Cloudinary Blog

Automatic backup of user uploaded images using Cloudinary

As a website owner, you know the importance of having a robust web-based service. When a downtime may result in lost revenues, you strive to keep a highly available online solution.
 
A major part of having a robust service is a good contingency plan, that ultimately depends on regular backups of your website’s data. Your website’s code is probably backed up regularly, and so is your database, but have you given thought to backing up your dynamic website assets, such as your users’ uploaded images? 
 
Until today, using Cloudinary as-is would have gotten you most of the way there. Cloudinary offers a simple way for you to upload your website’s images and other resources to the cloud, offering high availability and robust delivery, that usually surpasses the capabilities of local hosting solutions. Even if a cloud-based hardware is damaged, its virtual nature makes sure that the data is kept safe and can be easily and transparently migrated to a replacement hardware.
 
But what about user errors, code mishaps and targeted attacks? A website user and even your admin might accidentally erase a critical user uploaded image. A vulnerability in your application may allow an attacker to perform mass deletion of images or replacing them with alternative content. How can these issues be thwarted?
 
Today, we are happy to announce Cloudinary’s new backup feature. This new feature addresses all the issues we’ve listed, while offering many additional benefits. 
 
From now on, in addition to safely storing uploaded images in a cloud based storage (Amazon’s S3 service), images can be automatically backed up to a safer location, where no casual API calls can penetrate. In addition, Cloudinary keeps multiple revisions for each uploaded resource for even greater robustness.
 

Enabling global and selective backups

Since backing up resources requires extra storage space, we made it optional. By default, backup is turned off.
 
To enable backup of your Cloudinary-managed resources, simply head to your management console and enable backup through the settings page. Changes will take effect immediately for all newly uploaded images.
 
Settings
 
To keep your costs down, Cloudinary’s new backup solution makes sure it backs up only your unique resources. Remotely fetched images, such as Facebook and Twitter profile pictures, are not backed up because they can be automatically re-created at any time. In addition, Cloudinary keeps backup copies only for your original images and not of the derived (transformed) versions of these originals, as these too can be re-generated on demand.
 
In addition to global backup, you can also selectively enable backups for specific, important files. To do this, simply specify the new 'backup' parameter in upload API calls. Below are some examples:
 
Ruby on Rails:
Cloudinary::Uploader.upload("my_file.png", 
                            :public_id => "my_file", 
                            :backup => true)
PHP:
\Cloudinary\Uploader::upload("my_file.png", 
                             "public_id" => 'my_file', 
                             "backup" => true)
Python:
cloudinary.uploader.upload("my_file.png", 
                           public_id = 'my_file', 
                           backup = True)
Node.js:
cloudinary.uploader.upload("http://www.example.com/image.jpg", 
    function(result) { console.log(result) }, 
    { public_id: 'sample_remote', backup: true })
Make sure you upgrade to our latest client libraries to ensure the backup support.
 

Backed-up resource browsing 

While browsing images using our management console you’ll notice that backed-up resources are now marked with a small safe icon. If the icon is red it means that a file has additional historical revisions.
 
Backup images
 
Clicking on the safe icon will list all revisions, allowing you to download historical versions of a backed-up resource.
 
Backup revisions
 
Deleted backed-up images are listed as well. They are grayed out and marked as non existing. You can still click the safe icon to download the deleted image backup.
 
Backup deleted
 

Backup solution availability

The automatic backup feature is now available for all free and paid plans of Cloudinary with no extra charge. 
 
If you use our Advanced paid plans (UPDATE) any of our paid plans, you can even choose to store all backed-up files on your own S3 bucket, instead of Cloudinary’s.
 
To summarize, Cloudinary’s new backup capability is an important tool in your robustness arsenal. It is another important step in making Cloudinary a complete, well-rounded solution to your website’s entire image management needs. 
 
We would love to hear your thoughts on this new feature. Use the comment thread below to share them.

Recent Blog Posts

Cloudinary Product Gallery Enables Dynamic Buyer Experience

We live in a world where we spend increasingly more time online. As our routines change and adapt to new trends and technologies, we perform more and more of our daily activities in virtual environments. A key example of this is shopping. There are many reasons why online shopping has become so attractive for many buyers. A near endless variety of products is accessible from the palm of your hand. Customer reviews give buyers more confidence in their decisions. It's increasingly easy to search for attractive prices. And the list goes on. But a customer's desire to "touch" or "feel" the product is an interactive experience that can be hard to overcome when shopping online.

Read more
A Guide to Website Image Optimization and Performance

Part 1 of this series delves into the background for this guide. Here in part 2 are the ins and outs.

Wait, hear me out. I know, we just talked about this: Nobody is sheepishly pleading you, “Please, might we have just one more image on the page?” No, I’m not telling you to pick that particular fight. Instead, use a little smoke and mirrors to avoid requests for images that your audience needn’t render right away and might never need at all while loading them asynchronously—only as needed.

Read more
A Guide to Image Optimization for Website Performance

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the rules of putting images on the web.

For such a flexible medium as the web, software development can feel like a painstaking, rules-oriented game—an errant comma might break a build, a missing semicolon might wipe out an entire page. For a long time, the laws of image rendering seemed similarly cut-and-dry: For example, if your markups contained an img element , the singular content of its src attribute would be foisted on the audience regardless of their browsing context, period.

Read more
Digital Asset Management Platform: Meeting Customer Expectations

Consumers today expect media-rich experiences. No longer a novelty, it’s second nature to swipe through multiple photos on mobile apps, zoom in on product images for a closer look, visualize online travel reviews, socialize cool video clips while browsing, and encounter brand messages when walking into brick-and-mortar stores. These experiences weave together visual cues and clues with relevant content to create meaning and more authentic connections for customers.

Read more
How to Customize Cloudinary's eCommerce Android App

Recently we added the Cloudinary Demo - eCommerce App to the Google Play Store. This app demonstrates the best practices for optimal delivery of images on a storefront, including category pages, product pages, and a shopping cart. At the time, we published Introducing the Cloudinary Demo Android App, Part 1, which provided an under-the-hood tour of how the eCommerce Android App was designed and how Cloudinary was integrated throughout.

Read more