What is a thumbnail and how is it used?

We’ve all seen a thumbnail before. They’ve become an essential part since the early days of the web. But how do websites create them, and why do we still use them? In this guide, we’ll go over some of the basics and show you how to step up your thumbnail game.

What Is a Thumbnail?

A thumbnail is a small version of an image. It’s used to help people find images and to give them a preview of the image before they click on it.

A browser will show thumbnails when you visit a website, but they’re not always the same as what you’ll see when you click them. Sometimes they’re bigger than usual so that they take up more space on your screen; sometimes, they’re smaller than usual so that there are more of them visible at once. And sometimes, there won’t even be any thumbnails at all! This is because websites can decide how much space their thumbnails should take up – and some sites don’t want their users wasting time looking through lots of tiny pictures when all they want is one big one!

Why Do You Need a Thumbnail?

Thumbnails are often used to help users quickly identify which image they want to look at more closely, but they’re not always necessary because you might have other ways of doing this (such as using tags). However, they work best for large galleries of images or videos to give you the best chance to find what you’re looking for.

Thumbnails are also incredibly important for video sites like TikTok and YouTube. Picking the right thumbnail for a video can make or break how many views a video can get. Crafting video thumbnails is an art on its own and incredibly relevant for video creators.


Make Thumbnails Pop with Cloudinary

Thumbnails are all over the internet, with most websites automatically generating them whenever an image is uploaded. But with Cloudinary, you can take it one step further. Our Image Transformation API empowers you to dynamically change your thumbnails on the fly based on your needs. You can also use our platform’s intelligent automation to generate dynamic thumbnails for videos that give your viewers a glance of the action before they click.

If you want to step up your thumbnail game, look no further than Cloudinary. You can get started for free today!

Last updated: May 25, 2023