Install Guide#

Installation Requirements#

To install Sopel, you will need:

  • Python 3.8 or above

  • Pip, the official Python package installer


Before installing Sopel, you should know which version of Python, and which Python interpreter you are using for that. For instance, it can be named python3 or just python depending on your system and setup. In this guide we will refer to the Python interpreter you want to use as python3.

Official Release#

The official release of Sopel is available at PyPI. The recommended way to install Sopel from is to perform the following command:

python3 -m pip install sopel

This will ensure that Sopel is installed for the Python interpreter you want to use. You do not need to have root access to install Sopel. To check that Sopel is indeed installed, you can run the following line:

python3 -c "import sopel; print(sopel.__version__)"

This will show the installed version of Sopel for this interpreter.

When a new version of Sopel is released, you can update your install by reusing the same command with the -U option (short for --upgrade):

python3 -m pip install -U sopel

You must restart Sopel for the update to take effect.

Installing from Source#

For development purposes or to test a future release, you may want to install Sopel directly from its source repository on GitHub. To install from source, first select the version you want to install, and refer to the README.rst file for instructions.

We strongly recommend to use a virtualenv or other isolation mechanism so as to prevent any conflicts with your system’s Python interpreter and libraries.


Although possible, source installations are not supported. If you install from sources, you may encounter unexpected bugs and unstable behaviors, and we fully expect you to either find a solution by yourself, revert to a previous version, or wait for a fix without an ETA.

However, we do appreciate bug reports (with logs and configuration details) and feedback. In that case, reaching out to us on IRC is the best approach.

First run#

Once Sopel is installed, you should have access to a sopel command, as well as other commands.


By default, pip will install the command in ~/.local/bin/, which might not be on your PATH. You will need to add this folder to your PATH for your shell to see the command.

For example, you could add this to your ~/.profile file (works on Ubuntu 22.04):

# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
if [ -d "$HOME/.local/bin" ] ; then

Refer to your operating system’s documentation for more information on how to configure your PATH.

Initial Configuration#

To run the bot, you need a configuration file, which you can create with the following command:

sopel configure

This will run a wizard that helps you create a configuration file. It will ask you questions to fill in the details. When you see something in [square brackets], that’s the default setting, and you can just hit Enter to keep it. We recommend selecting a custom nick for your bot during configuration.

This wizard doesn’t cover every option, only the ones which are needed to get the bot running. The core config settings are all documented if you want to make other tweaks.

Finally, the wizard will ask you about configuration settings for plugins. This will automatically detect what plugins you have available, and run their configuration utility if they have one.

Once you are done, you can always re-run the same command and accept the values you already set and change only what you need.

Start the Bot#

Once you have properly configured your bot, you are now ready to start it for the first time. The command to do so is the following:

sopel start


Some IRC networks require nick registration or special configuration for connecting. Refer to your IRC network for more information about what steps may be necessary to run your bot there.

Sopel will output log information informing you of its startup progress, such as loading plugins, connecting to the network, and joining channels.

To stop the bot, simply exit the process (e.g. with Control+c) and Sopel will QUIT IRC, perform its shutdown tasks, and gracefully exit.