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What Does mIRC Mean?

mIRC is one of the earliest and most iconic Internet Relay Chat messaging services. It was created in 1995 and distributed as a shareware program. It reached its peak use around 2003-2005, long before the full advent of modern social media. Still functional even in modern times, mIRC is compatible with the Windows operating system architecture. In fact, its scripting language is ever-evolving and has never stopped being updated.


Although it was just one of many IRC clients, mIRC rapidly became the most popular, especially among gamers, who used it for decades to gather in groups and guilds. One of its most appreciated features was its ability to share files via the DCC protocol and built-in file server.

Techopedia Explains mIRC

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) networks accommodate digital chatting in the form of ASCII-based character messaging. mIRC offers closed discussion forums known as “channels” or private messaging between individual pairs of users.

IRC, which is an open protocol using IP/TCP protocols, has been around since the 1980s when it was used for fairly primitive BBS and local networking systems. These tools grew as the internet grew, and the modern mIRC interface shows how simpler command-line–based interfaces have been replaced by a Windows-based and icon-driven menu system. Eventually, mIRC became so popular that the term mIRC became a synonym of IRC itself.

Other features of modern mIRC include buddy lists, file transfer capability, multi-server connections, compatibility with IPv6, SSL encryption, and even sound and audio components. mIRC also has its own scripting for display features and more. Possibly one of the most appealing features provided by the extra coding added to mIRC was its “stylish” and customizable appearance. Compared to the other bland and somewhat primitive clients, mIRC allowed users to add color to the text, play sound files such as .wav and .midi within the chat, and add colorful icons.

mIRC also uses its own Turing-complete embedded scripting language and GUI scripting editor to allow end-users to alter and extend it even further.

In using mIRC and other IRC systems, users have come up with a wide variety of terminology called “chat slang,” where combinations of characters are used to create visuals or abbreviations are used to communicate ideas and emotions. A lot of this chat slang has also become useful in email, text messaging and other digital text-based communication.

Although mIRC has lost a large number of users compared to its peak in 2003-2005 (up to 60%), it is still alive and kicking even today. Although, some earlier versions were found to contain vulnerabilities, mIRC now provides a secure and private option to chat for those who are concerned about privacy. In fact, all servers are decentralized and there is no overseeing authority collecting users’ data.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.