Internet Relay Chat (IRC) enables internet users all over the world to communicate with each other over the Internet in real-time sessions in virtual chat rooms. This multi-user, multi-channel chatting system is one of the oldest and widely used forms of online chat and paved way to the modern chat movement.
An IRC server is a computer that serves as a communication relay for the connecting IRC users and is responsible for routing your messages to other users. It holds information about the channels and people on IRC. Often multiple IRC servers are connected to each other to form a bigger IRC network which offers better reliability or better local connectivity for IRC users.
The IRC server is controlled by server software, IRCd or Internet Relay Chat Daemon, runs on the IRC server’s hardware and enables internet users to obtain an IRC network and chat with each other via internet. You can build your own chat service and enhance its performance with this application. Originally, there was only one single server software named IRCd, but with technological advancements there are, there are several IRC server software such as InspIRCd, UnrealIRCd, WeIRCd etc.
IRC hosting is generally used by customers who want to start their own chat network or add rich chat functionality to their website or radio station. Hence IRC hosting, in simple terms, is web hosting that supports chat feature in your website. IRC hosting helps users run their own IRC network or expand their existing one. IRC can also be a great tool for inter office or remote communication with employees. However, most hosting providers do not allow IRC as it can be a burden to maintain and provide quality that most people expect.