An IRC bot is a set of scripts or an independent program that connects to Internet Relay Chat as a client, and so appears to other IRC users as another user. An IRC bot differs from a regular client in that instead of providing interactive access to IRC for a human user, it performs automated functions.
Often, an IRC bot is deployed as a detached program running from a stable host. It sits on an IRC channel to keep it open and prevents malicious users from taking over the channel. It can be configured to give channel operator status to privileged users when they join the channel, and can provide a unified channel operator list. Many of these features require that the bot be a channel operator. Thus, most IRC bots are run from computers which have long uptimes (generally running a BSD derivative or Linux) and a fast, stable Internet connection. As IRC has become popular with many dial-up users as well, shell accounts at shell providers have become popular as a stable Linux server with a decent connection to run a bot from.
Aside from managing channel permissions, a bot can also perform functions such as logging what is posted to an IRC channel, giving out information on demand (very popular in IRC channels dealing with user support), creating statistics tracking the channel's top posters and longest-lived lurkers, or hosting trivia, Uno and other games. These functions are usually provided by scripts, often written in a scripting programming language such as Tcl or Perl by the bot's users. Channels dedicated to file sharing often use XDCC bots to distribute their files.
IRC bots are particularly useful on IRC networks such as EFnet and IRCnet without channel registration services, and on networks like Undernet or QuakeNet that require conditions to be met (minimum user count, etc.) before a channel may be registered. Where bots are used for administrative functions such as this, they may need more access than a normal client connection allows. Some versions of IRC have a "Service" protocol that allows clients with these extra powers. Such server-sanctioned bots are called IRC services.
Bots are not always welcome. Some IRC networks forbid the usage of bots. One of the reasons for doing so is that each nickname connected to the network increases the size of the network database which is being kept in sync across all servers. Allowing for bots in large networks can cause a relevant amount of network traffic overhead which needs to be financed and may even lead to netsplits.
|IRC Bot||Primary developers||Software license||Operating system||Programming language||First public release - date (version)||Latest version - date (version)||Notable features||Function scope||Website|
|Cardinal||John Maguire||MIT||Cross-platform||Python 3||2013-02-03 (beta)||2021-01-13 (3.1.0)||?||?|||
|Supybot||Jeremiah Fincher, James Vega and others||BSD||Cross-platform||Python||? (0.30)||2018-05-10 (0.84.0)||Many plugins, SSL, multiple networks support, (un)loading plugins, threads, configuration registry, standardized command syntax, argument parsing||?||, |
|Cerberus||Stefan Hüsges||GPL-3.0||Cross-platform||PHP||2008-02-18 (beta)||2016-10-04 (1.6.0)||?||?|||
|Cinch||Dominik Honnef, Lee Jarvis||MIT||Unix-like||Ruby||2010-07-08 (0.3.2)||2015-03-31 (2.2.5)||Threaded, object-oriented||Bot writing framework|||
|CNT Bot||CNT Bot Team||Unlicense||Unix-like||TCL||2015-06-15 (0.1)||2015-07-24 (0.2)||Voting, polling, elect/recall delegates, hold plenaries, admission control, automatically connects to other CNT Bots||Democracy software for digital activists building flat, horizontal networks|||
|Darkbot||Jason Hamilton, juice||GPL||Unix-like||C||?||?||?||responds to user questions from database|||
|Daskeb||Digit||GPL||Unix-like||Haskell||?||?||minimal starter bot||?|||
|Eggdrop||Eggheads||GPL||Cross-platform||C||1993-12||2021-05-31 (1.9.1)||SSL, botnet, partyline, filesharing, user management, IRC bot uptime contest, supports scripting in tcl||multi-purpose|||
|EnergyMech||Proton||GPL||Unix-like||C||1998-09-10 (2.5.24, first release by Proton)||2018-03-09 (3.0.99p4)||single-thread multi-bot capable, low resource usage, botnet, user management, channel moderation, built-in irc bouncer, can be upgraded without disconnecting, IRC bot uptime contest, supports scripting in tcl, python.||multi-purpose|||
|Erebot||François Poirotte||GPL-3.0||Cross-platform||PHP||2010-10-09||2011-05-08||Extensible with many modules and support for multiple networks, multiple identities, SSL/TLS, STARTTLS, IdentD and various IRC daemons extensions. Can be used as a framework to create advanced channel bots.||games|||
|Erwin||Idar Lund||GPL-2.0+||Cross-platform||Perl||2004-04-05 (1.0-beta1)||2017-03-19 (1.2.0)||Easily expandable by writing new modules.||Replies to users from database.|||
|FoxBot||Lee Watson||GPL-3.0||Cross-platform||Java||?||2013-09-06 (0.9)||Command framework is designed to make writing commands easy. Has simple and powerful permissions system. Simple and fully explained config.||?|||
|FoxEye||Andriy Grytsenko||GPL||Unix-like||C||2011-01 (beta)||2011-02-24 (0.9b10)||Multithreaded, multinetworked. Encoding chosen per user or network. Extendible by plugins, can be used as client or whatever. Currently supported scripts: Lua, Tcl.||kit to build internet client / server / gateway, primary for messaging networks|||
