Programmable Media

Webhook notifications

Last updated: Apr-08-2024

Cloudinary provides a webhook notification feature for informing your backend about certain actions that have been completed, either via API method call or via user action within the Console UI. When the action is completed, an HTTP POST request is sent to a public notification URL you provide. The payload contains all the results pertinent to that particular action.

You can use webhook notifications to:

  • Handle asynchronous calls. By default, Cloudinary's upload API works synchronously. For example, uploaded assets are processed and eager transformations are generated synchronously during an upload API call, which means that the original asset and derived assets are available immediately for delivery and further management. However, in some cases you may need to be notified that an upload has completed, or you may want to process actions asynchronously in the background, especially actions that require a relatively long time to process and require your users to actively wait for the processing to finish.
  • Keep aligned when other users in the system make changes. It's important to listen for changes made in your system and update accordingly to make sure there aren't any inconsistencies. You can set up code that listens for notifications, and then uses the data to make automatic updates. For example, you can set up a webhook to receive notifications when assets are renamed, and then trigger a search and replace to update the asset name anywhere it exists.
  • Integrate Cloudinary with other platforms. If you're using Cloudinary assets from within a different platform, listen for changes being made to assets in Cloudinary in order to keep synced. For example, you can set up a structured metadata field to indicate whether assets should be published or unpublished. When you receive a notification within the other platform indicating that this metadata field was changed, trigger the appropriate action in your code.

    For more information about how to integrate Cloudinary with another platform, see How to build your own integration.

  • Trigger another operation. If an action must follow a specific event, you can listen for that event and use it to trigger the action. For example, use the notification that an asset has been uploaded to trigger adding the asset to your catalog.
    Example
    The Cloudinary Solutions team took advantage of this option to create an open-source library that can learn and then auto-tag faces with names using an Amazon Rekognition lambda function that's triggered by the notification when photos are uploaded to a dedicated 'training' folder in Cloudinary.

Global notification URLs

You can set one or more global notification URLs in the Webhook Notifications page of the Console Settings or programmatically using the triggers method of the Admin API.

Once you've set up either a single or multiple notification URL(s), Cloudinary automatically sends responses to the appropriate URL address(es) any time a relevant action in the Console UI is performed or a call to a relevant Cloudinary API method is made.

If you're using a single notification URL, configure it to receive all notifications.

Note
Any global notification URL defined in the Upload tab (prior to June 2023) is now displayed in the Webhook Notifications page and is, by default, designated to receive all types of notifications.

However, adding multiple notification URLs enables you to specify which destination receives notifications for each type of action. This level of control makes is easy to trigger flows or sync multiple parts of your ecosystem when integrating Cloudinary with other platforms. It also allows you to:

  • Dedicate a separate notification URL to handle actions relevant to each of your workflows.
  • Organize your destinations according to their purpose.
  • Spread out the traffic among several endpoints to avoid performance issues.

Tips and considerations for adding multiple notification URLs

  • Make sure you assign every notification type that you listen for in your code to at least one notification URL.
  • You can optionally set one notification URL to receive all responses as backup.
  • Each notification URL can handle several event types, and conversely the responses for a single notification type can be sent to several notification URLs.

Managing global notification URLs

You can manage webhook notifications either from the Webhook Notifications page of the Console or using the triggers method of the Admin API. You can configure up to 10 notification URLs per product environment.

In the Console, each notification URL is linked to all configured Notification Types (triggering events). However, when programmatically managing webhook notifications, you're working with a trigger — a single triggering event paired with a single notification URL. As a result, programmatically creating a trigger reflects in the Console by either generating a new notification URL with a single Notification Type or appending a new Notification Type to an existing URL's list of notifications.

Managing webhook notifications from the Console

To manage multiple notification URLs via the Cloudinary Console, go to the Webhook Notifications Console Settings page.

By default, when you add a new notification URL, the Default - All notifications option is set as the default type. If you're using a single notification URL, or want to use one of your notification URLs as backup for all events, keep that default behavior.

You can also (or alternatively) add different Notification URLs, and select the Console UI action and/or API method Notification types that you want to be notified about at each URL.

In addition, you can select the access key that will be used to verify all your notification signatures. For more information, see Dedicated access key for webhook notifications.

Webhook notifications UI

Note
The Notification Type values in the list corresponds with the notification_type key that's returned in the body of the notification response.

Managing webhook notifications programmatically

To manage notification URLs programmatically, use the triggers method of the Admin API. Each trigger denotes a unique event type linked to its notification URL. Your product environment supports triggers up to a maximum determined by multiplying the number of unique event types by the limit of ten notification URLs.

When an event of the specified type occurs, a response is sent to its corresponding notification URL.

