A very simple Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server
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miniircd -- A (very) simple Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server


miniircd is a small and limited IRC server written in Python. Despite its size, it is a functional alternative to a full-blown ircd for private or internal use. Installation is simple; no configuration is required.


  • Knows about the basic IRC protocol and commands.
  • Easy installation.
  • Basic SSL support.
  • No configuration.
  • No ident lookup (so that people behind firewalls that filter the ident port without sending NACK can connect without long timeouts).
  • Reasonably secure when used with --chroot and --setuid.


  • Can't connect to other IRC servers.
  • Only knows the most basic IRC commands.
  • No IRC operators.
  • No channel operators.
  • No user or channel modes except channel key.
  • No reverse DNS lookup.
  • No other mechanism to reject clients than requiring a password.


Python 2.6 or newer (including the Python 3 series). Get it at http://www.python.org.


None. Just run "./miniircd --help" (or "python miniircd --help") to get some help.

Using --chroot and --setuid

In order to use the --chroot or --setuid options, you must be using an OS that supports these functions (most *nixes), and you must start the server as root. These options limit the daemon process to a small subset of the filesystem, running with the privileges of the specified user (ideally unprivileged) instead of the user who launched miniircd.

To create a new chroot jail for miniircd, edit the Makefile and change JAILDIR and JAILUSER to suit your needs, then run make jail as root. If you have a motd file or an SSL pem file, you'll need to put them in the jail as well:

# cp miniircd.pem motd.txt /var/jail/miniircd

Remember to specify the paths for --state-dir, --log-dir, --motd and --ssl-pem-file from within the jail, e.g.:

# miniircd --state-dir=/ --log-dir=/ --motd=/motd.txt --setuid=nobody \
      --ssl-pem-file=/miniircd.pem --chroot=/var/jail/miniircd

Make sure your jail is writable by whatever user/group you are running the server as. Also, keep your jail clean. Ideally it should only contain the files mentioned above and the state/log files from miniircd. You should not place the miniircd script itself, or any executables, in the jail. In the end it should look something like this:

# ls -alR /var/jail/miniircd
total 36
drwxr-xr-x 3 nobody root   4096 Jun 10 16:20 .
drwxr-xr-x 4 root   root   4096 Jun 10 18:40 ..
-rw------- 1 nobody nobody   26 Jun 10 16:20 #channel
-rw-r--r-- 1 nobody nobody 1414 Jun 10 16:51 #channel.log
drwxr-xr-x 2 root   root   4096 Jun 10 16:19 dev
-rw-r----- 1 rezrov nobody 5187 Jun  9 22:25 ircd.pem
-rw-r--r-- 1 rezrov nobody   17 Jun  9 22:26 motd.txt

total 8
drwxr-xr-x 2 root   root   4096 Jun 10 16:19 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 nobody root   4096 Jun 10 16:20 ..
crw-rw-rw- 1 root   root   1, 3 Jun 10 16:16 null
crw-rw-rw- 1 root   root   1, 9 Jun 10 16:19 urandom


GNU General Public License version 2 or later.

Primary author


  • Alex Wright
  • Braxton Plaxco
  • Hanno Foest
  • Jan Fuchs
  • Julien Monnier
  • Leandro Lucarella
  • Martin Maney
  • Matt Baxter
  • Matt Behrens
  • Michael Rene Wilcox
  • Ron Fritz