Mirror Instagram accounts on Pixelfed https://pixel.nogafam.es/mirrors
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Instagram -> Pixelfed Mirror in Python (3+)

This Python scripts with a simple HTTP API to use it, can mirror multiple accounts from Instagram to your Pixelfed instance.


Mirroring Instagram accounts will copy (clone) the images and videos from Instagram to your server, thus moving the data sovereignty to you as an Admin.

Always make sure you mirror accounts whos content is not strictly copyrighted (or branded) and keep the tagging system of the source code that marks accounts on Pixelfed as Mirrors.

Users of your Pixelfed instance have to know this accounts are not real accounts as someone on Instagram could create a real Pixelfed account in the future.


  • You need an Instagram account to make this bot work.
  • A Pixelfed instance you own. It must be hosted or managed by you (you need shell access for php artisan commands)
  • Python 3+ installed on the same machine as the Pixelfed instance (this is easy, mostly all standard Debian based Linux systems have python3)
  • A bit more disk space for Pixelfed media storage. (It depends on how many accounts you mirror and how often that accounts post on IG)
  • Patch 1 file on Pixelfed deployed code (being on docker or not)

What can you mirror?

  • Posts with images (multiple images support).
  • Posts with videos (only 1 video).
  • Each posts captions (post description) is represented as splitted comments.

What can't you mirror (yet) ?

  • Stories. (will support that soon)


Patch some files

As i said on the Pre-requisites, you will need to patch the following files on Pixelfed running code:

This patch is needed to disable Pixelfed API rate limiting completely as it might pop-up when using your mirror bot. We asume your Pixelfed installation is at /var/www (if it isn't, just change the steps to match your installation)


Add return 99999999; after the line where it checks if the user is authenticated.

     * Resolve the number of attempts if the user is authenticated or not.
     * @param  \Illuminate\Http\Request  $request
     * @param  int|string  $maxAttempts
     * @return int
    protected function resolveMaxAttempts($request, $maxAttempts)
        if (Str::contains($maxAttempts, '|')) {
            $maxAttempts = explode('|', $maxAttempts, 2)[$request->user() ? 1 : 0];

        if (! is_numeric($maxAttempts) && $request->user()) {
            return 99999999;
            $maxAttempts = $request->user()->{$maxAttempts};

        return (int) $maxAttempts;

Setup the environment

  1. Clone the project somewhere git clone https://git.nogafam.es/nogafam/ig-pixelfed-mirror.git
  2. Create needed directories for the environment
cd ig-pixelfed-mirror/
mkdir cache db headers

# ----
# "cache" will keep the cached html/json/jpg/mp4 files from Instagram (it can be safely cleaned, it doesn't need backup)
# "db" will keep files containing information about your mirrored accounts
#   (such as: login credentials, cookies for Pixelfed, IG posts that was already added (to avoid duplicates), etc...)
# "headers" is a directory you need to fill with TXT plain text files containing some key headers from Instagram Web sessions
#   (I explain this on step 5!)
  1. Copy config.json.example to config.json and configure to your needs. Make sure you remove the comments from the file because Python doesn't like them.
  2. Copy scripts/user_create.example to scripts/user_create. This script runs the php artisan user:create command with the given positional parameters to automatically create local Pixelfed accounts with forced email verification. Adapt to your needs.
  3. Log in to your Instagram account on a Browser (with remember ticked ON), open your browser's developer console at "Network" tab, navigate throught IG a bit and copy the Request Headers of any request done to instagram.com. Make sure there is X-IG-App-ID, X-IG-WWW-Claim, Cookie headers set.
# create a new headers file on "headers/" on your working directory
#  you can view an example at "headers.example" file
vim headers/1.txt

# ----
# 1. Add the headers you copied from the browser.
# 2. Keep only the "X-IG-App-ID, X-IG-WWW-Claim, Cookie" headers,
#   "User-Agent" might be also good to keep (to match the browser)
#   (It uses a common User-Agent by default)
# -
# Done editing

Create as much headers TXT files as you wish. It will be used randomly on requests to Instagram by the mirror bot.

Run the server

The server is just a simple HTTP Python server that acts as an API to manage your mirrors.

¡¡IMPORTANT: run on the project root path!!

python3 server.py will run the server API at Optionally, you can set a binding port with a positional argument like this: python3 server.py 8081

API Documentation

List accounts:


List accounts in a pretty HTML/CSS interface:


Add a new Instagram account to mirror. This is done syncronously until it finishes adding account information, once it's done, it calls update asyncronously.


Update Instagram account/s mirror on Pixelfed (mirrors new content). This is done fully asyncronously

# Update just the given account

# API supports wildcard to update all accounts mirrors
curl '*/update'`

Configure parameters of the Pixelfed account (on local mirror file-based DB)

# Get the value of a parameter (except: password, cookie)

# Set the value of a parameter
#  this keys are inmutable: name, username, password, cookie


# ------------------
# "sched" key sets a weight schedule so you can make an account update less often.
#  For example: if you set the value to "3", only 1 times out of 3 (counted) will actually update the account
#  "sched_now" is an automatic variable that counts the current status (used when "sched" is set).
#  This will skip the account on wildcard or single /update action, until the count hits it's max value ("sched")
#  As in the example above (sched = 3), you would set this value like this:

# ------------------

Log in or log out the account from Pixelfed.

curl '*/login'
curl '*/logout'

In case of repeated posts or disaster, prune/nuke all Pixelfed posts from the given account.


Automatically updating posts of mirrored accounts

You have to create a cronjob or systemd timer (or whatever scheduled) to run curl '*/update'

Please consider how many accounts you mirror + how often you want to update posts + how often you want to bother Instagram servers... A good reference is a job every 4 hours for more-or-less 20 accounts to be "completely safe".

Happy Mirroring!

Any problem/bug/request you might encounter you may contact me at https://contact.nogafam.es