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Registering your nick

If you’ve become a regular IRC user, it’s a good idea to register your nick with the server. Nick registration associates an account of sorts with your nick, which is protected by a password, and has several benefits:

Nick registrations are handled through private messages to a service called NickServ. Commands can always be issued by using /msg NickServ; some clients allow the use of /ns as a shorthand. Don’t forget the slash, or you may write passwords to a public channel! For a general overview of NickServ commands, you can try:

/msg NickServ help

To register your nick, first ensure that you are connected with the nick that you wish to use, then issue the following command:

/msg NickServ register PASSWORD VALID@E.MAIL

A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the address you provide, containing a verification code. Give this code to NickServ with the below command to complete registration:

/msg NickServ verify register NICKNAME 123456789

Now that you’ve registered your nick, you will probably want to configure your client to automatically identify, or send your password, when connecting to the server. There are two ways to do this:1)

  • Use the server password. This is generally more reliable than the private message method below, although it is technically non-standard and may not be available on other IRC networks. To use this method, set your server password in your IRC client preferences to :NICKNAME PASSWORD; e.g. :ExampleGuy super_secret_P455W0RD (don’t forget the colon at the beginning!). Mibbit supports this option through “Auth” > “Pass” at the logon screen.
  • Send a private message to NickServ when you sign on. Most clients provide an option labeled “NickServ password” that will do this for you, in which case you should set it to NICKNAME PASSWORD; e.g. ExampleGuy super_secret_P455W0RD (without a colon this time). Mibbit supports this option through “Auth” > “NickServ” at the logon screen. If you cannot configure your client to automatically identify you, you can do so manually with the command:
    /msg NickServ identify NICKNAME PASSWORD

Make sure to identify whenever you sign on to the server, as nick registrations expire after a certain period. You may wish to turn on nick protection to make any automatic client identification failures obvious.

Session management

Sometimes, your registered nickname may be taken by another client. This most often occurs when you have disconnected unexpectedly and the server hasn’t noticed (i.e. before a “ping timeout”); occasionally, someone else may be using your nickname as well. You can disconnect the other session and reclaim your nick by sending the following commands:

/msg NickServ ghost NICKNAME PASSWORD

Users that have enabled kill protection may have their nicks locked by NickServ when someone attempts to use them without authenticating first. In order to release this lock, use:

/msg NickServ release NICKNAME PASSWORD

If you’ve signed in under a second nick that you’ve grouped to the nick you’re trying to reclaim, you can omit your password from the above NickServ commands.

Nick protection

Registering your nick does not in itself prevent others from using the nick; it just means that you can reclaim it through ghosting when necessary. If you’d like NickServ to forcibly rename anyone who tries to use your nick without identifying first, you can turn on nick protection:

/msg NickServ set enforce on

With this feature enabled, anyone using your registered nick is given 30 seconds to provide the NickServ password before their name is changed, generally to something of the form Guest12345. If you’ve configured your client to automatically identify you, this also has the side effect of bringing your attention to any authentication failures.

Creating nick groups

If you frequently use an alternative nick (an away nick, for example), and want to carry over your permissions and preferences from your primary nick, send the following commands:


Note that grouped nicks expire separately from each other; this means that if you want to hold on to an alternative nick, you’ll need to use it every once in a while to keep the registration from lapsing.

You may have noticed that we’ve specified the nick along with the password, which may seem redundant at first glance. NickServ accounts can actually be logged into from any nick, so long as both the account’s nick and password are provided. This is useful in situations where your original nick is unusable — for example, after a disconnection where your old session is left orphaned, and you’re forced to sign in with a nick like ExampleGuy_.
irchelp/nickserv.txt · Last modified: 2017-02-07 07:32 +0000 by illflower