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Imgur logo.svg
Type of site
Image hosting service
Available inEnglish
Founded2009; 11 years ago (2009)
OwnerImgur, Inc.[1]
Created byAlan Schaaf
Key peopleAlan Schaaf (CEO)
URLOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
LaunchedFebruary 23, 2009; 11 years ago (2009-02-23)
Current statusActive

Imgur (/ˈɪmɪər/ IM-ij-ər,[2] stylized as imgur) is an American online image sharing community and image host founded by Alan Schaaf in 2009. The service has been popular with hosting viral images and memes, particularly those posted on Reddit.[3]


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]

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]

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]

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]

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 and 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[edit]

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] In April 2019 Imgur made yet another April Fools' Day joke by adding the "Meh" button along with the pre-existing "Upvote", "Downvote", and "Favorite" icons.[18] The "Meh" button would vote neither up nor down a post, effectively giving it a +0. The "Meh" button was to be used "When you're plainly whelmed".

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 [warning: non-statistical].[19] As of April 2016, it was ranked 16th among Alexa's Top Sites in the United States.[20]

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.[21]



Albums were introduced on October 11, 2010.[22] 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.[23] Gallery profiles gave the user the ability to view their past public activity.[24][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.[25] Paid pro accounts were created in 2010 to remove these limitations and allow infinite image storage, as well as increased upload limits.[26]


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.[27] 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.[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 had automatically converted uploaded animated GIF files into WebM and MP4 video files, which are much smaller.[35]

Video to GIF[edit]

In January 2015, Imgur allowed users to link video URLs to create GIFs directly through the website.[36] 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.[37]

Mobile apps[edit]

In March and June 2015 Imgur introduced official mobile apps for iOS[38] and Android, respectively.[39]


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",[40] "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.[41]

Some of Imgur's more well-known community members include former Mythbuster Adam Savage[42] and Olympic athlete Cody Miller.[43]

Data breach[edit]

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.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Terms of Service - Imgur". Imgur. Imgur, Inc. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  2. ^ "How do you pronounce Imgur?". Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  3. ^ "Imgur, Reddit's Favorite Photo Hosting Site, Now Serves Up Over 3.6B Pageviews To 56M Visitors Per Month".
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Interview: Imgur's Path to a Billion Image Views Per Day - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD". AllThingsD.
  6. ^ Quigley, Robert (January 13, 2010). "Viral Sensation In One Year: A Q&A With Imgur Founder Alan Schaaf". Mediaite. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  7. ^ "Imgur Expands Viral Image Sharing Platform". Press - Imgur. Archived from the original on 2016-10-10. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  8. ^ a b c "Imgur's Startup Journey (Infographic)". May 15, 2015.
  9. ^ "Tech Tuesday Takeover: Self-Serve Ads".
  10. ^ "Imgur's Startup Journey (Infographic)". May 15, 2012.
  11. ^ Ryan Broderick (July 9, 2013). "How Imgur Is Taking Over Reddit From The Inside". Buzzfeed.
  12. ^ "Imgur Wins Best Bootstrapped Startup, Sees 1 Billion Pageviews Per Month". TechCrunch. 1 February 2012.
  13. ^ Woolf, Max (2017-06-20). "The Decline of Imgur on Reddit and the Rise of Reddit's Native Image Hosting". minimaxir. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  14. ^ Perez, Sarah April 3, 2014. Techcrunch. "After Five Years Of Bootstrapping, Imgur Raises $40 Million From Andreessen Horowitz & Reddit"
  15. ^ Dickey, Megan Rose (2014-03-18). "This Is The Future Of Imgur, The Massive Photo-Sharing Startup Yahoo Wants To Buy". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  16. ^ "Catify Your Images!".
  17. ^ "The Imguraffe". Imgur help.
  18. ^ "Presenting: The Meh vote. The virtual shrug of the future".
  19. ^ "Google Trends".
  20. ^ "Alexa - Top Sites in United States". Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  21. ^ "Best Images of 2012 - Imgur". Imgur.
  22. ^ "Biggest site update ever". Archived from the original on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2016-10-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Account Stats and Profiles".
  25. ^ "What files can I upload?". Imgurl. Imgurl. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  26. ^ "Upgrade to Imgur Pro". Imgur. Archived from the original on 2010-01-12.
  27. ^ "Register Upgrade". Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Normal images that are not viewed for 3 months may be removed. However, images with pro accounts can only be removed by you.
  28. ^ Schaaf, Sarah (16 February 2015). "How long do you keep the images?". Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. 02/16/2015 Forever! An image is only removed if deletion is requested.
  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.
  36. ^ "Introducing Video to GIF | The Imgur Blog". Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  37. ^ "Introducing Topics | The Imgur Blog". Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  38. ^ "The New Imgur iPhone App is Here!".
  39. ^ "Imgur Brings Its Trove Of Memes And Cat GIFs To Android". Fast Company. 2 June 2015.
  40. ^ "Trophies". Imgur. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  41. ^ Jack Smith IV (August 19, 2015). "Imgur Is the Last True Internet Culture Remaining — But Can It Survive?". Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  42. ^ "Adam Savage on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  43. ^ "Olympic swimmer shares how he overcame body image issues via Imgur". 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  44. ^ "Imgur Hacked, 1.7 Million User Accounts Data Stolen". Gadgets7.

External links[edit]

Media related to Imgur at Wikimedia Commons