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IRCCloud

As most people on IRC these days know, we all use some sort of BNC software. Well, here is the next generation of BNC that you will just want to get your hands dirty with, called IRCCloud.

IRCCloud is a modern, always-connected IRC client that works on mobile devices and modern web-browsers.

You’ll always be connected to IRC, even if your browser is closed and your computer is offline. When you come back to your computer, you’ll be able to easily see and respond to new messages since the last time you checked.

You can use IRCCloud from multiple computers, a record of messages you’ve seen and responded to are automatically kept in sync, so you get a seamless experience every time.

What exactly IS IRCCloud?
To make things simple, it’s an IRC client – IRCCloud connects to IRC servers for you, keeps your connection alive, and stores your chat history. You can access it via a modern web browser, or their mobile apps.

Does IRCCloud act as a BNC/bouncer and stay connected when I go offline?
Yes it does – you will stay connected to IRC even if you shutdown your computer or sign out of IRCCloud.com. This means when you come back, you’ll be able to see what happened on IRC whilst you were away.

Can I connect to an IRC network via SSL?
Yes. Additionally, your web connection to the irccloud.com will always be over HTTPS.

Can I connect to an IRC network that requires a password?
Yes, if you upgrade your account. NickServ login and SASL auth are also supported.

Is it FREE or does it cost something?
There is a free trial version which allows you to connect to up to 2 IRC networks other than IRCCloud’s home network. With the FREE account there is a limitation of being inactive for 2 hours before you are set as inactive and disconnected from any networks you may be connected to.
The PAID version is only $5/month. That includes an unlimited amount of allowed networks and access to connect to passworded servers.

What mobile versions are there?
Currently there is an Android app and an iOS app. They are available in the app stores, and are also open source.

How can I ban an IRCCloud user without banning the entire IRCCloud bouncer?
Information on the host and username scheme that IRCCloud uses is available in their abuse policy.

Why IRCCloud?
IRCCloud was built to solve these three issues:

  • You need to be online and running your IRC software to get messages
  • Being logged in to IRC from two or more computers often causes confusion
  • Most IRC software isn’t a pleasure to use

IRCCloud’s design philosophy is to make things clean, elegant and unobtrusive. IRC software shouldn’t get in your way. They’ve enabled some useful features by default, such as automatically collapsing join and part messages. Conversely, and as a matter of good taste, IRCCloud promises never to add graphical emoticons.

So, Who’s behind IRCCloud?
RJ works on the backend software, which is written in Erlang. An online-music alumnus, he founded Audioscrobbler and Last.fm, where he worked from 2002-2009. He occasionally blogs about Erlang and scalability topics on metabrew.com, and is @metabrew on Twitter.

James works on the interface design, and writes the JavaScript that powers the frontend. Another online music refugee and Last.fm alumnus, he keeps himself busy with various JS/PHP side projects, blogs as jouire.com and tweets as @jwheare

Free IRC bouncer provider test

So you want to have a bouncer to stay connected on your favourite IRC network, hide your IP from hackers and the likes and all that without paying a single cent? Look no further, below we have gathered a few providers of such free BNCs and put them to a test – of course without them knowing :)

Note that we’ve only tested providers that require no sign-up for dubious services and provide bouncers which are free to use on any network and not only on the one where they have their support-channel – some however ask you to idle there and might cancel your BNC if they find you to not comply with this.

The providers tested (in no special order) are:

BNC4Free

Signup: on IRC

Time to setup: 9h

VHosts: none

Other: Webpanel

LobbyZNC Doesn’t exist any longer

Signup: on Website

Time to setup: 15m

vHosts: none

Other: Webpanel

NinjaBounce No longer appears to be free

Signup: per eMail

Time to setup: 1h

vHosts: 20+

During the test period all bouncers have been incredibly stable and didn’t drop the connection a single time – there was just one planned maintenance downtime from BNC4Free which has been announced beforehand via eMail – that’s more than you can expect from a service you didn’t have to pay anything for.

All of the tested bouncer providers use ZNC as their software backend which is flexible, easy to use and stable and some of them even allow you to use a web frontend to configure your BNC.

Even though they provide you the service for free, most providers are happy to accept a donation if you appreciate their service so don’t just be a leech ;)

In conclusion i have to say that the results have been far better than expected and all services are worth what you paid for worth recommending if you ever need a bouncer but don’t have the resources to run one yourself.

So, what is your experience with free bouncers? Did they hold up to your expectations and demands?

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