How to Set Up an IRC Network


IRC remains the most populated chat service available on the Internet. Setting up your own server can help expand an existing network or create a new one that concentrates on the topics you feel are important.

Things You'll Need

  • Linux server or host
  • Root access
  • Registered domain name (optional)
  • Decide on an IRC daemon. There are several types of IRC Daemons to pick from each with their own specific feature sets. Three of the main options are UnrealIRCd (EFNet's IRCd), Bahamut (DALnet's IRCd) and ircu (Undernet's IRCd). These first two come from Dreamforge, an older IRCd that still floats around, but both have been developed so far past Dreamforge that their feature sets barely resemble it. Picking the IRCd that's right for you will require running through the release notes to see what features you would like in your server. UnrealIRCd has some of the richest features but that may not be what your network is looking for.
    For the sake of simplicity we'll pick UnrealIRCd for this demonstration and assume you are installing on a *NIX-based system. Most IRCds will require the same install process, but consult individual documentation to make sure you configure it properly.

  • Install the IRCd on your server. Unzip the latest version of UnrealIRCd and navigate into the folder. Then type "./Config" (without quotes) to bring up the configuration menu. You will be asked several questions where typically the defaults will work just fine.

  • Compile and make your IRC daemon. After running the configuration, type "make" (without quotes) in the same directory to make your IRCd and get the actual server files together.

  • Configuring your IRC daemon. Creating a good IRCd configuration file can take time, with your first one taking 15 minutes to an hour. Take your time to make sure that your IRCd runs properly. The actual steps here are beyond the scope of this guide, and individual IRCd documentation should be carefully consulted. Each entry will be specific to your server and should be meticulously examined before booting your IRCd. While defaults may work all right, your server will not be secure or fully optimized for your system.

  • Start your IRC daemon. After you have completed your painstaking configuration, go ahead and start your IRCd. You can then use a client to connect to make sure that your IRCd is running properly.


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