I've seen a few questions and answers with images like:

The image you are requesting does not exist or is no longer available.

Obviously, that's not good for the use of this website.

  • What's wrong with imgur.com, why are images being deleted?
  • How can this deletion be prevented?
  • Should StackExchange use other services? (Imageshack? Hosting images themselves?)
  • The Image works for me. Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


Well according to imgur:

As long as images are getting at least 1 view every 6 months, they will stick around forever. After that, your image may be removed to create more space for newer images.

But the answer you linked to was only posted in March so it's guaranteed to have had at least one view in the past 6 months.

It's obviously not ideal if graphics for things go missing after 6 months and it's unacceptable if they go missing before that [predictable] deadline.

Ideally the SE sites would host the images themselves but as you can probably understand, this would essentially require them to create their own content delivery network to handle the extra disk and bandwidth requirements. Either that or they come to an arrangement with imgur where they guarantee lifetime hosting of all files.

I'm going to convert this into a bug to get more attention for it because if things carry on like this, it's going to be a serious issue for a lot of posts.

Edit: I have contacted imgur via email to ask them to investigate what happened in this specific case and to make sure, if it's a bug, it doesn't happen again. Hopefully it's a temporary issue.

Edit 2: Had a response back from the founder of Imgur saying they're investigating and fixing things. Rock on.

Edit 3: Should be completely fixed now and here's what happened:

Hey Oli,

I'm really sorry about that. Every single missing image that occurred from it is back online. It happened with images that were under the i.imgur.com domain, non of which were deleted, but they weren't where they were supposed to be.

Allow me to explain what happened and how it's been fixed. We've been moving data between disks (almost 45 million images) over the past month because the original storage we've been using has been filling up rapidly. To move all the images over to a new storage solution, a script was created that simply moves the images and creates symlinks pointing to the new locations. However, in order to resume the script where it left off, it ignored all symlinks it came across and only moved actual images. All of this has been working great and I've been running it since early last month.

Last week when I moved all of SE's images to the new setup (stack.imgur.com), I did a similar process with moving the file and dropping down a symlink where it used to be, that points to the new location. This also worked great and everything was moved over. However, when you combine this with the general image moving script that was already running, it ends up ignoring all of SE's symlinks and images that were just working fine are no longer linking up properly.

To fix this, I've changed the image moving script to take SE's symlinked images into account and handle them appropriately. I've also just finished scanning SE's entire library of images to make sure that each and every one was in the proper place and accessible. I've also setup additional monitoring for 404's on the stack.imgur.com, to ensure that something like this never happens with the new system.

If you have any questions/comments/concerns then please let me know. I also contacted Jeff and the sysadmins for SE and informed them of the fix as well.

Regards, Alan Schaaf

  • 1
    StackExchange has an account for imgur, so if you use the integrated image upload feature the images should not expire. There have been multiple reports of problems in the last days, so there is a problem somwhere with imgur. (meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/1409/…) Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 14:15

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