DALnet NickServ Registration

Version 4.1.2

Last revised by Fredfred () on 2020-03-29

Originally written by Kzoo () and Wizzu () on 2000-10-01

Please direct any comments or feedback about this document (only! no help requests!) to docs@dal.net. If you need help on issues not covered in this document, please see the information at http://help.dal.net.


This document describes the steps to follow in order to register a nickname on DALnet. It also covers other commands and concerns related to the email requirement of the nickname registration (see below).

If you need help with the registration process, please /join #Help.

DALnet nickname (nick) registration is now a three-step process. Process of CAPTCHA. An email address has to be set for nicknames. Nickname registrations that have not been confirmed through email will expire within 72 hours. It's therefore very important to set a valid email address.


1 · How to register your nick

Note: DALnet Nick Registration Service (NickServ) has been changed to ask for a "text captcha" before it process NickServ REGISTER requests. The goal of services is to always give nicks and channels to the "first human to get it". In the past few years, we've seen increases in bots getting nicks and channels, holding them, and never releasing them. It is not fair to the average person that a botnet gets a nickname before a human does. Captcha is a test made by a program that supposedly only humans can pass but not computers. The most common scenario is an image of a word or phrase that computer programs can't read that you have to type into an input field to complete a subscription or registration. When you issue the usual registration command to NickServ you will be asked to answer a simple random question. This question is also to be sent to NickServ. If the answer is correct you will be sent the normal AUTH email that will have to be completed as usual. If the answer is wrong you will be asked to try again. The questions are really simple and will be updated every week.

The command for registering your nick is as follows:

/nickserv register password email address

User gets back a notice from NickServ with the question.

/nickserv register password email address answer


/nickserv register PeanuttyButteryPass12 janet@peanutbutter.ca

-NickServ- Before you can register the nick PeanutButterLover, you need to answer this question:
-NickServ- Mark's name is?
-NickServ- To answer, type: /msg NickServ@services.dal.net REGISTER PeanuttyButteryPass12 janet@peanutbutter.ca answer_here
-NickServ- Please visit http://www.dal.net/kb/view.php?kb=188 or /join #help for more information.

/nickserv register PeanuttyButteryPass12 janet@peanutbutter.ca Mark

Where PeanuttyButtery12 would be the password, janet@peanutbutter.ca would be the working email address and Mark would be the answer for the given question.

There are many things you should keep in mind when chosing a password. Please see the DALnet's Password Guide at http://docs.dal.net/docs/passwords.html for further information on this subject.

You will be required to confirm your nickname registration before you have access to all the features available with services. Therefore it's very important for you to use a valid email address. Please see section 3 for more information.

2 · How to identify to your nick

You will be required to identify to your nickname before being able to use a number of commands. There are actually many ways to identify, the two most popular being:

/msg nickserv@services.dal.net identify nick password
/nickserv identify nick password

It is possible to identify to a nickname that you are not using at the time. If you solely wish to identify to your current nickname, then the nick parameter can be excluded. Examples:

/msg nickserv@services.dal.net identify PeanuttyButteryPass12
/msg nickserv@services.dal.net identify PeanutButterLover PeanuttyButteryPass12
/nickserv identify PeanuttyButteryPass12
/nickserv identify PeanutButterLover PeanuttyButteryPass12

Other methods of identifying to NickServ include:

/quote nickserv identify nick password
/identify nick password
/services identify nick password

As with the previous commands, the nick parameter is optional if you only intend to identify to the nick that you are currently using.

NOTE: It is a good idea to type all services commands in the status window (or, if your IRC client does not have a status window, another place which is not a channel or message window) to avoid accidentally showing your password. For example, sending your password to an open channel if you forget the slash (/) in the command.

Under no circumstances should you ever attempt to identify to anyone other than NickServ or ChanServ. So, if you meet people with nicks of MickServ, NickSrv, etc. be distrustful. You could lose your nickname and any privileges associated with it, should the password fall into the hands of someone else. Keep in mind that you and you alone are responsible for protecting your password. You can find a comprehensive guide on Services or IRC Operator impersonators at http://docs.dal.net/docs/ircimps.html.

