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

The Visual Media Report: Visual Engagement and User Experience

With privacy top of mind, we wondered what we might learn from analyzing the large volume of data. What user behaviors would we discover, what regional differences might exist? What insights or early hints from different industries could we extrapolate? These questions guided us as we analyzed millions of anonymous end-user experiences and asset interactions across our platform.

Read more
How a Cloud-native DAM Platform Optimizes Customer Experiences

In today’s digital age, brands rely heavily on rich media to tell stories, foster engagement, and make emotional connections that drive results. Marketers use videos and images, tuned to customers’ interests, to create dynamic visual experiences. Digital campaigns about trips to Florida, for instance, have separate plot lines, depending on audiences’ passions for golf, deep sea fishing, or kid-friendly versus romantic getaways. Marketers expect to detect preferences, produce personalized experiences highlighting different desires, and turn digital prospects into vacationing customers. The ultimate success of a marketing campaign relies on the consistent delivery of these customer experiences, at scale.

Read more
Cloudinary’s Media Developer Experts Program

Cloudinary was founded by developers and developer-centric thinking is in our DNA. Our work with developers helps them better understand all things rich-media management and delivery is crucial to us. Now, in an effort to recognize, support, and reward the innovative leaders in that technical community, we’re excited to introduce a new Media Developer Experts (MDE) program! MDEs will leverage the Cloudinary platform to foster a community of media-management professionals; receive training and certifications to become experts within their field or audience; advance the state of media management, adoption, and best practices; and make the web more accessible.

Read more
An Eye-Opening Talk: Building Apps for the Next Billion Users in Africa

William (iChuloo) Imoh, who hails from Lagos, Nigeria, recently embarked on a U.S. speaking tour, February 20-March 12, during which he powwowed with technical and product teams and communities at such renowned enterprises as Netlify, Pluralsight, Lucidchart, Twilio, and more in Salt Lake City, Dallas, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. On March 5, he gave an enlightening talk, entitled International Developers and Development: Building for the Next Billion Users at Cloudinary in Santa Clara, California. Below is a synopsis. For details, see the related slides.

Read more
The Debut of the Cloudinary Customer Advisory Board

Focus on customers has always been Cloudinary’s mantra. Because we owe them our success, we are constantly reaching out to our customers, not just for feedback on our offerings, but also for their vision, wish list, and buy-in of what Cloudinary can do to meet their needs and make them succeed. About six months ago, it occurred to us that it would be beneficial if we could meet regularly with those who are behind innovation at our key customers—executives, product gurus, developers, content managers—to swap strategies, product roadmaps, best practices, and such. In particular, we’d like to solicit actionable feedback as a foundation for our plans of product enhancements.

Read more