead to the next screen where you must authorize Thunderbird Chat to use your Twitter account. Provide your Twitter password at this step.

Twitter Authorization Thunderbird Chat

As with Google Talk, you will have to go through a few more easy sequences. In the end, enter “Finish,” and your Twitter timeline will be quickly added to the Thunderbird dashboard. All your conversations with followers are available for further action. You can tweet easily and send messages to your followers.

Twitter Feed On Thunderbird Demo


Thunderbird also supports a whole bunch of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) services. Just click on the network to find your server details. The most popular IRC chatrooms include IRCnet, EFNet, Chatzona, DALnet and QuakeNet which also have Android support.

Irc Websites

Take note of the chatroom’s server names, and Port/SSL numbers, which are optional in case you have trouble logging in.

Irc Servers Chatzona

Go back to the Chat Account Wizard in Thunderbird, and enter the server names as shown in the previous step.

Irc Account Thunderbird

After following a few more steps including alias selection, your IRC account is now enabled with Thunderbird. Click Finish to begin chatting.

Irc Chat Account Wizard


Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is very popular with VOIP, video, file transfer and gaming applications. Also known as Jabber, the open standard protocol supports discovery across several local domains in isolated locations. This makes it very popular for cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

Jabber Website

If you have a Jabber account for any of its numerous projects, enter your username and domain as below. After that, the steps are similar to setting up an IRC account with Thunderbird.

Jabber Xmpp Account

In Summary

Even in the age of smartphones, many of us spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Mozilla Thunderbird is an extremely convenient client to keep track of instant messaging updates.

Do you intend to use any chat messaging services with the Thunderbird client? Please let us know in the comments.

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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