Internet

How to Create Your Own IRC Chat Channel

Joe Keeley Updated 19-06-2020

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a method of text messaging with people online in real time. It has been around since 1988 and is favored by many for its simplicity and efficiency. Users connect to a server, then can join channels within that server to chat.

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We’re going to show you how to create your own IRC channel. With your own IRC channel, you can set your own rules, assign moderators, and talk about whatever you like. Creating your own IRC channel is a great way to hang out with friends, family, and like-minded people.

Here’s some more information about IRC and how to make an IRC channel.

What is IRC?

IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. It’s a way of chatting via text to other people online. IRC has been around for over three decades.

IRC was designed by Jarkko Oikarinen while working at the University of Oulu in Finland. It spun off from a bulletin board system to feature real-time discussions; it gave the ability to see other people’s messages appear immediately after they sent them and respond to them too.

Oikarinen continued to develop IRC for some years, before taking his career elsewhere. He has won several awards for his contributions to technology. Interestingly, he now works on Google’s chat applications, including Google Hangouts and Google Meet (what is Google Meet? What Is Google Meet and How Does It Work? In this article we explain what Google Meet is, how it works, and how it compares to Google Hangouts and Google Chat. Read More ).

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IRC hasn’t really changed since its inception. While IRC’s popularity has been usurped by modern chat apps like Slack or Twist Slack vs. Twist: Which Chat App Is Right for Your Team? Is Twist better than Slack? How do these team chat apps compare against each other? And which chat app is right for your team? Read More , it still has a place in the heart of many due to its barebones nature—it’s all about text chat, rather than video calls or streaming or anything else.

The amount of people using IRC is declining year-on-year. Nevertheless, it still has a dedicated community, especially with those in the tech community. IRC isn’t complicated to use once you get to grips with it, but it’s not as obviously user-friendly as you might expect.

How is IRC Structured?

Before creating your own IRC channel, it’s important to know how IRC is structured.

IRC is not controlled by a single company. It’s a protocol that people use to create IRC servers. It’s much like email, in that you can use different providers to achieve the same thing.

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At the top of the hierarchy is an IRC server. This is a machine that runs the IRC protocol. There’s also an IRC network, which groups many servers together so that they function as a single server. While on a technical level you as a user still connect to a single server, the network means that you can seamlessly talk to people on other servers and that channels and usernames are shared.

A channel is a chat room. Channels are often centered around a theme or community. A channel name is preceded by a hashtag, like #makeuseof. You can join an existing channel to talk to the people within it. You can also create your own IRC channel, which we’ll detail below.

If you use Discord, this structure might sound familiar. Discord is inspired by IRC in that it splits into servers and channels. For more information on that, here’s how to create your own Discord server How to Set Up Your Own Discord Server Setting up your own Discord server is easy! Here's a step-by-step walkthrough of the entire process. Read More .

How to Create Your Own IRC Channel

Here’s all you need to do to make your own IRC channel.

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1. Download an IRC Client

To participate in an IRC, you first need a client. This is like how you need an email client to send and receive emails. There are many decent free IRC clients available for desktop and mobile. If you’re reading this, there’s an IRC client for your device.

To help you decide which client to use, browse this list of IRC clients. You can also connect with web-based IRC clients, but installing one to your device is the best method if you’ll be using IRC regularly.

For this guide, we’ll use HexChat.

2. Join an IRC Network

IRC is split across many networks. Each network has its own rules, channels, and people. For example, some networks only allow channels to be created that fit within a specific subject. Some networks don’t allow you to create your own channel. Also, generally speaking, the larger networks are more prone to lag and denial of service attacks.

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Networks cater to different subjects, audiences, and countries. Browse this list of IRC networks to find one that supports the type of channel you want to create. You should visit a network’s website to get information on what its policies are.

For this guide, we’ll connect to IRCnet.

hexchat network list

Open your IRC client. For HexChat, the first window asks for your nickname choices. This is because nicknames are shared across the entire network. As such, common names are likely to be taken. In this window, you also need to select your network, which in this case is IRCnet. Once done, click Connect.

If you’re not using HexChat, your chosen client may not provide this interface. As such, to join the network type /server irc.ircnet.com (replacing irc.ircnet.com with whatever server you have chosen, if not IRCnet). Then, to set a nickname, type /nick username, replacing username with your choice. If your nickname is taken then it’ll automatically assign you a close variation. Feel free to change it again with the same command.

Some IRC networks will let you register your nickname. Others will not and will simply let you use the nickname until you disconnect. Refer to your chosen network’s website to find out their policies and how to register a name, if it’s possible.

3. Create an IRC Channel

Now that you’re connected to a network and have a nickname, it’s time to create your IRC channel. This is the easy part!

ircnet makeuseof

Type /join #channelname, replacing channelname with whatever you want your channel to be called. If the channel already exists, you will join it and see other people in it. If that happens, type the command again with a different channel name.

When you join your new channel, you will become the operator (known as “ops”). This makes you the owner of it.

Get your friends to type the same /join command and they will be able to enter your newly created channel.

Like nicknames, some networks let you register the channel as your own. Others, like IRCnet, don’t offer such a service, meaning if all the operators leave the channel then someone else can claim it as their own. It’s for this reason that it’s advisable to have a group of friends that are operators and for one of them to always be in the channel.

For help on how moderate your new channel, you should familiarize yourself with IRC commands. Here are some important ones:

  • /kick #channel nickname – removes someone from the channel
  • /mode #channelname +b nickname – bans someone from the channel
  • /mode #channelname +o nickname – makes someone an operator

Add a Chat Room to Your Website

Importantly, have fun running your own IRC channel. It’s great to build up a community and be able to chat with others across the world that share your interests.

If you have your own website and want to support live chat, here’s how to add a chat room to your website 6 Ways to Add a Chat Room to Your Website Do you run a blog? A chat room can foster communication with your readers. Add these free online chat rooms to your site today. Read More .

Related topics: IRC, Online Chat.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. darksid3r
    December 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    IRC.WHATY0UWANT.XYZ port 47513

    /server IRC.WHATY0UWANT.XYZ 47513

    ##whaty0uwant.xyz

    SSL PORT IS 56332

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

    thank you this was quite straight foward

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

    How to create channel in Xchat?

  4. 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 ;)

  5. 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.

      • darksid3r
        December 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm

        Irc.whaty0uwant.xyz port 47513

        /server IRC.WHATY0UWANT.XYZ 4713

        Buy anything welcome to .onion FTG

  6. 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.

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

    I give this article a big
    NICE JOB !

    Thank you, i really ned it ;)

  8. 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.

  9. 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....

  10. 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 ?

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

    Thanks a lot, this is great :)

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

    Thanks for the info, it helped for my setup!

    check it irc . newsforgeek . c0m

  13. 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

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

    hye,guys

  15. 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/

  16. 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...

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. 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

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.