Skip to main content Link Search Menu Expand Document (external link)



ContextMod’s high-level functionality is separated into two independently run applications.

Each application consists of an Express web server that executes the core logic for that application and communicates via HTTP API calls:


  • Server – Responsible for running the bots and providing an API to retrieve information on and interact with them EX start/stop bot, reload config, retrieve operational status, etc.
  • Client – Responsible for serving the web interface and handling the bot oauth authentication flow between operators and moderators.

Both applications operate independently and can be run individually. The determination for which is run is made by environmental variables, operator config, or cli arguments.


Communication between the applications is secured using Json Web Tokens signed/encoded by a shared secret (HMAC algorithm). The secret is defined in the operator configuration.


Default Mode

ContextMod is designed to operate in a “monolith” mode by default.

This is done by assuming that when configuration is provided by environmental variables or CLI arguments the user’s intention is to run the client/server together with only one bot, as if ContextMod is a monolith application. When using these configuration types the same values are parsed to both the server/client to ensure interoperability/transparent usage for the operator. Some examples of this in the operator configuration:

  • The shared secret for both client/secret cannot be defined using env/cli – at runtime a random string is generated that is set for the value secret on both the api and web properties.
  • The bots array cannot be defined using env/cli – a single entry is generated by the configuration parser using the combined values provided from env/cli
  • The PORT env/cli argument only applies to the client wev server to guarantee the default port for the server web server is used (so the client can connect to server)

The end result of this default behavior is that an operator who does not care about running multiple CM instances does not need to know or understand anything about the client/server architecture.


To run a ContextMod instance as sever only (headless):

  • Config file – define top-level "mode":"server"
  • ENV – MODE=server
  • CLI - node src/index.js run server

The relevant sections of the operator configuration for the Server are:

  • – Define the reddit users who will be able to have full access to this server regardless of moderator status
  • api


  • port - The port the Server will listen on for incoming api requests. Cannot be the same as the Client (when running on the same host)
  • secret - The shared secret that will be used to verify incoming api requests coming from an authenticated Client.
  • friendly - An optional string to identify this Server on the client. It is recommended to provide this otherwise it will default to host:port


To run a ContextMod instance as client only:

  • Config file – define top-level "mode":"client"
  • ENV – MODE=client
  • CLI - node src/index.js run client


In the operator configuration the top-level web property defines the configuration for the Client application.

  • web.credentials – Defines the reddit oauth credentials used to authenticate users for the web interface
    • Must contain a redirectUri property to work
    • Credentials are parsed from ENV/CLI credentials when not specified (IE will be same as default bot)
  • web.operators – Parsed from if not specified IE will use same users as defined for the bot operators
  • port – the port the web interface will be served from, defaults to 8085
  • clients – An array of BotConnection objects that specify what Server instances the web interface should connect to. Each object should have:
    • host – The URL specifying where the server api is listening ie localhost:8085
    • secret – The shared secret used to sign api calls. This should be the same as api.secret on the server being connected to.