Create a new Telegram bot

Before you start writing any code, you should create your bot on Telegram. This reserves your bot an username, and gives you the API key you need to control your bot. This chapter explains you how to do so.

Choose a good username for your bot

The username of your bot is really important: users will use it to tell their friends about your bot, and it will appear on links. Also, you’re not allowed to change username without recreating your bot, and so without losing users.

Bot usernames must adhere to the following rules:

  • The username must be long at least five characters
  • The username can only contain letters, digits and underscores
  • The username must end with bot

For example, all the following usernames are valid: my_awesome_bot, SpamBot, test123bot.

Create the bot with @botfather

Currently, you can only create a new bot... with another bot. With your Telegram client open, contact @botfather, start it and execute the /newbot command. It will ask you some questions about your bot.

Then it will give you an unique API key, which you can use to communicate with your bot. Be sure to keep this key secret! Everyone with your API key can take full control of your bot, and that’s not a fun thing.

Customize your bot

Other than allowing you to create it, @botfather also permits you to customize your bot. For example, you can use it to change your bot’s avatar, its name, or its description. In order to see what you can do, just use the /help command on @botfather. Then execute the command for the thing you want to customize.

If you want to use your bot just to manage a channel, you probably don’t need to do this.