ServersIRCPlus: An inexpensive Internet Relay Chat server with strong administrative tools

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




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.

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

Version Reviewed: 1.5 (Build 641)
Reviewed by: Kevin Reichard
Last Updated: 11/29/00
Date of Original Review: 2/4/99

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