BEFORE YOU ASK FOR HELP -> 7 Things we need to know! (and some information for you!)
When making a thread requesting help it is in your interest to list all of the following things so people who answer know as much as possible to begin with; answer as many of these as you possible can:
Volvogga here... cleaning house and I ran across this buried in... damn, must have been page 3 or 4 considering I've killed about 80 threads tonight. I was thinking of making one of these as I read through the threads, but looks like CN has done one already. Anyway, I'm changing it a bit though. Some of it I don't agree with. Good job CN!
I'm also adding a post to this, addressing a few concerns I've had reading the threads, so don't forget to check for that.
1.) What IRC/BT client you are using. (Probably mIRC for IRC, but for BT clients it is still important to list.)
2.) What OS you are using. (Windows XP? ME? 2000? Mac OS X? Linux Distribution?)
3.) If you are using a firewall, what firewall you are using. (You may have one you didn't even know about if you are using Windows XP SP2 or Norton Antivirus.)
4.) If you are using a router (sometimes built into your cable/DSL modems), what router you are using. (Look on the underside or the back of the router to find out.)
5.) If you are accessing from some sort of private network or from home. (For instance, a College Dorm. As long as it's a network you have no control over. A workplace would also be an example.)
6a.) For IRC; what server you are trying to connect to. (Rizon? IRChighway?)
6b.) For BT; what is the status of the tracker (OK, Error, DHT, etc.). (For Azureus, you can even tell us about your smiley face. Give full errors and tell us about your connections, IE if you have few, none, or a lot of seeds AND peers.)
7.) The error you are getting that prevents you from getting the file. (Can't connect to the IRC server? Bittorrent going really slow? Can't get files off of IRC bots? Can't connect to the Torrent tracker?)
Once you've included this information in your thread, it will be easier for us to try to figure out the problem. The more you know about a problem the more quickly it can be fixed. Only when you are willing to help yourself can anyone else truly help you.
Cold-NiTe of the Holy Sentinels.
Thanks to SooSeh for the inspiration for this thread.
Brief BT/IRC Theory and Security
OK, Addressing a few concerns here. Also, big thanks to Arkie for my firewall diagrams. Produced in under 5 minutes what would have taken me probably a half hour outside of a CAD program. XD
Here's the main thing. I see a lot of suggestions in threads saying 'turn your firewall off and see if that helps'. DO NOT FOLLOW THESE SUGGESTIONS!
No file is worth shutting your firewall off. You WILL be instantly vulnerable... granted to a lesser degree in some cases, but vulnerable none the less. When I destroyed my NTFS file table on Win2k and had to wipe and reinstall it (don't ask), I connected to the internet through dial up for less that 5 minutes to download the firewall I was using at the time. In that time period I got 2 viruses, and 2 pieces of spyware/malware that gave me all kinds of annoying popups.
The proper thing to do is to configure your firewall to allow your various programs to access the internet in the ways that you want them to. This usually involves giving a program internet and/or server rights (upload and/or download), or opening ports for use on the firewall. If you can't figure it out, then you need to read up on it, talk to the firewall's tech support team, ask someone you know/here/firewall's forum, or uninstall the firewall and install one that you CAN configure.
Just because you payed for a firewall does not mean it's that good of a solution. Some firewalls provide excellent security, yes, but that's useless if it prevents you from using the internet. For example, I removed Zone Alarm when I got System Mechanic Pro 7, and installed the Iolo Firewall that came with it. I could not get that thing to allow SSL POP3 (port 995, I believe) to be accepted. It would fail everytime I tried to add the port to the firewall's exception. Needless to say, without the ability to check my email through Thunderbird, this firewall was completely useless to me.
