04 Apr 2020  guides

Connecting to IRC Over Tor

In case this wasn’t apparent, we’re going to connect to IRC over the Tor protocol, so head over to the Tor Project’s Download Page  and download the Tor browser for your platform.

Initiate a Tor Connection

Once you’ve installed the Tor browser, you can simply click on the Tor browser icon to begin connecting to the Tor network.

When complete, you’ll be presented with a browser window that will connect securely over Tor. You can verify by visiting a non-tracking public IP service such as IP Addy .

You can minimize the browser, because we’re not going to be using the Tor browser at all, instead we’ll configure our IRC client to use the Tor browser as a local proxy from which to connect to the IRC network.

Configure IRC

This works for any IRC client. In my case and the example screenshot below, I’ll be configuring HexChat  to use the local Tor browser as a network proxy:

For any IRC client however, the proxy configuration looks like this:

Port: 9150
Type: SOCKS5

I chose to also toggle the Use Proxy for: All Connections option in HexChat since I can disable this per-server if I wish to connect directly.

Once you’ve configured that, you can go ahead and have your IRC client connect, and you’ll be routed through the Tor network to your chosen server (assuming your server accepts connections via Tor).

Below is an example of what a /whois command on my nickname looks like, after I connect:


There are two things to keep in mind.

Firstly, you’ll most likely run into IP blacklisting issues whereby Tor exit nodes are banned by the IRC server. This is somewhat hit or miss, however you can specify the country where you want your exit node to be and Tor will respect this — some countries have cleaner exit node addresses that aren’t banned by major IRC servers… yet.

In my experience, using Germany as the exit node always ensures I get a usable IP that’s not banned by at least freenode and Snoonet.

To specify this, you’ll need to add the following to the end of your torrc file, which is located in \Browser\TorBrowser\Data\Tor.

Add the following to the end of the torrc file:

ExitNodes {DE}

Once you’ve configured that, Tor will always present you with a German IP address as the egress. Feel free to substitute the above with a two-letter ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2  country code that suits your needs.

The second, minor caveat, is that you’ll have to obviously keep the Tor browser open in order for it to proxy your IRC connections in the background. I usually drag/open it in another virtual desktop so it’s out of the way of my open applications.

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