Images are an essential part of every online business. Whether it's an e-commerce or a content website, images help users get a better sense of the product they are purchasing or relate to the content they are reading.

Businesses use an image storage API or an image hosting solution to store these website images. Cloud providers like AWS, Google, Microsoft, etc., provide their image storage solutions with APIs to upload or manage content in them. Alternatively, some businesses also use their web servers for image storage.

Challenges with traditional image storage

However, these storage APIs are meant to be used by software developers.
They are unusable by non-technical folks lacking essential features like an easy-to-use user interface or advanced image organization and search functionalities.

Additionally, these image storage API solutions do not have built-in image optimization or real-time image resize or transform capabilities, which are critical for delivering a great user experience across devices.

Let's look at an alternate image storage API that gets you all of these critical features while guaranteeing the stability of a traditional cloud storage solution.

Image Storage API with ImageKit's Media Library

ImageKit is complete media storage, management, and delivery solution that helps you store, manage and deliver perfect images across all devices on the web.

ImageKit comes integrated with an image storage solution called the Media Library. The Media Library is built on top of AWS S3, the leading cloud storage provider, and is available in six regions across the globe.

Image Storage APIs and SDKs

ImageKit's Media Library comes with image storage and several image management APIs that allow you to perform any imaginable operation with your images programmatically.

Additionally, ImageKit provides official SDKs in multiple languages for both server-side and client-side operations.

For example, uploading an image from your Python backend using the image upload API is as simple as this ten-line code.

from imagekitio import ImageKit
imagekit = ImageKit(
    private_key='your private_key',
    public_key='your public_key',
    url_endpoint = 'your url_endpoint'

    file= "<url|base_64|binary>",
    file_name= "my_file.jpg", 
Example of image upload using ImageKit's Python SDK using the image storage API

Similarly, if you want to upload images to ImageKit's image storage directly from the client's device, you could use one of its frontend SDKs to do so. Here is an example of an image upload using the image storage API from a React Application.

<IKContext publicKey="your_public_api_key" authenticationEndpoint="">

Image upload from ReactJS app using ImageKit's client-side storage API

Where are the hosted images stored?

As mentioned earlier, ImageKit's Media Library is built on top of AWS's S3 object storage. When using the image storage API, ImageKit stores the image you upload in AWS S3 in the selected geographical region for your account. It may also additionally backup the image in an alternate geographical location for better data redundancy.

Therefore, by design, you get the same stability and data integrity as that provided by AWS S3, even with ImageKit's media library.

Advantages of using ImageKit's image storage API over cloud storage

Now, you might be wondering why you would want to use ImageKit's image storage API and the Media Library instead of using AWS S3's storage API when essentially, ImageKit is also storing the images in S3.

Let's look at the advantages of ImageKit's storage over traditional cloud storage like S3.

In cloud storage like AWS S3, you can store the image on specific keys that give the impression of folder organization. However, with ImageKit's storage API, you can organize images in actual folders.

And for another layer of organization, you can add tags to them. These tags can be either added automatically with AI-based extensions (more on this later in point 3) or can be added manually.

For example, the image storage API below adds the tags 'mobile' and 'halloween sale' to the image 'banner.jpg' and uploads it to the folder 'website_banners'.

    file= "<url|base_64|binary>",
    file_name= "banner.jpg",
    options= {
        "folder" : "/website_banners/",
        "tags": ["mobile", "halloween sale"]

Now, these tags come in handy when you have to search for specific images, especially when there exists more than one image with the same name.

In the above example, you can use the ImageKit list and search API as shown below to search for Halloween banners for mobile devices using these tags uploaded within the last 7 days and more than 2MB in size.

from imagekitio import ImageKit

imagekit = ImageKit(
    url_endpoint = ''

list_files = imagekit.list_files({
    "tags": ["mobile","halloween sale"],
    "searchQuery": 'createdAt >= "7d" AND size > "2mb"'

2. Managing images via API in ImageKit's media library

Once you upload an image using the image storage API, you will have to carry out basic operations such as copying, moving, deleting, or updating these images later.

ImageKit provides a set of image management APIs that allow you to manage the images stored in its storage. These APIs, therefore, allow you to integrate image hosting and management within your existing workflows programmatically.

