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Using SSL with mIRC

mIRC supports secure server connections with SSL using the OpenSSL library.

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?

We recommend downloading the OpenSSL library using the methods described on the OpenSSL website.

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 C:\Windows\System32).

If you install it in the mIRC folder, OpenSSL will be usable only by mIRC.

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. *6667.

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.

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.