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Long before Twitter, Google Talk, AIM, and even ICQ, there was Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a very basic client/server chat protocol. If you want to see what it’s about, or you simply long for the good ol’ days, I’m here to show you how to create your own IRC channel.

Think of a channel as an individual “room” on a larger IRC server, usually dedicated to a certain topic or organization. Your own mileage may vary. To create and access IRC, you’ll need an IRC client like any on this list. I’ll be using the ChatZilla extension for Firefox.

chatZillaStartup - how to create irc channel

If you’re new, I suggest reading IRC Help before jumping in.

You’ll notice that ChatZilla presents you upon startup with links to some popular networks. For the purposes of this demonstration, I connected to Freenode, however due to its policies against off-topic channels, I suggest using the Foonetic server instead. Just type “/server irc.foonetic.net” to connect to it.

Chances are, your initial username will be taken and you’ll be given something like “Tim____”. You can change your nickname with the command “/nick NickName” (no quotes). If you plan on using your channel often, you may wish to reserve your chosen nickname with a password. You can do this with a command in the format “/msg nickserv register password email@address“. When you return to the server later, you may login with “/msg nickserv identify password“.

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freenodeRegister

Now that you’ve got your nickname registered, it’s time to create your channel. This can be done with the command “/join channelname“. The channel name can be any old nonsense. Try to make sure that your channel name is unique so that you don’t drop into another channel unannounced.

joinChannel

Once you’re in your channel, you have the option to register the channel, in order to maintain operator “(op)” status in the channel. To do so, your command is “/msg chanserv REGISTER #channelname password description“, replacing words when appropriate.

I’ve created a channel for #MakeUseOf on the Foonetic server, and anyone is welcome to drop in and say hi. Have fun with the old-school chit-chat!

Do you have a favorite IRC client or server to suggest? Let us know in the comments.

  1. BeeRokk
    August 5, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    thank you this was quite straight foward

  2. Archie
    July 2, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    How to create channel in Xchat?

  3. Yassin Philip
    March 30, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Thanks, this was *really* useful, I lost all information that in a pink-coloured cloud somewhere in 1997 ;)

  4. Hank
    January 10, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I'm completely unfamiliar with IRC but downloaded XChat for IRC for Linux and would like to create a channel where Americans can speak their mind about the present globalist agenda and discuss ideas for "saving America". Am I in the right place to do that? What would be the simplest way to create a channel and get people talking? and I don't want any corrupt Feds and CIA agents showing up at my door for "indefinite detention", a clear violation of the 1st Amendment and "GOD GIVEN" rights, so any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Wayne
      January 30, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      Have you done that? Now that Facebook is not allowing people to list and sell guns, looking for an easy alternative.

  5. Mike
    January 4, 2015 at 11:40 am

    @Guy Cross
    -someone should hit u with one of those old car phones u know the 50 pound suitcase phone yeah blamo in your grill jaw broke eating like a 2 year old cause that was stupid ass hell your probably 55 and do own a beeper or two how else would pimp daddy get ahold of his main breadwinner u know daddy ain't all y2k and stuff but u know u aint supposed to me speaking u got more important things to use that pretty mouth for like paying my car note.

  6. ali
    September 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I give this article a big
    NICE JOB !

    Thank you, i really ned it ;)

  7. 4x4
    July 22, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I am using quassel and this stuff doesn't seem to work.

    • Mackenzie
      August 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm

      Works fine in my Quassel and Quassel Client.

  8. Ramus
    June 17, 2009 at 5:59 am

    i follow your steps but it doesn't work he don't wan't to register my nick neighter my channel....

  9. sevenrio
    June 10, 2009 at 9:32 am

    rssi is the way to go as Mackenzie stated. The benefit of Irssi is, that it runs on a web server so you seem online at all times even if you (for some obscure reason!) get up and go out or even shut your cpu. So whenerver you log on again, you can see everything that has been discussed while you were away. Something you won’t achieve with ChatZilla or Mirc (at least you didn’t when I last checked).

