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Instant Messaging

Stanford provides a secure instant messaging service (Stanford IM) that allows real-time communication between two or more people.

Many of us already use public instant messaging services such as AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, or Google Talk to communicate during the day with co-workers, students, and colleagues at other universities. Stanford IM gives you a safer and more secure method to communicate Low and Moderate Risk Data via IM. You are encouraged to use Stanford IM whenever you are conducting University business with other Stanford employees.

Stanford IM runs on a secure Stanford server and network and takes advantage of SSL encryption. Stanford IM supports these desktop IM clients:

  • Adium (Macintosh)
  • Pidgin (Windows)

Note: Stanford has made Google Apps (Mail, Calendar, Drive, Sites, Groups, and Talk) available to undergraduate students and Google Drive available to all Stanford students, faculty, and staff. Undergraduate students can access Google Talk via the Google Mail web interface or by using an instant messaging (IM) client such as Adium or Pidgin. Everyone else will continue to have access to the Stanford IM service, which is only available through an XMPP/Jabber client. The Stanford IM service supports persistent group chat rooms, but Google Talk does not.

If you have access to both IM services, do not configure both accounts in a single client; this will cause the client to crash.


  • SUNet ID and password authentication
  • SSL encryption
  • Your user name is your SUNet ID
  • Group chat
  • Uses Internet standard protocols (XMPP)

Getting Started

Download and install the free instant messaging client for your operating system.

Once you have installed and configured your IM client, you must specifically invite your co-workers for them to show up on your IM contact list. See the instructions to manage contacts (Adium)  or manage buddies (Pidgin) for more information.

Learn more

Last modified March 1, 2016