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IRC for the New Users

New to IRC? First time chatter wondering how to step into the world of conversing with people from all around the globe? You've come to the right place!

IRC for New Users offers a wealth of information that will help you get over the hurdle of learning something new. It will open up new doors and will most likely make you some new friends. 😊

This page represents the homebase of #NEW Channel on IRC Network, but most of the information provided here is valuable to anyone wanting to learn more about IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Our target is to make #new one of the *Best* Help/Chat Channels available. We also offer one of the most comprehensive sites about Internet Relay Chat available on the net today. Check here to read more about us. You can join #new now. You may even wish to check out our special Gold Star Award -- in recognition of our dedicated and chatty staff.

Throughout this site we've tried to provide a wide variety of IRC information. We've also included a great deal of specific help IRC Tutorials for those folks using AdiIRC, mIRC, HexChat and similar clients. Browse the topics or the links below -- there is something here for everyone. If you have any questions that aren't answered here, please contact us and we will do our best to help you. Enjoy your stay!

Listed below are some links that will provide valuable information for the newcomer to IRC. Jump in, explore, make your online experience the *best* it can be. 😊

What is IRC[edit | edit source]

IRC is short for Internet Relay Chat. It is a great way for individuals and teams to communicate and work together. IRC has been around for decades. It’s a time-tested system with a wealth of features.

IRC servers on the internet accept and relay messages to connected users, each of whom is running an IRC client. The clients all use the IRC protocol, a set of agreed upon rules for communication. There are many separate IRC networks on the internet. Each network has one or more servers around the world that work together to relay messages.

Each network also has many channels, sometimes called rooms, where users can gather. A channel usually has a specific topic, and a name that starts with a “#”, such as #new. When you enter or join that channel, it’s because you want to discuss that topic. You can also start your own channel.

You can also privately message other users in most cases. It’s also possible to configure your user modes on a network, not to get such messages. IRC has many options available, but this article will only cover a few simple ones.

Connecting to IRC[edit | edit source]

Quick Hexchat Setup Guide (Windows + Linux)[edit | edit source]

There are several useful IRC clients apps available. The one we'll use here is Hexchat.
Quick list guide:

Download and Install (first link for windows on hexchat page)

  • Click on “add”, type name.
  • Click on that name, click edit on the right.
  • Add server info.
  • Click on channel tab, add channel info.
  • Click on Connect commands, add desired connect commands.
  • Add it to system startup programs so it starts on boot…

Long Guide[edit | edit source]

Hexchat is a fork of Xchat, which was an IRC client for Linux and Windows, but ended up monetizing. Hexchat works for both Windows and Linux well, and is easily set up. It has a better feature set than Xchat, too, and is easier to use.

The advantages of using Hexchat over a web-based IRC client or some other chat engine is that you can auto-join and auto-start it, so you don’t have to worry about connecting. This increases the amount of users in a room at a given time, and because of that the “room” (called channel in IRC) becomes more active more often.

Step One: Installation
For Windows:

Click here:

Download and run the first link on the page. (x64 for 64 bit capable machines. If you’re not sure, x86 should work fine for either) Go through the installer. You don’t really have to worry about changing any of the settings if you don’t want to, the defaults are fine. You can ignore the rest of the download links, those are primarily for developers and will be packaged in the first download link.


As stated on the download page: “Nearly all distributions have official packages for HexChat. On those which don’t, you may use contributed, unofficial packages”. If you’re using Linux, you should probably be familiar with the package manager your system is using.

apt-get install hexchat
pacman -S hexchat
sbopkg >> install >> dependencies >> hexchat

Step Two: Basic Server Configuration
Once it’s finished installing, launch it if it hasn’t been launched already. You should be greeted by something like this:

[takescreenshot] hexchat1

Next, click on the name you just added and on the right click on “edit”. This may seem intimidating if you’re not used to this sort of thing (or maybe not?), but it’s simple. Simply click on the grey box that says “newserver/6667”, and type in the name and port of the IRC.

