may have happened to you
already—someone trying to impersonate you or just
"stealing" your nickname for the
fun of it. NickServ will solve this problem for you.
Impersonating someone on IRC is quite easy. When logging in, you can
specify your nickname, and the server will never check whether you
really are who you pretend to be. This could be considered a
weakness. Fortunately, NickServ tries to fix this weakness.
NickServ is one of the Services available on a large number of IRC
networks. It sits on the IRC network and sees all the connecting and
disconnecting users and nick changes. Of course, just that
isn't enough. When you register your nickname with
NickServ, you can ask NickServ to kill someone
if they are already logged in with your nickname. This can be useful
when someone's impersonating you, but
it's probably even more useful if your Internet
connection fails and you have to log back in—your old session
will probably still be active on the server, so you
won't be able to use your regular nickname. But if
you ask NickServ to kill your old connection, you can take your
A more important advantage of registering your nickname with NickServ
is that it allows you to register new channels with ChanServ and/or
be in channel access lists. This means, among other things, that you
can get channel operator status from ChanServ .
Registering Yourself with NickServ
The first step is to register your
nickname. This is quite easy on most
IRC networks, as all you have to do is send a
register message to NickServ. To do this on the
freenode IRC network, open a query with NickServ and send the
register message like this:
<Wilmer> register password
<NickServ> Your nickname is now registered under the hostmask [*~blabla@*.ipv6.gaast.net].
<NickServ> Your password is [password]. Please remember this for later use.
<NickServ> Freenode is a service of Peer-Directed Projects Center, an
<NickServ> IRS 501(c)(3) (tax-exempt) charitable and educational organization.
<NickServ> For frequently-asked questions about the network, please see the
<NickServ> FAQ page (http://freenode.net/faq.shtml).
If someone else has already registered this nickname,
you'll receive an error message and
you'll just have to pick a different nickname.
Sadly, nicknames on IRC are very much a first-come first-served
affair. After you have registered, you can check to see if everything
worked by reconnecting to the IRC server. You should receive the
<NickServ> This nickname is owned by someone else
<NickServ> If this is your nickname, type /msg NickServ IDENTIFY <password>
You should then do what NickServ told you to do, so type:
/msg NickServ IDENTIFY password
If everything goes correctly, NickServ will recognize you and mark
you as registered. You can check whether you (or someone else) are
indeed identified correctly using the info
command. This is also sent as a private message to NickServ, for
<Wilmer> info Wilmer
<NickServ> Nickname: wilmer << ONLINE >>
<NickServ> Registered: 1 year 50 weeks 3 days (23h 21m 18s) ago
<NickServ> Last Seen Quit Msg: ballard.freenode.net irc.freenode.net
<NickServ> Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
<NickServ> UIN: 267762
<NickServ> Nickname Options: Secure, AllowMemos, MemoNotify, MemoSignon
If you don't see the << ONLINE
>> text behind your nickname
or any other sign of you being identified, you can be sure something
went wrong. NickServs on other IRC networks may behave slightly
differently, so be prepared to accept some different formatting of
the output. In particular, some NickServs require you to specify your
email address as a second argument when you register.
If you still have problems, it's probably a good
idea to read the help information. Most (if not all) NickServs will
give you more information about how they work when you send them a
help command in a private
/msg NickServ help
Usually, you can get more information about a specific command by
adding it as an argument to the help command:
/msg NickServ help register
One command you might find interesting is the
set command. This is used to change your
settings. You can use it to set a new
password, enable stronger
security, and automatically authenticate using your hostname. You can
use it to set your contact information, such as
your email address, which people will get when they use the
info command shown earlier.
Automatic authentication based on hostnames may sound convenient, but
it's sometimes a bad idea. If
you're running your IRC client on a Unix machine
that is also used by other people, it makes it very easy for others
to fool NickServ. If you think having to send a password every time
you log in is annoying, there are scripts that can do this for you.
Fixing Nick Collisions
Now that you're
you're ready to use some of the useful NickServ
features. For example, let's say you accidentally
unplugged your computer's power cable. When you
start your IRC client again, the IRC server will probably complain
that your nickname is already in use. This happens because your old
session is still alive and using your nickname. The IRC server
doesn't know about your mistake, so
you'll receive a message like this:
-!- Your nick is owned by Wilmer van der Gaast [~email@example.com]
If your IRC client is clever, it will have chosen an alternative
nickname or appended an underscore to your nickname to enable it to
connect successfully using a unique nickname. This will let you open
a query with NickServ again so you can remove your
"ghost" from the server:
<Wilmer_> ghost Wilmer password
-!- Wilmer [~firstname.lastname@example.org] has quit [Nick collision from services.]
<NickServ> [Wilmer] has been killed
Because the "ghost" has been
removed from the server, you can take back your own nickname.
you change your nickname frequently, a feature called nick
linking allows you to
link multiple nicknames together.
When two nicknames are linked, you can change from one nick to the
other without having to identify yourself again. Also, the channel
privileges are shared.
To link your nickname with another one, open a query with NickServ
and enter the link command. The
link command requires two arguments: the nickname
you want to link to and the password for that nickname. This is
required because you shouldn't be allowed to link to
any other person and gain his channel privileges.
<lintux> link wilmer password
23:56:28 -NickServ(NickServ@services.)- Your nickname is now linked to [wilmer]
One thing you should be careful with when linking nicks is to try to
avoid losing some privileges. On freenode, the nick under which you
run the link command will lose all its own privileges and get the
privileges assigned to the nick you're linking to.
So it might be a bad idea to link two of your nicks if both have
special privileges assigned in some channels already. If you want to
know how your IRC network handles this, read the help information
about the link command:
/msg NickServ help link
Now that you have mastered NickServ, you can be assured that your
nickname is safe.
—Wilmer van der Gaast