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ngIRCd - Quick Start

This Quick Start document explains how to configure ngIRCd, the lightweight Internet Relay Chat (IRC) server, using some "real world" scenarios.


The ngIRCd daemon can be run without any configuration file using built-in defaults. These defaults are probably sufficient for very simple single-node setups, but most probably need further tweaking for more "advanced" setups.

You can check the current settings by running ngircd --configtest. This command not only shows the settings, it shows error, warning and hints, if it detects any.

Therefore it is definitely best practice to always run this check after making any changes to the configuration file(s) and double-check that everything was parsed as expected!

Configuration File and Drop-in Directory

After installing ngIRCd, a sample configuration file should have been set up if none existed already. By default, when installing from sources, the file is named /usr/local/etc/ngircd.conf (other common names, especially for distribution packages, are /etc/ngircd.conf or /etc/ngircd/ngircd.conf). Run the command ngircd --configtest to check the name of the configuration file which is used by default on your local system.

In addition, ngIRCd supports configuration file snippets in a "drop-in" directory which is configured with the IncludeDir variable in the [Options] section and has a built-in default value (like /etc/ngircd/ngircd.conf.d/). All configuration files matching the *.conf pattern are read-in from this directory after the main ngircd.conf file.

It is a good idea to not edit the default ngircd.conf file but to create one ore more new files in this include directory, overriding the defaults as needed. This way you don't get any clashes when updating ngIRCd to newer releases.

You can find the template of the sample configuration file in the doc/ directory as sample-ngircd.conf and online on the homepage. It contains all available options.

Configuration File Syntax

The configuration consists of sections and parameters.

A section begins with the name of the section in square brackets (like [Example]) and continues until the next section begins. Sections contain parameters of the form name = value.

Section and parameter names are not case sensitive.

Please see the ngircd.conf(5) manual page for an in-depth description of the configuration file, its syntax and all supported configuration options.

The sample configuration file uses comments beginning with # or ; -- this is only for the better understanding of the file, both comment styles are equal. The lines commented out with ; show example or default settings, whereas the lines using # are descriptions of the options.

Simple Single-Instance Server

A good starting point is to configure a valid (and unique!) IRC server name (which is not related to a host name, it is purely a unique server ID that must contain at least one dot ".").

This looks like this:

Name = my.irc.server

This results in the following warning in the logs when starting the daemon: No administrative information configured but required by RFC! -- which works, but is a bit ugly. So let's fix that by adding some admin info:

Name =
AdminInfo1 = Example IRC Server
AdminInfo2 = Anywhere On Earth
AdminEMail =

Please Note: The server Name looks like a DNS host name, but it is not: in fact it is not related to your server's fully qualified domain name (FQDN) in any way and can be an arbitrary string -- but it must contain at least one dot (".") character!

Add a Local IRC Operator

Some IRC commands, like REHASH which reloads the server configuration on the fly, require the user to authenticate to the daemon to become an IRC Operator first.

So let's configure an Operator account in the configuration file (in addition to what we configured above):

# ID of the operator (may be different of the nickname)
Name = BigOp
# Password of the IRC operator
Password = secret
# Optional Mask from which /OPER will be accepted
;Mask = *!

Now you can use the IRC command OPER BigOp secret to get IRC Operator status on that server.

Please choose a sensible password, and keep in mind that the name is not related to the nickname used by the user at all!

We don't make use of the Mask setting in the example above (commented out with the ; character), but it is a good idea to enable it whenever possible!

And you can have as many Operator blocks as you like, configuring multiple different IRC Operators.

Configuring SSL/TLS Encryption

Please see the file for details.