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Learn > NFT

Are pinning services reliable?

Pascal Barry
Pascal Barry
3 May 2024 · 3 min


IPFS is a decentralized protocol that enables users to store and share files. It's important to note that IPFS is not a storage solution. For long-term storage, you need to use a pinning service.

In this article, we’ll discuss pinning services and whether you can trust them to store your data safely.

How does IPFS work?

IPFS uses content addressing in which files are identified by their contents, not by their location or name, allowing global access from any host. However, data remains on the network if at least one node actively stores it.

It’s crucial to pin your file to ensure its longevity. Otherwise, it risks being removed during garbage collection, an automated process in IPFS that clears a node’s cache by removing unpinned data. Pinning services are third parties that pin your data for you.

Are pinning services reliable?

Some pinning services pin your data on one node. While less costly, pinning creates a single point of failure. If that node experiences downtime, your file will not be accessible.

Other pinning services charge users higher fees to ensure data availability. They maintain 3-6 copies of your data across different IPFS nodes. This redundancy is still limited compared to other decentralized storage solutions, such as Arweave, which stores at least 20 copies of your data.

Cost predictability is another concern, as pinning service fees can increase unexpectedly, leading to higher operational costs. This can be particularly challenging for smaller projects and individual artists.

Most importantly, pinning services can shut down. Estuary and are two pinning services that no longer operate. Even IPFS warns that there is no guarantee that these third-party services will continue to operate.

IPFS Pinning Service Disclaimer
IPFS warns that there is no guarantee of these pinning services continuing operations

Despite these pinning services hosting your data across 3-6 nodes, your data will be removed if that company shuts down. To avoid a single point of failure on IPFS, you’ll need to use an additional pinning service, which requires much more proactive effort.

Is there a better alternative?

Your data is stored on IPFS only as long as you continue making payments or until the pinning service you use shuts down. There is no incentive for others to store your data.

Instead, we’d recommend using Arweave, where each node is incentivized to store your data; you don’t have to worry about monthly payments or whether the service you’re using shuts down.

By making a one-time, upfront payment, you are guaranteed at least 200 years of storage and at least 20 copies of your data.

You can use Akord to upload and manage your digital assets on Arweave.

Akord offers a user-friendly interface that simplifies uploading and managing your data on Arweave. Even if Akord (the company) ceases to exist, the data you upload through our service will remain secure and accessible.

Make your first upload to Arweave for free

Upload public or private data to Akord’s digital vaults. The only app to provide free storage on the Arweave blockchain.