A cloak is a custom hostmask that replaces your client hostname or IP address, as shown in IRC operational messages or /whois.

For example, the hostmask might appear with a cloak as jsmith@user/jsmith.

A cloak can help other users and bots identify you simply and consistently. It can also help limit the exposure of your IP address on the network, although it does not necessarily provide anonymity or prevent the discovery of your IP address, see below.

As an individual, you can get a generic user cloak in the form of user/<account-name>. If you are involved with a registered project or community, you may be able to get a cloak that indicates your affiliation with that group.

You may also sometimes see some temporary or gateway cloaks associated with gateway services, such as when using our Tor hidden service. These only last for the duration that the user is connected through that service and help users of the service be differentiated from each other. You cannot request these cloaks.

Generic user cloaks

Accounts that have a verified email address are automatically assigned a generic user cloak. If your account name (the nickname you registered with) contains characters that are not valid in a hostname (e.g. underscores or brackets), a colon and number will be added to the end to help ensure uniqueness. If your account does not have a cloak, or if it has a cloak and you wish to change the nickname in it, you will need to contact staff. This is to prevent abuse.

Generic bot cloaks

If you run a bot on the network, it is encouraged to register an account for it that is separate from your personal user account. It is also encouraged to get a bot cloak for your bot’s account by contacting staff. Staff will likely ask you to verify that you own the account by having you PM a specific message from the bot (or a connection using its account).

Bot cloaks look like user/<your-account-name>/bot/<bot-account-name> and help others to find you if something goes wrong with the bot.

Project or community cloaks

Projects and communities that are aligned with our mission are eligible for group registrations. One of the perks of group registration is the ability to request cloaks for participants.

Getting project or community cloaks

If you are involved with a registered project or community, you may request a cloak indicating your affiliation. Rules and procedures for project or community cloaks vary by group. For help with this, ask a group contact for your project or community. If your project has listed group contacts publicly, they will be listed as “Public contacts” in /msg ChanServ INFO <channel>. If not, ask for help in the relevant channel.

Instructions for Group Contacts

If your project or community has had an official group registration approved, then you are probably able to request cloaks for your users and contributors. Registered projects are represented by Group Contacts (also known as GCs). Only these people have the right to request cloaks for group members. If you are a GC, then you will have a standing invite to #libera-communities where you may request cloaks for projects that you are a registered GC for.

While it is not mandatory, we do recommend having some internal standards for your users to meet to be eligible for your project’s cloaks. Bearers of your cloaks are seen by others as representatives of your community and as such the bearer’s behaviour will reflect onto the reputation of your project or community.

Re-identifying with NickServ

Assigned cloaks must be associated with an account and will not appear if you are not identified. If you are not using SASL or a server password in your client, you may need to re-identify with NickServ before getting cloaked or before the cloak is active. See /msg NickServ HELP IDENTIFY for more information.

Checking your cloak

You should see your cloaked hostmask in /who <yournick>, in /whois <yournick>, in /join or /part messages, and upon connection to the network.

You may see your own IP address when you /whois yourself. This is visible only to you and network staff, and is not part of the hostmask visible to others users.

Removing your cloak

Cloak removal is not automated. To remove your user cloak, contact staff for help. You can also request for your project or community affiliation cloak to be reset to a generic user cloak. In most cases, staff will impose a cooldown of several weeks before you can personally request a cloak change again.

Anonymity and privacy

Once you are cloaked, only you and Libera.Chat staff can see your connecting host. Staff will refuse requests to disclose the IP addresses, host names, or connection metadata of cloaked users as per Libera.Chat’s privacy policy.

While a cloak helps limit the exposure of your IP address, other tools can more reliably provide a greater degree of privacy protection, including bouncers, cloud-based hosts, and Tor. To connect to Libera.Chat via Tor, see Connecting to Libera.Chat.

Additionally, your IP address can be exposed if your client features a link preview feature, DCC functionality or similar.

Limitations of cloaks

When using a cloak, it is strongly recommended to use SASL instead of /msg NickServ identify to log into your account. SASL allows you to automatically log in and be cloaked before your connection is visible to the rest of the Libera.Chat network, which prevents IP address exposures like this from happening:

--> jsmith ( has joined #channel
<-- jsmith ( has quit (Changing host)
--> jsmith (~jsmith@user/jsmith) has joined #channel

When using SASL, consider ensuring that your client disconnects if it doesn’t authenticate; some clients do not do this by default and must be specifically configured to do so. This ensures that your IP address will not be exposed whenever NickServ is briefly unavailable due to maintenance.