Registering a channel on freenode

One of the questions we get asked a lot in #freenode is “What’s the command to register my channel?”This being the freenode staff blog, I’d like to answer that question the long way around 😉

Step 1 – make sure you’re in the right place

The freenode IRC network has some very specific goals and objectives, and it’s intended primarily for developers of free and open source software. Please read these pages and make sure we’re the appropriate network for your channel and its users:

Step 2 – register your nick

If you’re not identified to NickServ as a registered nick, then you can’t register a channel. Instructions for registering a nick can be found here:

Step 3 – pick a channel name

Before you choose the name for your channel, you should be aware that freenode uses an unusual naming convention to indicate the difference between official (primary) and unofficial (about or topical) IRC channels.  A primary channel is considered appropriate for a channel operated by a project (The Ubuntu project operates #ubuntu) or a group (The philadelphia linux users group operates #plug).  In these examples, these groups have a valid claim to the channel name.  An about channel or topical channel is a channel for a specific subject or topic, but operated by someone without a claim to the channel name. Please read our channel naming guidelines for more details:

The short version is that official channels (also known as primary channels) are named starting with one #, unofficial (topical or about channels)  start with ##. If your channel is not an official one, please use ## at the start of the channel name, or you may be asked to move. Getting it right at the beginning is a lot easier, for you and for us.  There is more information on this policy here.

Step 4 – check your channel is available to register

To check whether a channel has already been registered, use the command:

/msg ChanServ info ##channelname

If the channel is already registered, that will give you some info about it. If it’s not, you’ll get a message like this:

-ChanServ- The channel [##channelname] is not registered

Step 5 – create your channel

To create a channel on IRC, you just join it. If you’re the first person to join that channel then you create it (if you’re not then you’ll join the other people in there, and you won’t be able to register it unless someone gives you op status).

/join ##channelname

Step 6 – register your channel

The command to register your channel (once you’ve joined it and you have op status) is as follows:

/msg ChanServ register ##channelname

That’s all you need. The channel will be linked to your nick, and whenever you’re identified to your nick, you have full top-level access to your channel’s settings.

Okay, so you’ve registered a channel now. That’s not the end of this post… there are a LOT of other things you should do as soon as you’ve got your channel registered.

Step 7 – read some useful webpages – our Channel Guidelines – useful info on how to run a good channel on freenode. – about Catalysts – an incredibly important concept that makes freenode the great network that it is. Please try to be a catalyst whenever you’re on the network, but most importantly when you’re running your own channel.

Step 8 – read the ChanServ help pages

The ChanServ help pages really are actually helpful. If you’re running your own channel, you probably should have read everything in them – it won’t take long, a few hours at most, and then you’ll know all the cool things you can do with your channel.

/msg ChanServ help

Step 9 – consider registering your group with freenode

As well as registering your channel with ChanServ, it’s possible to gain a more official relationship with freenode, where we have an established contact person that we know is allowed to represent your project to us. You can read about Group Registration here:

Step 10 – if in doubt, ask!

Finally, if you need help with anything to do with registering or running your channel, remember that the network staff on freenode are friendly and really do want to help you! You’re welcome to /msg us at any time to ask for help. Even better, come and ask your question in #freenode , where both staff and volunteer helpers hang out being helpful :)

This entry was posted in freenode, projects by Denny. Bookmark the permalink.

About Denny

I'm a member of the staff team on freenode. I work full-time as a web developer, as well as running several personal web projects in my spare time. I juggle, spin poi and firestaff, and occasionally attempt contact juggling. I also do indoor skydiving, which is crazy amounts of fun. I read a lot (I own over a thousand books). I need more sleep.

21 thoughts on “Registering a channel on freenode

  1. Hi, I am embarrassed to ask this. I was identifying myself while in a channel and didn’t put the “/” infront of msg, and ended up showing my password to the #drupal channel. I think someone changed the password – hopefully as a joke. Is there anything I can do?

  2. Very cool. Freenode, that is.

    This post was/is very helpful and it’s well written.


  3. mcneelycorp SORRY
    if u dont know the password… u r out of luck
    Make this a lesson… never enter password in a chanel
    do it on the server…
    or talk 2 yourself (PM)

  4. Hi. If you are writing software which is part commercial, part Open API and some part open source would it still be ok to create a freenode channel?

  5. Just been pointed here by an op on #freenode – very useful, thank you.

    Any way for a precis of this blogpost to be offered when a registered user joins a new (unregistered) channel?

  6. Are nicknames limited to operating only one channel? I’m thinking of a single user who is interested in setting up separate channels for a few unrelated projects.

    Thanks in advance.

  7. Hi Randolf,

    There is a limit on how many channels one user can register, but it’s quite a big number. Most people will never get near it unless they’re managing the IRC presence of a large project such as Wikipedia or Ubuntu.


  8. Thanks for the great article. Well written – I’m having issues though – my nick is registered on freenode, but once I joined/created my channel, and tried to register it, ChanServ told me “You are not logged in.” How do I log in? It knows my nick, and all *looks* clear on the western front…

    Also, I am trying to create a channel for a college class for collaboration with coding large projects. Is freenode appropriate? Can I use #channel or must I use ##channel for this type of room?

  9. im just trying to register at freenode//im intress are linux and programming//
    im not going to take up alot of space and time on your server,,i just installed linux fedora 9 on my computer and i would like some tips and tricks to help me get along//dan the computer man?>OK

  10. Pingback: registrando un canal IRC en freenode « proyecto trIRCvia

  11. Just been pointed here by an op on #freenode – very useful, thank you.

    Any way for a precis of this blogpost to be offered when a registered user joins a new (unregistered) channel?

  12. I started a channel, but left, and then came back — so I am not an op, and there is no op. If I want to now register it with ChanServ, is there any way to do that?

  13. Hi there, i’m embarassed too, i create a channel few days ago, with my nick ( i read this tutorial .. ), but yesterday i needed to close my Computer, and i don’t know why, since this evenement, i can’t recover the ‘@’ before my pseudo, so i guess i’m not an op anymore .. ?

    Anyone can help me to fix the problem ? or tell me what can i do, special command or stuff ?

    (sorry for the bad english, i’m french.. )

  14. Hi. Give me a poke on the network, or ask in #freenode for help.

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