How to use IRC Chat ? Basic IRC Commands

Internet Relay Chat was so famous in 90’s when people started to experience internet as a new communication tool. Later, Yahoo ! sweeps the Chat crowd with its Yahoo Messenger, then Rediffbol and so many have entered with their messenger applications. Ofcourse, very few were able to stand till now. IRC uses its own protocol to establish a chat between two people.

IRC is pretty different when we compare it with the Messenger applications and chat clients.

When we look deep into the nature of IRC, and then you will understand better. The element of communication over internet is a disease on people with few known chat programs like Gtalk, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo! messenger, and few other. But a common problem in order to start a conversation is that you must know your friends or other end person email address.

irc chatWith IRC its totally different, in order to start a conversation you must know which channel/room you like to chat. By considering other cool features, you may search for channel according to your wish, IRC is mainly used for group chat and also with private chat. IRC is a best choice to ask help regarding Open Source like Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat and other flavors of Linux because you get a real time response from others.

There are several application you could use to talk on IRC such as Xchat, Mirc, or even terminal based IRC clients, Web based IRC clients. But I will discuss about Xchat here (Xchat > Mirc, also its free and Opensource). Ok lets start the game with Xchat (you can find it on Google or here)

XChat Network Connection

When you start the program you will be greeted with a Network List and User Info window.

This window is to choose a nickname and Network for yourself, let me choose Freenode Network to demonstrate how we will talk through IRC. Once you selected FreeNode, next screen will be XChat Chat Window.

Searching for channels:

One of the cool feature in this program is you can search for channels with topic of your interest

You will get the following window, and after few seconds you’ll get a list of thousand and more channels.

In order to understand the IRC Chat and Usage better, here i have a list of commands to help you and get the most out of it.

Basic IRC Commands

1) To join a channel of your choice

/join #channelname


/join #ubuntu

2) The action message

/me message

it looks like

3) To start a private message

/msg nickname (message)


/msg ukli

4) To start a private conversion without opening up a private window

/notice nickname (message)


/notice oddmunds hi

5) To see  more information about some user in your chat room.

/whois nickname


/whois abaerto

6) When you dont want to talk with someone you can ignore him so that you will not receive any more messages from that person

/ignore nickname ALL


/ignore tmbg ALL

7) To remove ignored nickname

/ignore -r nickname ALL


/ignore -r tmbg ALL

8) To set your online status to Away



/away LUNCH TIME !!!

9) TO disconnect IRC from the talk

/quit <reason>


/quit Going out for LUNCH !!

10) IRC helps those who learn themselves by help command



you can also able to know specific commands action

/help <command>


/help me

That is all. So far you have seen the basic commands and their best usage to let you chat over IRC software

About the Author: Robin C

Security Consultant, Engineer, Technology Enthusiast and Blogger.

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