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(also network split)

Netsplit definition

A netsplit transpires when communication disruptions between servers within an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) network lead to the network fragmenting into two or more distinct networks. As a result of a netsplit, users in a specific segment of the network become disconnected from those in other segments, hindering their ability to communicate. Netsplits are generally temporary, and normal communication resumes once the servers reestablish their connections.

See also: packet capture, cyberattack

Netsplit examples

  • Server failure: A hardware or software issue with one or more servers in the IRC network can lead to a netsplit.
  • Connectivity issues: Problems with the internet connection, such as packet loss or high latency, can cause communication disruptions between servers, resulting in a netsplit.

Comparing netsplit to other similar terms

Netsplit vs. DDoS attack: While both events can cause communication disruptions, a netsplit is an unintentional event due to technical issues, while a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious act aimed at overwhelming a server or network with traffic.

Pros and cons of netsplits


  • Temporary: Netsplits are typically short-lived and resolve automatically once the connection between servers is restored.
  • Isolated: A netsplit usually affects only a part of the IRC network, limiting its impact.


  • Communication disruption: Netsplits can interrupt communication between users, causing inconvenience and frustration.
  • Potential for abuse: Malicious users may take advantage of netsplits to impersonate other users and gain unauthorized access to IRC channels.

Tips for dealing with netsplits

  • Be patient: Wait for the netsplit to resolve and the servers to reconnect.
  • Verify user identities: When a netsplit ends, make sure to confirm the identities of users who rejoin the IRC channel to avoid potential impersonation attempts.