ICQ-Chat Services Help - NickServ

For various reasons, you may find it necessary or desirable to register your nickname. Some chat networks, or some channels on chat networks, may require you to have a registered nickname to enter them, or to chat there. This is to protect the chatters there from some of the pests who like to behave rudely on chat networks, so it is often to your own advantage. And it's usually free. Here's how to register and identify to your nickname.

You first need to be USING the nickname. So if you're not, change to that nickname by typing this command: /nick (Example: /nick Tony-O )

Step 1 - Register your nickname.

I would suggest you type the register command in your status window, for security sake. This way if you make a mistake, no one will see your password.  The "Status" window is the first window that opens when you open mIRC. Sometimes it has the network name or your nickname on it.


          To register your nick, type:

             /NickServ REGISTER <password> <email>


(Yes, you must use the / before the NickServ command. The / tells the server to "pay attention" because these commands are to the server. Do not use the < > they only show where the indicated information goes.)

<Password> -- use a password of your choice, at least 5 characters long. Numbers and letters recommended. Do not forget your password and do not give it out to anyone. I would suggest you write it down in a convenient place, perhaps across your computer screen in permanent marker... (ok so DON'T DO THAT , but do try to keep up with where you can find it.)

<email> -- yes, this must be a VALID email address, because some networks Validate your nickname registration. When you enter the registration command, the server will automatically send an email to the address you put in here, with information to validate your registration.  Check your email now, as it will usually arrive within a few minutes after you enter the command.  Just follow the directions in the email to copy and paste the information to validate. (Note: if for some reason you do not complete the validation step, the registration for your nickname will usually drop in 24 hours.)



/NickServ REGISTER abc098 [email protected]

Registering your password simply means you have "claimed" it.  This alone will not keep others from trying to use it, but it will give you the ability to take it back if they do.

Step 2 - To keep the registration on your nickname, you need to renew or Identify with the same password you registered it with, at least every 29 days. If you do not regularly identify, the registration will drop 30 days after you registered or after the last time you identified to that nick, and the nick will become available again.  I would suggest you make a habit of identifying for your nickname every time you come online with that nickname. 


The command to identify is:

             /NickServ IDENTIFY <password>



/NickServ IDENTIFY abc098

Of course you would be using the nickname you need to identify for.

Step 3 - Check your settings.  You want to be sure you have turned on the "enforce" and that your email is hidden. 


Type this command in your status window and view the results:

             /NickServ info <yournicknamehere>


/NickServ info Tony-O

The results should look something like this:

[21:51:25] -NickServ- Information on Tony-O (account Tony-O):
[21:51:25] -NickServ- Registered : Mar 19 23:50:57 2011 (16 weeks, 4 days, 23:04:35 ago)
[21:51:25] -NickServ- Last addr : [email protected]
[21:51:25] -NickServ- Last seen : now
[21:51:25] -NickServ- Flags : HideMail
[21:51:25] -NickServ- Tony-O has enabled nick protection
[21:51:25] -NickServ- *** End of Info ***


This tells you that the nickname Tony-O is registered and when, and the last time this nick was seen online.


Note the line that says "Flags : HideMail" - this means that your email has been hidden.  If you don't see this, then you may need to use a command to hide your email.

Please join the #help channel to ask how to do this (type /join #help).


The other item you want to check is the line that says "has enabled nick protection".  This tells you that the Enforcement is On. 


If you do not see this line, you can turn the Enforcement on by typing


This is supposed to allow you 30 seconds to identify to this nickname when you change to it, and should change your nickname in some way if you don't. (I won't guarantee you that this will work every time though). This is supposed to discourage people from using a nickname that is already registered to someone else.  Honestly, it doesn't always work. 

Generally, when you change to this nickname, the server will ask you to identify. Even if it does not ask, identify anyway.


