What Is IRC And What Is It For?

By Tanner Abraham •  Updated: 08/14/22 •  5 min read

If you are a person who has been used to browse the Internet for years, it is very likely that you have heard of IRC on occasion. However, if you are relatively new to the computer world, it may be the case that you have never read or heard about this term. In any case, we are going to explain what IRC is and what it is for.

What is IRC and what is it for?

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a protocol used to carry out conversations with other people in real time. However, to do so you must use a client, which is a program that allows you to connect to the IRC server. This, in turn, is also connected to other servers.

All the people who are connected to the server can participate in the chat through commands. It is important to know that there are different types of IRC networks. Each of them is integrated into a group of servers that are duly connected to each other. These types of networks are called Dalen, Irene and Feet.

In the event that you want to talk to a particular person, you will need to connect to the same type of network. However, it is not necessary to connect to the same server. It is enough to connect to the closest IRC server or the one that offers the shortest possible response time, so that you can enjoy a better connection.

Clients and servers

There are different clients that can be used to be able to use IRC to communicate with other people. Some examples of them are the following:

In the same way there are several servers, such as the aforementioned Dalen, Irene and Feet.

In the event that you try to connect to one of the latter and verify that it does not respond, this will mean that you are disconnected from the rest of the network. In that case the solution is to connect to another server.

Network label

When a user is on IRC from their computer, they must follow the rules of conduct that are established by the service itself so as not to cause inconvenience to other people.

For greater control over users, this protocol does not allow anonymous connection, so other users or moderators can penalize those who do not behave appropriately with other users. This can lead to a penalty and even a ban.

An IRC is a place where users can have conversations of all kinds, exchanging information or simply chatting for some entertainment.

Basic IRC commands

If you are going to use IRC you need to know how to connect. The first thing you need to do is connect to an IRC server. To do this, you must run the following command from your PC (without the quotes): « SERVER [IRC SERVER] [PORT] «. Usually the port is 6667.

Once the above is done, it is the moment in which you choose a user nickname by which you want others to be able to recognize you and, therefore, address you. To do this, you must proceed to enter the following command (without the quotes): « /NICK LEGENDNAME». To choose your username or nickname, you must take into account that it is usually limited to a total of 11 characters.

IRC has different chat rooms, so you can enter those that interest you the most and fit with what you prefer to do at that moment. To join one or more channels you just have to enter this command (without the quotes): « /JOIN #CHANNELNAME».

If you want to leave it, you just have to enter (without the quotes): « /PART #CHANNELNAME». Also, if you want to say goodbye to the rest of the users, you will have to enter the following (also without quotes):» « /PART #CHANNELNAME [YOURMESSAGE] ».

It is very possible that at first you do not know very well which channel to join, although there is a command that you can enter to find out which ones are available. To do this you must enter the following (without quotes): « /LIST #channel [-MIN #] [-MAX #].

Both -MIN and -MAX are followed by a number for you to specify the number of results you want to appear. Keep in mind that there are thousands of channels and if all of them are displayed it can take so long to load that it ends up causing you to be disconnected from the server. You must keep this in mind.

Currently they are not used very frequently by users, but IRC channels became very popular, being one of the main ways to communicate with people from different parts of the world before other more sophisticated means began to arrive. And modern. In any case, you can follow the indicated steps to chat with other people.

Tanner Abraham

Data Scientist and Software Engineer with a focus on experimental projects in new budding technologies that incorporate machine learning and quantum computing into web applications.