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Hosting a Discord bot on Repl.it

fizal619 profile image Fizal Sarif ・4 min read

If you're an avid discord user you've definitely seen a bot (or 10) in the server(s) you're a part of. If you're a programmer of some sorts (hobby, college student, or tired professional) you've probably thought "I could make this better! đŸ€“".

This article is great if:

  • You have no access to a credit card and want to host your projects somewhere your friends (and potential employers) can access them 24/7.
  • You have the coolest discord bot idea and you're able to code rock paper scissors in some programming language. I used JavaScript for this example but this concept can be applied to Ruby, Python, Java, etc.
  • You know how package managers work for whatever programming language you'll try this with.
  • You're a cheapo like me and want to run a discord bot or a hundred discord bots for FREE!

Turn back now if you need a bot with voice capabilities. We'll be using Repl.it to host our bot and it's a pain to install ffmpeg on it.

Step 1: Create a Bot User

a) Sign into your discord account on https://discordapp.com and create a new application here. Then add a bot user to that application:
screenshot of a bot user

b) Next save your bot's token for later use:
Save your bot's token

c) The last thing we need from this portal is your bot's invite URL. This determines what your bot has permission to do. At the very least it needs permission to send messages. Make sure to invite it to your server using that URL!
Get your bot's invite url.

Step 2: Head to Repl.it

If you haven't heard of it Repl.it is an online IDE of sorts that lets you create and share small projects. It's pretty amazing and has constantly been adding features to help you do more online. We call these repls.

a) Create a new JavaScript repl.
Create a new Nodejs Repl

b) First thing we need to make sure a webserver is running in our repl. Repl.it will kill a running repl when you close the browser tab unless it's serving web content. Then Repl will keep it alive for an hour even if you close the tab. Paste the following code in your repl and Repl.it will automatically install packages for you and start an express webserver.

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const port = 3000;

app.get('/', (req, res) => res.send('Hello World!'));

app.listen(port, () => console.log(`Example app listening at http://localhost:${port}`));
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If you look to the left, a file called package.json should have appeared.
packagejson
This file holds any packages you require in your repl. Plus any other scripts we might make. Just like a regular NodeJs project.

I chose express as my webserver. If you're working with Python you'd probably use Flask, Ruby would have Sinatra. For java however I would recommend investigating com.sun.net.httpserver.HttpServer for a speedy start up time.

c) Next we need to instantiate our bot.

const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const port = 3000;

app.get('/', (req, res) => res.send('Hello World!'));

app.listen(port, () => console.log(`Example app listening at http://localhost:${port}`));

// ================= START BOT CODE ===================
const Discord = require('discord.js');
const client = new Discord.Client();

client.on('ready', () => {
  console.log(`Logged in as ${client.user.tag}!`);
});

client.on('message', msg => {
  if (msg.content === 'ping') {
    msg.reply('pong!');
  }
});
// You really don't want your token here since your repl's code
// is publically available. We'll take advantage of a Repl.it 
// feature to hide the token we got earlier. 
client.login(process.env.DISCORD_TOKEN);
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ping pong is sort of like the hello world for bots. Once we start this up you should see your bot online in your server. If you send the word ping in your server the bot should reply with pong.

After you've pasted that code snippet in, don't click restart yet!

d) Create a .env file

On the left create a file called .env, the content of the file should be:

DISCORD_TOKEN=your_token
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This will help us hide your token from the rest of the world. Read more about it here in Repl.it's Docs.

Now that the proper credentials are in, you can click restart now. Your bot should be online!
bot online
it alive boss

Congrats! You can peruse the discord.js documentation to implement all the cool bot features you can dream of!

Step 3: Keepin' our bot alive

stayin' alive

As I mentioned before Repl.it puts repls to sleep. Here's a note from their docs about that:

Once deployed, the server will continue to run in the background, even after you close the browser tab. The server will stay awake and active until an hour after its last request, after which it will enter a sleeping stage. Sleeping repls will be woken up as soon as it receives another request; there is no need to re-run the repl. However, if you make changes to your server, you will need to restart the repl in order to see those changes reflected in the live version.

We're going to use Uptime Robot to keep our bot online.

a) Copy the url for your repl's webserver.
url

b) Create an account on Uptime Robot and create a monitor to ping your server every 5 minutes
keepin dem alive

That's it! We're done. Have fun with your 24/7 hosted bot. Sometimes the bot might be offline. But for 99% of the day it'll be online thanks to Uptime Robot.

Happy Coding Folks!

Discussion (33)

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aryamaan08 profile image
Aryamaan08

Hey,
I made mine using Python and unfortunately it didn't work. I'm guessing it's because I can't see the token because it is in .env and Uptime Monitor is not the owner. I even tried it without the .env, it still didn't work can you help me?

