IRC account details

IRC accounts require different information than many other types of accounts. To create an IRC account, you must specify at least an IRC network and a nickname. This page details the information you can provide for an IRC account.

You must have the telepathy-idle package installed to use IRC in Empathy.


IRC is an open system that allows people to run separate IRC networks. Each network is distinct and has its own users and chat rooms. Empathy lists the most popular networks in the Network drop-down list. You can add additional networks. See Networks below.


Your nickname is your unique name on the IRC network. Only one person on a network may use a given nickname. If you get an error message that says “Name in use” you will need to change your nickname.


Some servers, particularly those on private networks, require a password to connect. If you are authorized to use the network, the network administrators should provide you with a password.

NickServ Passwords

On some networks, nicknames can be registered using a service known as NickServ. Empathy does not directly support nickname passwords. On some networks, including the popular freenode network, server passwords are automatically forwarded to NickServ, allowing you to set this field to identify yourself with NickServ. See Use a nickname password on IRC for more details.

Real name

You can provide your real name in addition to your nickname. Other users will be able to see this when they view your information.

Quit message

When you go offline, a quit message is sent to all the chat rooms you’re in and to all the users you’re having a private conversation with. Use this field to provide a custom quit message.


Empathy includes a list of popular IRC networks. If you wish to another IRC network, you can add it to the list. You can also modify networks and remove them from the list.

  • To add a network to the list, click Add.

  • To modify a network in the list, select the network and click Edit.

  • To remove a network from the list, select the network and click Remove.

When adding or modifying a network, you can enter the following information:


This is the name of the network as you want it to appear in the list of networks.


This specifies the character encoding that is typically used on this network. A character encoding is a specific way of recording characters internally in a computer. There are many character encodings, and you need to use the same character encoding as other users to see their messages correctly.

By default, Empathy uses UTF-8, a modern character encoding that can handle text from most of the world's languages. Another common encoding for English and some other Western languages is ISO-8859-1.


An IRC network may have many servers you can connect to. When you are connected to a server on a particular network, you can communicate with all users on all other servers on that network. You can add and remove servers for this network using the Add and Remove buttons.

When a server is selected, click the field under Server or Port to edit it. Alternatively, use the left and right arrow keys to focus the field, and press the space bar to begin editing.

Select the check box in the SSL column to encrypt all communication with a server. Note that this does not prevent other users on the network from seeing what you write on public chat rooms.