Identifying the bot to services

The different methods listed here are in the order how they are usually recommended by network operators.

Please also note that SASL and CertFP are only fully supported on Limnoria. Gribble has imported partial SASL support (only PLAIN).

Registering to services

You can safely jump over this section if your bot is already registered to services.

First start by checking what is the syntax for registering with /msg nickserv help register. It returns you something like this (Atheme 7.2.4):

NickServ: Syntax: REGISTER <password> <email-address>

Assuming that that is the syntax, we can register the bot with:

owner ircquote nickserv register mypassword

Note that the email address must be correct. Next check that /msg nickserv info bot doesn’t say something about being unverified. If it does, go to the email address and run:

owner ircquote nickserv VERIFY REGISTER nick <code from the email>

Now your bot should be successfully registered and you can move to setting up automatic identifying below. If you need to identify to services now, /msg nickserv help identify and following the syntax (I am still assuming that you are on Atheme 7.2.4) owner ircquote nickserv identify username password.


To use SASL EXTERNAL, you must only configure CertFP and it’s attempted automatically. SASL PLAIN is identifying using username and password, SASL EXTERNAL is identifying by using CertFP which is explained later on this document. It doesn’t need username or password to be configured.

Note that SASL isn’t supported on all networks. As the only way to check if SASL is supported is either /quote CAP LS (which usually gets eaten by bouncers) or connecting to the network and seeing if it works, we recommend always configuring SASL and whoising the bot to see if it worked. If it didn’t work, you might want to ask the network operators about their SASL support and request them to start supporting it.

SASL is widely agreed as the best method to identify to services as it identifies you before anyone (other than IRC operators) can see that you are connected. To enable SASL, simply:

config networks.<network>.sasl.username AccountName
config networks.<network>.sasl.password P455w0rd

where you of course replace AccountName and P455w0rd with your actual NickServ account name and password. Remember to replace <network> with the real network name like freenode.


You can test if CertFP is supported by services simply by doing /msg NickServ cert. If you get an error about “Insufficient parameters for CERT”, CertFP is supported, and if you get an error about unknown command, it’s not supported.

CertFP identifies you to services using a client (SSL) certificate and naturally requires an SSL connection. It doesn’t identify you as soon as SASL, but unlike SASL, it identifies you even when services return from a netsplit, unlike any other mechanism.

First you must generate a certificate, and the easiest method is probably using OpenSSL which you should have even on Windows if you installed with pip:

openssl req -nodes -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout <BOT>.pem -x509 -days 3650 -out <BOT>.pem -subj "/CN=<BOT>"

Now you should have a <BOT>.pem file in the directory where you ran the command, presumably your home directory and you only tell your bot where to find it and tell NickServ that it belongs to you. Note that you should replace <BOT> with the account name of your bot.

You have two choices, using the same certificate on all networks:

config protocols.irc.certfile /home/<username>/<BOT>.pem

or only on one or more network where it’s manually configured:

config networks.<network>.certfile /home/<username>/<BOT>.pem

And lastly, you must tell the services what is your certificate fingerprint, which you can find out with:

openssl x509 -sha1 -noout -fingerprint -in <BOT>.pem | tr -d ':' | tr 'A-Z' 'a-z'

This results in something like 05dd01fedc1b821b796d0d785160f03e32f53fa8 which you tell your bot to tell services:

owner ircquote NickServ cert add 05dd01fedc1b821b796d0d785160f03e32f53fa8

Or if your bot identifies as you, you can do that by yourself with:

/msg NickServ cert add 05dd01fedc1b821b796d0d785160f03e32f53fa8

Remember to replace 05dd01fedc1b821b796d0d785160f03e32f53fa8 with your own fingerprint! Next time your bot connects, it should get identified automatically.


First you must ECDSA key for the bot to use:

openssl ecparam -name prime256v1 -genkey -out <bot>_ecdsa.pem

and get the public key using:

openssl ec -noout -text -conv_form compressed -in <bot>_ecdsa.pem | grep '^pub:' -A 3 | tail -n 3 | tr -d ' \n:' | xxd -r -p | base64

After getting the public key, you must tell your bot to use it and tell services about it (just like with CertFP/SASL EXTERNAL):

config supybot.networks.<network>.sasl.username AccountName
config supybot.networks.<network>.sasl.ecdsa_key /home/<username>/<BOT>_ecdsa.pem
ircquote nickserv set pubkey PUBKEY_WHICH_YOU_GOT_EARLIER

and after reconnecting, the bot should successfully identify using SASL ECDSA-NIST256P-CHALLENGE.

NOTE: You can use ecdsa pubkey to get the public key, but you cannot generate the key pair using it as pyecdsa doesn’t support ecdsatool generated keys.

Server password

Many networks support identifying using username:password as server password. If this is the case with your network (anything that uses a charybdis-like IRCd), this should work for you. Note that this identifies you after SASL so, your real host might be seen. To do this, simply:

config networks.<network>.password username:password

Replace <network> with the name of network, for example freenode and username:password with your real username and password.


If you wish to connect your bot to ZNC, the recommended way is:

config networks.<network>.ident <username>@<identifier>/<network>
config networks.<network>.password <password>

The identifier is free text to describe which client your Limnoria is. It came with ZNC 1.6.0 and is completely optional. <network> again has been there since ZNC 1.0 which is very old and has multiple security issues that have been fixed since then. You should always run the latest release.

Services plugin

The Services plugin comes with Supybot and should be an easy way to identify your bot, but SASL and username:password as server password are recommended over it. Start by loading Services with:

load Services

and then tell it what NickServ and ChanServ are called:

config NickServ
config ChanServ

Remember to replace NickServ/ChanServ with their real names if they have a different name on any network. Note that they must have the same name on all networks, and you must have the same password on all networks.

Now you can set your password:

services password Bot P455w0rd

makes the bot attempt identifying as Bot using password P455w0rd. Replace them with your real nickname and password. Note that if you have multiple nicknames, you must run services password for them all.

If your bot happens to get a nickname that isn’t configured, it won’t know how to identify. You might be able to avoid this issue by loading NickCapture, (load NickCapture) which attempts to regain the primary nick, when it’s possible, and when it regains the primary nick, the identification should work.