This guide will cover every step needed to get up and running with your own Discord bot, aimed at anyone who is new to Node.js or just unsure of where to start.


Since we’ll be using Discord.js as our library for interacting with the Discord API, you will need to have at least Node.js 6.0.0 or higher. If you are unsure of what version is currently installed running node -v will let you know.

This tutorial assumes minimal knowledge of node.js. All of the code used can be found in this repository.

Creating a Discord Application

First you’ll need to create a Discord app. Head over to and choose “New App”. Once your app is created, you’ll want to click “Create App Bot User”. This will give your bot a username and allow you to add it to servers.

Since Discord servers are free and easy to make, I recommend making one specifically for testing the bot. Once you do this, you can add the bot to your server by replacing “YOUR_CLIENT_ID” with the Client ID of your bot in the following url: 

Finally, in the App Bot User section, click to reveal your token. This token is used as the authentication for you bot to log in, so you’ll want to keep it secret. If you are using git and want to keep it hidden in a public repo, store it in a file named secret.json, which should look something like this:

{ "token": "YOUR_BOT_TOKEN" }

Then in your .gitignore file you can add secret.json on it’s own line, which will prevent git from staging the file. Using a json file will make it super simple to reference our token later on.

Configuring our Node.js Project

Head over to the directory for your project and run npm init to populate a basic package.json file. Next we’ll install the npm packages needed for this project:

Create a file named main.js, and add the following lines of code:

const secret = require('./secret.json')
const Discord = require('discord.js')
const client = new Discord.Client()

client.on('message', msg => {
    if (msg.content === '!hi') {
        msg.reply('Hello there!')

client.on('ready', () => {
    console.log(`${client.user.username} is ready to chat!`)

// This will let us know of any API errors encountered
client.on('error', error => console.log(error))


We can now start our bot with node main.js, and if everything is working properly you should be off to a riviting conversation with your bot.


Hopefully this serves as a starting ground for anyone new to node.js and struggling to get up and running. If you run into trouble as you add more complexity to your bot, Discord.js has a pretty active Discord server wher you can usually get quick help!

I’ll be adding a bit more depth to this guide shortly, including deploying your bot to a free AWS ec2 instance so your bot can be running 24/7.