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What benefit does Imgur offer over Amazon S3, Azure, etc. for image hosting?

Is it the simplicity of integration? The cost model? What's better about using a "gateway"?

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What about historical reasons? Where was azure 4 years ago? And consider that migrating now would be... uncomfortable. –  Oded Jun 20 '13 at 16:16
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They don't even use the Imgur UI -- it's not enabled for Stack Exchange hosting. It seems like the only benefit they get out of it is using Imgur's API, instead of managing the storage and CDN themselves. Perhaps they also get some kind of discount because it promotes Imgur's API with developers. –  Jeremy Banks Jun 20 '13 at 16:25
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@Oded S3's been available for way longer than that. I'm not asking about reasons to not change from imgur - I'm asking why the decision was made in the first place. Not that I think it's a bad service, I'm just curious. –  RobVious Jun 20 '13 at 16:29
    
The decision predates my time with Stack Exchange, so I don't really know for certain. –  Oded Jun 20 '13 at 16:30
    
@JeremyBanks - so is the imgur API somehow better than S3's? What kind of management requirements are there for using something like S3 in the same way imgur is used? –  RobVious Jun 20 '13 at 16:31
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1 Answer

up vote 29 down vote accepted

First, we are using Amazon S3, underneath Imgur.

What do we get? A clean/easy API yes, but they handle virus scanning, image re-sizing (profile images, etc.), backups (we also back our Imgur-hosted images up nightly), and they're large enough to be at a better price overall due to the deals they get with their host, CDN, etc.

It works - and it works well, I don't see any need to switch to another solution with many unknowns. Knowing what and who you're dealing with is worth something too.

I should also note we regularly work with Alan Schaaf who founded Imgur, and he's awesome. The profile image re-sizing we need for all the size squares we use? A few days turnaround on their side. Also, I'm working with them now on getting SSL enabled for our images.

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sweet. Thanks Nick. –  RobVious Jun 20 '13 at 16:55
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I assume SSL is a precursor to the entire site going SSL. No reason to do it on images unless you want to avoid mixed HTTP/HTTPS content dialogs popping up. –  casperOne Jun 20 '13 at 17:55
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@casperOne yep, and ads, and any one-off images, videos, etc. –  Nick Craver Jun 20 '13 at 18:33
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@NickCraver Woohoo! I'm really excited for that finally coming to pass. –  Richard J. Ross III Jun 21 '13 at 0:27
    
@Richard give it 6-8 weeks before getting excited. :-) –  Shadow Wizard Jun 24 '13 at 7:05
    
Hey Nick - do you know if the profile image re-sizing is a feature that is open to the public? –  anger Jan 7 at 11:01
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