If you cannot identify to your nick, please remember that passwords are case sensitive. That means that NickServ recognizes upper- and lower-case letters separately, for example "apple", "APPLE" and "aPPLe" would all be different passwords. Be sure you are typing your password correctly. If you continue to get an error message, try the SENDPASS command described at http://docs.dal.net/docs/nickserv.html. If that doesn't work, try looking for an IRC Operator. Instructions on finding one can be obtained at http://docs.dal.net/docs/findoper.html.

3 · How to confirm your registration

After provisionally registering your nickname on DALnet, you will, within an approximate hour, receive an email from "DALnet User Registration" which will be sent to the e-mail address provided during the initial registration phase. In this mail you will receive your authorisation URL to complete your nickname registration.

If you fail to fully complete your registration within the alloted timespan, the next time you connect to DALnet you will receive a notification from NickServ telling you the registration of your nickname is not yet complete. Here is an example of what you will see:

-NickServ- Registration for the nickname PeanutButter is not complete.
-NickServ- Please check your email address for further instructions or visit http://docs.dal.net/docs/nsemail.html#3 for more information.

You can authorise your nickname registration by either clicking the link in the email beginning with "https://users.dal.net/auth.php?" or copy and paste it into your browser.

Once you have chosen to register your nickname, you will be provided with a link to the DALnet authorisation webpage whereby you are required to click "CONFIRM"; after this, your nickname will be fully registered and you will be notified as such in the server status window.

-NickServ- Mission accomplished! The nickname PeanutButter is fully registered!
-NickServ- You now have access to change your nick settings, send memos to other users, and use DALnet's registered user web site at:
-NickServ-Thanks for making DALnet your choice! :)

There will also be a notification on the webpage confirming that your authorisation code has been accepted.

4 · How to request an inactive nick

DALnet has changed the way their nickname expiration system works. Nicknames will no longer expire after 30 days. Instead, they will be marked as "Inactive".

Any inactive nicknames which do not get requested will expire and be purged from the database after a period of 3,650 days (10 years) have passed.

When a nickname is marked as "Inactive", any user that is registered for more than one year may request it via the request page https://users.dal.net/nick_request.php.

When a nickname is requested, the current owner gets notified about it by email and they can come online to claim it (by identifying to NickServ).

If a requested nickname isn't claimed by the owner, services will let one of the people who requested it a chance to register it.

If more than one person requested the nickname, services will randomly choose who to give it to.

Q: How many nicknames can I request?

A: There is no technical limit to how many nicknames you may request, however, remember that there are other people who may also want the nicknames you want and you shouldn't request more nicknames than you could reasonably use.

Q: What if I got the email from services but the website says that my request expired ("Your requested has already expired!")?

A: If services choose you and give you a chance to register a nickname, you must do it within two days, services will let someone else a chance to register it after two days.

Q: Must my nickname be registered for one year?

A: Yes, this is a requirement.

Q: Why are you helping nickname collectors/chasers?

A: Our goal is always to help real users. The new system will give chance to real users who "fight" over a nickname with a chaser. Previously, chasers could just load a botnet and chase nicknames and real users had no chance to get them.

Q: What about frozen nicknames?

A: The same process will be used for frozen nicknames but frozen nicknames will only become inactive after 365 days (instead of 30 days) and the previous owner will not be emailed about it.

Q: What about nicknames that cannot be used or registered?

A: At this time, the new process doesn't affect these nicknames, but we might let users request these nicknames as well in the future.

Q: I want a nickname that wasn't used for more than 30 days but /NickServ INFO is not showing it as Inactive. Why?

A: Either the nickname is frozen (frozen nicknames will only become inactive after 365 days) or the nickname is exempted. A few nicknames had a setting that prevented them from expiring in the past, these nicknames are exempted from this system and will not become inactive.

Q: Can I use a script to request a nickname?

A: No, the system is for real users and not for scripts/bots.

Q: Can an IRC Operator help me to get the nickname I requested?

A: No, the process is automatic and IRC Operators can't interfere with it.

Q: Can an IRC Operator tell me how many people requested a nickname besides me?

A: No, the process is automatic and this information is not visible.

Q: I was on vacation for two months and I missed the email that said someone requested my nickname. Can I get my nickname back?

A: No, the owner of an inactive nickname has 7 days to reclaim their nickname if someone else requests it. If they don't do it, services gives the nickname to one of the people who requested it (and expires the nickname in the process).

