Uploading and storing assets

You can upload images, videos, and other files to your Media Library via drag-and-drop, file-system upload, or by selecting media files from a variety of remote sources. In all cases, you can upload multiple files at once. This single repository is then used by your creative team during all stages of the media review and selection workflow as well as by your developers for delivery in your production website or app.

When you upload assets to Cloudinary, they are stored in cloud storage buckets (such as Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage) with all of the backups, versioning, and replication that are standard with leading cloud storage vendors. For technical details about Cloudinary storage, architecture and delivery, see Service architecture.

Any settings that were applied in your account's Media Library upload preset are applied to every uploaded file. For example, the preset may apply one or more auto-tagging add-ons, so that every uploaded asset will be tagged according to automatically detected categories, or the preset may activate manual or automated moderation to uploaded files. The Media Library upload preset and other upload settings can be set by users with one of the Admin roles. For details, see Upload Settings.

You can upload assets to the Media Library home (root) folder or to any other folder or sub-folder as long as you have upload permissions to the relevant folder:

  • If you have one of the Admin roles, you can upload to all folders.
  • If you have a Media Library user role, you can upload only to folders where you have at least Can contribute permissions. For details, see Folder sharing and permissions.

Upload options

The Media Library provides a variety of ways to upload media to your Cloudinary account from a variety of sources. Regardless of the option you choose, the selected files are uploaded to the currently selected folder.

The developers in your organization can also upload media assets programmatically using the Upload API. More information on this can be found in the Media Upload Guide, and Upload API Reference.

Upload from the file system

There are two ways to upload from the file system:

  • Drag and drop: Drag and drop selected media files or folders into the Media Library from your file system. The files or folders you drag are added to the currently active folder. When you select folders, the entire folder structure, including any sub-folders, is created within the folder you dragged to. (If you are currently in a view other than the folder view, the files or folders are added to the root folder.)
  • Upload local files: Click the dropdown button next to the main Upload button and select Upload local files to open your file system folder and select the file(s) to upload.

When using either of these options, public IDs and tags (if any) are applied according to your account's default Media Library upload preset. If you want to control the public ID, add custom tags for the files you select to upload, or select a different upload preset, use the Media Library Upload Widget.

Notes for uploading folders

  • Uploading entire folders is supported only when dragging to the Media Library and not via the Upload local files or Upload Widget options.
  • Make sure the folder names of any uploaded folders (including sub-folders) do not contain any special characters. Only alphanumeric characters and hyphens or underscores are supported.
  • Only folders containing files are created. Empty folders or sub-folders are ignored.

Media Library Upload Widget

If you want to select media files from a source other than your computer/device, or you want to apply additional settings to the files you upload, click the Upload button at the top-right of the Media Library to open the Upload Widget. From the widget you can:

  • Upload from your local file system or from remote sources such as a Web URL, Google Search, DropBox, Shutterstock and more.
  • Use the Advanced options to set the public ID and/or tags for all the media you select for upload or to select a signed upload preset that you want to apply to all assets you upload in that specific upload widget session. If you set a public ID when uploading multiple files, each uploaded file gets the specified public ID plus a counter suffix.


    • If you want to set Advanced options, you must set them before you select the files to upload.
    • By default, the Upload Preset option in the Advanced options of the Media Library Upload Widget is hidden. If you would like it enabled for your account, submit a support request.

Media Library upload widget

Watch the Media Library Upload video tutorial to see this in action.

Your developer team can also embed the upload widget in other applications using the JavaScript-based upload widget API. This can make it easier for all the teams in your organization to upload assets to Cloudinary from within the tools they are used to. Additionally, your developers can embed the upload widget (with a customized look and feel) in your organization's user-facing applications to enable your customers to easily upload user-generated content directly to your Media Library.

Uploading Tips and Guidelines

  • By default, the public ID (the file name that will be used in the URL) is based on the filename of the selected files, either with or without a random suffix, depending on the options set in your account settings.
  • Depending on the settings in your account's Media Library default upload preset (or those in the preset you select in the Upload widget) as well as the permissions you have for the folder where you upload assets, you may or may not be able to overwrite an existing asset.

    When overwriting is supported, then by default, overwriting the asset also clears the values in tags, contextual, and structured metadata fields for that asset. A Cloudinary master admin can change this default behavior for your account via the Media Library preferences so that these field values are retained when new version assets overwrite older ones (unless you specify different values as part of your upload, for example, via the Advanced Options of the Media Library upload widget).

  • You can specify any public ID using the Advanced options in the Upload Widget. You can also use the Advanced options to specify tag(s) to assign to all assets that you upload in this upload session.
    Keep in mind that you must set the Advanced options before you select the files to upload.
    Additionally, note that if you set a public ID and then select multiple media assets to upload, they all get the same public ID with a counter suffix.
  • When uploading assets to a particular folder, keep in mind that different users may have different folder access permissions. Make sure to upload your assets to a folder that is shared only with the user groups that should be able to access them.
  • The folder structure where an asset is stored is included in its delivery URL. This may also be an important consideration when selecting the folder where you want to upload.
  • Uploading password-protected PDFs is not supported.

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