Using SSL with mIRC
mIRC supports secure server connections with SSL using the
The latest version of mIRC has SSL built into it, so you can use secure connections
without needing to download anything else.
If you are using an older version of mIRC, you will need to download and install
the OpenSSL library as described below.
Where can I download the OpenSSL library?
An installer for OpenSSL 1.0.1r can be downloaded from
If you are using an older version of Windows, you may also need to install
the Visual C++ 2008 redistributables from
These versions of the OpenSSL library were created using a default compilation
of the OpenSSL source files from the OpenSSL website and as such may or may not
be suitable for your particular needs.
Where do I install the OpenSSL library?
You will need to install it either in the mIRC folder (typically
C:\Program Files\mIRC) or in the Windows System folder (typically
If you install it in the mIRC folder, OpenSSL will be usable only by
If you install it in the Windows System folder, OpenSSL will be usable
by all applications.
What do I do next?
You can now run mIRC and it should find and use the OpenSSL
library automatically. To confirm whether mIRC has loaded the OpenSSL
library, you can open the Options dialog and look in the Connect/Options
section to see if the "SSL" button is enabled.
To initiate a secure connection to an SSL capable server, you can use
the /server -e switch, or prefix the port number with a plus sign, eg.
+7001. Once connected, the variable $ssl can be used to determine whether
the current connection is secure.
To initiate a secure connection to a STARTTLS capable server, you can use
the /server -t switch, or prefix the port number with a star sign, eg.
Which servers support SSL connections?
If an IRC network or server supports SSL connections they will normally
advertise this fact in the MOTD that you see when you first connect to
the server. You can look at the MOTD of your usual network or server
to see if they support SSL connections. That said, here are few SSL-capable
servers that you can try out:
When connecting to these servers you will not notice any difference from
connecting to a normal server. You may see a notice such as:
*** You are connected to this server with TLSv1-AES256-SHA-256bits
And if you perform a /whois on yourself you should see a note indicating
that you are using a secure connection.
Why would I need a secure connection?
mIRC is used by many organizations, from corporate to governmental,
that need to communicate over secure connections. Various educational
organizations that provide online teaching also require communications
that are secure for privacy reasons. Apart from that, many individuals
around the world also depend on secure communications, whether for
personal, political, business, or other reasons. Whether you need to
use secure communications depends on your own personal circumstances.
If it's not something that you think you need then you probably don't.
Important issues to note
Information you exchange with an IRC server over a secure connection
cannot be viewed or modified by others. However, be aware that traffic
between public servers on a network is exchanged over plain,
unencrypted lines. This means that if you want to be sure that your
communication is secure, you and the person with whom you want to
communicate securely should both connect to the same SSL-capable
server, and communicate via a query window. If talking on a channel, be
aware that everyone on the channel must be on a secure connection. If
one person on the channel is not on a secure connection, your
communications on that channel will not be secure.