IRC, an acronym for Internet Relay Chat, is a protocol for internet text communication. It’s primarily used for group communication forums, called channels, but also allows private message and data transfer, such as file sharing.
When you and your group are faced with a situation that needs multi-member real-time communication, Internet Relay Chat can be a life saver that resolves your problems quickly and efficiently.
Using IRC allows many people to simultaneously brainstorm and communicate on the issue at hand, and is simple enough that anyone with an internet connection can use it.
Getting started with IRC takes less than five minutes in less than five steps. There are a lot of options for IRC like being a private channel operator transferring files, but we’ll keep it simple and just show the bare-bones basics.
We put together this video to help you get started using IRC, watch the video as you follow the instruction on the blog.
The first thing you have to do is download a chat client. We’ve listed a few of the most commonly used clients below.
HexChat is an IRC client based on XChat, but unlike XChat it’s completely free for both Windows and Unix-like systems. Since XChat is open source, it’s perfectly legal.
mIRC is a full featured Internet Relay Chat client for Windows that can be used to communicate, share, play or work with others on IRC networks around the world, either in multi-user group conferences or in one-to-one private discussions.
XChat is an IRC chat program for both Linux and Windows. It allows you to join multiple IRC channels (chat rooms) at the same time, talk publicly, private one-on-one conversations etc. Even file transfers are possible.
Quassel IRC is a modern, cross-platform, distributed IRC client. Quassel aims to bring a comfortable chatting experience to all major platforms including Linux, Windows, OS X, and Qtopia-based cell phones and PDAs.
There are a variety of networks for you to choose to join. Each network is like a different community with different rules.
It’s up to you to choose which one you want to use. In HexChat, we use freenode.
Registering a nick name is an advance step, so we’ll just show you how to get a temporary nick. There can be no two nicknames that are the same, so choose something unique to you that likely, no one else has. The command for choosing a nick is:
/nick your name
You join and create channels in the same way. If the channel you’re trying to join doesn’t exist, you will have created a new one. The command to join or create a channel is:
/join #your group
There are a couple different types of channels you can create, but I’d suggest simply making your group private so that no one but those you tell will know it exists. That command is:
/join #your group + p
All you have to do from here, is let the rest of your group know where to go, and you can quickly start resolving problems, or planning for future situations with the people who need to know.
Chat with us at
/join #sultansolutions if you’re using HexChat and are on the freenode network.
If you have anything else you think could help a new user of IRC, leave a comment below. While you’re at it, let us know what you thought about this article. Don’t forget to subscribe to our feed and be sure to check back often.
By John Horne – March 7th, 2013.