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InstaPy is an Instagram bot, developed by Tim Grossman. Tim describes his motivation and experiences developing the bot here.

What's an Instagram bot? Basically, you feed the bot your Instagram user/password, and it executes follows/unfollows/likes/comments on your behalf based on rules you set. (I set my bot to like one photo tagged with "#penguin" per-run)

InstaPy Screenshot

Great power, right? A client (yes, you can hire me!) asked me to integrate InstaPy into their swarm, and this recipe is the result.

InstaPy Requirements


Already deployed:



Setup data locations

We need a data location to store InstaPy's config, as well as its log files. Create /var/data/instapy per below

mkdir -p /var/data/instapy/logs

InstaPy Docker Swarm config

Create a docker swarm config file in docker-compose syntax (v3), something like the example below:

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version: '3'
    command: ["./wait-for", "selenium:4444", "--", "python", ""]

    # Modify the image to whatever Tim's image tag ends up as. I used funkypenguin/instapy for my build
    image: funkypenguin/instapy:latest

    # When using swarm, you can't use relative paths, so the following needs to be set to the full filesystem path to your logs and
    # Bind-mount, since now that we're using a public image, we can't "bake" our credentials into the image anymore
      - /var/data/instapy/logs:/code/logs
      - var/data/instapy/

    # This section allows docker to restart the container when it exits (either normally or abnormally), which ensures that
    # InstaPy keeps re-running. Tweak the delay to avoid being banned for excessive activity
        condition: any
        delay: 3600s

    image: selenium/standalone-chrome-debug
      - "5900:5900"


Setup unique static subnets for every stack you deploy. This avoids IP/gateway conflicts which can otherwise occur when you're creating/removing stacks a lot. See my list here.

Command your bot

Create a variation of at /var/data/instapy/ (the file we bind-mounted in the swarm config above)

Change at least the following:

insta_username = ''
insta_password = ''

Here's an example of my config, set to like a single penguin-pic per run:

insta_username = 'funkypenguin'
insta_password = 'followmemypersonalbrandisawesome'

dont_like = ['food','girl','batman','gotham','dead','nsfw','porn','slut','baby','tv','athlete','nhl','hockey','estate','music','band','clothes']
friend_list = ['therock','ruinporn']

# If you want to enter your Instagram Credentials directly just enter
# username=<your-username-here> and password=<your-password> into InstaPy
# e.g like so InstaPy(username="instagram", password="test1234")

bot = InstaPy(username='insta_username', password='insta_password', selenium_local_session=False)
bot.set_comments([u'Cool :penguin:!', u'Awesome :penguin:!!', u'Nice :penguin:!!'])

# OK, so go through my feed and like stuff, interacting with people I follow
# bot.like_by_feed(amount=3, randomize=True, unfollow=True, interact=True)

# Now find posts tagged as #penguin, and like 'em, commenting 50% of the time
bot.set_do_comment(True, percentage=50)
bot.set_comments([u'Cool :penguin:!', u'Awesome :penguin:!!', u'Nice :penguin:!!'])
bot.like_by_tags(['#penguin'], amount=1)

# goodnight, sweet bot


Destroy all humans

Launch the bot by running docker stack deploy instapy -c <path -to-docker-compose.yml>

While you're waiting for Docker to pull down the images, educate yourself on the risk of a robotic uprising:

After swarm deploys, you won't see much, but you can monitor what InstaPy is doing, by running docker service logs instapy_web.

You can also watch the bot at work by VNCing to your docker swarm, password "secret". You'll see Selenium browser window cycling away, interacting with all your real/fake friends on Instagram :)

Chef's notes 📓

  1. Amazingly, my bot has ended up tagging more non-penguins than actual penguins. I don't understand how Instagrammers come up with their hashtags! 

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Learn more about working with me here.

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