IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It was originally
written by Jarkko Oikarinen in 1988. Since starting in Finland, it has been used in over
60 countries around the world. IRC is a multi-user chat system, where people meet on
Channels (rooms, virtual places, usually with a certain topic of conversation) to talk in
groups, or privately. There is no restriction to the number of people that can participate
in a given discussion, or the number of channels that can be formed on IRC. (Read more on
how IRC started in http://www.mirc.co.uk/jarkko.txt
and jarkko2.txt) This program is a substitution for 'talk', and many other multiple talk
programs you might have read about. Many families from around the world use IRC as a form
of communication just as they would the telephone, but without the huge phone bills. When
you are talking on IRC, everything you type will instantly be transmitted around the world
to other users that might be watching their terminals at the time, they can then type
something and respond to your messages.
Topics of discussion on IRC are numerous and change constantly.
Technical and political discussions are popular, especially during world events. IRC is
also a way to expand your horizons, as people from many countries and cultures are on, 24
hours a day. Most conversations are in English, but there are always channels in every
Think of IRC as a CB with unlimited channels & a world wide
range. You can speak to one person or many at one time. BE
AWARE: IRC can be addicitive. Remember that IRC is for
FUN. ....If you get frustrated type /quit & hit return, then turn off the machine.
REMEMBER to go outside, smell the grass & hear the birds. :)
How is IRC set up?
As a user you run a Client program which connects to a Server in an
IRC network. All servers are interconnected and pass messages from user to user over the
IRC network. One server can be connected to several other servers and up to hundreds of
clients. Several larger and smaller IRC networks exist. The largest ones, called EFnet
(Eris Free net), IRCnet, Undernet and Dalnet usually serve about 25,000 users at any given
time. Lots of other ones are a little less populated but often offer more stability and
What does a client do? What is the purpose of a server?
An IRC client reads in the commands and text that you supply to it,
and parses them. It filters them and performs the appropriate actions, and if necessary,
passes them on to your IRC server. An IRC server can serve many other clients. The server
holds information about the channels and people on IRC, as well as other pieces of
information, and is also responsible for routing your messages to other users. The IRC
Network itself consists of multiple servers which are all connect to each other.
How do I get on IRC?
First, you have to make sure an IRC Client is installed on your
system. If you have a PC with internet access you only have to obtain and install a
client. (dont worry ..its easy!)
Basically what you do is download a program, install it and set it up, decide on a network
you want to visit, then find a server that is geographically close to you, and connect to
it. Really it depends on the operating system you are running as to how easy or difficult
the software will be to setup, most programs have help files that cover it all.
Where can I find a client?
Popular IRC clients (in no particular order): WSIRC, mIRC, pIRCh,
InteRfaCe and ChatMan. You can get an IRC client by anonymous ftp from several sites (use
the one closest to you)
Click here to telnet to DALnet!
What else do I need before I can install an IRC client?
Besides running MS-Windows you need to have a properly
installed WINSOCK. If you can use FTP, E-mail, News or other Internet programs from within
Windows already, you can safely assume you have a winsock installed and it is working
properly. If you do not have a properly working winsock installed on your PC you should
install one first. Most Windows 3.1x users use the Trumpet winsock package. Windows95
users can use the Dial Up Networking module that is included in Windows95.
How do I install this client that I found?
Most programs on the internet are transported in a compressed
form. The better programs come in self extracting .exe files that also install the program
for you. mIRC is one of these programs coming in an 'auto-everything' package. Just run
the cabinet you downloaded and off you go!
Sometimes you first have to unzip the file to be able to run the program in it. A good
unzipper can be found at http://www.winzip.com/. Once
unzipped, installing an IRC client (like any program) is mainly a matter of running its
setup program or simply placing the files in a separate directory and running the program.
After installation, you may have to specify some personal information before you can
connect to an IRC server. For detailed instructions read the help files included in the
programs (typically a .hlp file or readme.txt). Some IRC clients, like mIRC, have their
own FAQ that provides detailed help. Reading such FAQ's is highly recommended!
Which server should I connect my client to?
It's usually best to try and connect to a geographically
close server, even though that may not always be the best. Local (nearby) servers will
normally work faster for you and will give you unrestricted access. You can always ask for
suggestions on nearby server addresses when you log on to IRC, or type /links.
What is the port number to use to connect to IRC?
In general, the port number to use is 6667. Some, but not
all, servers listen to other ports (most commonly in the 6665-6670 range). When in doubt,
select port 6667 (Dalnet usually uses port 7000). A port number should be seen as an
entrance to a server. If you take the wrong entrance (port) the server will not understand
what you are doing, and will disconnect you.
OK, I've got a client installed and I'm connected to a
server, now what?
It's probably best to take a look around and see what you
want to do first. All IRC commands start with a "/", and most are one word.
Typing /help will get you help information. /names will get you a list of all nicknames,
/list will give you a list of channels, etc. The output of /list is typically something
The USA Channel
#hackers_hideout 53 We are your worst nightmare !
where casual and irc collide
#hottub 76 Come in for a
#mIRC 27 mIRC Homepage
#irchelp 17 Ask all your IRC
(Note: There are sometimes thousands of channels, this is
just a small example.) In this example "USA" is a channel name. "#" is
the prefix. Follwing the channel name you will see the number of people in it as well as
its topic. All channel names start with a # or &.
#USA on line
You will only find #USA on the network DALnet. In order to chat
with us, you will have to join DALnet. In the simpliest of terms, once you have your
client installed and you are connected to the internet, just type: /server (server
[ie: /server liberty.dal.net 7000] For quick reference here are a list of commonly
used IRC servers on DALnet. Please note that these change frequently.
Then, to join us in #USA after connecting to a server type:
If this sounds easy, it's because it is. Once you have a working client you will be fine!
Its getting to that stage and further that can be more tricky, but there are plenty of
people on IRC to help you, and even channels for new people like #newbies, #new2IRC,
#mIRC, #pIRCh. ;)
Links: To web pages for the 3 main IRC networks.
- DALnet: The Friendly IRC network
- EFnet: The Largest IRC network
- UNDERnet: The Second Largest