Q: I requested a nickname and after a week I got an email saying that the nickname I wanted is available but the previous owner came and identify before I was able to complete the registration. Why?

A: The previous owner officially has 7 days to reclaim their nickname but technically (by design), they can come back online even after 7 days and reclaim their nickname as long as no one (who requested it and got it from services) completes the registration.

Q: What happens to a channel if the founder's nickname becomes inactive?

A: Nothing. When a nickname becomes "Inactive", it still holds all the accesses they had (including foundership of channels). The accesses are only removed if another user completes the request process and gets the nickname. Channels with no successor will expire if someone else gets the nickname and channels with successor will have the "successor process" started (the channel will have no founder until the successor will get it or the channel will expire).

5 · Changing Your Email Address

You may want to change the address associated with your nick.

The actual command for changing an email address is:

/nickserv set email nickpass email address

For example:

/nickserv set email mypass123 janice@delightful.net

Please note that the un-complete nickname are also able to change the email address. Changing an email address is a two-stage process. When an email address change is requested, an email will first be sent to the current address. This email will explain that an address change was requested and give you the opportunity to abort the change within 72 hours. If the change is not aborted after 72 hours, a confirmation email will be sent to the new address, allowing the user to complete the change.

You can use the SET EMAIL command without any parameters to view the email address that you currently have set for your nickname:

/nickserv set email

6 · Why setting the email address is important

6.1 Privileges of a Completely Registered Nickname

As of 31st October 2000, DALnet required that every registered nickname had a valid email address set. Nicknames without an associated email address were expired at that date.

Some of the privileges you have before the nickname is authorized include the following:

  • You can use the identify command

  • You can use the set email command

  • You can use the drop command

  • You can log into http://users.dal.net

Privileges not available to a partially registered nickname include the following:

  • You cannot use MemoServ to send or receive memos

  • You cannot use the NickServ access list feature (the access command)

  • These NickServ commands are not available to you: set enforce, set url, set mailblock, set noop, ghost, recover and release

For additional information on these commands, please visit http://docs.dal.net/docs/nickserv.html, type /nickserv help while on DALnet, or visit http://www.dal.net/services.

6.2 Sending passwords through email

The whole purpose of setting an email address for your nick is so that a forgotten password may be sent to you through email. This is a more secure means of obtaining lost passwords than trying to convince a CSop that you are the true owner of the nick. Whenever a password is requested for a nick, it is sent to the email address currently associated with that nick.

NOTE: It is your responsibility to maintain good access security for your email. If your email account is password-protected, using the same password for your email as you used for the nick is not a good idea. Should one password be discovered, chances are other things associated with the same password could also be compromised.

How does this password process work? As of 12th July 2001, DALnet allows its users to have their passwords sent to them through the SENDPASS command. You must have the email address for the nickname when requesting a nickname SENDPASS and the email address for the founder's nickname when requesting a channel sendpass. Only one SENDPASS per email address is allowed every 72 hours. Thus, if someone forgets both their nickname and channel password, they will have to wait.

The security of the password is further protected by a second restriction. Only a certain number of SENDPASSes may be requested by the same IP or host in a certain amount of time.

The syntax of the SENDPASS command is explained at http://docs.dal.net/docs/nickserv.html.

CSops are still available for password or ownership questions that the user cannot solve on their own. Your email address is not revealed to the IRCop during a sendpass. NickServ handles the sending of the email automatically.

Once again, instructions on how to find an IRCop can be found at http://docs.dal.net/docs/findoper.html.

7 · Email address privacy

DALnet's email privacy statement is available at http://www.dal.net/emailinfo.html. It describes the firm policy DALnet has on protecting your email address. Under no circumstances will DALnet provide the list of email addresses to anyone. If you are concerned about your email address' privacy, please read the statement.

Once again, IRC operators asking NickServ to send passwords to users do not see the email address, since this is an automated process.

Other users will not be able to see your email address, unless you want them to. If you do not do anything about your email address after you have set it, no one will be able to see it. If you do want to show your email address in your visible NickServ information (available with /nickserv info yournick), you can set that up as follows. After identifying for your nickname, type this command:

/nickserv set showemail on

Should you change your mind and want to remove your email from your visible information, the command is:

/nickserv set showemail off

As mentioned previously, your email security is your responsibility. DALnet is not responsible for spam messages or stolen passwords due to the negligence of the owner. Although using SHOWEMAIL has its advantages if you have forgotten the email and the password and you want to use SENDPASS, people can see your email address and may send you spam mail. If you share your email account with someone else, that someone can get your nick password. Strictly speaking, passwords are confidential and should not be shared.

