How To Install UnrealIRCD

January 1, 2015

UnrealIRCd is an Open Source IRC Server,
serving thousands of networks since 1999. It runs on Linux, OS X and Windows and is currently the most widely deployed IRCd with a market share of over 50%.
UnrealIRCd is a highly advanced IRCd with a strong focus on modularity, an advanced and highly configurable configuration file. Key features include SSL, cloaking, its advanced anti-flood and anti-spam systems, swear filtering and module support. We are also particularly proud on our extensive online documentation.

To install UnrealIRCd on Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, OS X and other *NIX systems you generally compile and install from source. In addition to that you will also need to configure UnrealIRCd. This page explains how to do all that. Even if you are completely new to UnrealIRCd then all these steps to get the IRCd up and running shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes in total.

tar xfz unrealircd-latest.tar.gz
rm -rf unrealircd-latest.tar.gz
cd unrealircd-5.* (check your version)

Hit ENTER untill you reach 100%
Than chose where would you like to install UnrealIRCD

In this case, I have UnrealIRCd already installed

You can enter a different path or type ‘none’ if you don’t want to use it.
Just press Enter to accept the default settings.
[../unrealircd-5.0.1] -> hit ENTER

In what directory do you want to install UnrealIRCd?
(Note: UnrealIRCd 4 will need to be installed somewhere.
If this directory does not exist it will be created.)
[/home/USER/unrealircd] -> /home/YourUSER/unrealircd

and continue to answer the questions as you desire …
make install

After it does install, make sure you change to the /home/USERNAME/unrealircd directory!
Copy conf/example/example.conf to your conf/ directory and rename it to unrealircd.conf

./unreal start (to start your UnrealIRCd)

Alternative: uploading to shell

You can also choose to download the .tar.gz of Unreal3.4 via your browser, save it to disk, and then upload it to the shell via SCP or SFTP.

Extract the source

Extract the .tar.gz and enter the Unrealircd5.x directory:

tar xzvf unrealircd-5.0.2.tar.gz
cd unrealircd-5.0.2

NOTE: There’s some logic here. If the file is called, say, Unreal-4.1.tar.gz then it will extract to the Unreal-4.1/ directory. As you can see, the directory name is different for each release to make sure you don’t accidentally overwrite your existing installation.


First, run the ./Config script which will ask a number of questions. You can just press Enter to accept the default answers.


Now, compile UnrealIRCd by running make, this may take a minute (or two):


Finally, run make install (important!):

make install

Creating a configuration file

  1. Change to the installed UnrealIRCd directory, this is /home/yourusername/unrealircd by default (For more information on the directory structure see UnrealIRCd files and directories).
    cd ~/unrealircd
  2. Copy conf/example/example.conf to your conf/ directory and rename it to unrealircd.conf
    ircd@sisrv:~/unrealircd$ cp conf/examples/example.conf conf/unrealircd.conf
  3. Open the file with an editor (eg: nano conf/unrealircd.conf)
  4. Read the Configuration file syntax article. It will only take a few minutes and will save you a lot of trouble in next step(s)!
  5. Walk through the unrealircd.conf block by block / line by line and edit the settings to suit your needs. This takes 10 – 20 minutes.
  6. Boot UnrealIRCd by running ./unrealircd start from your ~/unrealircd directory.
  7. Errors? Edit your unrealircd.conf, fix them (see the FAQ for common problems), and try starting UnrealIRCd again.
  8. Up and running? Connect with an IRC client to your server and have fun. See next section too.

– This article was last updated on 22 January 2020