GROUPING Nicks, and "Accounts"

The first nickname you register becomes your "Account" nickname, or your main nickname. Any other nicknames you want to use regularly, you may see a message inviting you to "group" them to your main nickname. Basically this means linking one nickname to another, and any nicknames linked or Grouped to the main nickname will have the same access in the same channels as the main Account nickname.  For example, if you have Op access in a channel with your main nickname, you can Group another nickname you like to use to your main nickname and then the other nickname would also have op access in the same channel. Grouping a nickname is a two-step process.  Let's say that Tony-O also wants to use the nickname O-Cheddar.


step 1 - Tony changes his nickname to O-Cheddar (/nick O-Cheddar), then he needs to identify O-Cheddar to

            Tony-O, (/NickServ Identify <mainnick> <password>)

               Like this:

            /NickServ Identify Tony-O abc098


step 2 - Now to group the new nick to his main nick, he just types

            /NickServ Group


Now if you were Tony, if you used the /NickServ Info O-Cheddar command as mentioned above, you would see the following line in the information:

-NickServ- Information on O-Cheddar (account Tony-O):



"GHOSTing" Nicks

(forcing your registered nickname to be released when someone else is using it)

If you have registered a nickname, you may come into chat and find that someone else is using your nickname. The polite thing of course would be to simply ask the other chatter to change their nickname because the one they are using happens to be your registered nick. However if you have been in chat long you know that this does not always work.  If this happens and they refuse to give your nick back, you can employ the "Ghost" or "Release" commands to force them to release your nickname. This ONLY works if the nickname is ALREADY REGISTERED. 

The command to Ghost your nickname is:

               /NickServ GHOST <nickname> <password>

Of course you would put in the nickname you are wanting to Ghost, and the password you use for that nickname.



/NickServ GHOST Tony-O abc098


If that does not work, you may need to use the Release command:

/NickServ Release Tony-O abc098


The Release command is used if someone else tries to use your nickname but "nick enforcement" takes it from them and holds it, or if you get disconnected, but your nickname remains "stuck" on the server. This can happen occasionally if the server has not seen that you became disconnected.


Then you can use the command to change to your nickname (/nick Tony-O).

(NOTE: registering nicknames that other people use -even if they are idiots- simply for the purpose of "Ghosting" them to make them drop the nick when they try to use those nicks, is considered a form of harassment and is a violation of the Terms of Use for many networks. You can be banned for this practice.)


"Hey, he's copying my nickname!" or "Hey she stole my nickname!"

Ok, an important note here, many chat networks are set up NOT to allow any two people to use the same nickname at the same time, so if someone appears to be using the same nickname as you are using, chances are that the nicknames are not EXACTLY the same.  Before you complain, take a good look at the other nickname.  There may be an extra symbol or character in their nick that makes it slightly different from yours, or they may have used an uppercase I instead of a lowercase l or replace the same character with a number 1 (I - l - 1 --- they look very similar don't they?).  People who do this intentionally can be a pain, but the best thing to do is just to ignore them and point out these differences to your friends. If, however, the person mimicking your nickname is deliberately pretending to be you and trying to make your friends believe it is you, this would be a form of harassment, and you may request the intervention of a channel operator. (See Complaints, below.)

On a second note, no one can actually steal your nickname if the nickname is registered to you, unless they have somehow obtained the password for it.  Most often, when someone complains their nick has been stolen, it is one of the following scenarios--

1)The nick was never actually registered to you.  Unregistered nicknames are Fair Game to anyone who wants to use them, and/or register them.

2)The person who "stole" your nick is actually only mimicking your nick (see above).  If it's not EXACT, then it's not the SAME nickname. The servers will see Abby and ^Abby and Abby_ as three different nicknames.

3)You did actually register the nickname but someone else is using it and the Enforce did not engage -- Request them to change nicknames, inform them that it is because that nickname is registered to you, and if they refuse, you may use the GHOST command (see "GHOSTing Nicks" above).

4)You did actually register the nickname, however you did not Identify to it with your password within the allotted 30 days, and the registration dropped. Thus the nickname was once again freely available to anyone who wanted it.  If you register your nickname, it is always good practice to use the IDENTIFY command every time you come onto the network with that nick.  The registration expiration time will reset every time you IDENTIFY.  If you fail to Identify within 30 days of the last time you did so, then the registration will drop.

5)You registered your nickname, but you used something simple for your password, and someone guessed your password. This may happen with a new chatter, who takes the explanation of how to register their nick literally... ("to register your nick, use /NickServ REGISTER password email"...chatters who actually type out "password" instead of making up their own password may find that someone stole their nick by using "password" as the password!)

6)You registered your nickname, but someone actually got the password for it and now has your nick, and has probably changed the password as well. In this situation, you have two choices. a)wait for the nickname to drop from registration, then reclaim it; b)request the assistance of an ircop, who may be able to obtain a password for you, although this usually takes a few days.

You can always go to the #help channel and request assistance if you think your nickname has been stolen. The Helpers there can usually assist you in figuring out what's going on.

You NEVER have to give your password to a Network admin, ircOp or ChanOp.  Never give it to someone who claims to be any of the above representatives if they come to you with a problem - some chatters will pretend to be an IrcOp just to gain your password.  (If in doubt, type /Whois <nickname> and look at their info -- See "Chat Commands" -- On Duty Ops and Admins and Helpers usually will show in their info as @netadmin, @ircop, @BotOp, @Chanops, or @Helper. Ask in the #ophelp channel if you're still not sure.)

If you gave your nick password to a friend there is always the chance that your "friend" was not as trustworthy as you thought...but that is another story.

Another Thought

If someone helped you register your nick or if for any reason you may have given your nick password to someone else or you feel it might have been guessed or otherwise known by someone else, you can change the password. You must first be identified (see above). Then you can use the following command to change the password (Don't Forget To Make Note Of The New Password!):

/NickServ SET PASSWORD <newpassword>

Example:   /NickServ SET PASSWORD 123zyx


Incidentally, if you find yourself in a room with no chatters, you might try leaving the room, identifying to your nickname (see above) and rejoining the room (/join #roomname).  Sometimes this helps.


[  If you need further assistance most chat networks have some kind of "help room". Often this is posted in the topic or title line of the room and visible when you first join the room. You can also try typing /join #help, or if you are using mirc, type /list help to get a list of helprooms. Or just ask in the room if there is a help room.]

Other NickServ Commands


ACC returns parsable information about a user's login status. Note that on many networks, /whois shows similar information faster and more reliably. The answer is in the form <nick> ACC <digit>:
0 - account or user does not exist
1 - account exists but user is not logged in
2 - user is not logged in but recognized (see ACCESS)
3 - user is logged in

If the account is omitted the user's nick is used. Account * means the account the user is logged in with.

Syntax: ACC
Syntax: ACC <nick>
Syntax: ACC <nick> <account>
Syntax: ACC <nick> *

/msg NickServ ACC jilles *


ACCESS maintains a list of user@host masks from where NickServ will recognize you, so it will not prompt you to change nick. Preventing expiry, getting channel access or editing nickname settings still requires identification, however.

Access list entries can use hostnames with optional wildcards, IP addresses and CIDR masks. There are restrictions on how much you can wildcard. If you omit the mask, NickServ will attempt to generate one matching your current connection.

Syntax: ACCESS ADD [mask]
Syntax: ACCESS DEL <mask>

Operators with user:auspex privilege can also view another user's access list.

Syntax: ACCESS LIST <nick>

/msg NickServ ACCESS LIST
/msg NickServ ACCESS ADD [email protected]
/msg NickServ ACCESS ADD [email protected]
/msg NickServ ACCESS ADD [email protected]/24
/msg NickServ ACCESS DEL *someone@*.area.old.example.net


CERT maintains a list of CertFP fingerprints that will allow NickServ to recognize you and authenticate you automatically.

You cannot add the same fingerprint to multiple accounts.

Syntax: CERT ADD [fingerprint]
Syntax: CERT DEL <fingerprint>

Operators with user:auspex privilege can also view another user's fingerprint list.

Syntax: CERT LIST <nick>

/msg NickServ CERT LIST
/msg NickServ CERT ADD f3a1aad46ca88e180c25c9c7021a4b3a
/msg NickServ CERT DEL f3a1aad46ca88e180c25c9c7021a4b3a


Using this command makes NickServ remove your account and stop watching your nick(s), If a nick is dropped, anyone else can register it. You will also lose all your channel access and memos.

When dropping and re-registering an account during a netsplit, users on the other side of the split may later be recognized as the new account.

Syntax: DROP <nickname> <password>

/msg NickServ DROP foo bar


FDROP forcefully removes the given account, including all nicknames, channel access and memos attached to it.

When dropping and re-registering an account during a netsplit, users on the other side of the split may later be recognized as the new account.

