Reading Time: 5 minutes | Published: 2020-12-05 | Last Edited: 2023-03-19
Many people will disagree but I think IRC is still one of the best chat platforms there is for a number of reasons. However, the documentation surrounding it is sometimes lacking, commands are esoteric and can differ from server to server, some networks have stupid requirements/defaults, etc. But who says you have to join them? IRC is very easy to set up, use, and maintain and this post should be a decent guide on doing just that.
Picking an IRCd ¶
ircd is short for IRC daemon; it’s just a server running in
the background. Second, there are a ton of choices, from
InspIRCd, and many others. The ircd this
guide will focus on is Oragono because it’s one
of the simpler options yet has support for IRCv3
and comes with services
out of the box.
While we could run Oragono as root or under whatever account you use,
that’s a stupid idea. We’re going to create an
oragono user to make
sure things are properly separated.
adduser --disabled-login oragono
Press the enter key a bunch of times and you’re good. After that, run
sudo su - oragono to log into that user account then head to the
page and download
the latest gzipped tarball1 for your architecture. Decompress it with
tar xvf oragono-*.tar.gz. I don’t recommend renaming the folder to
something else; having the version name right there will make it easy to
figure out when you need to upgrade in the future.
Copy the default config to the production config with
cp default.yaml ircd.yaml, open it in your favourite TUI editor, and start exploring
the options! The file is commented very well but I’ll list a few
specific options and values I recommend.
- Obtain a TLS cert from Let’s Encrypt and use it if possible. If not, use Oragono’s self-signed certificates. Don’t enable plaintext use.
- Consider setting Tor up and allowing users to connect through it.
- If you’re using a TLS cert from Let’s Encrypt (like you should be),
- Unless you specifically want IRC
cloaks to indicate
position, status, or affiliation, set
- Always make a cool MoTD. It’s essential for any IRC server.2 I recommend using something like TAAG to come up with it.
- You may want to enable email authentication but it’s a pain to set up properly. I haven’t bothered.
- I recommend setting
+sflag just indicates that it’s a secret channel and won’t show up in the global list when someone runs
/list. After creating a channel, if you want it publicly listed, just run
- You may want to uncomment
opers.admin.modesbut it can get very spammy when there are a lot of people on your server.
- If you plan to leave
history.enabled: trueand store channel message history server-side, I highly recommend setting
trueand going through that configuration.
- Roleplay can be fun so it’s a good idea to look through that section.
- If you enabled
datastore.mysql, also enable
- For privacy reasons, I highly recommend setting
"opt-out". Message history will not be stored by default but the channel owner can decide to enable it if they wish. Same goes for
- I recommend enabling both of the options under
Running the server ¶
If you’re using self-signed certs, run
./oragono mkcerts and make sure
the paths are correct in your
ircd.yaml. Assuming your config is
valid, you should be able to run
./oragono run and connect to it. If
you can’t, make sure port 6697 is open, your credentials are correct,
and nothing is wrong in the config.
You can always run Oragono in tmux
or something but it would be much better to do it with
runit, etc. I personally use
systemd and this service file should go in
/etc/systemd/system/oragono.service or something similar.
ExecStart=/home/oragono/oragono/oragono run --conf /home/oragono/oragono/ircd.yaml
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
Run the following commands to ensure Oragono starts when your server boots.
systemctl enable --now oragono
As I said in the first section, IRC has a lot of commands and they can be confusing to work with. I still don’t know everything I should. That said, here are a (very) few of the essentials:
|Send argument as a command to the server
|Join a channel
|Leave a channel
|Result will look like
* Amolith yawns
|Open a direct message buffer with amolith
|Add/remove flags from a channel3
|Make amolith a channel operator
|Let amolith speak when channel set to
The one command every Oragono oper4 should know is
/quote helpop index. It will list all the available commands so you can read through
them and discover what each does.
You’ve reached the end of the post. You are now disallowed from telling anyone that IRC is too complicated. If you want to test a server you’re setting up, feel free to use my instance of The Lounge; it’s at irc.nixnet.services and any IRCd details can be entered but mine are default. Speaking of my IRC server, you should join #secluded and mention this post :D