Internet Relay Chat

protocol for real-time Internet chat and messaging
(Redirected from IRC)

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a chat system on the Internet. People from around the world can use it to have conversations together. It can also be used for two people to chat privately.[1]

The IRC chat rooms are also called IRC channels. These channels are on IRC servers, which you can connect to by finding that server's information. This information will often begin with "irc," then a period, the name of the server, then another period, and finally, .com .org or .net. An example would be 'irc.[Servername].org'

There are small IRC servers (for example, OperaNet) to medium IRC servers (freenode and DalNet, which have about 30,000 users) and big IRC servers (for example, EFNet, UnderNet, which have over 100,000 users).

Users of IRC need an IRC client. An IRC client is a computer program that works with IRC. There are many clients. Some of these clients run in the web browser. Other clients run as an application. Popular stand-alone clients include mIRC for Microsoft Windows, and XChat for Linux and Microsoft Windows. The Opera web browser has an IRC client built into the browser. ChatZilla is a chat client which is a plugin to Mozilla Firefox.

An IRC bot is a computer program that helps control and protect channels.

The name of an IRC channel usually begins with a hash (#).

Technical information

A Screenshot of XChat, a cross-platform IRC client.

IRC is an open protocol that uses TCP and optionally TLS. An IRC server can connect to other IRC servers to expand the IRC network. Users access IRC networks by connecting a client to a server. There are many client and server programs. Most IRC servers do not require users to log in, but a user will have to set a nickname before being connected.

IRC was originally a plain text protocol (although later extended),[2] which on request was assigned network port 194/TCP by IANA. However, most servers now run IRC on 6667/TCP and nearby port numbers (for example TCP ports 6112-6119) so that the server does not have to be run with root privileges.

IRC clients


This is a list of some programs which allow users to connect to IRC.



  1. Kalt, C. (April 2004). "Information on RFC 2810 » RFC Editor". doi:10.17487/RFC2810. Retrieved 2022-05-04. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. "IRC RFC". Archived from the original on 2013-10-09. Retrieved 2009-01-06.

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