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.

Contributing to an open source project is an unmatchable opportunity to improve and manifest programming skills. For issues that are good starting points to get involved in Instaloader development, as they do not require deep insight into Instaloader’s code base, have a look at our Issues labelled ‘good first issue’.

This document covers several ways of how you can contribute back to Instaloader.

Answering Questions

The easiest way to help out is to answer questions. If you are interested in answering questions regarding Instaloader, good places to begin are

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.

  • Even if it seems obvious, describe which behavior you expected instead of what actually happened.

  • If we have closed an issue apparently inadvertently or inappropriately, please let us know.

Writing Code or Improving the Documentation

Improvements of the Instaloader source or its documentation can be proposed as a Pull Request.

  • Please base your Pull Request on

    • master, which will be released with the next minor release, if it is

      • a bug fix that does not require extensive testing,

      • an improvement to the documentation,

    • upcoming/v4.X, if it is

      • a new feature,

      • a bug fix that does require thorough testing before being released to a final version.

  • All Pull Requests are analyzed by Pylint for error and syntax checking of the source and Mypy for type checking. You can run them locally with:

    pylint instaloader
    mypy -m instaloader
  • Improvements to the documentation are very welcome. The documentation is created with Sphinx, version 2, and can be build locally using:

    make -C docs html
  • Feel free to create an issue to make sure someone from the Instaloader team agrees that the change might be an improvement, or if you want to discuss your basic proposal, before working on a pull request.

Proposing Features

Instaloader’s goal is to mimic 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.

Prior spending effort on implementing a new feature, it might be appropriate to clarify how it could fit into the project’s scope or discuss implementation details. If you feel the need to do so, please create a “feature suggestion”.

  • 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.

  • Motivate the feature, i.e.

    • 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?

    • Describe already-working alternatives of the feature and how they compare to your proposed feature.

    • Briefly describe how your suggested feature conforms with Instaloader’s project goal.

  • Explain your solution ideas. Describe your ideas on how the feature could be implemented and the underlying problem could be solved. Also describe alternatives that you have considered.


Instaloader is proudly sponsored by

See Alex’ GitHub Sponsors page for how you can sponsor the development of Instaloader!

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 GitHub Sponsors page, a PayPal.Me link and a Bitcoin address.