What realtime chat service is best for a private forum?
February 18, 2009 12:48 PM   Subscribe

I need to setup a real time chatroom service for a private members only web forum. My first instinct is IRC. I've used IRC in the past, but am no expert. I need a service which will scale to a few hundred users and allow me to limit who can join by username. I know for IRC I will need to setup a bot to keep the channel operational at all times and I also know this is not easy. So im also thinking about just installing a chat script on my own server. What are the advantages of IRC and which option do you think suits my requirements best?
posted by Kai2 to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
IRC is probably the best way to go -- at least with that large of a group -- but you will be limited in some areas. You could go with something like Campfire, but that could get very expensive. It would be easier to just run a channel + Eggdrop on an existing network like EFnet. Eggdrop would let you moderate an invite-only situation, so only the people you want can get in. I use to install and run those Eggdrop bots when I was, like, 12 years old, so they can't be too hard. :)

Advantages: free, relatively easy to setup, and IRC clients are ubiquitous.
posted by nitsuj at 12:56 PM on February 18, 2009


SILC servers and clients are free.
posted by mkb at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2009


phpfreechat.net. Haven't used it that much, but looks like it may do the job for you.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 3:55 PM on February 18, 2009


Most IRCDs allow you to restrict users joining the server if they don't match a specific hostmask or password, and insist that certain nicknames are not acceptable. (You could also look into banning all nicks, and exceptioning such that only nicknames matching a certain string may join.)

However, you seem to be overthinking this. If it's just for one room, then all you have to do is find an IRC network which is running a version of NickServ and ChanServ - these bots are standard on most networks. ChanServ will do all the administrative functions such as bans and exceptions and let you set up a hierarchy of controllers and all that stuff, while NickServ will let people register themselves so that you know that user with that one nickname is definitely them, and they are allowed to enter the channel. Going and installing an IRC server system just for one room seems a little over the top when there are plenty of networks available and many have no real upper limit on the number of users available in a channel bar legibility of that channel.

It is possible, if you do decide to get your own server (i.e. if your group of several hundred users want to start splitting off into their own channels, or the sheer noise of several hundred users in one room gets to be too much) to install a version of these Services yourself, and they will take a lot of the hassle out of adminning the system and marshaling the users around. The archetypal Services software, and documentation on commands, is here.
posted by stelas at 4:52 AM on February 19, 2009


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