Next, THE WINDOWS XP SP2 FIREWALL IS NOT A ACCEPTABLE FIREWALL SOLUTION. If you need a firewall, download a free one, disconnect from the internet, turn XP's thing off, and install the firewall you downloaded... or buy a decent one. Here are some free firewalls in case you don't know where to start looking, are are looking to replace the one you have:
ZoneAlarm Free: Not the best and it leaves out some features from it's Pro version, but it's still a very good firewall, and it carries the benefit of being EXTREMELY easy to use. I set it to custom and had it ask me everytime to allow a program Internet or Server privileges. It took a week or so, but eventually I had every program configured to access the internet when and where I wanted it to, all by just clicking Allow or Deny. You can pick it up at Zone Labs' website.
Agnitum OutPost Firewall: My first real firewall. Back when I used it, it was a bit harder to use than Zone Alarm. I'm not sure now. For the longest time, it was probably one of the most, if not the most, recommended free firewalls among BT users. Pick that up here:
Comodo Firewall: These guys dropped out of no where and boast the title of the best free firewall. I'm using this right now... and I got to tell ya, I don't think that's an exaggeration. Gibson Research reports true stealth with it, so I'm insta-happy with it (https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2 <<Go there and click proceed after reading the blurb at the bottom to use Shields Up and have Gibson Research see what they can do to your computer). The downside is it's not very easy to use. Some of the rules are confusing, so I do not recommend this for beginners. Here it is:
Sunbelt-Kerio: This firewall is free, but it's like Zone Alarm in that after 30 days, a lot of it's features are disabled. I have no idea how easy this is to use, but I do know it's also supposed to be a decent firewall. It was the other recommended by BT users when Zone Alarm's engine was screwing up torrents. If anyone has any info on this firewall, let me know and I'll add it. Here's the download:
Ok, BitTorrent and IRC both uses a type of Peer to Peer protocol. This means you are directly connecting to other people who have the information you want, and they, in turn, are connecting to you for information. Bittorrent uses the BT protocol, IRC we use DCC protocol. When you want to connect with someone, you send them a connection request, and they in turn confirm it, and send a request back to you. After that, data can be exchanged. This is basically true for all networking.
Normally, networking acts on a client/server relation ship. In P2P (peer-to-peer), many times both computers act as both the client and the server. When your computer's connected to the internet, there really is quite a bit going on. Since you will be requesting, making, and allowing new connections all the time, you need a way to divide them up. This is where ports come in. Ok, what's a port?
This represents an end of your internet pipeline. Notice the grid (lets call it a net) inside. Each hole in the net is a port (note that there are a hell of a lot more than the number here). This keeps all the connections your making organized. Many of the low number ports are reserved for specific tasks (see this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_TCP_and_UDP_port_numbers), but ports 49152 thru 65535 are free for any use you want.
You should note that BT uses ports 6881-6999/tcp, udp by defalt.
IRC DCC should use 1024-5000/tcp, udp by defualt, and 113 for connecting.
(TCP and UDP are transfer protocols for the sending of data. TCP for reliability, UDP for burst broadcast. Important to know which to allow for some firewalls. It will be allow TCP, or allow both.)
What's this have to do with anything? Ok, this is where your firewall comes in.
Your firewall basicly blocks your ports on your computer. It then creates rules went to allow traffic in and out. Many times, you have to create the rules for specific programs like IRC and BT to 'punch a hole' in the firewall and allow the traffic through on the ports you specified.
Problem is your computer's firewall may not be the only one. You also have to worry about your router and your ISP. They both have firewalls of sorts, in that they reject traffic on certian ports.
For your router, this is where port forwarding comes in. This is where you log into your router and tell it that for any traffic from this port, send it to this computer. It is otherwise rejected, and your IRC/BT performs really bad if at all. (see this thread for Port Forwarding Information: http://www.stoptazmo.com/showthread.php?t=3957)
Your ISP may also block ports, in bowing to their corporate masters because you MAY use P2P for bad things, despite common ligitimate uses. This is usually to prevent BT from working. So the solution is to change the ports BT uses. However, in doing this you have to change your firewall and your router. XD
I'm tired again... hope this explains a lot of the questions I saw arise in my cleaning of this place. I open the thread to suggestions/corrections. Just PM me.