If you do not want to use your actual email address, please use one of the many free accounts available on the web. However, it is safe not to use these free accounts due to the security threat that may arise. Also, please keep your email address setting current. DALnet cannot be responsible for nicknames which have an invalid email address set.

7.1 "I don't want to give my email address to you!"

That is certainly your right. However, we would like to point out that DALnet is a free service. There are lots of other free services out there that may ask you for your email address in order to serve you better. DALnet does not oblige you to register your nick in order to log on to our servers.

For those who are really sensitive about their email address privacy, we recommend that you get a free email service to complete the registration of your nick. Once that is done, you can forget all about this email account if you'd like. However, keep in mind that if you do this, you will forfeit all rights to password assistance in the future.

8 · Troubleshooting and Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Question: NickServ tells me that the AUTH code is incorrect. What should I do?

Answer: You should first be sure that the number you have entered is correct. This is why copy and paste is recommended whenever possible. It may also be possible that you have changed your email address and are entering the number for the former address. Please read the entire email you receive to be sure that the number you are entering is the AUTH code for that nickname. In setting emails for several nicks, confusion like this could easily happen.

In addition, if you have changed your email address since the last registration, a new authorization code would have been sent to the second email account. Only this new authorization code will work to complete your nickname registration.

You can also request another authorization code from services by resetting your email address with the SET EMAIL command (section 5). If NickServ tells you that you have already set the email address then you can get around it by specifying a bogus email address before setting it back to your real email.

Question: When I tried to set my email address, I made a typo. What should I do?

Answer: As long as it is within 24 hours of the time you registered your nick you can change it. You first identify to your nickname. Then you can use the SET EMAIL command (section 5) to set the correct email address.

Please remember that if the original address was not correct, you will not get the first AUTH code from Services. When you receive the email message at the correct address, go ahead and enter the AUTH code as described above.

Question: Someone is using my half-registered nick. How can I get it back if I can't use the RECOVER or GHOST commands?

Answer: Check your email for the authorization code and enter it in order to complete the registration of your nickname. Once this is done, the RECOVER and GHOST commands will become available to you.

Question: I didn't get my AUTH code by email. What should I do now?

Answer: There are several reasons why this might happen. The first one is that there was a typo in the email address. You can verify what NickServ thinks the address should be by using:

/nickserv set email

If the email address is incorrect, you can use the following to set the correct email address:

/nickserv set email nickpass email address

Another reason may be that there is lag in the email message being sent out. If many people have set their email addresses for their nicknames, the queue of messages to be sent may be long. Please wait at least six hours before asking for help.

You may not be setting a valid email address. You must use an email address that actually works. If you do not want to use your official address, please find a free email account on the web. Remember, it is up to you to keep this address active, since that is where any passwords may be sent in the event of you forgetting the password. Also, a DALnet email address is not a valid address for this purpose. See section 7.1 for further information.

Question: I think someone has hacked my password to my nick and my email.

Answer: Password security is your responsibility.

Try to have your password sent to you using the SENDPASS command described at http://docs.dal.net/docs/nickserv.html. If this doesn't work, please go to #operhelp and wait to be voiced by someone who is opped in the channel. Do not respond to any messages from anyone but an op. There is a help document that deals with how to find to an IRC operator while on DALnet. You can access it from http://docs.dal.net/docs/findoper.html.

Here are some instructions for good password security:

  • Choose a password that is at least seven characters long and contains both upper- and lower-case letters as well as some numbers.

  • Never type in Services commands in a channel window, instead use another window (for example, the status window if your IRC client has one).

  • Do not script passwords on your computer, since others may gain access with or without your knowledge. You should also be careful of the scripts that you are using. Some of them allow other people to not only steal your passwords, but to also control your computer.

  • If you identify to your nickname while in a cybercafe, library or any other public domain Internet service, be sure that no one else can see your password and that no password stealing scripts are loaded. It might also be prudent to make sure that "logging" has not been turned on.

  • Never share passwords with anyone and be aware that no one from DALnet will message you for your password. The only time you may be asked about a password is by a CSop you have approached for password help.