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Cover image for Hosting a Discord bot on Repl.it

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! 🤓".

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}`));

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);

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

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!

Posted on by:

fizal619 profile

Fizal Sarif

@fizal619

Hi everyone! I'm a software engineer with a taste for infrastructure and front end development.

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
 

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?

 

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

 

Just followed you tutorial, it works nicely !

 

Would this work if you close the Uptime Robots tab?

 

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

 

can you do it on python?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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