Learn to Build an IRC Bot in Python

In this tutorial, you’ll learn to use Python 3 for creating an IRC bot. IRC is an acronym for Internet Relay Chat which is a popular form of communication to send text messages over the network.

How to Use Python to Build an IRC Bot?

Python IRC Bot Client

What is an IRC Bot?

A bot is a virtual assistant that emulates a real user to provide instant responses. IRC bot is a type of network client that could be a script or a program that can relay messages using the IRC protocol.

When any active user receives a text from the IRC bot, it appears to him as another real user.

What can a Bot do?

The bots mimic a real user and communicate with other active clients. However, they can perform a variety of tasks:

  • Archive chat messages
  • Can parse Twitter feeds
  • Crawl the web for a keyword
  • Run any command if needed.

How to Implement IRC in Python?

For this, we’ll need a Python program that creates a client socket to connect to the IRC server. The IRC server performs a simple verification and connects without much hassle.

The script uses Python socket library to allow network communication. Check the below sample code.

import socket

ircbot = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)

The IRC protocol is just a layer above the IP protocol and works over the TCP/IP stack.

We’ll need our program to exchange the following set of commands.

** Authetication **** USER botname botname botname: text
                      NICK botname
                      NICKSERV IDENTIFY botnickpass botpass
** Join Channel  **** JOIN

Bot Source Code

Class File:

First, you need to create an IRC bot class. Copy the below code and paste in a file and save it as the irc_class.py.

import socket
import sys
import time

class IRC:
    irc = socket.socket()
    def __init__(self):
        # Define the socket
        self.irc = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
    def send(self, channel, msg):
        # Transfer data
        self.irc.send(bytes("PRIVMSG " + channel + " " + msg + "\n", "UTF-8"))
    def connect(self, server, port, channel, botnick, botpass, botnickpass):
        # Connect to the server
        print("Connecting to: " + server)
        self.irc.connect((server, port))

        # Perform user authentication
        self.irc.send(bytes("USER " + botnick + " " + botnick +" " + botnick + " :python\n", "UTF-8"))
        self.irc.send(bytes("NICK " + botnick + "\n", "UTF-8"))
        self.irc.send(bytes("NICKSERV IDENTIFY " + botnickpass + " " + botpass + "\n", "UTF-8"))

        # join the channel
        self.irc.send(bytes("JOIN " + channel + "\n", "UTF-8"))
    def get_response(self):
        # Get the response
        resp = self.irc.recv(2040).decode("UTF-8")
        if resp.find('PING') != -1:                      
            self.irc.send(bytes('PONG ' + resp.split().decode("UTF-8") [1] + '\r\n', "UTF-8")) 
        return resp

After creating the network communication class, we’ll import t in our client and use its instance. We are designing a demo client so that you can understand it easily.

Our bot will send the “Hello!” message while responding to a “Hello” message on the channel.

Client Script:

Below the Python IRC Bot program to start the client communication. Create a new file, copy the code, paste it, and save as irc_bot.py.

IRC server usually runs on ports like 6667 or 6697 (IRC with SSL). So, we’ll be using “6667” in our sample. Also, you will need to provide a valid IRC Server IP address or hostname to make this program run correctly.

from irc_class import *
import os
import random

## IRC Config
server = "10.x.x.10" # Provide a valid server IP/Hostname
port = 6697
channel = "#python"
botnick = "techbeamers"
botnickpass = "guido"
botpass = "<%= @guido_password %>"
irc = IRC()
irc.connect(server, port, channel, botnick, botpass, botnickpass)

while True:
    text = irc.get_response()
    if "PRIVMSG" in text and channel in text and "hello" in text:
        irc.send(channel, "Hello!")

Please note that you can run the above program using the following command:

python irc_bot.py

Hope, the above tutorial could help you build a more complex IRC bot with more features and usage.

If you wish to learn Python programming from scratch, then read this Python Tutorial.