|Gambot||Derek Hoagland||GPL||Unix-like||Perl||2011-1-1||2011-07-16 (1.0)||Framework for creating bots. Messages handled completely asynchronously. Extensible in any programming language. Can be updated without reconnecting, restarting, or reloading.||Twitter and other feeds, games / memes,|||
|Gozerbot||Bart Thate||BSD||Unix-like||Python||?||? (1.0.1)||IRC and XMPP bot; can be bridged with Google Wave||?|||
|Graystone||Geoff Woollams||MIT||Cross-platform||C#||2015-10-08||2015-10-09 (0.1)||IRC commands can launch any command line or http request to allow any program or script to control the bot by its output. MySQL support for non user initiated actions and 3rd party integration.||?|||
|guppy||Svetlana Tkachenko||GPL||Cross-platform||Python||2011-03-20||2012-12-11 (0.4.3)||easy to install, modular structure||multi-purpose|||
|Ibid||Jonathan Hitchcock, Michael Gorven, Stefano Rivera||GPL3, core under MIT||Unix-like||Python, Twisted in IM protocols||? (0.1.0)||? (0.1.1)||Twisted engine allows connecting to multiple IM sources, including IRC, XMPP, SILC, Campfire, NMDC||? + plugin "factoids" responds to users from database|||
|Infobot||Kevin Lenzo||Artistic License||Unix-like||Perl||2004-08||2008-08-01 (1.5.3)||?||replies to users from database|||
|IrcBot||Marlinc||BSD||Unix-like||PHP||? (0.1)||? (1.2)||?||?|||
|jenni||Michael Yanovich||EFLv2||Unix-like||Python (2)||?||?||Threaded, general purpose, includes some games. Easily expandable by writing new modules.||user management, conversation / lookup, games|||
|Jerkbot||Jason Stephenson||Artistic License 2.0||Cross-platform||Sleep||2014-02-10 (1.0)||2017-08-29 (1.7.65)||Configurable chatter bot, written as jIRCii script||responsive chatter + learns + modules|||
|JSONBOT||Bart Thate||MIT||Unix-like||Python||2010-04||2012-03-23 (0.84.4)||Beta|||
|JZBot||Alexander Boyd, Maximilian Dirkmann, James Stoker||LGPL||Cross-platform||Java||?||?||?||feeds, werewolf / maffia, karma system, reminders|||
|KGB||Martín Ferrari and Damyan Ivanov||GPL-2+||Cross-platform||Perl||2008-07-14 (Git)||2014-09-17 (1.3.3 see commits)||KGB is a system that provides notifications on IRC for commits made to Git, Subversion and CVS repositories.||notifications on code commits|||
|Lambdabot||Andrew J. Bromage et al.||MIT||Unix-like||Haskell||? (1.0)||2011-01-20 (188.8.131.52)||Many plugins; usable offline as a Haskell development tool; embeddable in GHCi||haskell development tool|||
|Limnoria||BSD||Cross-platform||Python||?||2017-03-30 (2017.03.30)||See Supybot||A maintained fork of Supybot|||
|Mozbot||Ian Hickson, Chris Crews||MPL||Cross-platform||Perl||?||?||?||services to developer communities|||
|MrBot - AwesomeBot||MattMc||Apache v2||Cross-platform||Java||November '13||2014-06-01||A Semi-Advanced Java Bot with a ton of feactures and still more coming... join #AwesomeBot on espernet for more info..||factoids + lastseen|||
|PircBot||Paul Mutton||GPL||Cross-platform||Java||2001-08-01||2009-12-14 (1.5.0)||Framework for creating bots||framework to create bots|||
|pmxbot||YouGov, Jamie Turner, Chris Mulligan||MIT||Unix-like||Python 3||?||?||Designed to be extensible for a work IRC network||conversation, search, games|||
|Ruby-rbot||ruby-rbot||GPL||Unix-like||Ruby||?||?||flexible plugin system||Twitter & RSS feeds, searches, games|||
|Rubybot||umby24||GPL-3.0||Cross-platform||Ruby||?||2013-10-30 (4.2)||Simple, yet easily extensible.||usermanagement|||
|Schongo||Selig, Posiden, Wil||?||Cross-platform||Python 3||?||?||Focus on simplicity, highly extandable module system, rapid development cycle||internet searches|||
|Shocky||Shockah, clone1018||GPL-2.0||Cross-platform||Java||?||?||A Very advanced Java irc bot, that supports all kinds of stuff||user management, factoids, games, karma system|||
|sircbot||Alpine Linux||GPL-2.0||Unix-like||C (Lua scriptable)||?||2011-12-15||Simple IRC bot for shell and lua scripts||?||git wiki|
|Sopel||dgw, Elsie Powell, Dimitri Molenaars, Elad Alfassa, Ari Koivula||EFLv2||Cross-platform||Python||2012-07-15 (3.0.0)||2020-08-04 (7.0.6)||SSL, (un)loading of plugins at runtime, threaded, user/channel/plugin settings database, Python 3 support. (Formerly Willie; based originally on phenny)||Twitter & other feeds, internet searches, meetingbot, link information|||
|Ultros||gdude2002 and rakiru||Artistic License 2.0||Cross-platform||Python2||2013-04-08 (Git)||2014-09-25 (1.1.0+ - see commits)||Python IRC bot with an extensible plugin and protocol system, and a package manager. Also supports mumble.||internet searches, games||git site|
|VikingBot||Tor Henning Ueland||GPL-3.0||Unix-like||PHP||?||2013-10-09||Simple PHP based IRC bot with support for secure IRC servers and plugin support||bot stats|||
|Yauib||Julien Palard||Simplified BSD||Cross-platform||Python||2011-03-22||?||Plugins can be written in any language||takes all pubmsg and priv and tries to match the first word as a command to a directory with exec files and the rest as parameters|||
In popular culture
- RFC 1324 - 2.5.1, Size
- von Loesch, Carl (2003-07-17). "Functionality provided by systems for synchronous conferencing: 1.2.1 Growth". Retrieved 2019-01-29.