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ARSC Really Simple Chat

A free and easy to handle web based online chat.

Download statistics

Yesterday, ARSC was downloaded 12 times, and 97,744 times since start of the project. See the detailed statistics.


You can find old news in the news archive.

Demo Chat

You can explain a chat for hours, but you will only know what it is all about if you use it. Visit the demo installation of ARSC and try it out!


Image: Seems like this will be the final logo. Many thanks to Mash <mash99 at web dot de>!
Seems like this will be the final logo. Many thanks to Mash <mash99 at web dot de>!

There are more logos and buttons. If you are interested in stunning webdesign templates with some of the best artwork I know, all for an affordable price, check out Sven Kaisers homepage,

What is ARSC?

One sentence abstract

ARSC is an easy to install, simple to handle, cross-browser and cross-platform compatible, high-performance open source web chat system written in PHP, using MySQL.

List of features

  • very easy installation
  • multiple languages supported
  • multiple browsers/platforms supported (even text-based ones)
  • comfortable administration interface
  • private rooms
  • two-leveled moderation system with message queue and Moderator/VIP roles
  • graphical smilies
  • freely definable layouts, with different layouts possible for individual rooms and/or users
  • ID-Cards for registered users, with individual guestbooks on every ID-Card
  • text-browser interface even allows chatting with braille screen readers
  • security: uses sha1 hashes for passwords and sessionids, and every single user input is checked against a regular expression of allowed values
  • works with PHP 4 and PHP 5
  • works with safe_mode = On and register_globals = Off

Extended description

Once installed on your webserver, ARSC provides a chat interface to the visitors of your site. Your visitors need no special plugins or additional software to chat, only their webbrowser. ARSC is licensed under the GPL, which means it is free (like in "free speech"). It also comes at no cost (like in "free beer"). You may even use it in your own software projects.

Chatting with ARSC is very comfortable. If you have a modern browser with frame support and JavaScript support enabled, ARSC makes use of these technologies. If you have an older browser, or you have JavaScript disabled, or even if you have a browser that does not support frames, you can still chat with ARSC. Let me say it this way: With ARSC, chatting on a webpage is possible with every known browser under the sun that is still in use nowadays.

In contrary to many other PHP/MySQL webchats, ARSC can be run using a non-forking socketserver to handle all message transport. Other chats use the httpd process to handle the message transport, what causes a big overhead, while the socketserver of ARSC works very ressource-friendly and can handle way more users. The server is completely written in PHP and thus does not need any special requirements besides a cgi-bin installation of PHP 4.1.0 or above. Current versions of PHP (4.3.x) have been tested and work. If you are not able to compile a cgi-bin version of PHP or you may not start a socketserver on your machine, ARSC still offers the 'traditional' message handling via the httpd process or even via meta refresh.

More information

To get a better idea of the installation and the technical skills required for setting ARSC up (it is really simple, trust me!), you should take a look at the installation instructions.


Important Links

Did ARSC make you happy?

Was ARSC what you were looking for? Are you happy to have a chat on your homepage now? Or did the sourcecode of ARSC help you improving your PHP skills? Maybe you even earn money from using ARSC, who knows?
If you take a moment to think about it, you might remember that you paid exactly nothing for my software. Well, if I made you happy with my software, maybe you wish to make me happy too - with a present. If you do so, then please visit my Amazon wishlist:
Use this one if you are from outside Germany
Use this one if you are from Germany

If you don't want to buy something for me, then I am absolutely fine with that - money does not lie on the streets as we say in Germany. But please take a look at the next paragraph, "Rate ARSC".


If you used ARSC, please take ca. 0.8 seconds of your time and use this form to rate it at

Wie funktioniert ARSC eigentlich?

Soeben erhielt ich eine eMail, in der mich ein PHP Programmierer fragte, wieso ARSC so flüssig läuft, wieso das ohne Meta Refresh funktioniert etc. Nachdem ich ihm das im Detail beantwortet hatte, dachte ich, es macht Sinn, das auch mal zentral festzuhalten. Hier also die eMail:

Der Trick ist, ein PHP Skript mit einer nicht endenden while Schleife zu schreiben, die bei jedem Durchlauf in einer MySQL Tabelle nachschaut, ob etwas neues gekommen ist, und es dann ausspuckt.

Ich halte das Beispiel aber mal einfacher:
 echo date("H:i:s")."<br>\n";
Wenn du das im Browser aufrufst (nimm am Besten erstmal den Mozilla), dann siehst du im Sekundentakt die Uhrzeit angezeigt, ganz flüssig und ohne Meta-Refresh etc.

Überraschend simpel, oder? :-)

Nun, das macht natürlich noch keinen Chat - du musst bei jedem Schleifendurchlauf prüfen, ob es neue Nachrichten in deiner MySQL Tabelle gibt.

Schau mal hier:

Da ist irgendwo die Zeile:
Das ist im Prinzip der Beginn der nicht endenden while Schleife.

Dann kommt nach einiger Zeit die Zeile:
$arsc_result = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM arsc_room_$arsc_room
               WHERE timeid > '$arsc_lastid'
               ORDER BY timeid ASC, id ASC");
Da holt er sich bei jedem Durchlauf die Nachrichten aus der Tabelle, die eine höhere "timeid" (das ist einfach der Zeitpunkt, an dem die Nachricht in den Chat geschickt wurde, in Millisekunden) haben als die letzte gepostete Nachricht, und postet diese Nachricht, merkt sich dabei die timeid der letzten Nachricht, und durchläuft wieder die Schleife.


Image: ARSC is partly hosted at SourceForce.
ARSC is partly hosted at SourceForce.

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Last update of this page: $Date: 2005-12-13 14:25:47 $

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