What is Internet Relay Chat (IRC)?

The Internet Relay Chat is a protocol used for live interactive internal text messaging or simultaneous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication messages as well as chat and data transfer including file sharing.

IRC is the way of communicating in real time with people from all over the world. IRC has separate networks like IRC servers, machines which allow users to connect to IRC.

Working of IRC

Generally, the user runs a program to connect to a server on one of the IPC nets.

The server relays information to and forms other servers on the same net.

Once connected to an IRC server on an IRC network, you will usually join one or more channels and converse with others there.


The advantages of IRC are as follows −

  • IRC is decentralized − There is no signal company controlling IRC (in contrast to gchat or Facebook chat or AIM chat etc.) Therefore, anyone can set up their own server and use it however they like.

  • IRC’s channel paradigm is very flexible and robust because it allows for real-time discussion with up to hundreds of people at once.

  • Privacy − IRC has the concept of access levels and complex channels modes.

  • For example − users can be banned from channels based on their IP address.

  • Meeting new peoples: Persons are able to meet and communicate with new people all over the world IRC.


The disadvantages of IRC are as follows −

  • Informality: Hyperbole, Jokes not only may be misunderstood by some person in the chat.

  • Chat bytes − The chat client line length and buffer limits mean that all discussion is necessarily limited to chat-sized bites of words.

  • Cyber bullying − Person within the chat may be picked on by others in the chat which may lead to depression.

Modern IRC

The modern IRC comprises of the following −

  • Services: Network operated bots to facilitate registration of nicknames and channels, sending messages for offline users and network operator functions.

  • Proxy detection − Most modern servers support detection of users attempting to connect through an insecure proxy server which is a denied connection. This proxy detection software is used by several networks.

Updated on: 21-Mar-2022

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