Chatting may be the single most popular activity on the Net, outside of E-mail. Below, TheFreeSite.com lists a roundup of the Web's best and most popular free chat programs and services. We also include some of the more cutting-edge programs that allow you to assume the form of an avatar and roam around a three-dimensional "virtual reality" world, chatting with others. And we haven't left out Webmasters, either. We also list many of the top free services that allow you to easily set up your own chat room on your Web site.
Need a quick way to chat with your friends? Here's a top-notch free service that lets you easily create your own chat room, in which you can invite people via E-mail to chat. No installation or registration is required and the service doesn't pester you with banner ads or popups.
Are you looking for someone to chat with? This popular free service offers free public and private chat rooms and video webcam chat. No registration is required. You must be 18 or older to participate.
A fun, free online chat community, where you can view other user's pictures, profile info and more. PlanetLiveChat offers video and voice chat, picture sharing, private chat and a variety of chat rooms based on different interests.
Looking for someone to chat with? This popular free chat portal offers moderated chat rooms that are lively 24 hours a day. 321chat.com features chat rooms for seniors, children, adults, teens, and more. The service is easy to use and has loads of features.
Here, you can get a free, customized chat room for your Web site. FreeJavaChat.com offers Java-based chat rooms that include a feature-rich IRC-compliant Web interface. A big plus for this service is that it displays no ads.
At this site, you'll find family-friendly Webcam chat for all ages. The video chat rooms here draw hundreds of participants at any given time and include teen chat, adult chat, gay chat, and more. Text chat and microphone-only chat are also available.
A fun, popular site that offers clean Webcam and text chat for teenagers. Here, you can upload pictures and profiles and play online Flash games. You can also post to the forums, send instant messages, send video mail, and more. The streaming music feature lets you upload MP3s, make playlists, and share and listen to music.
Here's a good place to go if you're looking to chat online. A popular site, ChatJungle.com offers lots of categorized chat rooms, including dating chat, gaming chat, senior chat, teen chat, and more. Chat rooms here include audio and visual conference capability and feature collaborative features like file sharing, image upload and more.
Do you use MSN Messenger (the free instant messaging client)? Then check out this site, which offers loads of free goodies to help you make the most of Messenger, including thousands of emoticons and avatars. You'll also find hundreds of add-ons, skins, tricks, secrets, and free downloads here.
This is one of the Web's most popular chat sites for teenagers. Here, you can easily create your own free public chat room on any topic. You can also create an icon or avatar to represent yourself. You must be at least 13 years old to participate.
Here's a popular, family-friendly free chat channel that you can access via your browser. Chatzone is one of the more enduring IRC chat channels, dating back to 1996. It's aimed at English speakers who are at least 15 years old.
This site offers a directory of free chat rooms. Categories include adult chat, dating chat, teen chat, U.K. chat, and more. The site also offers a feature in which you can easily add your own chat room to your Web site or MySpace profile.
Here, you will find a good collection of over 150 emoticons and backgrounds for use with MSN Messenger, the instant messaging client. Categories include animals, flags, letters, smileys, sports, weather, and more.
Here's a nifty free 3D voice chat community that lets you assume the form of an "avatar" (a virtual representation of yourself) and roam around VRML 3D virtual worlds. The avatars here have built-in lip sync animation, so voice chat is natural and intuitive.
Are you tired of having an instant messaging program that always seems to be incompatible with the ones your friends use? Trillian is an outstanding free, ad-supported program that offers support for many different chat networks, including Facebook, Skype, Google, MSN, AIM, ICQ, XMPP, Yahoo!, and more. (For Windows).
A must-have instant messaging and chat program from Israel that ranks as one of the Web's most useful freeware programs. ICQ's features could fill a book but the most important innovation it offers is "awareness" (the ability to determine whether other people are online at a given moment). Available for Windows and Mac.
We think that this is one of the coolest freeware programs on the Web. It's a browser that lets you access AlphaWorld, a unique, 3D virtual community populated by real people. The Active Worlds universe boasts thousands of users who you can chat with. You can explore over 100 worlds in real-time, high-color graphics. You can even own land and create buildings on your property, from a simple house to an elaborate palace. (Available for Windows, Macs and Linux).