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instawow is an add-on manager for World of Warcraft. It can be used to install, update and remove add-ons from GitHub, CurseForge, WoWInterface and Tukui. instawow has an interoperable CLI and GUI, fuzzy search with download scoring and several other goodies.

instawow-gui main window


You can download pre-built binaries of instawow from GitHub. bin users can install the CLI binaries by running:

bin install

If you'd prefer to install instawow from source, you are able to choose from:

  • pipx: pipx install instawow
  • Vanilla pip: python -m pip install -U instawow
  • Nix or NixOS: the CLI-only version of instawow is available as the instawow package

CLI operation


Begin by running instawow reconcile to register previously-installed add-ons with instawow (or instawow reconcile --auto to do the same without user input). To install add-ons, you can search for them using the search command:

instawow search molinari

In addition, instawow is able to interpret add-on URLs and instawow-specific URIs of slugs and host IDs. All of the following will install Molinari:

instawow install
instawow install curse:molinari
instawow install curse:20338
instawow install
instawow install github:p3lim-wow/molinari

You can update add-ons and remove them just as you'd install them. If update is invoked without arguments, it will update all of your installed add-ons. You can list add-ons and view detailed information about them using list --format detailed. For list and similarly non-destructive commands, the source can be omitted and the alias can be shortened, e.g. instawow reveal moli will bring up the Molinari add-on folder in your file manager.

Add-on reconciliation

Add-on reconciliation is not automatic – instawow makes a point of not automatically assuming ownership of your add-ons. However, you can automate reconciliation with reconcile --auto and instawow will prioritise add-ons from CurseForge. Reconciled add-ons are reinstalled because the installed version cannot be extracted reliably.

Add-on search

instawow comes with a rudimentary search command with results ranked based on edit distance and popularity. Search uses a collated add-on catalogue which is updated once daily. You can install multiple add-ons directly from search.

Install strategies

Add-ons take a number of options which determine how they are resolved:

  • any_flavour to ignore game version compatibility by prioriting "affine" game versions
  • any_release_type to ignore add-on stability
  • version_eq=[VERSION] to install a specific add-on version

In the CLI, you can pass strategies in the fragment portion of the add-on URI, separated by a comma, e.g. instawow install curse:molinari#any_release_type,any_flavour. Strategies are respected by install and update. To reset an add-on's strategies on update, you can pass a = fragment, e.g. instawow update curse:molinari#=.

Reverting add-on updates

instawow keeps a log of all versions of an add-on it has previously installed. Add-on updates can be undone using the instawow rollback command. Add-ons which have been rolled back are pinned and will not receive updates. Rollbacks can themselves be undone with instawow rollback --undo, which will install the latest version of the specified add-on using the default strategy.


instawow supports multiple game versions by means of profiles. Assuming your default profile is configured for retail, you can create a pristine profile for classic with:

instawow -p classic configure

"classic" is simply the name of the profile; you will be asked to select the game flavour that it corresponds to. You can have several profiles of the same flavour (think alpha, beta and PTR).

-p is a global option. You can prefix any instawow command with -p. For instance, to update your Classic add-ons, you would run:

instawow -p classic update

You can omit -p for the default profile if one exists.

Migrating Classic profiles

With the exception of "Classic Era" profiles (vanilla_classic in instawow parlance), classic profiles will start receiving updates for the latest Classic release once it is supported by instawow. No user intervention is necessary, save for updating instawow.

WeakAura updater

instawow contains a WeakAura updater modelled after WeakAuras Companion. To use the updater and provided that you have WeakAuras installed:

instawow plugins weakauras-companion build
instawow install instawow:weakauras-companion

You will have to rebuild the companion add-on prior to updating to receive aura updates. If you would like to check for updates on every invocation of instawow update, install the instawow:weakauras-companion-autoupdate variant:

instawow install instawow:weakauras-companion-autoupdate
instawow update


instawow can be extended using plug-ins. Plug-ins can be used to add support for arbitrary hosts and add new commands to the CLI. You will find a sample plug-in in tests/plugin.

Metadata sourcing


CurseForge is set to retire its unauthenticated add-on API by the end of Q1 2022. CurseForge will be issuing keys for the new API conditionally and which add-on managers are obligated to conceal. The new API is therefore unworkable for add-on managers except through a proxy service, which the author of this particular add-on manager cannot afford. At the same time, CurseForge will be providing the option for authors to unlist their add-ons from the new API, and downloads intitiated through the new API will not count towards author credits for the ad revenue sharing programme.


instawow supports WoW add-ons released on GitHub – that is to say that the repository must have a release (tags won't work) and the release must have an add-on ZIP file attached to it as an asset. instawow will not install or build add-ons directly from source, or from tarballs or 'zipballs', and will not validate the contents of the ZIP file.


Web requests initiated by instawow can be identified by its user agent string.

Every 24 hours, on launch, instawow will query PyPI – the canonical Python package index – to check for instawow updates.


Bug reports and fixes are welcome. Do open an issue before committing to making any significant changes.

Related work

The author of strongbox has been cataloguing similar software. If you are unhappy with instawow, you might find one of these other add-on managers more to your liking.