Last updated
Imgur logo.svg
Type of site
Image hosting service
Available inEnglish
OwnerImgur, Inc. [1]
Created byAlan Schaaf
Key people Alan Schaaf (CEO)
Alexa rankDecrease2.svg 68 (December 2018) [2]
LaunchedFebruary 23, 2009;10 years ago (2009-02-23)
Current statusActive

Imgur ( /ˈɪməər/ IM-ə-jər, [3] stylized as imgur) is an online image sharing community and image host founded by Alan Schaaf in 2009.

Image sharing, or photo sharing, is the publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos online. Image sharing websites offer services such as uploading, hosting, managing and sharing of photos. This function is provided through both websites and applications that facilitate the upload and display of images. The term can also be loosely applied to the use of online photo galleries that are set up and managed by individual users, including photoblogs. Sharing means that other users can view but not necessarily download images, and users can select different copyright options for their images.

An image hosting service allows individuals to upload images to an Internet website. The image host will then store the image onto its server, and show the individual different types of code to allow others to view that image.



The company was started in 2009 in Athens, Ohio as Alan Schaaf's side project while he attended Ohio University for computer science. Imgur was created as a response to the usability problems encountered in similar services. Designed to be a gift to the online community of Reddit, [4] it took off almost instantly, jumping from a thousand hits per day to a million total page views in the first five months. [5] Imgur became widely recognized following its rise to popularity on social media websites such as Facebook, Reddit, and Digg. [6] In October 2012, Imgur expanded its functionality to allow users to directly share images to Imgur instead of requiring images to gain enough attraction through other social media sites like Reddit to show up on the popular image gallery. [7]

Athens, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Athens is a city and the county seat of Athens County, Ohio, United States. Athens is most widely known as the home of Ohio University, a large public research university with an enrollment of more than 36,800 students across all campuses. Located along the Hocking River in the southeastern part of Ohio about 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Columbus, Athens is the principal city of the Athens, Ohio Micropolitan Statistical Area. The official population of Athens in the 2010 U.S. Census was 23,832, with a daytime population of over 40,000

Ohio University public university in Athens, Ohio, United States

Ohio University is a public research university in Athens, Ohio. The first university chartered by an Act of Congress and the first to be chartered in Ohio, it was chartered in 1787 by the Congress of the Confederation and subsequently approved for the territory in 1802 and state in 1804, opening for students in 1809. Ohio University is the oldest university in Ohio, the eighth oldest public university in the United States and the 30th oldest among public and private universities. As of fall 2018, the university's total enrollment at Athens was 20,000, while the all- campus enrollment was just under 35,000.

Computer science Study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation

Computer science is the study of processes that interact with data and that can be represented as data in the form of programs. It enables the use of algorithms to manipulate, store, and communicate digital information. A computer scientist studies the theory of computation and the practice of designing software systems.

Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.

In the beginning, Imgur relied on donations to help with the web hosting costs. As the site grew, it needed additional sources of revenue to keep up with demand. Display ads were introduced in May 2009; [8] sponsored images and self-service ads were introduced in 2013. [9]

Web hosting service service for hosting websites

A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center. Web hosts can also provide data center space and connectivity to the Internet for other servers located in their data center, called colocation, also known as Housing in Latin America or France.

In order to scale and manage its growth, Imgur used three different hosting providers in the first year before settling on Voxel, then switching to Amazon Web Services in late 2011. [8]

Amazon Web Services On-demand cloud computing company

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. In aggregate, these cloud computing web services provide a set of primitive, abstract technical infrastructure and distributed computing building blocks and tools. One of these services is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, which allows users to have at their disposal a virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet. AWS's version of virtual computers emulate most of the attributes of a real computer including hardware ; a choice of operating systems; networking; and pre-loaded application software such as web servers, databases, CRM, etc.

In January 2011, the company moved from Ohio to San Francisco. [10] As of June 2013 they had 10 employees, [11] and won the Best Bootstrapped Startup award at TechCrunch's 2012 Crunchies Awards. [12]

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, US

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a city in, and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of, Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

TechCrunch Technology industry news website owned by Verizon Media

TechCrunch is an American online publisher focusing on the tech industry. The company specifically reports on the business related to tech, technology news, analysis of emerging trends in tech, and profiling of new tech businesses and products. It was one of the earliest publications to report extensively on tech startups and funding.

