IRC services are software programs that provide important services to users, usually at minimum nickname registration (with NickServ) and channel registration (with ChanServ). IRC operators also usually hold the role of services operators, and do many administrative tasks via OperServ.
The suffix "Serv" is an abbreviation for "service". The prefix is an abbreviation of the service's purpose, for example NickServ for "Nickname service".
Unlike the relatively large variety of IRC daemons, there are only two common services packages today - Anope and Atheme (however, the latter has discontinued development, although it still provides bugfixes for the time being). Although the former has Windows support, both run best on Linux. Both present themselves to the network as a pseudo-server with the service bots presented as connected to the pseudo-server. This pseudo-server is usually u-lined and linked directly to the most important, usually hidden, hub of the network, as it must serve the needs of the entire network.
Both include various other services besides the ones discussed here. For both, users give commands to the services by PM'ing the respective services nicks.
NickServ[edit | edit source]
NickServ is considered to be the fundamental component of all services, as all other services rely on it. When a nickname is registered, any subsequent use of that nickname requires identifying to the service, or the service will force a nickname change. On successful identification, any vhost of the user is automatically set.
Multiple nicknames may be grouped, that is, owned, in one account.
ChanServ[edit | edit source]
After NickServ, ChanServ is considered the second-most important component of services. It plays a key role in preventing channel takeovers and allowing efficient management of access to special channel statuses (channel operator or voice). When a channel is registered, the founder may delegate operator or other access to other users; services store this in an access list. This access list is based off hosts (such as DNS names and vhosts) and/or NickServ accounts. Importantly, operator status can be obtained without manual promotion by another human operator. Some networks take advantage of this with the custom that no users have persistent +o status; the status is only obtained via services when necessary. ChanServ itself will be opped in the channel if its presence in the channel is desired, but its ability to promote or demote users, including itself, resides in services server's being u-lined.
Channel takeovers become impossible because even if a channel becomes empty, if someone tries to recreate the channel, ChanServ immediately takes away their operator status unless they have appropriate access.
Access granted by ChanServ is invoked by giving commands to the service via private message, or if specified in the access list, granted on joining of the channel.
OperServ[edit | edit source]
OperServ provides administrative functions to services operators, and generally, its commands are only accessible to them. This may include services storing and keeping track of certain xlines, shutting down or restarting services, clearing offending channels, among various other functions.