How to use IRC?

by jasonyeo

I have realized that very few of us are familiar with this “ancient” chat client so I thought maybe I should come out with a guide on how to use it.

Download a IRC client

There are lot’s of IRC chat clients available. Here’s a list of them.

  • Chatzilla – A Firefox Add-on (Recommended)
  • Instantbird – Open source chat client powered by Mozilla
  • Adium – A OS x chat client
  • IRSSI – A CLI based IRC client. It’s my favorite IRC client

I would recommend you to use chatzilla. It doesn’t really require any other programs except Firefox itself.

Connecting to a chat server

My guide will be based on Chatzilla and Irssi. On chatzilla, simply click on the list of the servers on the welcome page as shown below.

For Irssi, (I will assume that you have already installed it by whatever package manager that you have)  use this command to connect to a chat server.

$ irssi -c

Joining a channel

Once connected, issue /join #[channel name] to join a channel. e.g /join #maildev Joins the #maildev Thunderbird channel. Once you are there you can start chatting just like how you would use any other chat clients.

Common IRC Commands

IRC commands come in the form of a / prefix. These are some of the common commands that I use.

  • /join #maildev – Joins the #maildev channel
  • /msg jyeo
  • – PMs a particular user

  • /who #nus – Lists the users in the #nus channel
  • /leave #maildev – Leaves the #maildev channel
  • /whois jyeo – Shows information about a user
  • /ping jyeo – Gives round trip information between you and the user

Other Resources

There are lots of guides for using irssi and Chatzilla. There is also a page full of commonly used irc commands. Like I always say, Google is your best friend.