[takescreenshot] hexchat2

It is definitely recommended that you use SSL. It is not required, but it increases security for everyone by encrypting the stream making it harder to passively intercept everything. It’s still not necessarily a black-box of security, but it’s much harder to handle SSL connections than plaintext over the net. So the ideal configuration is basically shown in the above picture. For IRCgo, it is:

The config is shown in the picture. Easy enough.

At this point you should be able to connect to the server, although it hasn’t been configured to join any channels. You can manually join channels by typing this command into the bottom chat box:

/join #channel-name

Where the channel name is the name of the chat room. For example: #new or ##RoseCafe

Step Three: Basic Channel Configuration
Click on the “Autojoin channels” tab and simply click “add” to add any channels you would like to join when Hexchat is started. This is pretty straightforward.

[provide screenshot] hexchat3

Another useful feature Hexchat comes with is under the “connect commands” tab, in which you simply click “add” and type in any commands you want to be run when you connect to that channel. I personally have mine set to enter the login command and I have it supply my password. E.g:

/msg NickServ identify username password

Replace username with your username and password with your password, obviously. You can also just type that command in when you log in manually, except with a slash before it:

/msg NickServ identify username password

Feel free to contact us on the forum if you have any questions or need any help. Or on IRC by clicking on this link.

Good Manners in IRC[edit | edit source]

Before joining any IRC channels, you should understand basic manners online. Joining a channel is like attending a party at someone’s home. Good manners on IRC are as important as good manners when visiting someone in real life. If you show up and behave rudely, you’ll probably be asked to leave, or even be banned. Be polite, and assume the other people in the channel also have good intentions — especially if you don’t understand something they say.

It’s also important to know how people have conversations in IRC. Often a channel has more than one conversation going at a time. Again, like a party, sometimes conversations overlap, so it’s important to remember a comment may not be directed to you.

To avoid confusion, people in a conversation often use each other’s IRC nicks to indicate to whom they’re talking. The nick is followed by a colon or a comma, and then the comment. Most IRC clients also understand this rule, and notify you if someone uses your name this way.

<Jack> Hi Thelegend27 it's good to see you again!
<Thelegend27> Jack: You too. 
<He-Man> So, Thelegend27, What did you think about that banner image I made?
<Rog3r> Well Jack, it's got some issues, but let me see if I can tweak it.

Another reason this rule is helpful is you cannot assume others are looking at IRC at the same time as you. They may be away from their computer, or working on something else. When you address comments, the notification will be waiting for the other person to return. That person can then reply to you.

Some channels have their own rules and guidelines. The Operators may take action if someone is being rude or abusing the channel. It’s important to understand and respect channel and community rules when you use IRC. Take the time to read them before joining any conversations. Doing so will avoid problems or misunderstandings, just like house rules when you visit someone.

Helpful IRC Commands[edit | edit source]

Not intended as a guide for newbies, more like a "cheat sheet" for the somewhat experienced IRC user, especially one who wields some power over a channel.

The Basics[edit | edit source]

There are many IRC commands available. This section will cover the basics: Note that you don’t have to type a command in a graphical client like Hexchat. Many commands can be run through the menu in the app window, or by right-clicking an object such as a network, channel, or nick.

