Last updated May 13, 2016.

This page explains what IRC is, gives some links to how to set it up, and tells you about some basic IRC commands and setup. If you know what IRC is, you might want to skip directly to:

What is Internet Relay Chat (IRC)?

See the Wikipedia IRC article for an explanation of what IRC is.

The Drupal community uses IRC to have topical, general, and regional text chats around the world, at all times of the day, every day, in a variety of languages. Each chat is in its own channel.

Some of the reasons we use IRC:

  • People who work on developing Drupal core and contributed modules use it to have development discussions on a regular basis, in the #drupal-contribute channel
  • People in local areas use it to have discussions with the people they see at their in-person meetings, and to keep in touch between meetings. See the regional channel list to find your local area.
  • People interested in particular topics use it to have discussions about these topics with others around the world. See the parent page for a list of topical and general channels.
  • Many groups within the Drupal community use it for meetings involving medium to large groups. Because it is a text chat, there is no "interrupting", everyone can have their say, and web links can be posted easily. Also, a log can be recorded and posted on a web page so that people who couldn't make it to the meeting can still see what happened.

Connecting to IRC

You can connect to IRC either on through web page, or by using an IRC client application on your computer or mobile device.

The simplest way to access freenode irc (without installing software) is via a web page in your browser. Go to http://webchat.freenode.net -- enter a nickname (usually the same as your Drupal.org user name) and the channel you want to use, and start chatting.

If you are using an application, you'll need to set up a connection to the IRC server. All of the Drupal channels are on the irc.freenode.net server.

There's a list of commonly-used IRC client applications at the bottom of this page.

IRC commands vs. chatting

When you're chatting in IRC, normally after entering a line of text, it is sent to the server and displayed to all the other people in the chat channel. You'll also see what the other participants type.

If the beginning of a line you type is a / character, it will be interpreted as an IRC command and will be sent to the server but not displayed. See the common IRC commands page for more information about commands.

Joining a channel

If you use a web page to chat, you'll enter the channel name (such as #drupal) when you first visit the web page.

If you are using a client application, you can usually set up a list of channels you want to join regularly -- how to do that depends on the client.

You can also type a command in a chat window to join a new channel:

/join #drupal-your-channel-name

Registering your nick with freenode

When you log into IRC you're going to want to register your nickname with the server, so that no one else can use your nickname, and so that you use a consistent name when you chat. Learn how to register your nick at http://freenode.net/kb/answer/registration.

Please do not include "Drupal" or any variation of it in your IRC nickname.

Normally, you'd use your Drupal.org user name, so that people will make the connection to your Drupal.org activities. If that name is already taken, then append a dash or numerals to the name. Most IRC clients will automatically append an underscore to your nick upon joining if that name is already taken.

Once you've registered a nickname, you can edit your Drupal.org profile and add your IRC nickname to your profile (there's a field for it).

Recommended IRC clients

Below are a couple of recommended IRC clients.

  • Webchat: An online IRC client that requires no local software installed
  • Hexchat: An open source clone of Xchat which is completely free and cross platform
  • LimeChat: An open source cOS X IRC cllient which is completely free and cross platform
  • irssi: A terminal based IRC client for UNIX systems
  • ChatZilla: A clean, easy to use and highly extensible Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client.
  • Pidgin: IM all your friends in one place. Connect to AIM, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, Groupwise, ICQ, IRC, MSN, MXit, SILC, SIMPLE, Sametime, XMPP, Yahoo!, and Zephyr all at once.
  • IRCCloud: An online IRC client with many modern features, cross-platform, and includes mobile apps.

Further reading

If you want more information, try: