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How to Use the Discord API with Python: An In-Depth Guide

The Discord API provides a myriad of opportunities for developers to integrate with Discord, build bots, automate servers, and enhance communities using Python. In this comprehensive 2000+ word guide, we‘ll dive deep into Discord API capabilities, prerequisites, authentication, endpoints, libraries, example projects, and advanced techniques – equipping you with everything you need to know to get started.

Why Use the Discord API with Python?

Before we dig into the code, it‘s worth highlighting some of the cool things developers have built using the Python Discord API:

  • Mee6 – One of the most popular Discord bots with over 250 million users. Provides moderation, leveling, music, Twitch, Reddit and other integrations.

  • YAGPDB – Feature-packed bot with 100+ commands for moderation, logging, role management, reminders, and more. Used on over 600,000 Discord servers.

  • – Prominent API wrapper library that enabled many of the earliest Discord bots in Python. Offers easy abstractions for bots and integrations.

  • disStream – Music streaming bot with playlist queuing, YouTube/Twitch support, and sound filters like bass boosting.

  • – Bot leveraging machine learning for automated moderation of toxic content and spam. Showcases AI integrations.

  • discord-feedback – Customer feedback bot allowing users to submit reviews, ratings, and feedback via Discord DMs conveniently.

And these are just a handful of examples – developers have integrated Discord in creative ways with platforms ranging from Reddit and GitHub to apps like Spotify using the flexibility of Python.

Prerequisites for Using the Discord API

Before diving into any coding, you‘ll want to cover these prerequisite steps:

Create a Discord Account

  • Obviously need a Discord account – sign up for free at if you don‘t have one.

Create a Discord Server

  • Create a server in Discord for testing. This gives you full admin access instead of relying on another server.

  • For public/production bots, you‘ll later want to generate invite links to add to other servers.

Enable Developer Mode

  • In Discord, go to User Settings > Advanced > Developer Mode to unlock additional options.

Install Python

  • Have Python installed and ready to code. Discord API supports Python 3.8 or higher.

  • Optionally set up a virtual environment to isolate dependencies.

Obtaining Discord API Credentials

To make API calls, we need to generate credentials:

Create a Discord Application

Create a Bot Account

  • Under the Bot tab in your application, add a new bot account.

  • You can customize the username, avatar etc.

Copy the Token

  • Reveal and copy the bot‘s token under the Bot tab – this is used to authenticate API requests.

  • Keep this secure like a password. Anyone with the token can control your bot.

Get Channel IDs

  • Under your Discord server, right click on a channel and select "Copy ID" to get the channel ID.

  • We‘ll use channel IDs to specify where to send messages.

Authenticating with the Discord API

With the token and channel IDs, we can now authenticate. There are two approaches:

Bot Tokens

  • Used for bot accounts to authenticate with full permissions.

  • Pass the token in the Authorization header:

headers = {
    ‘Authorization‘: ‘Bot ‘ + bot_token

User Tokens

  • Can be used for user accounts but has limited permissions.

  • Generated under the OAuth2 tab in your Discord dev app.

  • Authenticate similarly:

headers = {
    ‘Authorization‘: ‘Bearer ‘ + user_token

Bot tokens are more common for full API access. User tokens allow interacting on behalf of the user.

Common Discord API Endpoints

The Discord API exposes a number of endpoints for different entities like channels, messages, users etc.

Some common endpoints include:

  • Channels/channels/{}
  • Messages/channels/{}/messages
  • Reactions/channels/{}/messages/{}/reactions
  • Guilds/guilds/{}
  • Members/guilds/{}/members

We perform operations like sending messages by making requests to these endpoints.

Discord API Wrapper Libraries

While we can call the raw API directly, Python wrapper libraries can simplify things:

  • – The most popular library with an intuitive object-oriented design.
  • disnake – A fork of updated for the latest API changes.
  • hikari – Performance focused wrapper focused on speed.
  • nextcord – Asynchronous API wrapper built for Python 3.10+.

These provide easy abstractions for bots, commands, events etc. saving development time versus raw requests.

Sending Messages

Let‘s see some code for sending a message using the /channels/{}/messages endpoint:

import requests

url = "" 

data = {"content": "Hello world!"}

headers = {
    "Authorization": "Bot OTI..." 

response =, headers=headers, json=data)

We use a POST request with the content body payload to send our message.