  • /HELP Displays a list of all the commands available. To read more about most commands, type /HELP followed by the command. For example: /HELP PING
  • /NICK Followed by a nick will change your IRC nick. Be careful doing this when joined to channels. If you do it too often, it may be considered abuse. Click your nick at the bottom of the window and enter a new one, or type: /NICK nick-test
  • /JOIN Followed by a channel name joins another channel. Select Server > Join a Channel… in the menu, or type: /JOIN #new
  • /PART Disconnects your client from the current channel. You can optionally include a channel name to leave a channel other than the current one, as well as a message your client will send upon leaving. Right-click the channel in the list and select Close, or type: /PART #new Thank you and goodnight
  • /ME [action] Displays your nickname action. E.g. /me says hi will be displayed as "your_nick" says hi *
  • /NAMES #channel Shows the nicks of all users on #channel.
  • /WHOIS nickname Shows information about the specified user. This action is not visible to the specified user.
  • /WHOWAS nickname Shows information about a user who has quit.
  • /MSG nickname message Sends that message privately to that nick. Right-click a nick, choose Open Dialog Window, and send a message, or type: /MSG He-Man Hey, can we talk about Friday plans?
  • /QUERY nickname message Sends a private message to a user and opens a private chat window.
  • /NOTICE nickname message Sends a notice to the specified user. Like a /msg, but without being displayed in a private window.
  • /AWAY Followed by a message indicates you aren’t seated at a console where you can see IRC, although your client is still signed on. To indicate you’re back, type /AWAY without any message. You should only use this if you’ll be away for a while. A good rule of thumb is an hour or more. Frequent use may be considered abuse. Select Server > Marked Away in the menu, or type: /AWAY Back at 9pm EST
  • /BACK Indicates you are no longer away, and may be used interchangeably with /AWAY in some clients. Deselect Server > Marked Away in the menu, or type one of these commands.
  • /QUIT [Message] Disconnects your client from the current server with optional leaving message.
  • /SERVER [Hostname] [port] Connects to the specified server and optional port.
  • /LIST Lists all channels on the current network.
  • /LINKS Lists all servers on the current network. May be disabled "for your security reasons".
  • /DNS nickname Attempts to resolve the IP address of the specified user. Doesn't work on all networks, doesn't work all the time.
  • /PING nickname Pings the specified user. This action is visible to the specified user.

NickServ Commands[edit | edit source]

All nickserv commands begin with /ns or /msg NickServ. Depending on your client, /ns may not work.

  • /ns register password email Registers your current nick with NickServ with the chosen password and binds it to an e-mail address.
  • /ns identify password Identifies your nick to NickServ using the password you set.
  • /ns recover nickname password Kills (forcibly disconnects) someone who has your registered nick.
  • /ns ghost nickname password Terminates a "ghost" IRC session that's using your nickname.
  • /ns set password yournewpassword Changes your password. NOTE: Under no circumstances should you change your nick to the letter O followed by 8 digit

Channel Modes[edit | edit source]

Set a mode with: /mode #channel +/-attribute [data]

  • +n Disallows external messages.
  • +t Only op/hops can set the topic.
  • +p Sets the channel as invisible in /list.
  • +s Sets the channel as invisible in /list and /whois.
  • +i Sets the channel as closed unless the person was invited.
  • +k [pass] Sets a password for the channel which users must enter to join.
  • +l [number] Sets a limit on the number of users who are allowed in the channel at the same time.
  • +m Prevents users who are not opped/hopped/voiced from talking.
  • +R Sets the channel so only registered nicks are allowed in.
  • +M Sets the channel so only registered nicks are allowed to talk.
  • +S Strips formatting from messages, rendering them as plaintext.
  • +c Blocks messages containing color codes.
  • +i A user must be invited to join the channel.
  • +N Prevents users without voice (+v) or higher from sending channel notices through /notice

ChanServ Commands[edit | edit source]

All ChanServ commands begin with /cs or /chanserv or /msg ChanServ. Depending on your client, /cs or /chanserv may not work.

  • /cs identify #channel <password> Identifies you as the channel's founder and gives you founder-level privileges.
  • /cs set #channel mlock modes Locks the channel's modes. Just + unlocks all.
  • /cs set #channel secureops [on|off] Keeps everyone except aops, sops, and the founder from becoming ops.
  • /cs set #channel keeptopic [on|off] Maintains the topic even if everyone leaves.
  • /cs set #channel enforce [on|off] Restores op/halfop/voice if a person with op/halfop/voice gets de-opped/halfopped/voiced.
  • /cs set #channel leaveops [on|off] Whether or not to allow the first person who join the channel to get ops.
  • /cs register #channel password description Registers the current channel to you with ChanServ and sets its password and description.
  • /cs drop #channel [dropcode] Un-registers the current channel to you with ChanServ.
  • /cs set #channel founder [nickname] Sets the current channel's founder.
  • /cs set #channel password [newpass] Changes the current channel's password to newpass.
  • /cs set #channel desc [description] Changes the current channel's description.
  • /cs set #channel url [address] Associates a URL with the channel.
  • /cs set #channel [email@address] Associates an email address with the channel.