For example, using ImageKit's NodeJS SDK, you can copy an image from one folder to the other as shown below.

imagekit.copyFile("sourceFilePath", "destinationPath").then(response => {
}).catch(error => {
Note: These features are also available in ImageKit's dashboard via the UI. You can add multiple users from marketing and content teams and access the ImageKit Media Library to provide an easy-to-use interface to upload and manage the images.

3. AI-powered image tagging and background removal

ImageKit's storage API not just allows you to host images in its storage, but it also integrates with popular third-party APIs to further simplify your workflow.

For example, you can leverage Google Cloud Vision and AWS Rekognition to tag your images automatically via API.

    file= "<url|base_64|binary>", # required
    file_name= "my_file_name.jpg", # required
    options= {
        "folder" : "/example-folder/",
        "tags": ["a-manual-tag"],
        "response_fields": ["is_private_file", "tags"],
        "extensions": [{
            "name": "aws-auto-tagging",
            "minConfidence": 80,
            "maxTags": 10
            "name": "google-auto-tagging",
            "minConfidence": 70,
            "maxTags": 10       

The response to the above upload API can look like

// Response body for an update/upload API call
    /* of the update/upload response fields
    "AITags": [
            "name": "Shirt",
            "confidence": 90.12,
            "source": "google-auto-tagging"
        /* ... more googleVision tags ... */
    "extensionStatus": {
        "google-auto-tagging": "success",
        "aws-auto-tagging": "pending"

Using the search API described in the previous point, you can leverage these AI-powered tags to search for your images hosted with ImageKit.

You can also remove an image's background at the time of image upload with ImageKit's integration with the industry-leading API.

See how the entire background from the car's image below can be removed at the time of upload with ImageKit's image upload API.

Original image
Image with its background removed

These integrations help you simplify your image hosting and management workflow and make ImageKit's storage a lot more useful than traditional cloud storage like AWS S3 or Google Cloud Storage.

Backing up your images hosted with ImageKit

Images (or content in general) are a critical resource for any business. You spend a lot of time and effort to collate them, and they represent your brand. You would still want a copy of your images outside of ImageKit, for use on other platforms or just to keep them in alternative storage as well.

Unlike other image hosting platforms that lock you in, ImageKit allows you to backup the images hosted in the media library to an AWS S3 bucket of your choice.
Anything that you upload in ImageKit, it also copied to your storage, ensuring you always have a copy of it outside of ImageKit, while still getting the benefits of ImageKit's advanced asset management features while using the media library.

And the best part - Real-time image optimization and transformations

With several different devices and different kinds of content in the modern world, it is essential to have real-time image optimization and transformations to deliver the right experience across all devices.

Cloud storages like S3, Google Cloud Storage, etc., offer image storage solutions but do not come with image optimization or resizing capabilities. Therefore, if you are storing high-quality original images in these storages, you have to either build a solution of your own or use a third-party service to optimize these images for your requirement.

While ImageKit supports image optimization with all popular third-party cloud storage as well, if you use the Media Library to host your images, you get all these capabilities natively with the storage.

Any image hosted in ImageKit's Media Library gets you an image URL. If you use this URL on your website or app, ImageKit will automatically convert the image to the best possible format and compress it in real-time.

For example, the following image is automatically delivered in WebP format on supported devices and compressed.

You can also resize an image to any size in real-time and control how it is cropped or how the aspect ratio is preserved. The image URL below has the parameter tr=w-300,h-200 at the end that will get us a 300 x 200px image in real-time.,h-200

ImageKit supports over 40 different real-time image transformations. We could do something more complex like converting this image into a banner with a watermark and dynamic text written on the image in real-time, as shown in the example below. Check out the image URL here.

Once the transformation is done in real-time, ImageKit uses AWS CloudFront CDN, which has over 220 server nodes globally, to deliver the image to your users for a faster load time.

Summing it up

The image storage API provided by ImageKit gets you to access to a world-class, reliable image hosting service. You can use the storage APIs to upload and manage the images in the storage and programmatically integrate them with your existing workflows.

With the image tagging, AI-powered extensions, advanced search functionality, and the backup to S3 feature, the image storage solution by ImageKit is a lot more powerful than any other standard cloud storage out there while providing the same level of reliability and uptime.

And with the real-time optimizations and transformations built-in, you won't have to look at any other tool to deliver perfect visual experiences to your users.

So, what are you waiting for? Try out the image storage API now by signing up for the Forever Free plan that provides you with 5GB of image storage.