For example, set up the https://mysite.example.com/my_notification_endpoint URL to receive a notification whenever an upload is completed:

Notes
  • If you want a trigger to receive all notifications, set its event_type to all.
  • The event_type values correspond with the notification_type key that's returned in the body of the notification response. For a full list, see Event types.
  • A dedicated access key for verifying all webhook notifications can be set programmatically via the PUT method of the Provisioning API access key endpoint, available for Enterprise customers upon request.

API method call notifications

When you call certain API methods, a response is sent to the notification URL you configured to listen for that action upon its completion.

For a full list of possible triggering actions see this table.

For some examples of notification responses from these types of actions, see the Notification response examples section.

Note
If Dynamic folders mode is enabled on your product environment, there are some additional operations in the API that can trigger notifications as well as some additional keys that will be included in some notification responses. For details, see dynamic folders notifications.

Console UI notifications

When a user performs any of the following actions in the Console UI, a response will be sent to the notification URL you configured to listen for that action upon its completion.

  • Uploading a new asset.
  • Renaming the asset's public ID.
  • Deleting an asset. Deleting a folder that contains assets will also trigger a delete notification for all individual assets in that folder. Note that deleting empty folders does not send a notification.
  • Updating an asset's display name. (Relevant only for product environments using dynamic folder mode.)
  • Moving an asset between folders.
    • In fixed folder mode, moving an asset to another folder in the Media Library changes the public_id value, and thus triggers a rename notification.
    • In dynamic folder mode, moving an asset to another folder changes the asset_folder value, and triggers a move notification.
  • Adding, removing or updating the contextual metadata for an asset.
  • Adding, removing or updating the structured metadata for an asset.
  • Adding or removing a tag for an asset.
  • Updating the access control setting for an asset.
  • Creating a new asset folder.
  • Deleting an asset folder.
  • Restoring a previous asset version.

For a full list of possible triggering actions see this table.

For some examples of notification responses from these types of operations, see the Notification response examples section.

Note
If Dynamic folders mode is enabled on your product environment, there are some additional operations in the Console UI that can trigger notifications as well as some additional keys that will be included in some notification responses. For details, see dynamic folders notifications.

Notification Payload

When an action that triggers a notification is completed, an HTTP POST request will be sent to the notification URL you provided. The post data will contain all the result details for the action that triggered it. The body of this POST request is essentially the same information as you get in response to a standard synchronous request.

Here's an example POST request sent by Cloudinary after an upload completes:

Cloudinary signs all notification responses, allowing you to validate that they were not sent by a third-party. The notification includes both an X-Cld-Signature header and a X-Cld-Timestamp header for validating the notification response. For more details, see Verifying notification signatures.

For additional examples of notification responses from various API calls, see notification response examples.

Note
If you would like to include the initiating client IP Address in the response sent to your notification, please contact us.

Notification URLs for specific API calls

In specific situations, you may want to notify your backend as soon as a method call is complete, for example when dealing with user initiated uploads from a browser or mobile device. You can tell Cloudinary to notify your application as soon as the method is complete by adding the notification_url parameter to the method call and setting it to any valid HTTP or HTTPS URL.

The following upload API methods support the notification_url parameter: upload, explicit, explode, generate_archive, sprite, multi and create_collage.

For example, to add a notification_url to a specific upload call:

Note
A notification is sent to the destination you specified via the notification_url parameter in addition to any of the global notification URLs set to handle the relevant Notification type.

Eager transformation notifications

You can instruct Cloudinary to send a separate notification whenever a requested Eager transformation completes by adding the eager_notification_url parameter to the method call and setting it to any valid HTTP or HTTPS webhook URL. Eager transformations should be set up to work asynchronously in the background after an upload completes by also including the eager_async parameter (for more details, see Eager asynchronous transformations). This eager notification is in addition to any notification sent via the optional notification_url parameter.

The following upload API methods support the eager_notification_url parameter: upload and explicit.

For example, the following method will upload the sample.jpg image and then eagerly generate two transformed images:

  1. Pad to a width and height of 300 pixels.
  2. Crop to a width of 160 pixels and a height of 100 pixels.

Furthermore, the transformations will be performed asynchronously after the image finishes uploading, with a callback URL to notify your application once the upload is complete, and a different callback URL to notify your application once the eager transformations are complete:

Notification combinations with eager

The following table shows the results of adding different notification parameters when also requesting eager transformations with and without, the eager_async parameter.