Other Stuff[edit | edit source]

Kicking Users[edit | edit source]

  • /kick #channel nickname [reason] temporarily remove user from channel /mode nickname +/-attributes [data]

Setting people's modes (for current channel only)

User Modes[edit | edit source]

  • +q User is owner of the current channel (prefix ~ on UnrealIRCd, usually @ elsewhere)
  • +a User is an admin (SOP) on the current channel (prefix & on UnrealIRCd, usually @ elsewhere).
  • +o User is an operator (AOP) on the current channel (prefix @).
  • +h User is a half-op on the current channel (prefix %).
  • +v User has voice on the current channel (prefix +).

Banning Users[edit | edit source]

  • /mode #channel +b hosts Hosts take the following form: nickname!userid@hostname

Use /whois, /whowas or /who to find the information necessary for a ban. The * is a wildcard and can replace nickname, userid, parts of nickname or userid, hostname or a segment of a hostname. Examples: joe!*@* Will prevent anyone with the nick joe from joining. *myg0t*!* Will prevent anyone whose nick contains myg0t from joining. mark!*elc@* Will prevent anyone with the nick mark and the userid elc from joining. *!* Will prevent anyone with the host from joining. *!*@* Bans everyone. Don't do that.

Access Lists[edit | edit source]

  • /cs access #channel add [nickname] [level] Adds nickname to the channel's access list at the specified level.
  • /cs access channel del [nickname] Removes nickname from the channel's access list.
  • /cs access #channel list Displays the channel's access list.
  • /cs access #channel count Displays how many entries are in the channel's access list.

Access Levels[edit | edit source]

These may vary from network to network. For example, some networks do not go by tens and use 3, 4, 5, 10, etc.

  • Founder Full access to ChanServ functions, automatic opping upon entering channel.
  • 100+ Makes the person an SOP, automatic opping upon entering channel.
  • 50 Makes the parson an AOP, automatic opping upon entering channel.
  • 40 Automatic half-opping.
  • 30 Automatic voicing.
  • 0 No special privileges.
  • -1 May not be opped.
  • -100 May not join the channel.

Any nick not on the access list has an access level of 0.

AOPs and SOPs[edit | edit source]

AOPs[edit | edit source]

  • Are automatically ops and can give themselves ops.
  • Can give/take op/halfop/voice to/from other channel members.
  • Can unban themselves.
  • Receive memos sent to the whole channel.
  • Can invite themselves to the channel.

SOPs[edit | edit source]

  • Can do everything AOPs can.
  • Can give and take AOP privileges.
  • Receive memos sent to the channel's SOPs.
  • Can add (but not remove) AKICKs.

Viewing and setting privileges[edit | edit source]

Viewing AOP and SOP lists /cs aop #channel list and /cs sop #channel list adding a AOP or SOP /cs [AOP|SOP] channel [ADD|DEL|LIST|CLEAR] [nick | entry-list]

AKICKs[edit | edit source]

People on the AKICK list are automatically kicked and banned when they enter the channel. Bans made as a result of AKICK must be removed manually.

  • /cs akick #channel add host [reason] Adds host to #channel's AKICK list [for reason].
  • /cs akick #channel del host Removes host from the AKICK list.
  • /cs akick #channel list and /cs akick #channel view Displays the AKICK list.

Color Codes[edit | edit source]

  • it's possible to color your text in IRC. In most clients you can use Control c then foreground, background (background is optional).
  • Examples: red text ^c4. black text on a blue background ^c1,2.

Here's a full list of the color codes:

Code Color
00 White
01 Black
02 Blue (Navy)
03 Green
04 Red
05 Brown (Maroon)
06 Purple
07 Orange (Olive)
08 Yellow
09 Light Green (Lime)
10 Teal (Green/Blue Cyan)
11 Light Cyan (Cyan/Aqua)
12 Light Blue (Royal)
13 Pink (Light Purple/Fuchsia)
14 Grey
15 Light Grey (Silver)