IRC or Internet Relay Chat is a multi-user chat network where people all over the world can meet and talk in channels or in private.
What is IRC chat
IRC or Internet Relay Chat is a multi-user chat network where people all over the world can meet and talk in channels or in private. Using an IRC client, you connect to an IRC server, which is connected to one of several IRC networks. Networks have anywhere from tens to tens of thousands of people you can chat with.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a virtual meeting place where people from all over the world can meet and talk; you'll find the whole diversity of human interests, ideas, and issues here, and you'll be able to participate in group discussions on one of the many thousands of IRC channels, on hundreds of IRC networks, or just talk in private to family or friends, wherever they are in the world.
The mIRC homepage provides the latest news on mIRC, general IRC information, and links to many other IRC-related websites and resources.
People on IRC can chat on channels or in private.
Channels are created dynamically; there is no limit to the number of channels that can be formed. Whatever your interest, you can probably find a channel dedicated to it. If not, creating your own channel is as simple as joining it; when you join a channel that does not exist, it is automatically created.
There are thousands of running IRC networks in the world. They run various implementations of IRC servers, and are administered by various groups of IRC operators, but the protocol exposed to IRC users is very similar, and all IRC networks can be accessed by the same client software.
IRC Chat History
IRC was created by Jarkko "WiZ" Oikarinen in late August 1988. Originally, it was intended to allow real-time BBS related discussions. Eventually, it became apparent that BBS functionality was not a good idea. IRC was left as a chat service, not necessarily a BBS tool. Since 1988, IRC has grown from 1 server and 1 network (EFnet) to over a hundred networks, some of which have over 200 servers.
IRC was created to replace a program called MUT (MultiUser talk) on a BBS called OuluBox in Finland. Oikarinen found inspiration in a chat system known as Bitnet Relay, which operated on the BITNET.
IRC gained prominence when it was used to report on the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 throughout a media blackout. It was previously used in a similar fashion by Kuwaitis during the Iraqi invasion.
How does IRC work
An IRC network consists of a group of servers connected to each other. Some servers are "leafs" and have no servers connected to them, while others are "hubs" and have several leafs (and other hubs) connected to them. IRC servers run a UNIX-based program called "ircd" which allows them to send messages to each other. Servers keep information about all the people and channels on IRC and are responsible for routing messages to their proper destinations.
To connect to an IRC server, you need an IRC client (such as Klient, mIRC, vIRC or Pirch for Windows, Ircle for Mac, or IRC-II for UNIX).
An IRC client creates and maintains a TCP connection to an IRC server and has two main responsibilities. First, it parses commands and text you supply it and, if necessary, sends them to the server in a format the server can interpret. Second, the IRC client receives packets of data from the server and sorts through them to determine what they mean and needs to be done with them (such as creating a channel window, displaying a message in a channel window, telling you who is joining or leaving a channel, displaying private messages, etc.)
IRC is based on a line-based structure with the client sending single-line messages to the server, receiving replies to those messages and receiving copies of some messages sent by other clients. In most clients users can enter commands by prefixing them with /; depending on the command, these may either be passed directly to the server (generally used for commands the client does not recognize), passed to the server with some modification or handled entirely by the client.
Because IRC connections are usually unencrypted and typically span long time periods, they are an attractive target for malicious hackers. Because of this, careful security policy is necessary to ensure that an IRC network is not susceptible to an attack such as an IRC takeover war.
Where to find IRC chat rooms
If you are looking for IRC chat rooms we suggest you visit searchirc.com and search over 600,000 IRC channels in 3000+ IRC networks, you are sure to find a specific chat topic that interests you.
Where can I learn more about IRC
irchelp.org is a good website to obtain more information on IRC with articles covering:
mIRC (Windows client).
ircII (UNIX client).
Network / Server List.
IRCd server operation.