Getting started with Interactive Brokers Python API on Ubuntu

Interactive brokers offer one of the lost latest Trading desktop application and best part is that it offers API access to most of the worlds leading stock exchanges. For India, Interactive brokers provide free access to NSE data (monthly account maintenance charges of INR 200) which is nothing if you compare pricing by main competitor zerodha ( Streaming INR 2000 + Historic INR 2000).

In this article, let us have a look at how to get started with Interactive Brokers API access.

Step#1  Open an account

First and foremost, you need to have funded account with Interactive Brokers. They are opening account virtually provided you have all relevant documents scanned copy.

If you need an access to market data you need to keep $500 or its equivalent in your account.  in INR, you can transfer ~40,000/- to be on safer side.

Step#2 Activate Market data.

Its takes about a week for your documents to be verified and account activation. Once your account is activated, you need to suscribe to market data using following path.

Login to web portal –> User Settings –> Market Data Suscription (Click on gear sign>–> select required exchanges and market data type–> confirm.

And you are all set.

Please note for NSE, Equity and Futures and Options market data is separate, so you need to sele

Step#3 Download TWS

You can download TWS (Traders Workstation) from here. This is one of the most advanced if you compare it with other competitors.

You might ask, I need API access, why do I need TWS ? Well, Interactive Brokers API need TWS to be installed on local machine. In a way, API piggy backs on the TWS. More on this later

Step#4 Download API Libraries

You can download API libraries from here. You can choose stable version.

Step#5 Basic Setup

Version that I downloaded is “”. This might be different for you based on latest version released by IBKR

$cd ~/Downloads
$sudo unzip -d $HOME/
$cd ~/IBJts
~/IBJts$ ls -la
total 68
drwxr-xr-x  5 userid root            4096 May 29 09:39 .
drwxr-xr-x 36 userid userid  4096 May 29 11:16 ..
-rw-r--r--  1 userid root              21 Feb  6 01:04 API_VersionNum.txt
drwxr-xr-x  2 userid userid  4096 May 28 22:38 log
drwxr-xr-x  5 userid root            4096 Feb  6 01:07 samples
drwxr-xr-x  5 userid root            4096 Feb  6 01:07 source

You can find code inside source and sample folder.

Before you start using this package, you need to install it. Go to folder twsapi_macunix.981.01–>IBJts–>source–>pythonclient

$cd Downloads/twsapi_macunix.981.01/IBJts/source/pythonclient
$ sudo python3 install

Step#6  Configure TWS

As mentioned in step#3, you need TWS. You need to enable API access in TWS by making following changes.

Go to Edit -> Global Configuration -> API -> Settings and make sure the “Enable ActiveX and Socket Clients” option is activated as shown below:

Live Account 7496
Paper Trading 7497

Step#7 Sample Code

Go to source–>pythonclient–>tests

Here you will find many sample code for various tasks

Important note:

Whenever you run API, you need to make sure TWS is running. else you will get error like below

~/IBJts$ /usr/bin/python3 "/home/conquistadorjd/IBJts/source/pythonclient/working/check_connection v"
ERROR -1 502 Couldn't connect to TWS. Confirm that "Enable ActiveX and Socket EClients" 
is enabled and connection port is the same as "Socket Port" on the 
TWS "Edit->Global Configuration...->API->Settings" menu. Live Trading ports: 
TWS: 7496; IB Gateway: 4001. Simulated Trading ports for new installations 
of version 954.1 or newer:  TWS: 7497; IB Gateway: 4002

Step#8 Sample code for you first program

from ibapi.client import EClient
from ibapi.wrapper import EWrapper  

class IBapi(EWrapper, EClient):
     def __init__(self):
         EClient.__init__(self, self) 

app = IBapi()
app.connect('', 7496, 1)

#Uncomment this section if unable to connect
#and to prevent errors on a reconnect
import time


You might get following error

traceback (most recent call last):
File "/home/userid/Downloads/twsapi_macunix.981.01/IBJts/source/pythonclient/tests/", line 1, in <module>
from ibapi.client import EClient
ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'ibapi'

If you are seeing this error, you might have forgotten to manually install downloaded ibapi.  Go to step#5 and refer to last instruction of manually installing ibapi


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