# Work with remote pinning services

Depending on how you use IPFS, you might find it helpful to use a remote pinning service instead of, or in addition to, pinning files on your local IPFS node. Whether it happens remotely or locally, pinning an item in IPFS identifies it as something you always wish to keep available, exempting it from the routine garbage collection that IPFS does on infrequently-used items in order to efficiently manage storage space. Learn more about local pinning →

If you've got just one local IPFS node that's always running, local pinning may be all you need to ensure your important items are persisted and never garbage-collected. However, using a remote pinning service — or creating your own — might be useful to you if:

  • Your local node isn't always online, but you need items to be consistently available.
  • You'd like to keep a persistent backup of your local node's files somewhere else.
  • You don't have all the disk space you need on your local node.
  • You run more than one IPFS node, and would like to use one of them as a "personal pinning service" as your preferred location for permanent storage.

There are a number of commercial pinning services that make it easy for you to purchase pinning capacity for your important files, some of which include Pinata, Temporal, Crust, Infura, and others. Each of these third-party services has its own unique interface for pinning files and managing those pins; this could include a GUI, an API, CLI commands, or other tooling.

However, you don't need to learn new commands or tools if your pinning service of choice supports the vendor-agnostic IPFS Pinning Service API (opens new window) specification. Those services are supported within IPFS itself through the command line: ipfs pin remote --help.

As of January 2021, Pinata (opens new window) supports the IPFS Pinning Service API endpoint (opens new window), with more pinning services on the way! Learn how to create your own →

# Use an existing pinning service

To add and use a remote pinning service directly in IPFS, you'll first need to have an account with that service. Once you've got an account, follow these steps to add and use it:

# IPFS CLI

Command-line users benefit from ipfs pin remote commands, which simplify remote pinning operations. The built-in pinning service API client executes all the necessary remote calls under the hood.

# Adding a new pinning service

To add a new pinning service, use the following command:

$ ipfs pin remote service add nickname https://my-pin-service.example.com/api-endpoint myAccessToken
  • nickname is a unique name for this particular instantiation of a pinning service. This can be helpful if, for example, you want to add two accounts from the same service.
  • https://my-pin-service.example.com/api-endpoint is the endpoint supplied to you by the pinning service. Check the service's documentation for more info.
  • myAccessToken is the unique secret token provided to you by the pinning service. Check the service's documentation for more info.

# Using a pinning service

Here are a few CLI commands to get you started. In all examples, replace nickname with the unique name you gave the pinning service when you added it.

To pin a CID under under a human-readable name:

$ ipfs pin remote add --service=nickname --name=war-and-peace.txt bafybeib32tuqzs2wrc52rdt56cz73sqe3qu2deqdudssspnu4gbezmhig4

To list successful pins:

$ ipfs pin remote ls --service=nickname

To list all "pending" pins:

$ ipfs pin remote ls --service=nickname --status=queued,pinning,failed

For more commands and general help:

$ ipfs pin remote --help

# Create your own pinning service

Obviously you aren't limited to a static list of pre-approved services. Any remote pinning service compatible with the IPFS Pinning Service API (opens new window) can be added as a custom pinning service — which also means that you can create your own! This might be useful in circumstances like:

  • Designating one of your own IPFS nodes to be a personal pinning service as a preferred location for permanent storage.
  • Running a private pinning service for your friends or company.
  • Starting your own commercial pinning service.

As noted above, your service must use the IPFS Pinning Service API (opens new window) in order to be interoperable with client behind ipfs pin remote commands.

TIP

If you're interested in creating your own pinning service for your own personal or shared use, you can generate client and server from the OpenAPI spec (opens new window), reducing the development time.

You may also wish to read continuing details on how the API is evolving in the Pinning Service API Spec GitHub repo (opens new window), and be part of the discussion on its further development!