Pidgin with OTR - Secure Instant Messaging

Pidgin is a free and open source client that lets you organize and manage your different Instant Messaging (IM) accounts using a single interface. The Off-the-Record (OTR) plug-in designed for use with Pidgin ensures authenticated and secure communications between Pidgin users.

Installing Pidgin and OTR

  • Read the brief Hands-on Guide Introduction
  • Click the Pidgin icon below to open the page
  • Click the Download Pidgin for Windows link
  • Save the installation file, then navigate to it and double click it
  • Click the OTR icon below to open the page
  • Click the Win32 installer for pidgin 2.x link in the OTR plugin for Pidgin section
  • Save the installer, then navigate to it and double click it
  • After you have successfully installed Pidgin and OTR you may delete the installation programs from your computer.

Pidgin: OTR:

**Installing Pidgin with OTR **

  • Read the brief Hands-on Guide Introduction
  • Click the Pidgin with OTR icon below and 'Open' or 'Run' the installer. If necessary, save the installer first, then find it and double click it
  • Read the 'Installation instructions' in the next section before you continue
  • If you saved the installer to your computer, you may delete it after installation

Pidgin: OTR:


Computer Requirements

  • An Internet connection
  • All Windows Versions

Version used in this guide

  • Pidgin 2.10.9
  • OTR 4.0.0-1

Last revision of this chapter

  • August 2014


  • Free and Open-Source Software

Required Reading

How-to Booklet chapter 7. Keeping your Internet Communication Private

What you will get in return:

  • The ability to organize and manage some of the most popular instant messaging services through a single program
  • The ability to have private and authenticated chat sessions

GNU Linux, Mac OS and other Microsoft Windows Compatible Programs:

Note: We recommend Jitsi as a replacement for Pidgin. As well as being able to use Jitsi for secure text chat (including with Pidgin users), you can also use it to have secure voice and video communications with other Jitsi users. Jitsi is available for Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS and more.

Both Pidgin and OTR are available for Microsoft Windows and for GNU/Linux. Another multi-protocol IM program for Microsoft Windows that supports OTR is Miranda IM. For the Mac OS you can use Adium, a multi-protocol IM program that supports the OTR plugin.

1.1 Things you should know about this tool before you start

Before you can start using Pidgin you must have an existing IM account, after which you will register that account to Pidgin. For instance, if you have an Google Account, you can use their IM service GoogleTalk with Pidgin. The log-in details of your existing IM account are used to register and access your account through Pidgin.

Note: All users are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the privacy and security policies of their Instant Messaging account provider.

Pidgin supports the following IM services: AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MXit, MySpaceIM, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, Yahoo!, Zephyr and any IM clients running the XMPP messaging protocol.

Pidgin does not permit communication between different IM services. For instance, if you are using Pidgin to access your Google Talk account, you will not be able to chat with a friend using an ICQ account.

However, Pidgin can be configured to manage multiple accounts based on any of the supported messaging protocols. That is, you may simultaneously use both Gmail and ICQ accounts, and chat with correspondents using either of those specific services (which are supported by Pidgin).

Off-the-Record (OTR) messaging is a plugin developed specifically for Pidgin. It offers the following privacy and security features:

  • Authentication: You are assured the correspondent is who you think it is.
  • Deniability: After the chat session is finished, messages cannot be identified as originating from either your correspondent or you.
  • Encryption: No one else can access and read your instant messages.
  • Perfect Forward Security: If third party obtains your private keys, no previous conversations are compromised.

Note: Pidgin must be installed before the OTR plugin.