When comparing mIRC vs HexChat, the Slant community recommends HexChat for most people. In the question“What are the best IRC clients for Windows?” HexChat is ranked 1st while mIRC is ranked 3rd. The most important reason people chose HexChat is:
HexChat is available as a free download with source code licensed under GPL v2 and available on [GitHub](https://github.com/HexChat/hexchat).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Highly scriptable with an ever-evolving scripting language
Scripts are short programs (sets of instructions) that can be used to automate tasks in mIRC. mIRC has its own scripting language which can be used to perform many different types of tasks, from managing IRC channels to playing multi-user online games.
mIRC scripts can also be used to perform tasks that are not IRC-related, such as managing files on the computer, sending emails, or backing up a web server.
The scripting language is being improved upon and developed further with each release of mIRC.
Pro Clean interface
mIRC interface is uncluttered, easy to overview and use. Additionally, it is highly customizable where fonts, layouts, aliases, popups, etc can be changed and extendable so it can be made to fit any necessities.
Pro Functionality can be extended with a vast array of scripts
A vast array of scripts are available on the web.
Pro Free trial
mIRC offers a free 30-day trial.
Pro Crackable if you NOP CRC
Very easy to crack if you know basic Reverse Engineering.
Pro Has been in active development for over 20 years
mIRC was created in 1995 by Khaled Mardam-Bey and is still being actively developed.
Pro Per-server settings
It's possible to create a list of settings and action that perform when connecting to a specific server. All of these things are easy to set up and use.
Pro Almost all actions can be performed via buttons
mIRC offers easy to use graphical solutions for a wide range of different IRC commands and server configurations so it's possible to use either commands or icons based on preference.
Pro Free and open source
HexChat is available as a free download with source code licensed under GPL v2 and available on GitHub.
Pro Simple, clear interface
HexChat's default interface is clear, well-organized and intuitive. Channels can be laid out as both tabs and in a tree structure. All components such as user lists, topics bar or even menu bar can be hidden to provide a clean way to interact. Conversely the interface can be configured to show quick access buttons for changing channel flags, sending files or performing operator actions.
Pro Functionality can be extended with plugins and scripts
HexChat has a great list of plugins and scripts and is compatible with most XChat plugins. XChats library is incredibly extensive. There is a wide range of both useful and fun plugins. It's possible to add an RSS feed, play a game of chess or control an mp3 player via chat while translating everything written to l33t speek.
Pro Actively developed
GitHub repository shows active development.
Pro Works for any level of user
HexChat is an advanced IRC client that is good for beginners as well as those users who like to get under the hood. It is easy to get up and running, but has all the advanced features that a power user would need.
Pro Highly scriptable
HexChat supports scripting in Perl and Python. Both languages can be used to extend functionality of the software - bots can be written, automation can be added, new dialogs can be created.
Pro Highly customizable look
While most clients allow changing the theme or style of a window, HexChat gives complete control over what it looks like. It's possible to set a custom image as the background, changing font, or syntax colors.
Pro Available in multiple languages
HexChat has either complete or partial translations in over 50 languages.
Con Not free
mIRC is not free but only a trial for 30 days, after that the user is asked to pay $20 to be able to use the software.
Con No command line solution
Con Vague information on validity of purchased licenses
Developer only says a license is valid for "several years" and is known to have intentionally voided licenses that were specifically described as lifetime licenses for repeat business.
Con High CPU usage on some Windows 8.1 & 10 versions
HexChat has a long-standing unresolved issue with high CPU usage spikes on key-presses that is noticed in some Windows 8.1 and 10 versions.
Con Bad character support
Writing normal apostrophes and certain characters is not possible without a certain plugin installed.
Additionally, it does not render all glyphs like most other programs would.
Con Not free for Windows 10
It costs 10$ in the Windows store.
Con Poor high DPI display support
Text is blurry and hard to read on HDPI displays. Both in Windows and Mac.