What is SSL?

By connecting to the PurpleSurge IRC network using SSL, you can encrypt all data sent between you and the server. By extension, this means that you can create a secure line of communications with anyone else who is also connected to the server in this fashion. However, any text which you send to an individual not connected via SSL will travel via plaintext. Keep this in mind, as most of your communication will be on channels with many unencrypted individuals. So, if just one person in a channel is not using SSL, then effectively the conversation is unencrypted. You can verify someone is using ssl, but issuing a /whois on the individual. If you'd like to create a channel strictly for SSL clients, you can set the channel mode "+z" with /mode #channelname +z (this ensures only clients on a SSL connection can join).

How to Connect via SSL

To connect to an SSL enabled betwork, you must first ensure your client supports SSL. This can be verified by reading the documentation that comes with the client, or by checking the clients website. You must also ensure you have an SSL program installed. One of the most common and suggested is OpenSSL.

Windows Users:

Windows users can download the required SSL libraries here. You will probably need Win32 OpenSSL, even if you are running 64-bit Windows. Make sure you specify your Program Files directory, or mIRC directory when running the OpenSSL installer. This ensures your client can find the required files. Once installed, if you're client is running prior to the files being installed, you will need to restart your client. Once restarted, you can connect to the PurpleSurge IRC Network, by typing /server ssl.purplesurge.com:+6697 (The "+" between the server name, and port, indicates SSL).

*Nix Users:

Users using the *nix OS, don't have it quite as easy as those running windows. Seperate clients, require different means of connecting via SSL. However, no matter what client is being used, you must ensure the client supports SSL, and ensure OpenSSL is installed. Most also require the client be compiled with the "--with-ssl" flag. After verifying OpenSSL is installed on the server, that your client supports SSL, and also has been compiled with ssl support, you can now connect! Again, the means of connecting to a network via SSL differs by client, most allow you to connect the same way you would normally connect, just needs the -ssl flag used. For example, if you normally connect with /server irc.purplesurge.com, you would need to use /server -ssl ssl.purplesurge.com 6697 if you use /connect, just replace the /server with the /connect command. This isn't full proof though. Check the website of your preferred IRC client for the exact method.

What if my IRC client doesn't yet support SSL?

If your client does't support SSL, you're not out of luck yet! Up until clients integrated SSL support, a popular program known as STUNNEL was used. Stunnel is type of program called a wrapper. It allows programs that normally don't have SSL support to connect through it, after which stunnel takes care of the SSL.

The most flexible, way to connect is to use 'stunnel' together with the IRC client of your choice. Source code for stunnel, as well as binaries for other Operating Systems can be obtained here. If you are using Debian GNU/Linux, you can simply do 'apt-get install stunnel'. Stunnel also works in Windows.

For information on how to create the secure tunnel between your computer and ssl.purplesurge.com, you can view the following sites:

Stunnel for Windows Users

Stunnel for *Nix Users

Have More Questions?

If you still have questions about connecting to PurpleSurge via SSL, join #Help.