the irc crate – usable, async IRC for Rust
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"the irc crate" is a thread-safe and async-friendly IRC client library written in Rust. It's compliant with RFC 2812, IRCv3.1, IRCv3.2, and includes some additional, common features from popular IRCds. You can find up-to-date, ready-to-use documentation online on

Built with the irc crate

the irc crate is being used to build new IRC software in Rust. Here are some of our favorite projects:

Making your own project? Submit a pull request to add it!

Getting Started

To start using the irc crate with cargo, you can simply add irc = "0.13" to your dependencies in your Cargo.toml file. The high-level API can be found in irc::client::prelude. You'll find a number of examples to help you get started in examples/, throughout the documentation, and below.

A Tale of Two APIs

Reactors (The "New" API)

The release of v0.13 brought with it a new API called IrcReactor that enables easier multiserver support and more graceful error handling. The general model is that you use the reactor to create new IrcClients, register message handler functions, and finally block the thread to run the clients with their respective handlers. Here's an example:

extern crate irc;

use irc::client::prelude::*;

fn main() {
    // We can also load the Config at runtime via Config::load("path/to/config.toml")
    let config = Config {
        nickname: Some("the-irc-crate".to_owned()),
        server: Some("".to_owned()),
        channels: Some(vec!["#test".to_owned()]),

    let mut reactor = IrcReactor::new().unwrap();
    let client = reactor.prepare_client_and_connect(&config).unwrap();
    reactor.register_client_with_handler(client, |client, message| {
        print!("{}", message);
        // And here we can do whatever we want with the messages.

Direct Style (The "Old" API)

The old API for connecting to an IRC server is still supported through the IrcClient type. It's simpler for the most basic use case, but will panic upon encountering any sort of connection issues. In general, it's recommended that users switch to the new API if possible. Nevertheless, here is an example:

extern crate irc;

use std::default::Default;
use irc::client::prelude::*;

fn main() {
    // We can also load the Config at runtime via Config::load("path/to/config.toml")
    let cfg = Config {
        nickname: Some(format!("the-irc-crate")),
        server: Some(format!("")),
        channels: Some(vec![format!("#test")]),
        .. Default::default()

    let client = IrcClient::from_config(cfg).unwrap();

    client.for_each_incoming(|message| {
        print!("{}", message);
        // And here we can do whatever we want with the messages.

Configuring IRC Clients

As seen above, there are two techniques for configuring the irc crate: runtime loading and programmatic configuration. Runtime loading is done via the function Config::load, and is likely sufficient for most IRC bots. Programmatic configuration is convenient for writing tests, but can also be useful when defining your own custom configuration format that can be converted to Config. The primary configuration format is TOML, but if you are so inclined, you can use JSON and/or YAML via the optional json and yaml features respectively. At the minimum, a configuration requires nickname and server to be defined, and all other fields are optional. You can find detailed explanations of the various fields on

Alternatively, you can look at the example below of a TOML configuration with all the fields:

owners = []
nickname = "user"
nick_password = "password"
alt_nicks = ["user_", "user__"]
username = "user"
realname = "Test User"
server = ""
port = 6697
password = ""
use_ssl = true
cert_path = "cert.der"
client_cert_path = "client.der"
client_cert_pass = "password"
encoding = "UTF-8"
channels = ["#rust", "#haskell", "#fake"]
umodes = "+RB-x"
user_info = "I'm a test user for the irc crate."
version = "irc:git:Rust"
source = ""
ping_time = 180
ping_timeout = 10
burst_window_length = 8
max_messages_in_burst = 15
should_ghost = false
ghost_sequence = []

"#fake" = "password"

note = "anything you want can be in here!"
and = "you can use it to build your own additional configuration options."
key = "value"

You can convert between different configuration formats with convertconf like so:

cargo run --example convertconf -- -i client_config.json -o client_config.toml

Note that the formats are automatically determined based on the selected file extensions. This tool should make it easy for users to migrate their old configurations to TOML.


the irc crate is a free, open source library that relies on contributions from its maintainers, Aaron Weiss (@aatxe) and Peter Atashian (@retep998), as well as the broader Rust community. It's licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 whose text can be found in To foster an inclusive community around the irc crate, we have adopted a Code of Conduct whose text can be found in You can find details about how to contribute in