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Imgur logo.svg
Web address
Slogan Imgur, the Simple Image Sharer.
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Image hosting service
Registration Optional
Available in English
Created by Alan Schaaf
Launched February 23, 2009; 6 years ago (2009-02-23)
Alexa rank
Decrease 41 (June 2015)[1]
Current status Active

Imgur (pronounced /ˈɪməər/ like image-er; imager[2] and stylized as imgur) is an online image sharing community and image host founded by Alan Schaaf in 2009 in Athens, Ohio, United States. Imgur describes itself as "the home to the web's most popular image content, curated in real time by a dedicated community through commenting, voting and sharing."[3] It offers free image hosting to millions of users[4] a day, and a comment-based social community. The company supports itself with revenue generated from ad sales, commercial hosting and merchandise.[5]

On October 22, 2012, Imgur released a user-submitted gallery, which allows users to submit directly to their gallery for public view, comments and votes.[6]

On June 26, 2013, Imgur released its first content creation tool, the Imgur Meme Generator, which offers simple image macro creation as well as a public gallery of popular meme templates.[7]

The official Imgur mascot is the Imguraffe, which was created originally as an April Fools' Day joke, but was "too cute to give up", thereafter becoming the official mascot.[8]


The company was started in Athens, Ohio as Alan Schaaf's side project as he attended Ohio University for computer science. The service, which the creator describes as "an image hosting service that doesn't suck", was created as a response to the usability problems encountered in similar services. Originally designed as a gift to the online community of Reddit,[9] it took off almost instantly, jumping from a thousand hits per day to a million total page views in the first five months.[10] The website became widely recognized following its rise to popularity on social news websites such as Reddit and Digg.[11]

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;[12] sponsored images and self-service ads were introduced in 2013.[5]

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.[12]

In January 2011, the company moved from Ohio to San Francisco.[13] As of June 2013 they had 10 employees,[14] and won the Best Bootstrapped Startup award at TechCrunch's 2012 Crunchies Awards.[15]


In April 2014, 5 years after it was founded, Imgur raised $40 million from Andreessen Horowitz, along with a small contribution from Reddit.[16] Besides the large investment, Andreessen Horowitz's Lars Dalgaard will join Imgur's board.[17]

Imgur previously received partial funding through "premium accounts" in which users can have an unlimited amount of uploaded images, as opposed to 125 for normal users. This has since been changed, and the website's main form of funding is through advertisements on the site.

April Fools' Jokes[edit]

Imgur has a history of playing April Fools' Day jokes on its users. The first documented joke in 2011 was the Catification feature, which allowed users to automatically add cats to any image with one click.[18] In 2012, Imgur introduced the Imguraffe. The "simple Imguraffe sharer" version included a giraffe print background and a giraffe with a top hat and monocle in the logo.[19] In 2013, as another April Fools' Day joke, the site announced the ability to upload images using traditional snail mail, to "appeal to a broad user base which includes film users, the computer illiterate, and those afraid of radiation from scanners."[20] This was ultimately honored by the site's administrators who subsequently uploaded images which had been sent from users via the postal service.[21] In 2014, as an April Fool's Day joke, Imgur introduced the viralizer, a comment generator which automatically posted generic comments generally unrelated to the image being commented on. For 2015, they introduced the "collaborative imgur" option, in which users could decide to independently make the title, upload the image, or write a caption for a picture without seeing the others' submissions, creating random-seeming, unrelated posts. Additionally, an imgur "video game", inspired by Twitch Plays Pokémon was introduced, in which groups of users entered commands to move between images, and upvote or down vote images.


As of 2013, Imgur has largely overtaken other hosts, such as Photobucket, ImageShack, and TinyPic.[22]

In its first month, Imgur saw 93,000 pageviews. According to EdgeCast, Imgur's former content delivery network (CDN), Imgur serves more images in 10 minutes than there are in the entire Library of Congress.[12] In 2012, there were 300 million images uploaded, 364 billion image views counted, and 42 petabytes of data transferred.[23]

In September 2012, Imgur sent out 3,000 free stickers based on user requests.[24]



Albums were introduced on October 11, 2010.[25] Album layouts are fully customizable and embeddable.


On January 9, 2010, Alan Schaaf announced the creation of Imgur accounts, which allow users to create custom image galleries and manage their images. Accounts allow full image management including editing, deletion, album creation and embedding, as well as the ability to comment on viral images and submit to the public gallery.[26] Gallery profiles give the user the ability to view their past public activity.[27] If an account has more than 225 images, only the most recently uploaded 225 are displayed in their profile. Paid pro accounts were created in 2010 to remove these limitations and allows infinite image storage, as well as increased upload limits.[28]

Meme Generator[edit]

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.[29]


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.[30] 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[31] and trophies.[32] Images from the gallery are often later posted to social news sites such as Huffington Post.[33] Random mode was released on July 30, 2012 and allows users to browse the entire history of the public gallery randomly.[34]


Since October 2014, Imgur automatically converts uploaded animated GIF files into WebM and MP4 video files, which are much smaller.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-05-25. 
  2. ^ "How do you pronounce Imgur?". Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ "imgur (@imgur) - Twitter". 
  4. ^ Cultra, Shane (November 30, 2009). "Meet Alan Schaaf: Creator, Designer, Coder of One of the Fastest Growing Sites on the Net:". Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Tech Tuesday Takeover: Self-Serve Ads". 
  6. ^ "Tutorial: The New Gallery". 
  7. ^ "The Imgur Meme Generator". 
  8. ^ "The Imguraffe". Imgur help. 
  9. ^ Schaaf, Alan (February 23, 2009). "My Gift to Reddit: I created an image hosting service that doesn't suck. What do you think?". Reddit. Retrieved April 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Interview: Imgur's Path to a Billion Image Views Per Day - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD". AllThingsD. 
  11. ^ Quigley, Robert (January 13, 2010). "Viral Sensation In One Year: A Q&A With Imgur Founder Alan Schaaf". Mediaite. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "Imgur’s Startup Journey (Infographic)". May 15, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Imgur’s Startup Journey (Infographic)". May 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ Ryan Broderick (July 9, 2013). "How Imgur Is Taking Over Reddit From The Inside". Buzzfeed. 
  15. ^ "Imgur Wins Best Bootstrapped Startup, Sees 1 Billion Pageviews Per Month". TechCrunch. 1 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Smith, Jack. "Imgur Gets $40 Million Investment From Andreessen Horowitz". BetaBeat. 
  17. ^ Perez, Sarah April 3, 2014. Techcrunch. "After Five Years Of Bootstrapping, Imgur Raises $40 Million From Andreessen Horowitz & Reddit"
  18. ^ "Catify Your Images!". 
  19. ^ "Introducing the Imguraffe!". March 31, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Upload via Snail Mail". April 1, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Uploaded via Snail Mail". Imgur. 
  22. ^ "Google Trends". 
  23. ^ "Best Images of 2012 - Imgur". Imgur. 
  24. ^ "Imgur stickers the world". 
  25. ^ "Biggest site update ever". 
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Account Stats and Profiles". 
  28. ^ "Upgrade to Imgur Pro". Imgur. 
  29. ^ "The Imgur Meme Generator". June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Virality Scores & User Submitted Images". 
  31. ^ "Reputation Revised". 
  32. ^ "Imgur Trophies". 
  33. ^ "Imgur". 
  34. ^ "New header, random mode, upload from clipboard, oh my!". 
  35. ^ "Introducing GIFV". October 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]