Contributing to Instaloader

As an open source project, Instaloader heavily depends on the contributions from its community. In this document, we advise on how you may help Instaloader to become an even greater tool.

Instaloader’s development is organized on GitHub, where Issues and Pull Requests are discussed.

Reporting Bugs

If you encounter a bug, do not hesitate to report it in our Issue Tracker. When reporting a problem, please keep the following in mind:

  • Ensure you use the latest version of Instaloader. The currently-installed version can be found out with instaloader --version.

  • Check whether there is a valid solution in our Troubleshooting section.

  • Briefly check whether the bug has already been reported. If you find an issue reporting the same bug you encountered, comment there rather than opening a new issue. However, if unsure, please create a new issue.

  • State how the bug can be reproduced, i.e. how Instaloader was invoked when the problem occurred (of course, you may anonymize profile names etc.).

  • Include all error messages and tracebacks in the report.

  • If not obvious, describe which behavior you expected instead of what actually happened.

  • If you think an issue has been closed accidentally or inappropriately, feel free to reopen it.

Writing Code or Improving the Documentation

Changes of the Instaloader source can be proposed as a Pull Request. There are only few things to consider:

  • Sometimes, the most current code is not in the master branch. Check that you forked from the most recent branch.

  • We use Pylint for error and syntax checking of the source. The file .travis.yml in the project’s root directory shows how it is invoked. Note that sometimes it might be better to disable a warning rather than adapting the code to Pylint’s desires.

  • The documentation source is located in the docs folder. The file cli-options.rst is merely an RST-formatted copy of instaloader --help output, of which the source is in instaloader/

  • Feel free to contact us, even if you “only” have Proof-of-Concepts or not-fully integrated changes. They already might be an advance for the project.

Suggesting Features

Instaloader’s goal is to mimick the browser’s behavior to access the data that is available through the Instagram web interface, pack this data into complete and easily-(re)usable python objects, and provide a user interface for the most common downloading and metadata collection tasks, without changing any of the online data.

If you have an idea of how Instaloader should be enhanced, but do not want to implement the feature yourself, feel free to open a ticket in our Issue Tracker. Please consider the following:

  • Instaloader already has plenty of features. Check the documentation beforehand to ensure your desired suggestion is not already implemented.

  • Briefly ensure that your idea has not already been suggested. If you find an issue suggesting the same or a similar feature, share your thoughts in a comment there, instead of opening a new issue.

  • If possible, provide us a use case of the feature: How could the user invoke the new function? Which problem would it solve? If new information is obtained, how would it be further processed?

  • If not obvious, briefly motivate how your suggested feature conforms with Instaloader’s project goal.

  • Be patient. Naturally, bugs and pull requests have a higher priority than feature suggestions. Keep in mind that this is a free software project, and unfortunately we only have limited time to work on it.


It is a pleasure for us to share our Instaloader to the world, and we are proud to have attracted such an active and motivating community, with so many users who share their suggestions and ideas with us. Buying a community-sponsored beer or coffee from time to time is very likely to further raise our passion for the development of Instaloader.

For donations, we provide a PayPal.Me link and a Bitcoin address.

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