What is IRC Network? And Find out It’s Basics!

IRC Basics

This article serves as information and how to use IRC and IRC networks. This is a basic walk-through meant to instruct new members, new potential members, and other members to connect and interact in real time with other members of the forum. This allows for more real time help, information, and also further discussion on topics and subjects posted on the forum. Also to collaborate on other ideas and potential contributions.

What is IRC
IRC is an abbreviation for Internet Relay Chat. This is a real time chatting platform that has been around for years. There are various public and private servers that reach across the globe. EvilZone has a fairly active IRC network that hosts things such as a main discussion channel (#Evilzone), coding questions and help (#coding) and several others. But what are these things and how do we get to them? Well assuming you have registered on EvilZone recently, then you have undoubtedly had a run in with IRC as we require you to connect and figure out how to obtain the registration string to join the forum. But how do you get started, what can be accomplished? Well that’s what this is for!

IRC Servers and Client Setups
Several sites across the net have IRC channels and various networks. There are some very popular and heavily used networks such as EFNet, Freenode, etc. There are also popular private ones that facilitate various things such as file-sharing on the Rizon network which uses the CTCP protocol and bots to facilitate the transfers of content. Back in the day prior to DC++ hubs, ddls, and torrents was the go-to method for file-sharing.

IRC Servers are set up on an IRCd or IRC daemon. Similar to an HTTPd or HTTP daemon to serve up content on a webpage, this daemon serves up an server for people to connect to. There are several IRC daemons, one of the most popular being Unreal IRCd. In fact EvilZone’s IRCd is Unreal IRCd that has been heavily modified. Now in order to connect to IRC, you need a client. As IRC servers are a Server/Client setup. Picking a client can be a daunting task and depending on your OS and specific needs will help narrow down your choices for an IRC client.

Certain Features to look for in your IRC client is going to be SSL, Plug-ins/modules, themes, and encryption (blow fish module is popular). Most IRC clients support these, however if they don’t, move on to a new client.

Popular Windows Clients

Popular Linux Clients

Popular Mac OSX Clients

Are you required to use one of these clients? Of course not, there are several that have not been listed! Pick one you like and want to use! You have that freedom. Me personally when on Windows I use hexchat, on Linux, XChat, and on my android phone I prefer AndroIRC. Everyone has their own tastes and likes, your IRC client is no exception to that.

IRC Client settings to connect to an IRC Server

Is SSL required? No, should you use it? Yes. This basic guide will explain how to connect to a network via SSL only as I feel it should be a requirement.

Common Settings

  • Host/Server – This option is going to be your setup for the IRC Network you want to connect to.
    • Example: irc.evilzone.org
  • Port – This option is going to be the port set up on the IRCd to accept connections. Most networks have their SSL port as 6697.
    • Example: 6697
  • Use SSL – This option is going to tell the client, to connect via SSL, this is usually a check box, or may be setup via the indicator + before the port.
    • Example: Mark Checked
    • Example 2: irc.evilzone.org/+6697
  • Accept all certificates – This option is optional, however if you trust the network, when using SSL this will accept the certificates and wont prompt you to accept on connection.
    • Example: Mark checked

What to do after connecting?

Well lets discuss what channels are, services, and bots. This will help you in continuing after connecting to a server.

What are Channels?

Just like on a TV, IRC networks have channels, these are prefixed with a # (pound/hashtag) EvilZone’s main channel is #Evilzone, there are several others, for different purposes, such as #register, #test, #cah, etc. To join a channel, most clients have the option to put it in, or you can use the command “/join #channelname” You can also use the “/list” command to list available channels.

What are Services?

Common services on IRC allow you to Register your nickname (password protect it so others can’t steal it), Register channels (create your own channels), setup vHosts (will explain more in another guide, refer to google), and other service level features. These are bots used by network staff and users to control channels and nicks. The 3 mainĀ  services are as follows:

NickServ – The nick name services, in your client, type in “/msg NickServ HELP” to learn commands you’re capable of performing with NickServ. You use this command to register your nickname to protect it. Try out “/msg NickServ REGISTER <password> <email>” to register your nickname. Then you use “/msg NickServ IDENTIFY <password>” to Identify with NickServ to essentially login to your IRC username.
ChanServ – The channel services. Same with NickServ, you can use the following command to learn what commands are available for ChanServ, such as “/msg ChanServ HELP
HostServ – This command requires an IDENTIFIED username (registered and identified) and can be used to set up a vHost, just like with ChanServ and NickServ, you can do “/msg HostServ HELP” to learn commands available to you.

If you notice from the above you are using the “/msg” command. When doing this, you are actually PMing the services bot and issuing commands. When connected to IRC, you can do “/msg username <your message>” to PM another user on IRC. This will only be a conversation between yourself and the specified user. However follow proper IRC Etiquette which will be explained further in this guide.

What are Some Commands?

This may vary client to client, however there are some basic ones that are on most.

/msg – Send a private message to a user, services, or bot
/list – List available channels for the network (be careful on large networks, this may take a while and crash crappy clients)
/nick – Used to change your nickname
/ignore – Used to ignore an annoying or disrespectful user
/join – Used to join a channel, “/join #evilzone
/quit – Disconnect from the network
/part – Leave a channel without disconnecting from the network
/server – Used to connect to a server

What are Bots?

Bots serve different functions and depend on what they are programmed to do. EvilZone’s IRC has a few bots developed by different people. One of EvilZone’s most popular bots is EZBot, programmed by chris1, and expanded by himself and other community members. EZBot has several functions and uses a trigger word to interface with the bot. With EZBot, there is not a command list, and you usually learn commands by watching other people use them. So how to interface with the bot, is simple <trigger>{command} [additional arguments or terms]. With EZBot, when in the same channel, you can interface with it as so:

Trigger: !
Commands: ud, lmgtfy, up, insult, hack, +many more

For example, you would type in “!ud <searchterm>” and it will scrape Urban Dictionary for a definition, if there isn’t one, it will tell you so. lmgtfy works similarly as well, “!lmgtfy <searchterm>” will create a LMGTFY link that has been shortened. However, !insult and !hack work slightly differently. These are use as follows “!insult <username>” which will throw a random insult at the user, !hack works the same way.

Evilzone is pretty accepting of bots and there is actually an official bot testing channel, called #test for those who wish to program their own IRC bots, or host their own. Another member, TheWormKill, has also started his own bot using a different language with different features (some the same) called wormbot. Its a great way to expand the usefulness of various channels.

Note by TheWormKill: Wormbot is now live (thanks to iTpHo3NiX), and can be accessed with a number of prefixes, most prominently the colon ( : ). Run this command to find out about it:

Code:

:cIt supports shortening command names and has a few nifty things to offer. For further questions, ideas, etc., ping me up or ask iT or lenoch.

IRC Etiquette

What is it and why is it important

Different networks have different rules and having IRC Etiquette is just like when you’re talking with someone. For example you don’t go spam PMing people without asking them first. Some networks don’t allow afk messages on your nick, such as “username_afk” “username^” “username_away” etc. So different networks have different rules, but there are common practices to follow Here is a good example of IRC Etiquette

Highlights and Tab-Completion

Sometimes in IRC, there are several conversations going on at once, this is when Highlights get used. This will essentially “ping” or “highlight” a specific user so they know you are directing your discussion at a specific person, in fact you may be going on with 3 discussions at once and directing advice or knowledge on different subjects to different members, or you may want to see if a specific person is around. To highlight someone you must spell out their complete irc nick. So for example, you want to talk to me, iTpHo3NiX, so in your type box, you’d type in itpho3nix, <your message>. Now sometimes people have hard to spell or long nicks, this is solved by most clients via tab completion, if you start to type in it{TAB} where {TAB} is the Tab key, it will autocomplete the name, it goes from the top of the user list to the bottom. so say you have name_orange, name_green, name_teal, name_yellow, they all start with name_, so for your tab completion you would need to do name_y{TAB} to select the specific user. So if you have user1, user2, user3, obviously this wont help much but if you have deviant_sheep, DeepCopy, and DerpHerp, this could come in handy.

User modes

In the user list (usually along the right hand side in alphabetical order by user mode) you’ll see different colors/icons/symbols (depending on client) that tells you different ranks for a hierarchy of users. Commonly these are usually displayed as symbols as follows:

~ – This user mode (+q) is a Founder Level. This is the highest rank and reserved for net-staff and channel founder(s)
& – This user mode (+a) is an Admin Level. This is the second highest rank and has most channel functions except for those only available for founders (+q)
@ – This user mode (+o) is an Op Level. This gives the user the power to place and remove bans, set topics and various channel modes, kick users, moderate a channel, etc.
% – This user mode (+h) is a Half-Op Level. This gives the user the power to kick and/or ban users
+ – This user mode (+v) is a Voice Level. There is nothing special other than the ability to speak in a channel that is +m (moderated) EvilZone’s network is set up to auto voice registered nicks.

There are also channel modes, however there are WAY too many to list (and also more user modes than listed as well) However this is a basic guide, when using chanserv you can learn several channel modes and google is your friend
Conclusion

Well I hope you being new to IRC can learn from this basic guide and use it as a foundation to expand upon and learn more about the most popular real time chatting platform. We went over IRCd, IRC Clients, IRC Commands, Using Bots, Connecting to networks, Etiquette, User modes, etc. So feel free to hop on IRC and join in on the discussions and learn your fellow members and keep your eyes peeled for a more advanced guide in the future!

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