Introduction to IRC Fserves

In this tutorial, we will introduce Fserves (file servers; sometimes spelled as Fserv), popular methods of sharing files on IRC. Channels hosting Fservs range from having fansubs to manga. To begin, find a channel with files that you wish to download and then join it.

It is important that you don't look like a fool and get banned for joining a channel that does not allow for Fservs. Look for the rules by typing in !rules or looking in the channel topic. The channel must allow either !list or @find.

* Topic is '[!list @find !rules] Anime images and scans // http://www.example.com'

In the sample channel topic above, it is clear that !list and @find are allowed in this channel. We'll be using these commands to find the files that we want.

Using @find

Typing in @find in a channel will look for files matching a keyword. The syntax for @find is as follows (where keyword is what you wish to search for):

@find keyword

If an Fserve finds a matching file, you will be privately messaged with the search results. If you do use the find command, take note of the results and the trigger. Connecting and downloading will be further explained later in this guide.

Note: Many Fservs do not have find support enabled. Best to use list as illustrated below.

Using !list

The !list command asks for every Fserve in the channel to show their Fserve advertisement. The advertisements tell you what the Fserve hosts and its statistics. We'll begin by breaking down an advertisement typical from an Fserve.

-animeimages- [Fserve Active] - Trigger:[/ctcp animeimages Anime_Images & /ctcp animeimages Anime_Wallpapers] - Sends:[0/1] - Queues:[0/6] - Min CPS:[14KB/s] - Files Sent:[0] - Message:[Check for anime images and wallpapers!] - SysReset 2.53

In the example advertisement above from the user animeimages, we see the current status of the Fserve, two triggers, statistics, queue information (to be explained later) a message, and a minimum CPS.

We will take note of the CPS amount; it is the minimum speed at which transfers need to send at or they will be canceled. If you're using a modem, this Fserve is not for you. Average 56k modems can top around only 6 KB/s and this requires 14 KB/s at least. Many Fservs have these minimum limits to prevent slow users from tying up the server.

After finding an Fserve you would like to download from, you will have to connect and browse it.

Connecting

In both the list and find methods, you were given a trigger. This trigger is a command you use to connect to the Fserve to browse its files and and eventually download. Triggers commonly start with /ctcp denoting a Client-to-Client Protocol.

Typing (or copying and pasting) the trigger into the send area and pressing enter will connect to that user. Using the advertisement above, we've decide to connect to that Fserve to check out its collection of Anime_Images. We can therefore type:

/ctcp animeimages Anime_Images

We are confronted with a dialog to connect.

mIRC DCC Chat dialog

Press Accept to connect to the user. Once connected, the Fserve will give some statistics and some commands. An example Fserve introduction would be similar to the following:

<animeimages> -=SysReset 2.53=- FileServer
<animeimages> NOTICE: If you leave this channel all sends, gets, and fservs will be stopped.
<animeimages> Commands: cd, clr_queue, clr_queues, dir, exit, get, help, ls, queues, quit, sends, stats, who
<animeimages> Transfer Status: Sends:[0/2] - Queues:[0/10]
<animeimages> Minimum CPS is: 1000
<animeimages> mIRC v6.14 File Server
<animeimages> Use: cd dir ls get read help exit
<animeimages> [\]

Browsing an Fserve is like browsing your computer, except you use text commands. If you've ever used DOS or a shell to browse your files before, these commands will be similar if not the same.

Browsing an Fserve

The following are some common Fserve commands you can use to browse an Fserve.

cd <dir> Change to a different directory
ls List the current directory's contents (wide listing)
dir List the current directory's contents (which a file on its own line)
exit Exit Fserve

Using dir on a directory will output a list of the files and folders in the current directory. Using dir on the Fserve we are connected to in this guide shows a list of files and folders like so:

<animeimages> SysReset 2.53
<animeimages> [\*.*]
<animeimages> AIR
<animeimages> AKIRA
<animeimages> ANGEL SANCTUARY
<animeimages> ANGELIC LAYER
<animeimages> addiction.jpg 22.4 kb
<animeimages> cowboy bebop (faye).jpg 176 kb
<animeimages> last exile.jpg 140 kb
<animeimages> End of list

We see four folders and three files. If we wanted to browse to the folder AIR, we could type in cd AIR. If once we've entered the AIR folder but would like to leave, we can type cd .. (with two periods) to go to the parent directory.

In the AIR folder, we found a file named air_3_1024.jpg. We would like to download this. We are taking note of the name of this file:

air_3_1024.jpg

Downloading and Queues

Because bandwidth (the amount of data transfer per time) is limited and costs money, there cannot be an infinite number of individuals downloading at once. Fservs use a queue system where people wait in line until they can download.

To enter a queue (or start downloading away if there is no line), you can use the get command. The syntax of this command is as follows:

get filepath

The filepath is the path to the file we want to download. Following the example above, we wanted to download a certain file. We can downloading it using the following command (note: we are still in the AIR folder):

get air_3_1024.jpg

We will enter the queue if there are people waiting or we will start downloading away if no one else is waiting.

You can continue to queue files to download as much as you want until the Fserve diallows you to. There is a limit to the number of queues you can have at a time.

If you are happen to be stuck inside a queue, wait until you get to the top. This can sometimes take hours and therefore you might want to enable Auto-get in mIRC to allow files to be downloaded automatically (Tools -> Options, DCC -> select Auto-get file). (Note: If you do not trust allowing the world to send you files automatically, you may want to also set up a Trusted list).

After you are done queuing files, leave the Fserve (but do not leave the channel; many Fileservs require you to stay in the channel). There is no need to idle in the Fserve if you don't need to browser the files.

Extra Notes

  • Do not use multiple users to queue more than the maximum allowed queues per person. You will be banned for abusing the service.
  • You can check occasionally to see how your queue progresses (see full list of commands below) but do not check too often. Once every hour is a good interval.

Fserve Commands

You may use these once you are connected.

cd <dir> Change to a different directory
ls List the current directory's contents (wide listing)
dir List the current directory's contents (which a file on its own line)
get <file> Send the specified file (via DCC send)
sends Display information on files currently being sent
stats Display server statistics
swap Swap positions of files you have queued (such as a file in position #2 and a file in position #6)
queues Display current queues on the server
who Show users on the server
clr_queues Removes all of your queued transfers
clr_queue <n> Remove your queue in slot position n
exit Exit Fserve