Syntax: FDROP <nickname>

/msg NickServ FDROP foo


FREEZE allows operators to "freeze" an abusive user's account. This logs out all sessions logged in to the account and prevents further logins. Thus, users cannot obtain the access associated with the account.

FREEZE information will be displayed in INFO output.

Syntax: FREEZE <nick> ON|OFF <reason>

/msg NickServ FREEZE pfish ON Persistent spammer
/msg NickServ FREEZE alambert OFF


FUNGROUP forcefully unregisters the given nickname from the account it is registered to.

If you are ungrouping an account name, you need to specify a new name for the account. This must be another nick registered to it. You cannot ungroup account names.

Syntax: FUNGROUP <nickname>
Syntax: FUNGROUP <account> <newname>

/msg NickServ FUNGROUP SomeNick
/msg NickServ FUNGROUP SomeName SomeNick


FVERIFY allows administrators to confirm a change associated with an account registration without having the verification email.

Syntax: FVERIFY <operation> <nickname>

/msg NickServ FVERIFY REGISTER jenny
/msg NickServ FVERIFY EMAILCHG Aeriana


GHOST disconnects an old user session, or somebody attempting to use your nickname without authorization.

If you are logged in to the nick's account, you need not specify a password, otherwise you have to.

Syntax: GHOST <nick> [password]

/msg NickServ GHOST foo bar


GROUP registers your current nickname to your account. This means that NickServ protects this nickname the same way as it protects your account name. Most services commands will accept the new nickname as an alias for your account name.

Please note that grouped nicks expire separately from accounts. To prevent this, you must use them. Otherwise, all properties of the account are shared among all nicks registered to it.

Syntax: GROUP

/msg NickServ IDENTIFY OldNick SecretPassword
/msg NickServ GROUP


HOLD prevents an account and all nicknames registered to it from expiring.

Syntax: HOLD <nick> ON|OFF

/msg NickServ HOLD jilles ON


IDENTIFY identifies you with services so that you can perform general maintenance and commands that require you to be logged in.

Syntax: IDENTIFY <password>

You can also identify for another nick than you are currently using.

Syntax: IDENTIFY <nick> <password>

/msg NickServ IDENTIFY foo
/msg NickServ IDENTIFY jilles foo


INFO displays account information such as registration time, flags, and other details. Additionally it will display registration and last seen time of the nick you give.

You can query the nick a user is logged in as by specifying an equals sign followed by their nick. This '=' convention works with most commands.

Syntax: INFO <nickname>
Syntax: INFO =<online user>

/msg NickServ INFO w00t Shows information about the registered nick w00t.
/msg NickServ INFO =w00tie[home] Shows information about the registered nick the user w00tie[home] is logged in as.


LIST shows registered users that match a given criteria. Multiple criteria may be used in the same command.

Current Criteria are: PATTERN - All users that match a given pattern. EMAIL - All accounts registered with an email address
that matches a given pattern. MARK-REASON - All accounts whose mark reason matches a
given pattern. FROZEN-REASON - All frozen accounts whose freeze reason matches
a given pattern. HOLD - All users with the HOLD flag set. NOOP - All users with the NOOP flag set. NEVEROP - All users with the NEVEROP flag set. WAITAUTH - All users with the WAITAUTH flag set. HIDEMAIL - All users with the HIDEMAIL flag set. NOMEMO - All users with the NOMEMO flag set. EMAILMEMOS - All users with the EMAILMEMOS flag set. USE-PRIVMSG - All users with the USEPRIVMSG flag set. QUIETCHG - All users with the QUIETCHG flag set. NOGREET - All users with the NOGREET flag set. PRIVATE - All users with the PRIVATE flag set. REGNOLIMIT - All users with the REGNOLIMIT flag set.

FROZEN - All users frozen by network staff. MARKED - All users marked by network staff. REGISTERED - User accounts registered longer ago than a given age. LASTUSED - User accounts last used longer ago than a given age.

Syntax: LIST <criteria>

/msg NickServ LIST pattern foo*
/msg NickServ LIST hold
/msg NickServ LIST frozen pattern x*
/msg NickServ LIST registered 30d
/msg NickServ LIST marked registered 7d pattern bar
/msg NickServ LIST email *@gmail.com
/msg NickServ LIST mark-reason *lamer*


LISTCHANS shows the channels that you have access to, including those that you own.

