Shout IRC!

Table of Contents

If you’re reading this, there are high chances that you are under internet surveillance and your IT admin has blocked access to IRC. God! Why do they do this? IRC isn’t bad at all, you may argue. But unfortunately there’s no one to listen. Hush. You’ll have to find a way out, and here’s exactly how you can do it!

I’ll be using one of the many benefits of having your own server in the cloud. Sure it costs you, but $5 a month won’t hurt your pockets! Added to this, the open source community is just awesome! It has tools for almost all your needs. Yes, it can help you get over IRC, and this blog is one of their many freebies. Thank you Open Source!

So let’s talk business. There’s this tool called Shout IRC which has all what you need to get over your IRC block. And using it is as simple as logging in to your account! Exactly what you needed? Perfect!

Although you can find instructions on how to use on their website, I’ll cut it short. All you have to do is install a node module, and edit some configuration files. Simple.

1. Installing

After you’ve logged in to your server,

$ npm install -g shout

is what you do to install shout. That’s it. However, if you don’t have node or npm installed on your Ubuntu based server, just run this

$ sudo apt-get install nodejs npm
$ sudo npm install -g npm
$ sudo ln -s "$(which nodejs)" /usr/bin/node

2. Configuring Shout

Doing it the easy way, just open up the configuration file. All you have to do is

$ shout config

You may change additional settings, but that is not required for now.

Adding users

If you’ve set public to false, you are required to add users to shout. To create a user named ‘Nikhil’, just run

$ shout add nikhil password

With of course, your desired password, and the user with username nikhil is created.

3. Configuring Nginx

It’s pretty likely that you also have other sites hosted on your server and so I’ll be using nginx which is pretty robust for this task. If you’re familiar with this, you know what to do. Create a new configuration for your site.

$ sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/irc

And run Shout IRC behind a proxy

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name <YOUR SITE ADDRESS>;
    location / {
        proxy_set_header   X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header   Host      $http_host;

Replace YOUR SITE ADDRESS with the url you intend to use. Then, enable the site by creating a symlink

$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/irc /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/irc

Now, just restart your server

$ sudo service nginx restart

No. Shout isn’t live yet, in case you were exited.

4. Withstanding restarts

It may happen that for some reason your shout service gets stopped, such as in a server restart. That’s bad. So, I’ll use supervisor to manage Shout on my server. It’ll start shout automatically in case it gets shut down on the server. That way it’ll even withstand server restarts. If you have more than one service set up on your server, such as another blog or website, supervisor makes managing all of them pretty easy.

First, install supervisor in case you haven’t.

$ sudo apt-get install supervisor

Next, create a config file for shout, just as you did for nginx

$ sudo nano /etc/supervisor/conf.d/ghost.conf

Now edit the file to create an autostart process so that your blog remains stable. user should be an existing user on the system. Better to use a dedicated user with restricted access as a safety measure

command = shout start
user = server
autostart = true
autorestart = true
stdout_logfile = /var/log/supervisor/shout.log
stderr_logfile = /var/log/supervisor/shout_err.log

Save it, and you’re just a restart away!

$ sudo supervisorctl reread
$ sudo supervisorctl update
$ sudo supervisorctl restart shout

And you should have your own personal web IRC client ready! No more restrictions! Yay!

Queries? Suggestions? Feedback? Feel free to comment below!