Imgur (/ˈɪmɪər/ IM-ih-jər,[1] stylized as imgur) is an American online image sharing and image hosting service with a focus on social gossip that was founded by Alan Schaaf in 2009. The service has hosted viral images and memes, particularly those posted on Reddit.[2]

Type of site
Image hosting service
Available inEnglish
Founded2009; 15 years ago (2009)
OwnerMediaLab AI, Inc.
Created byAlan Schaaf
URLOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
LaunchedFebruary 23, 2009; 15 years ago (2009-02-23)
Current statusActive



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 and lack of file retention encountered in similar services. "It took off almost instantly, jumping from a thousand hits per day to a million total page views in the first five months."[3] 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.

In the beginning, Imgur relied on donations to help with the web hosting costs.[citation needed] Display ads were introduced in May 2009; sponsored images and self-service ads were introduced in 2013.

Imgur used three different hosting providers in the first year before settling on Voxel, then switching to Amazon Web Services in late 2011.

In January 2011, the company moved from Ohio to San Francisco. In June 2013 it had 10 employees,[4] and won the Best Bootstrapped Startup award at TechCrunch's 2012 Crunchies Awards.[5]

In 2016, Reddit introduced native image hosting, causing a notable decrease in Imgur submissions on the site.[6]

On September 27, 2021, Imgur announced that they were acquired by MediaLab AI, Inc., a holding company of internet brands.[7] Shortly after in January, 2022, Alan Schaaf left the company. [8]

On April 19, 2023, Imgur changed their terms of service and announced that they will delete "old, unused, and inactive content that is not tied to a user account" and "nudity, pornography, & sexually explicit content". The new terms of service went into effect on May 15, 2023.[9][10] The move has drawn significant criticism as being indicative of the same fundamental problem encountered by users of other image hosting services (Photobucket, Webshots) where countless internet resources, many obscure, that relied on the long-term solvency of users' hosted images face the challenge of link rot.[11][12]



In April 2014, five years after it was founded, Imgur raised $40 million (USD) from Andreessen Horowitz and Andreessen Horowitz's Lars Dalgaard joined Imgur's board.[13] Imgur was profitable at the time, generating revenue from Pro subscriptions and advertising.[14]

In February 2019, Imgur received $20 million (USD) from Stefan Thomas (ex-Ripple CTO).[15]




In April 2016, it was ranked 16th among Alexa's Top Sites in the United States[16] but by April 2021 it had dropped to #51.





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



On January 9, 2010, 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. Gallery profiles gave the user the ability to view their past public activity.[citation needed] Paid pro accounts were created in 2010 to remove image upload limitations and allow unlimited image storage.



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. 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.[citation needed]

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.


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. As opposed to private account uploads, images added to the gallery are publicly searchable by title. Members of the Imgur community can vote and comment on the images, earning reputation points and trophies. Images from the gallery are often later posted to social news sites such as Huffington Post. Random mode was released on July 30, 2012, and allows users to browse the entire history of the public gallery randomly.



Since October 2014, Imgur had automatically converted uploaded animated GIF files into WebM and MP4 video formats, which have much smaller file size.

Video to GIF


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



In February 2015 Imgur announced "Topics" which was a way for users to sort and view specific images that belonged to a specific group determined by tags.

Mobile apps


In March and June 2015 Imgur introduced official mobile apps for iOS and Android, respectively.[17]



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



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.[18]

Imgur's community members include former Mythbuster Adam Savage and Olympic athlete Cody Miller.[19]

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 November 24, 2017, Imgur began notifying affected users via their registered email address to change their passwords.[20]

See also



  1. ^ "How do you pronounce Imgur?". Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Lardinois, Frederic (January 11, 2013). "Imgur, Reddit's Favorite Photo Hosting Site, Now Serves Up Over 3.6B Pageviews To 56M Visitors Per Month". TechCrunch.
  3. ^ "Interview: Imgur's Path to a Billion Image Views Per Day - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD". AllThingsD.
  4. ^ Ryan Broderick (July 9, 2013). "How Imgur Is Taking Over Reddit From The Inside". Buzzfeed.
  5. ^ "Imgur Wins Best Bootstrapped Startup, Sees 1 Billion Pageviews Per Month". TechCrunch. February 1, 2012.
  6. ^ Woolf, Max (June 20, 2017). "The Decline of Imgur on Reddit and the Rise of Reddit's Native Image Hosting". minimaxir. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Imgur (September 27, 2021). "Celebrating Imgur's Next Chapter". Imgur. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  8. ^ "Alan Schaaf on LinkedIn".
  9. ^ "Imgur Terms of Service Update [April 19, 2023] – Imgur".
  10. ^ "Imgur: Bekannte Bilderplattform will Nacktfotos löschen". Der Spiegel (in German). April 20, 2023. ISSN 2195-1349. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  11. ^ "Imgur Just Banned Porn". WIRED. April 20, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  12. ^ "Hosting site Imgur will remove explicit and anonymous content next month". Ars Technica. April 20, 2023. Retrieved April 21, 2023.
  13. ^ Perez, Sarah April 3, 2014. Techcrunch. "After Five Years Of Bootstrapping, Imgur Raises $40 Million From Andreessen Horowitz & Reddit"
  14. ^ Dickey, Megan Rose (March 18, 2014). "This Is The Future Of Imgur, The Massive Photo-Sharing Startup Yahoo Wants To Buy". Business Insider. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  15. ^ "Imgur Receives $20M From Ex-Ripple CTO's Payments Startup". June 26, 2019. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  16. ^ "Alexa - Top Sites in United States". Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  17. ^ "Imgur Brings Its Trove Of Memes And Cat GIFs To Android". Fast Company. June 2, 2015.
  18. ^ Jack Smith IV (August 19, 2015). "Imgur Is the Last True Internet Culture Remaining — But Can It Survive?". Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  19. ^ "Olympic swimmer shares how he overcame body image issues via Imgur". The Daily Dot. July 11, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  20. ^ "Imgur Hacked, 1.7 Million User Accounts Data Stolen". Gadgets7. Archived from the original on June 23, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2017.