Parameters Result
eager and
notification_url
The upload method response and the notification_url are sent after BOTH the upload completes and the eager transformations have finished.
eager and
eager_notification_url
The upload method response and the eager_notification_url are sent after BOTH the upload completes and the eager transformations have finished.
eager and
eager_notification_url and
eager_async
- The upload method response is sent after the upload completes and include a batch_id for tracking the eager job.
- eager_notification_url is sent after the eager transformations have finished with a batch_id for tracking.
eager and
notification_url and
eager_notification_url
The upload method response and the notification_url are sent after BOTH the upload completes and the eager transformations have finished. The eager notification is ignored.
eager and
notification_url and
eager_notification_url and
eager_async
- The upload method response and the notification_url are sent after the upload completes and include a batch_id for tracking the eager job.
- eager_notification_url is sent after the eager transformations have finished with a batch_id for tracking.

Eager notification response

When the eager transformations are completed, an HTTP POST request will be sent to the eager notification URL you provided with details about the requested eager transformations including the HTTP and HTTPS URLs for accessing the derived images. For example:

Cloudinary signs all notification responses, allowing you to validate that they were not sent by a third-party. The notification includes both an X-Cld-Signature header and a X-Cld-Timestamp header for validating the notification response. For more details, see Verifying notification signatures.

If the eager transformation is not generated for some reason then the notification response will include a status: failed and the reason, for example:

Notification response examples

Important
Cloudinary may add more fields to API responses and notifications in the future, so please ensure that your response parsing remains backwards compatible and wont be broken by the presence of unknown fields.

This section provides several examples of notification responses to a variety of different API calls or Media Library operations. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, and that the exact content of the response will depend on the options sent with the relevant API call or the exact operation performed in the Media Library.

Tip
The notification responses include a notification_context with information on the time the original request was triggered and the source of that request - either an email address for a UI initiated request, or the api_key of an API method call.

Tags

Context

Metadata

Rename

(Change the public ID)

Change display name

Supported only for product environments using dynamic folder mode.

Create folder

Create asset folder

Move between asset folders

Supported only for product environments using dynamic folder mode.

Move an asset folder

Supported only for product environments using dynamic folder mode.

Delete an asset

Delete an asset folder

Supported only for product environments using dynamic folder mode.

Sprite generation

Multi generation

Explode

Create collage

Upload (simple)

Note
The sample response below reflects a product environment using fixed folder mode. On product environments using dynamic folder mode, asset_folder and display_name keys are also included in the response.

Upload (complex)

Note
The sample response below reflects a product environment using fixed folder mode. On product environments using dynamic folder mode, asset_folder and display_name keys are also included in the response.

Access control

Image inserted from Media Library widget

Retry policy

In the event of a failed notification URL, the HTTP response code is assessed. If the response is not 200 OK, three additional notification attempts are initiated:

  • A retry after 3 minutes.
  • A second attempt after 6 minutes.
  • A final retry after 9 minutes.

Troubleshooting

Understanding how to troubleshoot notification failures and identify why notifications may not reach their destination URL is essential for seamless operation. Here, we explore common failure causes and ways to avoid potential pitfalls when working with Cloudinary webhook notifications.

Common causes of failure

  • Payload corruption: Payload validation in webhook notifications checks if the data meets expected formatting and matches system requirements. Failure may signal data corruption issues that affect processing.

  • Invalid signature: Verification of the signature may fail, resulting in webhook failures.

  • Disabled access key: Using a disabled access key for signing the API can impact webhook functionality. To activate your access keys, go to the Access Keys page of your Console Settings.

  • Invalid Webhook URL: A webhook was configured with an incorrect or inaccessible notification URL. For example, you may have configured an endpoint that no longer exists, or changes in the URL path may not be updated in the configuration.

  • Connection Timeout: Timeout errors may occur if your server experiences delays exceeding our 20-second limit. Retries happen for transient issues, but consistent server slowness may lead to notification failures.

Ways to avoid potential pitfalls

While setting up and maintaining your webhooks, keep the following potential pitfalls in mind:

  • Check the signature calculation: Make sure your signature calculation is accurate. This is crucial for webhook success.

  • Ensure JSON payload is stringified correctly: JSON payload stringifying can encounter problems like data loss, invalid JSON, and character encoding mismatches. These issues can be avoided by using standard libraries, validating JSON data, and handling special characters correctly.

  • Standardize hash methods: When different cloud platforms use different methods for securing webhook data, it can cause signature mismatches, leading to webhook failure. Avoid this by standardizing the hash algorithm or implementing flexible signature verification.

  • Avoid notification overload: Ensure your server can handle the volume of notifications, especially when there are numerous uploads.

  • Follow HTTP header specifications: Ensure HTTP headers are treated as case-insensitive according to the HTTP V2 specification.

  • Monitor endpoint logs: Regularly check endpoint logs for 500 errors to identify issues with processing Cloudinary notifications.

Note
Cloudinary currently does not disable failing endpoints to help customers troubleshoot and address notification issues.

✔️ Feedback sent!

Rate this page: