IRC - Internet Relay Chat - Newbies


This page is dedicated to all you people who are not that experienced with IRC, and could use some help to get started. Here you will find all the information you need to become an IRC-addict and chat with thousands of others.

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 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. Sometimes you first have to unzip the file to be able to run the program in it. A good unzipper is WinZip. 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 help file or readme.txt). Some IRC clients, like mIRC, have their own FAQ that provides detailed help. Reading such FAQ's is highly recommended!

Where can I find an IRC client?

There are many different choices, depending on what OS (Operative System) you use, whether you use PC or Mac and stuff. mIRC, vIRC and Pirch are clients for PC (Win 3.x/Win95), Ircle is for Mac users, and ircII and BitchX are both for Linux/UNIX systems. These clients are shareware which you can download from the Internet:

Download mIRC here
  mIRC is probably the most popular IRC client for Win3.x/95.

Download Pirch here
  Pirch is also for win3.x/95, with a slightly different layout compared to mIRC.

Download vIRC here

Download BitchX here
  BitchX is a client for Linux/UNIX users.

Download Ircle here
  Ircle is an IRC client for Mac users.

Run the client.

Next, you will be prompted to provide the client with some information as follows:

  1. Full Name : Your real name (you really don't have to use your real name).
  2. E-Mail address : Your email address (you really don't have to put a real E-mail address either).
  3. Nick Name : The name you want people to know you as in IRC (chose something unique that reflects your personality).
  4. Alternative : An alternative nickname in case somebody else is already using yours. (I suggest just putting a _ character before your actual Nick Name for this. That is if your Nick Name is Gizmo, make your Alternate Nick _Gizmo_ That way you will have the same Nick, although with some added characters, all of the time).
  5. Local Host Info : Please leave this blank as the client will usually fill this up for you.
  6. Server : This is the name of the IRC server you are connecting to. Some IRC clients
    already come with a list of IRC servers for you to choose from.
  7. Port : Each server will "talk" to you on a particular Port Number. Most IRC servers use port 6667.
Now, just log in to the Internet through your ISP, chose and connect to an IRC net through the client and you are ready to roll.

Usually, typing /list in your status window will bring up a list of all of the channels on the server. And to join a channel just type /join #channel name. So, typing /join #newbie would make you join the channel #newbie. You should also read all of your particular IRC clients instructions in order to get familar with all of its shortcuts, options and configurations.

There are a few basic IRC commands:

/HELP      shows general help or help on the given command.
/LIST      lists all current channels.
/JOIN      to join a channel
/PART      to leave a channel (same as LEAVE)
/QUIT      exits your IRC session, (same as BYE and EXIT)
/NICK      changes your nickname
/AWAY      leaves a message saying you're away or not paying attention
/WHOIS       displays information about someone
/INVITE       sends an invitation to another user
/KICK      gets rid of someone on a channel
/TOPIC      changes the topic of the channel
/ME      sends anything about you to a channel or QUERY

Good luck!!

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