Internet Relay Chat
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 (#).
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), which on request was assigned 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.
This is a list of some programs which allow users to connect to IRC.
|The English Wikibook Internet Technologies has more information on:|
- IRC.org - Technical and Historical IRC6 information; articles on the history of IRC.
- RFC 1459 - Technical Information about the IRC Protocol.