AKICKs and host-based access are not shown.


Operators with chan:auspex privilege can also check another user's access.

Syntax: LISTCHANS <nick>

/msg NickServ LISTCHANS


LISTMAIL shows accounts registered to a given e-mail address. Wildcards are allowed.

Syntax: LISTMAIL <email>

/msg NickServ LISTMAIL [email protected]
/msg NickServ LISTMAIL *@cam.ac.uk


LISTOWNMAIL shows accounts registered to your account's e-mail address.




LISTVHOST shows accounts which have a vhost set on them. If a pattern is given, only accounts with vhosts matching the pattern are shown.

Syntax: LISTVHOST [pattern]

/msg NickServ LISTVHOST
/msg NickServ LISTVHOST *staff*


LOGIN identifies you with services so that you can perform general maintenance and commands that require you to be logged in.

Syntax: LOGIN <account> <password>

/msg NickServ LOGIN smith sesame


LOGOUT logs you out of the account that you are currently logged into.

Syntax: LOGOUT

/msg NickServ LOGOUT


MARK allows operators to attach a note to an account. For example, an operator could mark the account of a spammer so that others know the user has previously been warned.

MARK information will be displayed in INFO output.

Syntax: MARK <nickname> ON|OFF <reason>

/msg NickServ MARK game_boy ON Persistent spammer
/msg NickServ MARK nenolod OFF


REGAIN regains access to your nickname from a user that is using your nick.

If you are logged in to the account associated with the nickname, you need not specify a password, otherwise you have to.

Syntax: REGAIN <nick> [password]

/msg NickServ REGAIN Dave2 goats


This will register your current nickname with NickServ. This will allow you to assert some form of identity on the network and to be added to access lists. Furthermore, NickServ will warn users using your nick without identifying and allow you to kill ghosts. The password is a case-sensitive password that you make up. Please write down or memorize your password! You will need it later to change settings.

You have to confirm the email address. To do this, follow the instructions in the message sent to the email address.

Syntax: REGISTER <password> <email-address>

/msg NickServ REGISTER bar [email protected]


REGNOLIMIT allows a user to maintain an unlimited amount of channel registrations.

Syntax: REGNOLIMIT <user> ON|OFF

/msg NickServ REGNOLIMIT nenolod ON


RELEASE removes an enforcer for your nick or changes the nick of a user that is using your nick.

Enforcers are created when someone uses your nick without identifying and prevent all use of it.

If you are logged in to the nick, you need not specify a password, otherwise you have to.

Syntax: RELEASE <nick> [password]

/msg NickServ RELEASE smith sesame


RESETPASS sets a random password for the specified account.

Syntax: RESETPASS <nickname>

/msg NickServ RESETPASS pfish


RESTRICT allows operators to restrict what an account can and can not do. It will currently block a user from grouping nicks, registering a channel, requesting a vhost or taking an OFFERed vhost.

This is particularly useful if a user starts abusing these commands.

Syntax: RESTRICT <nickname> ON|OFF <reason>

/msg NickServ RESTRICT game_boy ON Abusing vhost requests
/msg NickServ RESTRICT nenolod OFF


RETURN resets the specified account password, sends it to the email address specified and changes account's email address to this address. Any current sessions logged in to the account are logged out.

Syntax: RETURN <nickname> <e-mail>

/msg NickServ RETURN jdoe [email protected]


SENDPASS emails the password for the specified nickname to the corresponding email address. SENDPASS emails a key to the email address corresponding to the specified nickname that can be used to set a new password using SETPASS.

Syntax: SENDPASS <nickname>

If the nickname is marked, you can override this using the FORCE keyword.

Syntax: SENDPASS <nickname> FORCE

If a key has been emailed but not yet used, you can clear it using the CLEAR keyword.

Syntax: SENDPASS <nickname> CLEAR

/msg NickServ SENDPASS foo


SENDPASS emails a key to the email address corresponding to the specified nickname that can be used to set a new password using SETPASS.

Syntax: SENDPASS <nickname>

If a key has been emailed but not yet used, you can clear it using the CLEAR keyword.

Syntax: SENDPASS <nickname> CLEAR

/msg NickServ SENDPASS foo


SET ACCOUNTNAME allows you to change your account name to any nick registered to your account. Your account name is used in various places as a name for you.

