IRC is a client to server protocol. Multiple clients connect to one server, called the IRC Server, and the server handles communications between the clients. Each client announces who it is through its hostmask. When a user connects through a client that connects directly to the server, the hostmask shows their nick and their IP, though the IP is usually hexxed before sending to other users. When a user connects through an indirect method, such as through Mibbit, the indirect client sends its own IP instead of sending the normal user unless WebIRC is implemented by both the client and the server. For IRC, IPs are extremely useful for making sure users do not disbehave. Without WebIRC implemented, the users of the indirect client will be banned more often for the actions of others or might not be allowed to join the server because too many users of that IP are connected at once.