    Been as what no si msn ?

  10. Jon
    April 17, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Thanks a lot, this is great :)

  11. s3bby
    March 28, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Thanks for the info, it helped for my setup!

    check it irc . newsforgeek . c0m

  12. s3bby
    March 28, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Thanks for the info, it helped with my setup! Check it out at irc.newsforgeek.com @ #techhelp

  13. Matt
    February 27, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    hye,guys

  14. Callimo
    January 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Is it possible in some way to embed an iRC chat into a wordpress page?

    (I'm thinking of a Java application or something, but I don't know where to look).

    Maybe this is a hint for a future post :)

    • Tim Watson
      January 10, 2009 at 7:53 pm

      I think that you'll find just what you need on WildRyde. wyldryde.org/chat/

  15. dave
    January 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    i know that irrsi is running in a cocoa version, but i also like colloquy for mac (free) and tried snak but didn't want to shell out 30 bucks for an irc client...

  16. Guy Cross
    January 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    No hard feelings, I meant old-school in a good way.
    I wouldn't take the time to write a negative comment on someone's blog... what's the point?

    IRC is old-school, and I was nostalgically remembering my university days of BBSing and owning a beeper.

    Guy

  17. Matt
    January 8, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I've been using IRC for the past 4 years, i generally dont go on HUGE networks, makeuseof.com should get their own server, I'd help set up an IRCD :D

  18. Paul
    January 8, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Please help in configuring the IRC in my firefox

    • Tim Watson
      January 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm

      What seems to be the trouble?

  19. sloth
    January 8, 2009 at 6:33 am

    idd, that's a feature I didn't know irssi had.. I've only tried using it on Linux, but as I've grown so used to mIRC like clients, it was kinda hard to change. However, I've got my own bouncer running, so I at least don't need to remember all the channels, I'm usually idling in and get offline queries as soon as I log in and can log in to the same account from multiple machines, etc :p

  20. J
    January 8, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Irssi is the way to go as Mackenzie stated. The benefit of Irssi is, that it runs on a web server so you seem online at all times even if you (for some obscure reason!) get up and go out or even shut your cpu. So whenerver you log on again, you can see everything that has been discussed while you were away. Something you won't achieve with ChatZilla or Mirc (at least you didn't when I last checked).

    Been using irc since '93 and I still take it as the best way to keep in touch with friends. Twitter, Facebook, Messenger and such services are neat, but nothing really beats IRC in flexibility, real-timeness and, really, easiness.

  21. Guy Cross
    January 8, 2009 at 9:02 am

    IRC is SO old-school!!! I got into the internet using telnet BBS' will they be making a come back too?

    next we will all be getting beepers! (hit me on my beeper, beeper, beeper!).

    Guy
    sleepywhisper.com

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm

      Just because you don't use it doesn't mean that others don't use it too. IRC is still hugely popular by a LOT of people and this post was actually requested by a MakeUseOf reader.

      The world would be very boring if we were all the same.

  22. Mackenzie
    January 8, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Oh, and instead of using /server, why not use /connect? /connect doesn't disconnect you from the other servers you're on. /server kicks you off the current one.

    • Tim Watson
      January 8, 2009 at 8:05 am

      I don't know if there was an issue with ChatZilla or just something I did wrong, but /connect did not seem to work for me. I'll take a look at Irssi.

  23. Mackenzie
    January 8, 2009 at 2:06 am

    The only IRC client I use is irssi. I've been on irc.freenode.net almost all day of almost every day of the last two years.

  24. sloth
    January 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I've been using IRC ever since I started online gaming back in 2002 using the Quakenet. I'm still idling there whenever my Computer is running, as it's still the first program I start when it has booted :D
    Personally, I actually prefer IRC with mIRC over ICQ, MSN, AIM and the other Instant Messenger Protocols and Clients I use.

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