Retrieving Messages

To retrieve messages, we GET from the same endpoint and parse the response:

response = requests.get(url, headers=headers)

json_data = response.json()

for message in json_data:

The response contains an array of message objects we can iterate through.

Editing Messages

To edit a message, we need the value and use a PATCH request:

message_id = "876543234567891234"

url = f"{channel_id}/messages/{message_id}"

data = {"content": "New message contents!"}

response = requests.patch(url, headers=headers, json=data)

Reacting to Messages

We can react using the /reactions/{emoji}/@me endpoint:

url = f"{channel_id}/messages/{message_id}/reactions/👍/@me"

response = requests.put(url, headers=headers)

This adds a thumbs up reaction to the message from the bot.

Deleting Messages

Finally, we can delete with a DELETE request:

url = f"{channel_id}/messages/{message_id}"

response = requests.delete(url, headers=headers) 

The above should give you a good overview of common messaging operations. Now let‘s discuss working with the WebSocket API.

Leveraging the WebSocket API

The Discord API provides two connectivity options:

REST API – Used for most operations like sending messages.

WebSocket API – For listening to real-time events like messages.

WebSockets allow creating event-driven bots that react to live events vs polling the REST API.

For example, here is a simple on_message event handler:

import discord

class MyBot(discord.Client):

    async def on_ready(self):
       print(‘Logged in as {0}!‘.format(self.user))

    async def on_message(self, message):
        print(‘Message from {}: {0.content}‘.format(message))

bot = MyBot()‘token‘)

This responds to messages immediately instead of waiting for an API call return.

Handling API Errors

When calling the API, we should handle errors gracefully:

    response =, headers=headers, json=data)
except requests.exceptions.HTTPError as err:

Some common errors include:

  • 50001 – Missing access to resource
  • 50035 – Invalid request body
  • 429 – Rate limited

See the docs for details on errors.

Building a Discord Bot in Python

Let‘s walk through a sample bot to showcase core capabilities:

Bot Features:

  • Send greeting on startup
  • Reply to messages containing "help"
  • Delete messages with banned words
  • Add reaction emoji responses
  • Reply with images/emojis
# Imports and initialization

import os
import discord
from dotenv import load_dotenv

TOKEN = os.getenv(‘DISCORD_TOKEN‘)

intents = discord.Intents.default()
intents.message_content = True 
client = discord.Client(intents=intents)

# Event handlers

async def on_ready():
   channel = client.get_channel(1234567890)  
   await channel.send("I‘m alive!")

async def on_message(message):

   if "help" in message.content:
      await"Contact our support team for assistance!")

   elif check_for_banned_words(message.content):
      await message.delete()

   # Reactions   
   emojis = ["👍", "❤️"]

   for emoji in emojis: 
       await message.add_reaction(emoji)

# Run bot    

This showcases a simple but functional Discord bot in Python responding to events and commands.

Advanced Discord API Tips and Tricks

Let‘s round out this guide with some pro tips:

  • Use member scraping with LISTENER intents to get join dates, boosting status etc. which aren‘t in the default data.

  • Leverage natural language processing and AI like TensorFlow for automated moderation based on message semantics vs keywords.

  • Schedule lucrative ads, announcements etc. using cron jobs or schedulers like APScheduler for optimal timing.

  • Implement custom logic protecting your bot from abuse like rate limiting individual users.

  • Build a web dashboard with Flask or FastAPI for controlling your bot via HTTP vs just Discord.

  • Use multithreading to parallelize computationally intensive tasks like generating analytics reports.

  • Create helper functions and abstractions around the API calls you use most often.

Hacking together some of these more advanced capabilities can really separate your bot from the crowd.

Final Thoughts on the Discord API

The Discord API provides awesome opportunities to build bots and tools that enhance the Discord experience for communities and servers. Paired with the versatility of Python, developers have an amazing foundation for bringing creative integrations and automation to Discord‘s 100+ million users.

I hope this 2000+ word deep dive equips you with the prerequisites, authentication, endpoint knowledge, examples, and techniques needed to start leveraging the Discord API in your own projects. The communities using your creations will thank you!

Some final resources worth exploring as you continue your journey:

Now – go forth and code up something awesome! The Python Discord community can‘t wait to see what you build.

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