Internet Relay Chat

Copyright ©2002-2017, David A. Desrosiers

Many Free Software and commercial projects have their own "irc channel", where you can talk (type) to other users and developers of the many different project live on the Internet.


IRC enables you to find others, like yourself, who may have trouble setting up software, tools or other components, or who have interesting sites and tips to share.

Internet Relay Chat

What exactly IS IRC?

IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. IRC is a multi-user, multi-channel chat system that is run on a Network. It gives people all over the world the ability to talk (type) to one another in real time. Each user has a nickname (handle) and converses with other users either in private or on a channel (often referred to as a chat room).

How do I connect?

IRC is based on a client-server model, or Network. In order to use IRC, you have to connect to an IRC Server in an IRC Network. Note: an IRC server is NOT the server you connect to when you connect to the Internet. You FIRST connect to the Internet as usual through your Internet Service Provider, THEN you connect to an IRC Server.

An IRC Network is a collection of servers linked together. When you log onto an IRC network, you are connecting to one of the servers on that network. Since all the servers are connected to each other, you are connected to all the other users even though they may not be connected to the same server as you. All servers on a network share and have access to the same information. Each server knows who is on the network, which chat rooms (called "channels" on IRC) the users are in, and which servers the users are using as well.

Where do I connect?

To chat with other users and developers, load up your favorite IRC client (you can use the IRC client list below) to find the right one for your operating system), and point to your favorite IRC server as your server.

To do this, you can type the following command in your irc client:


Once you have connected, you may then join channel you wish to join by typing the following command in your irc client:

/join #thischannel

If your irc client (and web browser) supports clickable links to irc servers, you can just click here to be connected straight away.

Then what do I do?

Nothing, that's it. You've connected and joined the channel. If nobody appears to be around, you can wait, or join at another time when more users may be around.

Many users and developers are located around the world, in many timezones and countries. When it happens to be your morning, it may be someone else's night, so there may be times when nobody is around at all. Simply hang around and come back in a few hours when someone could be awake or near their computer to chat.

When there are people around, if you don't get an answer to your question, be patient. Many times when people are online, they may not be at their keyboard, or may be helping other users in other channels.

Final Comments

You'll find all kinds of people on IRC. Some nice, and some not so nice. Simply behave as you would in the real world. Most people will be friendly and considerate, if you are as well.

Most channels will have a topic set, so check it out before you dive in. When you join a channel, say hello. Don't expect to get hello's back from everyone, especially when there are lots of people on the channel.

If you've never visited the channel before and have no idea what to expect, just sit back and watch for awhile to get a feel for the flow of the channel (thats called "lurking").

Most of all enjoy yourself, have fun!