IRC:New Users

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Firstly, let us welcome you to Freenode, new user. Below is a list of tools to get you started on this network with the basics that you want to know, so read on...

Connecting to Freenode[edit]

This is very simple and there are two choices available to you:

  1. You can download an IRC client; you can find a list here.

Downloading and setting up a client is often preferred, though does require a bit of effort on your part.

The server you should use to connect to Freenode is

Registering your nickname[edit]

This is the first thing you'll want to do when setting yourself up on Freenode, so you can protect your nickname so only you can use it. In your status window in your IRC client, type:

/nick YourChosenName

where 'YourChosenName' is the name you wish to use. Once you have done that, in that same window, type:

/msg NickServ REGISTER password e-mail

The e-mail address that you use must be valid as an authorisation code will be sent to you in order to complete the registration of your chosen nickname. Please note that if you use a address, the email containing the authorisation code may end up in the junk folder!

If you use a fake e-mail address then you will not be able to register the nickname and will have to wait 24 hours before you can try again. However in the case of a genuine mistake, someone may be able to assist you if you join #help.

Once you have received the e-mail containing your authorisation code it is time for you to complete the registration of YourChosenName

First ensure that you are using the nickname that you wish to register

/nick YourChosenName

Then complete the registration by using the command contained within your e-mail

/msg NickServ REGISTER AUTH your authorization code

You have now completed the registration of your new nickname, the next option you may want to look at is how to hide your e-mail address from other users.


There are other options for information that you can hide, to see them please look at this page about the SET command or you can type the following in IRC:

/msg NickServ HELP SET HIDE

Remember: Every time you log back on to the server as YourChosenName, type:

/msg NickServ IDENTIFY password

For more information about how to administer your nickname(s) please see the NickServ wiki page.

Registering your channel[edit]

A channel is the proper name for what some people call a 'chat room.' As you will probably know by now, channel names always start with #. Once you've registered your nick-name, you'll probably want to register a channel. First, type:

/join #your-channel-name

Choose a name for your channel, as illustrated above. If, when you join, your name has an @ symbol beside it (@YourName), then you're ready to proceed with registration. If you have left Freenode, and have returned to register your channel, log on again by typing:

/msg NickServ identify password

Once you have identified your nickname, proceed with channel registration by first joining your channel and typing:

/msg ChanServ REGISTER #your-channel-name password description

Please note that the # before the channel name is necessary and it will fail if it is excluded.

Now, the important part: your password. As the owner of this channel, this permits you to have full control of what goes on on your channel. For your description, just put anything pretty much relating to the topic of your channel, because you can always change your topic in your channel.

Now that your channel is registered, ChanServ should tell you that the channel modes are set to +nt, which means it's registered and under your control. For further information on commands you can use to control your channel, please see the ChanServ wiki page or type:

/msg ChanServ HELP

This will reveal a list of commands to help you design, develop, and operate your channel effectively.

Remembering the basic tasks[edit]

After you have registered your nickname and channel, and plan on returning to Freenode, please remember to identify yourself using NickServ every time you log on to Freenode. Otherwise, after 30 days, your nickname will be open for anyone to register. Also, any channels you may have registered will by dropped by ChanServ after 30 days, should no-one identify or use it.

/msg NickServ IDENTIFY password

The above command tells NickServ you are the rightful owner of the nickname in question. When you enter channels registered to your nickname, ChanServ will recognize you as the owner of those channels and will set you +o (channel operator). This is quite an important task to do when you're on the server, so get used to it and it will become second nature.

Dropping a channel[edit]

You may find that you don't want your channel anymore. You can drop your channel by first identifying yourself as the channel owner:

/msg ChanServ IDENTIFY #your-channel-name password

Secondly, type the following to delete the channel. Remember, this is permanent - you can't reverse it!

/msg ChanServ DROP #your-channel-name

Useful commands[edit]

Changing your nickname[edit]

If you wish to alter your nickname, but not permanently, simply type:

/nick NewName

When you want to return to your registered nickname, type:

/nick RegisteredName

Followed by:

/msg NickServ IDENTIFY password

Away messages[edit]

If you are leaving the computer or keyboard for a while and want to inform curious minds where you'll be should they e.g. whois you, type (in most IRC clients, this command is ready for use):

/away reason for being away

For instance, if you were going to milk your goat, you might type:

/away milking the goat

When you return to your computer/keyboard, type:


and the away message will be removed from your information. You may be tempted to use a script which announces your /away status to all channels. Please be aware that this can annoy some people.

Getting information on other users[edit]

If you wish to find out more basic information on another user, type:

/whois nickname

This will reveal several tidbits about that user, but nothing overly personal. Let's say that you wanted information on someone who has just left IRC. You could type:

/whowas nickname

If they were recently on IRC, the server will retrieve some information about them.

Sending a private message to another user[edit]

You can speak with another user in private by typing:

/query nickname

In most GUI IRC clients, double-clicking on a nickname in a channel's names list will also open a window to talk to that person in private. You do not have to share any channels with someone to talk to them privately.

Channel list[edit]

You can obtain a list of active channels by typing:


This command will show you the channel name, how many users are currently in that channel, and the topic for that channel.

Further support[edit]

More Preferences
Although this tutorial will help you understand the basic commands of IRC, you may want to learn more about services such as NickServ and ChanServ. For more detailed information on services available for your username and your channel, as well as some other tools you may find handy, visit the appropriate wiki pages which are linked throughout.
Live Support
On the Freenode IRC network itself, you can join the channel #help, where a team of representatives will be available to assist you. They are all busy people, so please restrict your questions to those related to Freenode and basic IRC help.

Good luck !