In 2016, Reddit introduced native image hosting, causing a notable decrease in Imgur submissions on the site. [13]


In April 2014, five years after it was founded, Imgur raised $40 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz's Lars Dalgaard joined Imgur's board. [14] Imgur was profitable at the time, generating revenue from Pro subscriptions and advertising. [15]

April Fools' pranks

Imgur has a history of playing April Fools' Day pranks on its users. The first prank in 2011 was the Catification feature, which allowed users to automatically add cats to any image with one click. [16] The official Imgur mascot is the Imguraffe, which was created as an April Fools' Day prank, but was "too cute to give up", thereafter becoming the official mascot. On April 1, 2016, "Imgur for Pets" was added for the day. The category was pet pictures and gifs for pets. The voting system's icons of "Upvotes", "Downvotes", and "Favorite" (arrows facing up and down, and a heart, respectively) were changed into paws facing up and down and a bone, respectively. [17]

Alan Schaaf, Founder and CEO of Imgur, in 2014 Alan Schaaf.jpg
Alan Schaaf, Founder and CEO of Imgur, in 2014


In 2013 Imgur overtook other image hosts in interest, such as Photobucket, ImageShack, and TinyPic, according to Google Trends. [18] As of April 2016, it was ranked 16th among Alexa's Top Sites in the United States. [19]

In its first month Imgur had 93,000 page views. According to EdgeCast in 2012, Imgur's former content delivery network (CDN), Imgur served more images in 10 minutes than there are in the entire Library of Congress. [8] In 2012 there were 300 million images uploaded, 364 billion image views counted and 42 petabytes of data transferred. [20]



Albums were introduced on October 11, 2010. [21] Album layouts are customizable and embeddable.


On January 9, 2010, Alan Schaaf introduced Imgur accounts, which allowed users to create custom image galleries and manage their images. Accounts gave full image management including editing, deletion, album creation and embedding, and the ability to comment on viral images and submit to the public gallery. [22] Gallery profiles gave the user the ability to view their past public activity. [23] [ citation needed ] According to the help section on imgur, there is no image upload limit per account, but there is an upload limit of 50 images per IP address per hour. [24] Paid pro accounts were created in 2010 to remove these limitations and allow infinite image storage, as well as increased upload limits. [25]


Imgur used to have a policy to keep images unless they went three months without receiving any views, at which point (unless they were Pro account images) they might be removed in response to space needs. [26] In early 2015 it was announced all images will be kept forever (even if not added from a Pro account) and only removed if deletion is requested. [27]

Meme Generator

Since June 26, 2013, Imgur has provided a "Meme Generator" service that allows users to create image macros with custom text using a wide variety of images. [28]

The public Imgur gallery is a collection of the most viral images from around the web based on an algorithm that computes views, shares and votes based on time. [29] As opposed to private account uploads, images added to the gallery are publicly searchable by title. Members of the Imgur community, self-proclaimed "Imgurians," can vote and comment on the images, earning reputation points [30] and trophies. [31] Images from the gallery are often later posted to social news sites such as Huffington Post. [32] Random mode was released on July 30, 2012 and allows users to browse the entire history of the public gallery randomly. [33]


Since October 2014, Imgur had automatically converted uploaded animated GIF files into WebM and MP4 video files, which are much smaller. [34]

Video to GIF

In January 2015, Imgur allowed users to link video URLs to create GIFs directly through the website. [35] This was geared towards allowing its users to create GIFs regardless of image editing knowledge.


In February 2015 Imgur announced "Topics" which was a quick way for users to sort and view specific images that belonged to a specific group determined by tags such as science, earth, or cats. [36]

Mobile apps

In March and June 2015 Imgur introduced official mobile apps for iOS [37] and Android, respectively. [38]


In order to reward users for their interactions, Imgur provides a series of Trophies for achievements including being a member of the community for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 years, "Best Post of the Day", "Best Post of the Month", "Best Post of the Year", [39] "Top Comment of The Day", "Top Comment of The Month", and "Top Comment of The Year".


Since the site's creation, Imgur's user community has significantly grown. Self-named "Imgurians" have created much content in an effort to bring the community even closer. At the beginning of 2015, Imgur's director of community Sarah Schaaf announced its first ever "Camp Imgur". Five hundred tickets were sold at $150 each. The camp was created as a celebratory event to bring users of the site together in August 2015, on a four-day retreat at Camp Navarro in Mendocino, California. It included hiking, stand-up comedians, and meetings with the staff of Imgur and other users. [40]

Some of Imgur's more well-known community members include former Mythbuster Adam Savage [41] and Olympic athlete Cody Miller. [42]

Data breach

On November 23, 2017, Imgur was notified of a potential security breach that had occurred in 2014 and affected the email addresses and passwords of 1.7 million user accounts. On the morning of November 24, 2017, Imgur began notifying affected users via their registered email address to change their password. [43]

See also

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