IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat; one of the oldest forms of text-based communication. It happens between a number of computers within a network. The technology is based on a client/server networking model, and it is still in use among a number of enthusiasts today. To enjoy the service, you’d need to use a reliable IRC client. These are programs you can install on your device that communicate with the chat server to relay messages. Once you’re set up, you can choose to start a chat group, or even join an existing one if you know the channel name.
With IRC being such an ancient tool, there are some disadvantages that come with using it today. For starters, there’s no support for video use, and the user interface in most clients is very dated. The few clients that allow for use of the service today are far and wide, with most of them catering to a very small user base. The remaining groups of users that rely on the service include employers and organizations that find it efficient for internal communication.
Using IRC presents one large vulnerability that most clients don’t seem to do much to work around. This is your privacy. When using IRC, your IP address is easily visible to other members of your chat group. This makes it easy for them to find out about your location. With that known, you could be targeted by malicious users and they could launch DDoS attacks on your connection. You might end up losing your personal data or getting blackmailed once access is granted. This is a situation that you’d definitely not want to be in as you could end up losing access to your bank, or be a victim of identity theft.
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How Using a VPN Helps with IRC
The best way to work around this problem would be to use a VPN. This refers to a Virtual Private Network. A VPN refers to a provider that has a large group of servers scattered around the world. If you connect to these servers, your connection gets hidden and the data transmitted gets encrypted. With your connection hidden, your IP address also gets hidden, and things such as your location or identity remain concealed to everyone else but you.
Using a VPN also allows you to change the server that you’re connected to. With the ability to change servers, you’re able to ‘shift’ your location depending on the country the server is based in. This also has its other list of advantages, such as being able to access geo-restricted sites and channels. Using a VPN also grants you a level of security by hiding whatever activities you’re up to online.
Such a service prevents even your ISP from knowing what you’re doing. With this done, you’re able to work around any measures that they may use to micromanage your connection. These measures are collectively known as throttling, and they include limiting your bandwidth or censoring your access to certain websites and channels. To end up choosing the right VPN, there are a number of things you ought to look out for. These include the number of servers, level of security and amount of features.
Best VPNs for IRC
We’ve done the groundwork for you and we’ve come up with some of the best services you could subscribe to. Have a look below.
Our top marks go to ExpressVPN, one of the most versatile VPN services in the industry. This award-winning service has close to 2000 servers in its network, based in over 90 countries. This also includes a range of stealth servers that you can use if VPNs are banned wherever you may be. The service provides military grade 256 bit AES encryption and offers up to 3 multiple connections per user account. ExpressVPN also offers a simple VPN client that’s easy to navigate through and supports OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec as VPN protocols.
ExpressVPN is based in Panama, and this is a region that no data authority has jurisdiction over. This means they don’t have to send over any of their user data to anyone, and this is epitomized through their zero logging policy. ExpressVPN also has a zero-knowledge DNS service that hides your IP to conceal your location. This makes it work great with IRC, and it also allows for access to other geo-restrictive sites. ExpressVPN’s customer service team is also always at hand to help deal with your problems. They can be accessed through either social media, email or even live messaging. These are just some of the things that make ExpressVPN one to consider. For a deeper insight into what’s in store, take a look at our ExpressVPN Review.
IPVanish is a simple provider that applies a bare-bones approach to online privacy and security. The service is based in the US, and it has more than 1500 servers under its umbrella. These servers collectively provide more than 40,000 IPs for their users. IPVanish is highly considered especially by users who take speed and security as being their most primary concerns. IPVanish offers super-fast servers capable of HD streaming, fast bulk downloads as well as fast torrenting.
Speaking of which, torrenting is one activity that IPVanish seems to have paid a lot of attention to. It allows for both unlimited P2P file transfers and also keeps your activity anonymous. On top of all that, the service also allows for both unlimited bandwidth and unlimited server switching. The service offers up to 10 simultaneous connections, and this number can still be increased if you opt to download the service on to your router. Using IPVanish is also quite convenient as you don’t necessarily have to download its VPN client onto your device. You can opt for its browser extensions, or its SOCKS5 web proxy to hide your connection whenever you’re online. You’re welcome to find out more details about this provider by going through our IPVanish Review.
Summing up our list is NordVPN, a top-tier provider based in Panama that is your go-to service for all-around protection. NordVPN has up to 4400 servers in over 60 countries, making it less likely to have any congestion issues on your network. The service offers the industry standard 256 bit AES encryption and includes double VPN in its package for those that want to add even more layers to their security. DoubleVPN encryption means users get to route their traffic through two servers, hence doubling the level of encryption.
NordVPN users also get to choose which servers they’d prefer to connect to. This is because the service has servers optimized for specific functions. They include gaming, bulk downloads, HD streaming and even torrenting. The service is great for IRC because its Smart Play service allows you to hide your IP address. In doing so, you’re able to access geo-restrictive sites and channels since you’ll have your actual location hidden. NordVPN also offers CyberSec software to keep you away from ads and malware, as well as Tor over VPN for even more anonymity. Get to find out about other features by going through our extensive NordVPN Review.
The Best IRC Clients for Android, iOS, or PC
Here’s a list of the most popular IRC clients at the moment:
- Quassel IRC
Summary of The Best VPN for IRC
In as much as its use has declined, IRC is still in use among a couple of well to do organizations. Using a VPN allows them to add a layer of security to their use, and ensure that nobody is able to intercept their communication.