Popular IRC Networks
Selected Networks with 10,000+ Users
updated Nov 7, 2003
This page is part of the IRChelp.org Networks Site, please do not mirror or distribute.
We highlight here some popular networks with average user counts of 10,000 to 170,000 and up. These nets tend to have the largest, busiest channels. For example, some channels have over 2000 people, so just one channel like that has more people than 97% of the 800+ networks out there!
Size isn’t everything, though. These nets have lots of fun chat but also an abundance of the “dark side” of IRC: illegal file trading, lag, splits, ad spams, pornography, trojan/virus infections, denial of service attacks, etc. It’s no wonder then that many experienced IRC users prefer other alternatives, such as smaller nets that still have lots of people but far fewer problems, or nets devoted to specific subjects or geographical areas / languages.
The popular nets are listed alphabetically with no regard to size. All links take you away to pages hosted by that network or to the 3rd party statistics site netsplit.de, which hosts comprehensive, opt-in network lists such as the top charts. Another similar site is SearchIRC. Our purpose is just to get you going by providing important links and information for some selected nets, so that you can quickly compare them or get their home page, server list, etc. Some information is quoted directly “like this” from the net’s own site.
The following networks are highlighted below: Aniverse, BRASnet, EFNet, Enter The Game, Freenode, Galaxynet, GamesNET, IRCNet, PTNet, QuakeNet, Undernet.
Server Locations: N/A
Support Channels: N/A
Information: “Aniverse Networks is attempting to become the largest Anime web portal in existance. We run many high traffic anime websites and offer pure content to those who desire.”
Server Locations: Europe, US, Near East
Services: None, except for a pseudo-chanserv (CHANFIX)
Support Channels: #IRCHelp [General IRC], #help [General], #dmsetup [Virus/Trojan], #chanfix [takeover]
Information: Formerly the prime IRC network and for a long time synonymous with IRC. EFnet stands for Eris-Free net, due to a historical event involving a server with a machine name of ‘eris’. In 1996, many servers and users split off to form what is now IRCnet, since then both networks have grown and prospered independently. Both still do not support services such as channel or nickname registration, resulting in the most freedom as well as chaos for the users.
Server Locations: US, Europe, Austrailia
Services: Yes, ChanServ
Support Channels: N/A
Information: “Founded in early 1999… to offer Video Gaming Enthusiasts a better place to gather and chat, setup matches, and meet new and friendly people on-line.” Originally dominated by American users.
Server Locations: China, Costa Rica, Europe
Services: Yes, ChanServ, NickServ
Support Channels: Many many support channels.
Information: “an interactive environment for coordination and support of peer-directed projects, including… free software and open source. Our aim is to help improve the communicative and collaborative skills of our participants and to maintain a friendly, efficient environment for project coordination and technical support.”
Server Locations: Mainly Europe and the East
Support Channels: #IRChelp, #ircnet.com
Information: Created in 1996 division of EFnet, IRCnet has continued to grow independently. Lays claim to historical privilege of being the original IRC network by virtue of still containing the core of early IRC, including the Finnish site where IRC was first used. Administration and operation are also more traditional than on other networks. Many of the most popular channels are “national” channels, devoted to the social gathering of people from Europe and Japan.
Server Locations: Portugal
Support Channels: N/A
Information: The largest local network for Portugal.
Server Locations: Europe, US
Services: Yes, L (LightWeight Service), Q (The Other Service)
Support Channels: #feds
|Statistics: Quakenet.org or netsplit.de||Servers|
Information: They call it the best multiplayer game ever. Maybe they’re right, maybe not. Anyway, here’s a network full of (mainly European) addicts. It has grown from a subject-specific network into the largest IRC network in the world!
Server Locations: Europe, US, Canada
Support Channels: #cservice
Information: Stable and highly organized network which pioneered features now commonplace on other networks. Channel service requires certain conditions before registering a channel. Policy and application form available from their web site. Support for its services is extensive.