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The SASL module allows you to authenticate to an IRC network via SASL. This is preferable to using perform or nickserv because you can auth to services before you are even visible on the server.

This module supports the EXTERNAL SASL mechanism if you set up a certificate with the cert module. Once cert is properly enabled and setup, you can set the SASL module to use the EXTERNAL mechanism.

Screenshot of the web UI of the SASL module


/msg *sasl Help [<search term>]
Generate this help output, optionally search for word/phrase in this output.
/msg *sasl Mechanism [mechanism[ ...]]
Set the mechanisms to be attempted (in order). The following mechanisms are available:
    TLS certificate, for use with the *cert module. Cert must be setup, and the network must support this mechanism.
    Plain text negotiation; this should always work if the network supports SASL
/msg *sasl RequireAuth [yes|no]
Don't connect unless SASL authentication succeeds
/msg *sasl Set <username> [<password>]
Set username and password for the mechanisms that need them.
The username should match the NickServ accountname you wish to log into. This is a mandatory argument (things wrapped in <>).
The password should match the NickServ password associated with the accountname, and is case-sensitive. This is an optional argument (things wrapped in []).


Basic configuration of the *sasl module. First, be sure the SASL module is loaded:

/query *status
loadmod sasl
<*status> Loaded module [sasl] [/home/znc/.local/lib/znc/]

Configure the module:

/query *sasl
mechanism external plain
<*sasl> Current mechanisms set: EXTERNAL PLAIN
set MyNickservName pa$$w0rd
<*sasl> Username has been set to [MyNickservName]
<*sasl> Password has been set to [pa$$w0rd]

SASL won't be used until you reconnect to the server:

/query *status
<*status> Jumping to the next server in the list...
Please note
  • The password is saved unencrypted, so don't make your ZNC data directory readable to other users! If you are using a ZNC bouncer provided by someone else, be sure you trust them with your password.
  • If you don't use SSL, the password is transmitted to the IRC server in plain text. There's no problem with sending an unencrypted password inside an SSL secured connection, so if you're using SSL you probably don't need to bother worrying about anything other than the PLAIN mechanism.
Nowadays, most networks support either SASL PLAIN or EXTERNAL. DH-BLOWFISH and DH-AES support were removed due to people believing them to be more secure than SASL PLAIN + SSL, which is not the case. If you use SASL PLAIN with an SSL connection, you'll be fine.

Support for SASL

Many networks support SASL, including:

  • ChatSpike
  • EsperNet
  • Freenode
  • PirateIRC
  • Rizon
  • Snoonet
  • ChatLounge

A network not listed here may or may not support SASL.
OFTC does not support SASL PLAIN, but does support CertFP/SASL EXTERNAL (source reference). See Cert for more information.