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IRCPlus -- An inexpensive Internet Relay Chat server with strong administrative tools

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 25, 2002


IRCPlus is a powerful chat server for the Internet Relay Chat network that makes life a lot easier for administrators. MadWeb NetWorks claims that IRCPlus will support any IRC-compatible chat client, including mIRC, PIRCH, Microsoft Chat, Netscape Chat, GlobalChat, Orbit IRC, and ViRC. We tested the chat server with mIRC and PIRCH and encountered no problems.

Security in IRCPlus is centered around IP/hostname masking. You can set up IRCPlus to mask a portion of the IP address or you can mask the entire address. Additionally, you can limit users via registration; either users can sign up for their own permanent channel and nickname registrations, or you can limit this capability to administrators. IRCPlus is a powerful chat server for the Internet Relay Chat network that makes life a lot easier for administrators. MadWeb NetWorks claims that IRCPlus will support any IRC-compatible chat client, including mIRC, PIRCH, Microsoft Chat, Netscape Chat, GlobalChat, Orbit IRC, and ViRC. We tested the chat server with mIRC and PIRCH and encountered no problems.

The filtering capabilities in IRCPlus are particularly strong. You can set up a list of prohibited nicknames, channel names, and channel topics. In addition, IRCPlus features a "teen mode" that disallows cursing in a channel. In addition to searching for specific text strings, SmartChecker technologies scan words and will eliminate efforts to skirt the rules.

Duties can be delegated easily in IRCPlus, thanks to six different levels of operator levels. The topmost level is reserved for server administrators, while IRC operators and help operators are saved for the bottommost levels five and six, respectively.

One unique -- and very useful -- feature in IRCPlus involves linking the chat server to a Web server via IRCPlus Web Extensions. Live information (such as how many users are online, the name of the server, a list of channels, and more) about the IRC server can be displayed on a Web site and automatically updated. The extensibility of this feature is somewhat limited, however: you must be using Microsoft's Internet Information Server or Personal Web Server to display this information.

If your needs expand, you can link to other servers in a master/slave configuration via server relaying. You can also administer IRCPlus remotely, but there are no Web-based administration capabilities. For most situations, the ability to administer remotely is much more important than Web-based administration, so this is not a huge drawback.

The server is available in two inexpensive versions -- a $100 Personal Edition ($50 for students) that allows for up to 100 simultaneous users and a $250 Professional Edition with support for up to 1,000 simultaneous users. Overall, IRCPlus is one of the best chat servers currently available for handling IRC networks.

Pros: Good security tools, easy to set up, remote administration, good delegation arrangement
Cons: Web extensions limited to IIS and PWS, no Web-based administration capabilities New: Server relaying, remote administration, data file encryption, IP masking; List of Features

New in v1.4.5: Custom channel creation modes, additional new features and modes, advanced options (like options for hiding quit messages, high security, no aliases within channels, and more)
Upgrade Meter: 4

New in v1.5: Ability to run as a system service (on Windows NT), Z-line server bans, advanced security features, server auditing option, channel transcripts (in real-time), improved perform (more efficient code-base), bug fixes; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 5

New in v.2000: New socket system designed to make IRCplus faster, more reliable, and more scalable; complete client interoperability; server-to-server relaying; X-Serv Web services; multi-homed network support, allowing the user to choose which static IP address to run a server on; multiple connection ports; open proxy scanner; input flood protection; SmartChecker filtering included; six operator levels, from Administrators to Help Operator, available; Web-based administration option; fully IRCx Compliant; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

New in 2000 v2.0.1: Socket system in IRCplus 2000 has been re-designed; multiple TCP/IP port capable; support for multi-homed system; encrypted IP/Hostname masking; server message editor; server-to-server relaying totally re-written; client Connection Policy's (classes) allows restrictions and customization time-expired channels and nicknames; improved flood protection; can add multiple hostmasks for operator accounts; improved clone detection; IP spoofed address protection; NewsFlash service for sending messages to local/global users; improved word filtering with new SmartChecker; fully supports IRCx; added ident lookups; more-advanced security options; time-expired access entrees; input and output flood detection; can suppress QUIT and PART messages; IRCx style access lists for channels; Release Notes
Upgrade Meter: 3

Version Reviewed: 1.5 (Build 641)
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: 11/29/00
Date of Original Review: 2/24/99

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