Syntax: SET ACCOUNTNAME <nick>


SET EMAIL changes the e-mail address associated with an account. The e-mail address is used for password retrieval.

You may be required to confirm the new e-mail address. To confirm the address, follow the instructions in the message sent to the new address.

Syntax: SET EMAIL <new address>

/msg NickServ SET EMAIL [email protected]


This will forward memos sent to your account to the email address listed on your registration.




SET ENFORCE allows you to enable more protection for all nicknames registered to your account.

This will automatically change the nick of someone who attempts to use it without identifying in time, and temporarily block its use, which can be removed at your discretion. See help on RELEASE.



SET ENFORCETIME sets how long (in seconds) after someone attempts to use one of your nicks they will automatically have their nick changed.

This can be set to DEFAULT to return to the network default or a number value between 1-180 (seconds).


/msg NickServ SET ENFORCETIME 90


SET HIDEMAIL prevents an account's e-mail address from being shown to other users.




SET LANGUAGE changes the language services uses to communicate with you.

Syntax: SET LANGUAGE <abbreviation>

/msg NickServ SET LANGUAGE en
/msg NickServ SET LANGUAGE ru


SET NEVEROP prevents others from adding you to channel access lists.


/msg NickServ SET NEVEROP ON


This prevents people from being able to send you a memo. If you do not want to receive memos, you can just turn them off for your nick.


/msg NickServ SET NOMEMO ON


SET NOOP prevents services from automatically opping you in channels you have access in. You can choose to op/voice yourself by using the OP and VOICE commands.


/msg NickServ SET NOOP ON


SET PASSWORD changes the password of an account.

Syntax: SET PASSWORD <new password>

/msg NickServ SET PASSWORD swordfish


SET PRIVATE hides various information about your account from other users.

SET PRIVATE ON automatically enables HIDEMAIL too.


/msg NickServ SET PRIVATE ON


SET PRIVMSG causes Services to use private messages when talking to the user authenticated on this account.


/msg NickServ SET PRIVMSG ON


SET PROPERTY manipulates metadata associated with an account.

To delete a metadata entry, specify the name and leave the value blank.

Syntax: SET PROPERTY <name> [value]

/msg NickServ SET PROPERTY URL http://www.example.com/~jay/
/msg NickServ SET PROPERTY SIGN Pisces


SET QUIETCHG prevents services from automatically notifying you when ChanServ is used to affect your status in channels. When set to ON, Services will no longer send you messages of this nature.




SETPASS allows you to set a new password using a key emailed to you. The key is valid for one time only, and also becomes invalid if you identify with your old password.

To set a new password if you know the current password, use SET PASSWORD instead of SETPASS.

Syntax: SETPASS <nickname> <key> <password>


STATUS returns information about your current state. It will show information about your nickname, IRC operator, and SRA status.

Syntax: STATUS

/msg NickServ STATUS


The taxonomy command lists metadata information associated with registered users.

/msg NickServ TAXONOMY foo


UNGROUP unregisters the given nickname from your account. The nickname will be available for others to register. This will not affect your channel access or memos.

If you do not specify a nickname, your current nickname will be ungrouped. You cannot ungroup your account name.

Syntax: UNGROUP [nickname]

/msg NickServ UNGROUP SomeNick


VACATION extends the expiration time for your account and nicknames (but not your channels) to three times the usual value. You can only do this if your account is registered long enough.

Vacation mode is disabled automatically the next time you identify to NickServ.


/msg NickServ VACATION


VERIFY confirms a change associated with your account registration.

Syntax: VERIFY <operation> <nickname> <key>

/msg NickServ VERIFY REGISTER jenny 161803399
/msg NickServ VERIFY EMAILCHG Aeriana 271828183


VHOST allows operators to set a virtual host (also known as a spoof or cloak) on an account. This vhost will be set on the user immediately and each time they identify.

Syntax: VHOST <nickname> ON <vhost>
Syntax: VHOST <nickname> OFF

If the nickname is marked, you can override this using the FORCE keyword.

Syntax: VHOST <nickname> ON <vhost> FORCE
Syntax: VHOST <nickname> OFF FORCE

/msg NickServ VHOST spb ON may.explode.on.impact
/msg NickServ VHOST nenolod OFF