IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is the longest standing standards for chat over the Internet. It is open and free for use and implementation by anyone.
There are several IRC networks, whereas each network consists of many servers. You can connect to any of the servers in the chosen network and you will be able to visit all chat channels in that network and chat with every user in that network - either in a public chat in a chosen channel, or in a private chat directly with another user.
One of the most well-known networks for discussing and supporting open-source projects is Freenode, which is the one I usually visit.
Web-based IRC access - Account is not needed. Installation is not needed.
- Click here to start: https://webchat.freenode.net/
- Nick: Enter some temporary nick name that is unique and recognizable. Anyone can choose any empty name, do not rely on the name to think that you know the person, it might be someone else.
- Password: (Optional) This is only for those who have officially registered the nick names. For a temporary name leave it empty.
- Channel: #finki
- Use the reCaptcha to confirm that you are not a robot (if you don't see a captcha box change the browser)
- Click start to connect and you are ready to chat
- This should connect you to the selected channel (#finki if you followed the instruction), where you can send public messages to all users in the channel or see a list of connected users to the channel and send a personal message to them.
- Additional notes and netiquette:
- In the chat box you can type text messages but you can also issue specific IRC commands (prefixing with /, e.g. /topic "New Title" will change the topic of discussion at the channel, if you have the right permissions).
- The command /help will list all commands and /help command will list the help for the specific command.
- The command /join channelname will join a new channel (in parallel to the first one) and open it in a new tab. All channels names start with #, some channels that are for temp purposes start with ##. Remember that the # prefix should always be typed.
- You can draw the attention of some specific user, by pinging them - writing their @nickname in your public message.
- You can also write a private message to any user.
- Please be patient and polite, not everyone sits on standby waiting for messages. It might take some time since the user responds.
- IRC networks are distributed, and users are spread across many servers. If a server A temporarily disconnects from the network (the users on server B will see the users from A as disconnecting and the users on server A will see the users on B as disconnecting, until the servers reconnect and the users will start coming back in). Be patient until they reconnect.
Access using TELNET - Account is not needed. Telnet app is needed.
You need to know a couple of instruction. Example provided bellow. Bolded text are commands issued by you, the rest are server responses. Let's say that you want to access as:
- Nick: john19873
- FirstName: John
- LastName: Doe
- YourServer: johnservernotreally.com (it does not have to be a real server)
- username: johnsuser (it does not have to be a real user)
- password: sistem7 (this is optional, only if Nick is registered to some username)
> telnet chat.freenode.net 8000 Trying 184.108.40.206... Connected to chat.freenode.net. Escape character is '^]'. :card.freenode.net NOTICE * :*** Looking up your hostname... :card.freenode.net NOTICE * :*** Checking Ident :card.freenode.net NOTICE * :*** Couldn't look up your hostname :card.freenode.net NOTICE * :*** No Ident response PASSWORD sistem7 NICK john19873 USER johnsuser johnservernotreally.com John Doe :card.freenode.net 001 john19873 :Welcome to the freenode Internet Relay Chat Network john19873 :card.freenode.net 002 john19873 :Your host is card.freenode.net[220.127.116.11/8000], running version ircd-seven-1.1.7 ... ... :card.freenode.net 372 john19873 :- Thank you for using freenode! :card.freenode.net 376 john19873 :End of /MOTD command. :john19873 MODE john19873 :+i JOIN #finki :email@example.com JOIN #finki :card.freenode.net 353 john19873 = #finki :john19873 ajan gdarko :card.freenode.net 366 john19873 #finki :End of /NAMES list. PRIVMSG #finki :Hello everyone :firstname.lastname@example.org PRIVMSG #finki :Hello John, how are you :email@example.com PRIVMSG #finki :Hello John from me too, wassup? PING :card.freenode.net (when the server sends to you a PING, you have to answer with PONG, otherwise you will be disconnected as inactive) PONG :card.freenode.net QUIT :firstname.lastname@example.org QUIT :Client Quit ERROR :Closing Link: 100.100.100.100 (Client Quit) Connection closed by foreign host.
Note that some internet providers block IRC access in this way, so if you are not connected please look for other ports/options here including how to access over SSL or TOR: https://freenode.net/kb/answer/chat
Access using specialized IRC client software - Account is not needed. Installation of software is needed.
One of the most popular Windows-based software that supports IRC is mIrc.
One of the most popular GNU/Linux-based software that supports IRC is Pidgin.
If you use Thunderbird for email, it has an integrated Chat module, that supports IRC.
Please remember that you should connect to a server from the Freenode network (just choose the general Freenode network and it will use the closest/fastest server) and visit one of the channels that I visit too (e.g. #finki)