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Subject: Internet Relay Chat, DALnet, XChat, EZTV, Goatse Security
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Eris Free Network
Founded 1990
Geographic location United States, Europe, Canada
Based in Worldwide
Website URL
Primary DNS irc://
Average users 35,000 - 40,000
Average channels 10,000 - 15,000
Average servers 60
Content/subject Public / unrestricted

EFnet or Eris-Free network is a major IRC network, with more than 35,000 users.[1] It is the modern-day descendant of the original IRC network.


There were 53 EFnet servers in the world as of October 2009.

Initially, most IRC servers formed a single IRC network, to which new servers could join without restriction, but this was soon abused by people who set up servers to sabotage other users, channels, or servers. Restriction grew and, in August 1990, was the last server indiscriminately allowing other servers to join it.[2]

A group of operators, with the support of Jarkko Oikarinen, introduced a new "Q-line" into their server configurations, to "quarantine" themselves away from eris by disconnecting from any subset of the IRC network as soon as they saw eris there.[3][4]

For a few days, the entire IRC network suffered frequent netsplits, but eventually the majority of servers added the Q-line and effectively created a new separate IRC net called EFnet (Eris-Free Network); the remaining servers which stayed connected to eris (and thus were no longer able to connect to EFnet servers) were called A-net (Anarchy Network). A-net soon vanished, leaving EFnet as the only IRC network.

Continuing problems with performance and abuse eventually led to the rise of another major IRC network, Undernet, which split off in October 1992.

In July 1996, disagreement on policy caused EFnet to break in two: the slightly larger European half (including Australia and Japan) formed IRCnet, while the American servers continued as EFnet. This was known as The Great Split.[5]

In July 2001, after a string of DDoS attacks[6] a service called CHANFIX[7] (originally JUPES) was created, which is designed to give back ops to channels which have lost ops or been taken over.

In 2007, various EFnet servers began implementing SSL.[8]

February 2009 saw the introduction of a new CHANFIX module called OPME, a mechanism for EFnet Admins to use to restore ops in an opless channel.[9] It provides a much cleaner alternative to masskill, which was unnecessarily invasive and disruptive to the network.

Later in 2009, some major IRC servers were delinked:,,, EFnet's only UK server, and EFnet's only UK hub, which were sponsored by Demon Internet.

In September 2010, the two western regions of the network (United States and Canada) merged into the North American region. While the North American and European regions are technically independent of each other, today many issues within EFnet are handled at a global level.[10]

In the last few years EFnet has gained many users and added many new servers (77 EFNet Servers) [2014].


Efnet's server structure as of October 2009 (green = Europe, blue = USA, Red = Canada)

EFnet has large variations in rules and policy between different servers as well as the two major regions (EU and NA). Both have their own policy structure, and each region votes on their own server applications. However, central policies are voted upon by the server admin community which is archived for referencing.[11]

Due to EFnet's nature, it has gained recognition over the years for warez,[12] hackers,[13] and DoS attacks.[14]

EFnet has always been known for its lack of IRC services that other IRC networks support (such as NickServ and ChanServ, although it had a NickServ until April 8, 1994[15]). Instead, the CHANFIX service was introduced to fix "opless" channels.

Most servers on EFnet run ircd-ratbox with one running [16]

EFnet's channel operators are generally free to run their channels however they see fit without the intervention of IRCops. IRCops are primarily there to handle network and server related issues, and rarely get involved with channel-level issues.[17]


  1. ^ "Search IRC, displaying network information for EFnet". Retrieved 2011-09-04. 
  2. ^ Jones, Steve, ed. (2002-12-10). "Internet Relay Chat". Encyclopedia of New Media: An Essential Reference to Communication and Technology (1st ed.).  
  3. ^ "#Beginner - Undernet History". Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Great Split". Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  6. ^ "Attack on EFnet". December 7, 2001. 
  7. ^ "CHANFIX: EFnet op-less channel fixing". 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  8. ^ "EFnet IRC Network Forum • View topic - SSL test". Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  9. ^ Boldt, Douglas; Milford, Alan (August 18, 2006). "CFV380 OPME". 
  10. ^ Hardy (September 6, 2010). "US and CA region merges into NA". 
  11. ^ EFnet voting site
  12. ^ Patrizio, Andy (2000-03-27). "Forget Napster; IRC's the Place". Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  13. ^ "Experts: Chat rooms a haven for hackers". CNN. April 10, 2002. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ Middleton, James (July 13, 2001). "EFNet eff'd off with DoS attack - - formerly". Archived from the original on 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2010-05-28. 
  15. ^ Bechar-Israeli, Haya (November 1995). "From to : Nicknames, Play, and Identity on Internet Relay Chat". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 1 (2).  (full text)
  16. ^ "Live Stats - EFnet IRC Network Statistics". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  17. ^ "IRC Operators Guide". Retrieved 2010-05-28. 

External links

  • Official website
  • EFnet at DMOZ
  • EFnetQuery's IRC network database for
  • EFnetQuery SearchIRC's IRC network database for

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