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Join chat on IRC

Table of Contents

IRC is a cool protocol that hackers all over the world have been using for decades. Many communities have a IRC channel.

1 Server

Most of the IRC channels I know are on https://freenode.net. Check the server your community uses.

2 Client

First, freenode has an online client for you. I prefer to use Emacs, and luckily Emacs comes with a nice IRC client called erc.

Start it up with M-x erc, it asks you for server and port, just leave the default. Then for the user name you can just type whatever you want. You actually “use” the nick name before you register it on IRC. Once you are in freenode, you can register your nick name by this command:

/msg NickServ REGISTER password [email protected]

To “login” (freenode call it “identify”):

/msg NickServ IDENTIFY nickname password

This is not really IRC protocol but a freenode protocol. You are actually sending a message to a special user NickServ, and the massage is REGISTER password [email protected].

3 Join a Channel

To join a channel:

/join #channel

For example:

/join #emacs

Channel names always start with #, I think.

4 Quit

Quit with


5 Other commands

You can learn other IRC commands at here.

6 Useful Tips

6.1 How to "@" people

Normally you type the person’s name and add a :. So @cooldude xxx would be cooldude: xxx. This is how we reply to people specifically.

6.2 How to see chat history?

You can’t. You have to stay online to see the conversation. You can setup a remote server to stay online and ssh to the server to chat. But really, you can just login and ask your question, if no one is online, just check in some other time. You don’t need to record every message every send to the channel.

Written by Yuan Fu

First Published in 2018-10-02 Tue 00:00

Last modified in 2020-08-20 Thu 13:12

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