I am trying to add an image to a question using Stack Exchange's image upload tool.

enter image description here

However, the link isn't accepted by the upload tool.

enter image description here

When I paste the URL of the image into my browser, it works fine.

Why can't this GIF image be linked from Imgur to SE?

  • 2
    I am unable to reproduce. Which site are you demonstrating this problem on? I was able to upload on Stack Overflow, Meta Stack Overflow, and Gaming.SE. I have opted into the new editor on Meta SE, which kinda sorta have this option anymore.
    – Spevacus
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 20:57
  • @Spevacus I can reproduce it, right here. I'm on Chrome, Win10. I'm using the old/current editor.
    – rene
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 20:58
  • On a Mac with Safari 15.6.1 (other links worked in the past, even today). The SE was Apple SE. Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 20:59
  • 1
    The JSON that comes backs is: {"Success":false,"Error":5,"ErrorMessage":"Failed to upload image; an error occurred on the server"}
    – rene
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:00
  • 1
    Switching over to the old editor, I'm able to upload a small GIF (around 500KB) but I'm not able to upload a much larger GIF (around 2,487KB) which is a problem I have run into before, even though the error message is extremely cryptic (same error that rene mentions). What size GIFs are y'all uploading?
    – Spevacus
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:04
  • @Spevacus We are not uploading we are linking - the size shouldn't be a problem because we are not asking SE to host the file, just display it. Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:06
  • 6
    When you paste a link into that uploader tool, you're basically asking SE to re-host it under the i.stack.imgur.com domain, which is what they do. That tool accepts an image link and reuploads it. Additionally, I'm performing the same steps you are. With this GIF I've uploaded to imgur: i.imgur.com/RkB0tQe.gif (4,500-ish KB) I get the error rene mentioned. With a much smaller capture: i.imgur.com/szP9OHx.gif (137 KB) I'm able to upload and add it to a post using the image tool. (The actions I'm performing in the gifs are nonsensical, they're just there to bloat the size)
    – Spevacus
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:12
  • 2
    In other words, you don't even need to upload tool to generate hosted version for you, it's already hosted. Just link it directly, using the markdown image syntax it would generate anyways: ![altText]($link).
    – zcoop98
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:22
  • @zcoop98 wouldn't your suggestion produce a text link rather than display an image? Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:47
  • 1
    @Micro Nope! That's what the ! does. The only difference between the syntax I wrote and the one that gets generated is that the generated one is wrapped in a second link, so that clicking the image opens the hosted image directly.
    – zcoop98
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 21:54
  • @zcoop98 can you make your comment an answer? Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 1:01

1 Answer 1


The error is misleading, the actual problem is the gif is too big. You can see that by saving the image locally and then you can see its size.

You can see the actual error and maximum size if uploading the image from your device, and not via URL:

Note, the error when pasting URL is purely from imgur, SE can't know in advance how big the image is, so there's nothing SE can do except ask nicely from imgur to send better error messages. (And wait patiently for 6-8 years.)

  • Ok, this is helpful. The interface is extremely clunky, as everyone who knows coding knows, linking an image just links it without copying it over (why offer the chance to link an image if it ends up doing the same thing as uploading it?...). Thanks for your help Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 16:14
  • Actually the interface in this case is fine, as this is all part of image upload dialog. To just link to something, there is a simple markdown. The main goal of dedicated image hosting is to prevent image rot, i.e. link to image that now works, but might break tomorrow, or in few years, when the host is going down. It happens all the time, to huge hosts and to tiny hosts, sometimes even leading the old links to NSFW sites when the falling host wants to make some money before closing down. That is the reason the uploader uploads images from links instead of linking them. Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 7:15

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