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Introduction to Irssi

Irssi is one of the most popular, terminal based IRC clients for UNIX based systems. It offers plug-in, theme, perl script, and proxy support among a host of other features that make this tiny client extremely popular.

Originally written by Timo Sirainen in 1999, Irssi was and is still currently being released under the GNU General Public License.

Irssi on Dreamhost

PLEASE NOTE: It is recommended that Irssi should ONLY be used from within a DreamHost PS ( Private Server ).

While Irssi normally requires a locally compiled copy of GLIB to function properly on DreamHost's servers, it's much easier to use a binary version that just simply "works". Please keep in mind however that DreamHost does NOT officially support the use of Irssi or *any* IRC-based clients, servers, or other related processes on their servers, as per the DreamHost TOS (Nov. 2007):

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" #7. Servers are shared with other customers, and as such IRC-related activities or severely CPU intensive CGI scripts (e.g. chat scripts, proxy scripts, scripts which have bugs causing them to not close properly after being run) are not encouraged. Any application that listens for inbound network connections (even if the application would otherwise be allowed) are not permitted. BitTorrent clients, IRC bots and bouncers (BNC) specifically may not be run on any DreamHost Web Hosting server. If your processes are adversely affecting server performance disproportionately DreamHost Web Hosting reserves the right to negotiate additional charges with the Customer and/or the discontinuation of the offending processes."

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It is recommended that the usage of Irssi be limited to active-use only. Meaning, if you are away from your computer or not actively chatting in or monitoring your IRC chat rooms, then there should be no reason for you to leave your Irssi client open.

Installing and Using Irssi on DreamHost

Now that you're aware of the poential problems you may encounter when running Irssi from within your DreamHost server, let's see how to install and use Irssi from within a DreamHost SSH Terminal.

To start off, login via SSH to your user's DreamHost terminal. For Windows-based users, you can use a program such as PuTTY to accomplish this. Once logged into the terminal, execute the following commands to download Irssi, change it to an executable, and then run it within Screen:

chmod +x irssi-0.8.15
screen ./irssi-0.8.15

That's all. Enjoy!


I would recommend the following scripts if using screen and Irssi: is a modified version that pops up nice little message bubbles on your desktop. It can be downloaded using subversion from or directly from my site. handles hilights when you are away. It's very well commented and easy to follow. handles your away status when you connect and disconnect from screen.


wget -O ~/.irssi/scripts/
wget -O ~/.irssi/scripts/
wget -O ~/.irssi/scripts/

We'll make symbolic links to make these run on irssi startup.

cd ~/.irssi/scripts/autorun
ln -s ../
ln -s ../
ln -s ../

Now just close and reopen irssi

External Links