Finding a Server

If you're going to start chatting, you will need to connect to an IRC Server. You may already know where you want to go, or may already have a 'home' network that you go to - in which case, skip this part!

There are many resources to find a network/server that you can chat on. mIRC itself comes with a servers.ini file which contains many networks, small and large, that you may want to try out. You can see the servers.ini file at http://www.mirc.co.uk/servers.ini or you can go to ALT+O > Connect > Servers. You can then choose an IRC network or an individual IRC server. As an FYI, an IRC network is just a group of IRC servers linked together.

There are also a number of websites which provide a list of IRC networks - examples include netsplit.de and SearchIRC.com. You may of course also want to search Google.

Creating A Server

Creating a server for your friends to connect to and chat on is complicated and, in most cases, does require a bit of IRC knowledge and how things work. Ideally, it also requires a non-Windows platform (*nix/FreeBSD). You need a program called an 'IRCd' (Internet Relay Chat daemon), or, for Windows users, a 'wIRCd' (Windows Internet Relay Chat daemon).

Some popular IRCds include Unreal IRCD (which also runs on Windows), Bahamut (DALnet's IRCd) and ircu (Undernet's IRCd). Further links can be found at http://www.mirc.com/links.html. You can find wircds at wircds.net.

To have the IRC server up 24/7, you may wish to host it on a shell account. You will need one that support running IRCd processes on their machines. All of the ones listed at DMOZ.org support that. This does cost money, do be aware of that. Also note, they have nothing to do with mIRC. Again, you'll find a lot of help by searching on Google.

If you want IRC Services on your server (i.e. NickServ, ChanServ, MemoServ), then you will need to download them separately in most cases. A popular Services package is Anope. You can also view these Google results.

On top of the information above, there have been numerous threads related to this. You may wish to use the Search feature - expand to 'All Forums' and 'All Posts' for best results.

Good luck with your server!

Finding A Channel

To join and start chatting in a channel you first need to make sure you've got mIRC set up and connected. Make sure you've done this before reading on, because otherwise you won't be able to join a channel. If you haven't, you can find information on the How To Install page.

Firstly, you may want to take the ideas that are in the default channels list that comes with mIRC. This should pop up when you connect by default (you can disable that by unchecking the box at the bottom of the box). The default list has some channels that may interest you. Simply double click one to join it. Remember that channels are different on different IRC networks. For example,the #mIRC channel on Undernet is not the same as #mIRC on DALnet.

Once you are connected to an IRC Server, you can search for IRC channels using the /list command. You can type /list on its own to bring up a full list of channels for that IRC network. Do be aware that on large networks this can take a reasonably long time to load (10-15+ mins in some cases). To cut down your search you might want to specify a search word. To do this, use /list *word*. For example, for a list of channels with the word 'mIRC' in them, you would do /list *mIRC*.
The /list command also has other options, type /help /list in mIRC to see a description.

There are also a number of online resources you can use to find an IRC channel that suits you. These websites search for IRC channels all over IRC and, unlike /list, do not apply to just one IRC network. Some sites include:

http://www.searchirc.com
http://irc.netsplit.de/channels
DMOZ.org
IRCHelp.org (EFnet users)

Of course, a Google search may also bring up a number of results.

Creating/Registering a Channel

If you want to start your own channel then it's really easy! Once connected, all you need to do is type /join #channel. Replace '#channel' with the name of the channel you want. Do be aware that a lot of the 'good' channel names will be taken - for example, you won't find many channels such as #mIRC, #Chat or #ChatWorld vacant on most networks. If you join a channel and you find there are already people in there then you cannot have that channel. I guess you could ask if they'd give you the channel, but don't be too hopeful because that's like saying, 'I like your car, can I have it?'

If the channel you join is empty then you have now created that channel. You will be opped (@) automatically. This now means the channel is yours and it's your responsibility to keep the channel maintained. If you leave the channel then it will no longer exist and somebody else may come along and be the new owner.

To maintain a channel you will often need an eggdrop bot hosted on a shell account. Shell accounts do cost money most of the time so do be aware of this. For further help with downloading an eggdrop bot, setting it up and setting up a shell account try a website such as egghelp.org. If you don't want to fork out money then you may want to see if your network supports registration....

Some networks allow channel registration. This means that a Service keeps hold of your channel. The most popular channel service is ChanServ on most IRC networks. However, on the biggest networks they have slightly different names. Below is a short description of what you need to do on some of the bigger IRC networks to register your channel:

Undernet - This does have a channel service but new channels may not apply. You must first have a registered username. For more information, go to the CService Website. It also supports ChanFix (see EFnet below), a log file of their online tutorial session can be found here.

Quakenet - Has Q and L. Q is for bigger, older channels, L is the lightweight bot for smaller channels. See the Q FAQ and L FAQ for more information.

EFnet - Does not support channel registration at all. There is ChanFix though.

IRCnet - Does not support channel registration at all either.

DALnet - Has ChanServ. You must first have a registered nickname with NickServ to register a channel. Info on registering a nickname can be found here. Info on registering a channel can be found here. For further help go to #Help or #DALnetHelp.

GameSurge - Does support channel registration. You must first register an account and then go to the channel registration page.

Although the above is confined to 6 of the largest networks, other networks often follow suit.

If you use another network and are unsure whether or not they support channel registration you will need to ask in the #Help channel of the network (or other official network help channel) for information. Do be aware that Services have nothing to do with mIRC. You will need to obtain precise help from the network's official help channel(s) or from the network's website.
If you register your channel you now may leave the channel and go back to it when ever you want.

If your network does not support channel registration and you cannot pay for a shell account then you can just try to get your friends into your channel and help you maintain it. One of your friends may already have an eggdrop bot for their own channel, you could ask them to park their bot in your channel. If you have a number of friends you could just ask them to idle, many people stay on IRC 24/7 due to BNC (Bouncers) and so forth - there's usually a way round it. Do remember, on a lot of networks where there isn't channel registration, creating a channel isn't meant to be an easy task or just for anyone - if you're completely new to the network or IRC then keeping yourself to some other people's chat channels and making friends is wiser to do, and then create a channel at a much later date. To see if you're ready for your own channel, check out this Operator Guide.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck with your channel, and have fun smile
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Mentality/Chris