CITES | University of Illinois

Illinois Chat

This page contains information about Illinois Chat, a safe and secure IM service on the University network.
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This page describes one or more traditional, individual CITES services that are not part of Unified Communications.

Unified Communications at Illinois provides faculty, staff, and graduate students with an integrated system that offers phone, instant messaging, web/ teleconferencing services and other features.

For more information, see Voice & More with Microsoft Lync.

What is Illinois Chat?

Illinois Chat is the instant messaging (IM) service that allows faculty, staff, and students on the Urbana campus to chat within the safety and security of the University network.

Why should I use Illinois Chat?

  • It’s secured: Your instant messages are encrypted from end to end, which means they cannot be intercepted, and they are never sent outside the University network.
  • It’s private: Any information you exchange via Illinois Chat is not being “captured,” which means your chats or file transfers are not saved or held in any way on the Illinois Chat server.
  • It’s safer: Only those with a valid University NetID can use Illinois Chat, which means that everyone on Illinois Chat is verified.
  • It’s the best way to find your campus colleagues: All you have to know is the NetID of the person(s) you want to chat with. You don’t need to worry about which IM service a colleague or student might be using or what his or her screen name is. Once you have an Illinois Chat account, you can easily add your Illinois contacts that are also using the IM service. If a contact is not already using Illinois Chat, you can invite him or her to start.
  • It works for group chats: The same features that make Illinois Chat better for private chats and information transfer also make it the better choice for group chats. You can create and check out chat rooms for your research group, your staff, or the students in a class project.
  • You can use more than one computer at a time: If you take your laptop to a new location while your office or dorm desktop is still connected, Illinois Chat will detect your activity on your laptop and direct new chat messages there.

Illinois Chat Quick Start (for IT pros)

If you're already familiar with instant messaging and want to add Illinois Chat to an Instant Messaging client you already have, see Illinois Chat Quick Start.

For more detailed instructions, see below.

Adding Illinois Chat to instant messaging software

In order to use Illinois Chat, you'll need to have IM software installed on your computer that supports Jabber (XMPP), a technical component on which Illinois Chat depends.

Some of the free IM software clients available online that will work with Illinois Chat include:
Note: Clicking on the name of the IM software client will take you to another page with its configuration instructions.


Why might I want to choose Spark?

Some of Spark's benefits as an instant messaging client include:

  • Free for use on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Unix.
  • Supports Jabber (XMPP), AIM/ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo chat protocols.
  • Additional features include: SIP Softphone, a plugin that allows you to integrate voice, file transfer, and text; spell checking; group chat room bookmarks; and tabbed conversations.
  • More information about Spark is available at Ignite Realtime.


Why might I want to choose Pidgin?

Some of Pidgin's benefits as an instant messaging client include:

  • Free for use on Windows, Mac OS X,  and Linux.
  • Supports Jabber (XMPP), AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MySpaceIM, QQ, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, Yahoo!, and Zephyr chat protocols.
  • Additional features include: file transfer; Away messages;  typing notification; "Buddy Pounces," which can notify you when a buddy comes or goes; and plugins consisting of text replacement, a Buddy Ticker, extended message notification, iconify on "Away," spell checking, and tabbed conversations.
  • More information about Pidgin is available at

iChat (Mac only)

Why might I want to choose iChat?

Some of iChat's benefits as an instant messaging client include:

  • Built in to Mac OS X.
  • Supports Jabber (XMPP), AIM/ICQ, and iChat chat protocols.
  • Additional features include: group chat using SSL; file transfers; and point-to-point connections between IM clients for audio, video and multi-way audio and video.

Adium (Mac only)

Why might I want to choose Adium?

Some of Adium's benefits as an instant messaging client include:

  • Free for use on Mac OS X
  • Supports Jabber (XMPP), AIM/ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, iChat, Gadu-Gadu, LiveJournal, QQ, Groupwise, and Sametime chat protocols
  • Additional features include: tabbed messaging;  file transfers; and Webkit Message Display which displays content in a customizable format.
  • More information about Adium is available at AdiumX.


Last updated Sunday, March 4, 2012, 11:59 pm