esniper - a lightweight ebay sniping tool
esniper [-bdhHimnPrUv] [-c conf_file] [-l logdir] [-p proxy] [-q
quantity] [-s secs|now] [-u user] (auction_file | [ auction price ...
esniper is a lightweight ebay sniping tool. It doesn’t have a lot of
features, and that is by design.
Auctions are specified on the command line, using the auction number
and your bid price. Multiple auctions can be bid on by specifying more
auctions and bid prices. esniper stops when the desired quantity has
been won (default is 1).
You can use an auction file instead of specifying auctions on the
command line. See the AUCTION FILE section below for more details.
-b Enable batch mode. The corresponding configuration option is
batch, default value is false. In batch mode, esniper never
prompts for password and/or username. If the password or
username cannot be determined from options or read from
configuration or auction files, esniper will fail.
-c Specifies a configuration file to read. All options can be set
either by command-line flags or in the configuration file. See
the CONFIGURATION FILE section for details. The default
configuration file is $HOME/.esniper (or $USERPROFILE/My
Documents/.esniper in Windows).
-d Enable debug mode. The corresponding configuration option is
debug, default value is false. Log files are named
esniper.<auction_num>.log and esniper.log, and are written to
the current working directory. If the -l option or logdir
configuration option is used, log files are written to the
-h Show command line option help.
-H Show configuration and auction file help.
-i Print information on given auctions and exit.
-l Set the directory where log files will be written. The
corresponding configuration option is logdir, default value is
the current working directory, or if an auction file is
specified the directory of the auction file. The directory must
exist and be writeable. Log files are written when the -d
option is used.
-m Print user’s my eBay watched items list and exit. The user’s
myEbay watched items list must use the default column ordering.
-n Do not bid. The corresponding configuration option is bid,
default value is true. Useful for debugging, it exercises most
of esniper except actually placing bids. It is also be useful
for checking the status of an auction, without accidentally
placing a bid.
-p Specify an http proxy to use. The corresponding configuration
option is proxy, default value is the value of the http_proxy
environment variable. The proxy should be of the form
-P Prompt the user for their ebay password. This overrides the
password set in any configuration or auction file.
-q Set the quantity. The corresponding configuration option is
quantity, default value is 1. esniper will quit when it has won
-r Do not reduce quantity on startup for items you have already
won. The corresponding configuration option is reduce, default
value is true.
-s Set the bidding time, specified as now, or seconds before the
end of an auction. If now is used, bids will be placed
immediately. The corresponding configuration option is seconds,
default value is 10 seconds. You should snipe late enough in an
auction to prevent a manual bidder to update their bid, but
before other snipes. In case two bids are within one bid
increment of each other, the first bid placed wins.
-u Set the ebay username. The corresponding configuration option
is username, there is no default value.
-U Prompt the user for their ebay username.
-v Print version and exit.
Most command-line options can also be set in a configuration file. The
advantage of using a configuration file is that you can set all of you
options once and not have to enter them on the command line every time
you run esniper.
A configuration file consists of option lines, in the format
"option=value", blank lines, and comments. Option names are listed
above with their corresponding command-line flags. Comments begin with
One configuration file option that doesn’t have a corresponding
command-line flag is password. The password option allows you to set
your eBay password. If you store your eBay password in a configuration
file, you should ensure that the configuration file can be read only by
The default configuration file is $HOME/.esniper (or $USERPROFILE/My
Documents/.esniper in Windows). If an auction file is used, esniper
will also attempt to read .esniper from the directory that contains the
auction file; options set in this configuration file will override
options set in the user’s default configuration file. However, if the
-c command line option is used, then only the configuration file
specified by the -c command line option is read.
Options specified on the command line override corresponding options
set in an auction file, and options set in an auction file override
options set in any configuration file.
An auction file is similar to a configuration file, but it also has one
or more auction lines. An auction line contains an auction number,
optionally followed by a bid price. If no bid price is given, the
auction number uses the bid price of the first prior auction line that
contains a bid price.
If an auction file is specified and the -c option isn’t used, esniper
attempts to read .esniper from the directory where the auction file is
located. See the CONFIGURATION FILE section for more details.
An example of a configuration file:
# A configuration file contains option settings,
# blank lines, and comments (begin with #). The
# default configuration file is $HOME/.esniper, and
# if you specify an auction file, .esniper in the
# auction file’s directory as well. If you specify a
# configuration file using the -c command-line option,
# then that configuration file will be the only one
# If you set your password in a configuration file
# and you are on a unix system, you should be the
# owner of the file, and you should set the
# permissions so that it is readable only by the
# Here are all the options. Note that if the
# default (as defined in esniper -H) is fine, you
# don’t need to specify it in a configuration file.
# boolean parameters can be set to:
# true, y, yes, on, 1, enabled
# false, n, no, off, 0, disabled
batch = false
bid = yes
debug = enabled
reduce = y
# Note: it would be nice if logdir could use ~myuser,
# or $HOME. Perhaps in a future version.
logdir = /export/home/myuser/esniperlogs
password = myebaypassword
# Note: proxy authentication not yet supported
proxy = http://192.168.1.1:8080/
username = myebayusername
# Note: quantity is usually set in an auction file
quantity = 1
# Note: seconds can also be "now", if you want to
# bid immediately
seconds = 10
An example of an auction file:
# An auction file may contain any line that is valid
# in a configuration file (see sample_config.txt for
# details), plus it may also have auction lines.
# An auction line contains an auction number, optionally
# followed by a price. If a price isn’t specified, the
# price used is the same as the previous auction line.
# You should have one auction file for each type of item
# you are bidding on, so that you can change the quantity,
# username, or other options to suit the item you are
# bidding on. For instance, you may want to buy up to 10
# laser print cartridges, but only one digital camera.
# Sample auction file for laser printer cartridges
# I’d like 10 of them, and my target price is $50
quantity = 10
# seller surpluslaserjunk, shipping $15,
# questionable reputation (so I’ll only pay $40 total)
# seller highqualityprintersupplies, shipping $8,
# excellent reputation
# seller nonbusinesshomeseller, shipping not mentioned
# (assume $10), good reputation
# seller lasersuppliesforcheap, lousy reputation,
# don’t buy!!!
http_proxy The default http proxy. The -p command-line option and
proxy configuration option override this setting.
USERPROFILE Windows user’s home directory. If no configuration file
is specified, esniper tries to read the file My
Documents/.esniper under the USERPROFILE directory.
Note: esniper for Windows 95, 98 and Me is compiled
under cygwin, a unix-like environment for Windows. This
version of esniper uses the HOME environment variable,
as described below.
HOME Unix user’s home directory. If no configuration file is
specified, esniper tries to read the file .esniper in
eBay likes to change their website often. Some of these changes will
break esniper. If esniper doesn’t work for you, please make sure you
have the most recent version. You can check the version of esniper you
are using by running esniper with the -v option. Updates to esniper
are available at http://esniper.sf.net/.
If you are running the most current version and you are still
encountering a bug, please report the bug at http://esniper.sf.net/.
To keep up to date with new releases and major bugs, subscribe to the
esniper announce mailing list at
Many thanks to all contributors and users.
Copyright (C) 2002, 2003, 2004 Scott Nicol <email@example.com> All
31 Jan 2005 esniper(1)