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thediamondcg profile image
Diamond

Python isn't necessarily the language for back-end web apps. Either use Go or Node.js. Go is phenomenal for the job because it's incredibly fast, yet its size is bloated so not good for storage-sensitive applications. Luckily, servers aren't storage-sensitive which is where it's supposed to run :) On the other hand, Node.js is delightfully tiny, only as big as the text file you made to run it. The down side is that it's much slower than languages like Go.

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mataskrivickas profile image
Force Studios - Comms Open

Unfortunately, your using Python, that is the problem. This is meant for discord.js. I would recommend going to here: dev.to/harshitojha/host-a-discord-...

It is a python version of this

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xghp3x profile image
Explox

I used Node.js for this and it works. The guy in the tutorial did the same thing. So I recommend you try to use Node.js and see how it goes

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aplha101 profile image
Aplha101

I used this method mine is working but where can I add more features to it?

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botmaker349 profile image
botmaker349 • Edited

/home/runner/trying-trying-tryimg/index.js:8
const express = require('express');
^

SyntaxError: Identifier 'express' has already been declared
Hint: hit control+c anytime to enter REPL.
îș§
help pls

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thediamondcg profile image
Diamond

You have already set up express as a variable, and now can't change it because it's ALREADY a constant.

P.S: This is a sign you cant' understand the code you're writing. If you don't understand the code you are writing, then you NEED to go to the basics and learn JavaScript itself before delving into complicated topics like Node.js and APIs.

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centanomics profile image
Cent

Thanks for this! I've used Repl.it before but never for hosting purposes

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hassan_bh profile image
Hassan-BH

Yes of course.

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paaaap profile image
pAAAAp

Would this work if you close the Uptime Robots tab?

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aryasarukkai profile image
Arya Sarukkai

With this, people can access the code and token of this bot though, right?

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bestplayerxu profile image
bestPlayerXu

no. the .env file is the only private-hidden file.

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duckyisgood profile image
duckyisgood

can you do it on python?

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avuleee profile image
avuleee

You have to go to the Secret Enviroment and type in "DISCORD_TOKEN" as the key and your bot's token in value for .env.

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venomoussteam81 profile image
VenomousSteam81

Hey, they made it so people cant make .env files anymore. You have to use Secrets (Environment Variables) tab on the side. Can you make an updated version?

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venomoussteam81 profile image
VenomousSteam81

Nevermind. I figured out a solution!

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gio2chi profile image
Gio2chi

It still works?

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warengonzaga profile image
Waren Gonzaga

Is there any limits on users? What if you host a music discord bot in your repl it will buffer?

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hassan_bh profile image
Hassan-BH

I don't know how to thank you dude.
You rock!

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themegacoders profile image
THEMEGACODERS

To do it with python I just made it http then added the end f it and it worked

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seenloveswumpus profile image
Seenloveswumpus

Hi, I have a repl team and it not working when I put the URL in to uptime robot. (not keeping online)

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misterjack49 profile image
Joris Mansart

Just followed you tutorial, it works nicely !

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cyrah profile image
Cyrah Aerin Cirineo

so how do i add a prefix to the bot ?!

ive been trying to do it for awhile but it hasnt been working

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codertrek profile image
CoderStarTrek

Does this depend on your computer to be online at all times?

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fizal619 profile image
Fizal Sarif Author

It does not! Your bot is hosted on replit's servers so you can close the chrome tab even you're done setting it up

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1nterception profile image
Harrison • Edited

Guys this only works on Node.js(as far as i know) and if uptimerobot.com is not working then check the link or pause and start again.

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mlgmemezboi profile image
Existable

How do I make it so then I can add more commands instead of just the ping command?

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mataskrivickas profile image
Force Studios - Comms Open
  1. Get discord.js by downloading node.js
  2. I would recommend this code if you want a 2nd answer from the person and bot:

client.on('message', msg => {
if (msg.content === 'PERSONS MESSAGE') {
msg.reply('BOTS REPLY');
} else if (msg.content === 'PERSONS MESSAGE') {
msg.reply('BOTS REPLY')
}
});

// This is the full message command

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jakyt124 profile image
JAKT

Thanks! Now I can keep my bot on 24/7.

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xv1rus profile image
xV1rus

What if I wrote the code in Visual Studio?

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mataskrivickas profile image
Force Studios - Comms Open

It's good, i'm pretty sure you're using "Atom" as a coding platform. Visual Code & Atom is same. Almost every coding software is the same and can be used on as long as you have discord.js downloaded by downloading node.js

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xghouftw profile image
XGHouFTW

What will the repl instantiating code be for a java project?

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fizal619 profile image
Fizal Sarif Author

I have a repo with a working java version. github.com/fizal619/MerlinBot
Feel free to fork it!

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juanpi2205 profile image
Juanpi2205

Hello, I see all the steps But the bot does not turn on I am grabbing it in Repl.it Do I have to download something ??? I install Discord.js, Express and Node.js