What Happens When an Image Request is Made

By design, the experience of using imgix is pretty seamless. Once a Source for photos has been set up, you simply put the parameters for the transformations you need into a photo’s URL and it is almost instantaneously served to your specifications.

Yet this seeming simplicity actually hides a lot that’s going on under the hood. Requests are rendered and then fulfilled by a robust content delivery network with a sophisticated caching layer. This means the request actually goes through quite a few more steps than you might expect.

There are big benefits to this sophisticated approach—it cuts latency, improves stability and maximizes performance. Yet it also has some implications for how imgix is best implemented. For that reason, we thought it might be useful to give an overview of what happens at each stage in the process.

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Expanding the Reach of Your Images

imgix CDN map

Today, we’re announcing expansion of our network to 33 edge nodes worldwide, with support for a new node in São Paulo, Brazil. We now have nodes in more than 16 countries worldwide, including recent additions in Dubai, Madrid, Paris, Johannesburg, Montreal, and Toronto.

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Find and Fix Your Heaviest Images with Page Weight

Page Weight Scale

Page load speed continues to be a primary concern for websites. With increasing numbers of customers accessing sites on mobile connections, and markets expanding into areas with uneven broadband coverage, load times have a big impact on conversion.

But “speed” can be a nebulous measure. We recommend using page weight, or the combined file sizes of every element on a page, as a proxy. Unlike speed, it’s objective, measurable and actionable. Slow because of a heavy page? Find the heaviest elements and try to shrink them.

Images are often up to 70 percent of a page by weight. That means image optimization is usually an easy win. Yet it’s not always easy to know where to start. Last year, we launched Page Weight, a tool designed to guide you to your worst-performing images quickly and provide straightforward optimization suggestions. Today, based on feedback from users, we’re launching an improved version that makes picking that low-hanging fruit even easier.

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How We Are Improving Performance

When I set out to build imgix 6 years ago, I was very aware that we were asking our customers to trust us with something fundamental to their success: the visual performance of their product. To earn that trust, we need to provide the best value, performance, and reliability.

Sadly, we have failed in that commitment over the last few weeks. Our performance has not been at the level our customers demand of us. Worse, with the entire team working around the clock to fix these problems, we have been unable to communicate what was happening. This is unacceptable to me.

I want to personally apologize to any customer who felt that imgix did not value their business during this time. We built imgix to enable our customers to do great things, and that partnership must always be built on trust and open communication.

In that spirit, I want to speak bluntly about the issues we have had, explain why they happened, and let you know what we are doing to make things right. A number of factors have contributed to imgix's recent performance problems. We have solved some of them, and are working hard on the remaining issues and taking further steps to keep situations like this from impacting our customers in the future.

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How HTTP/2 Can Speed Up Your Site

http 2

We got a great response when imgix launched support for HTTP/2 in January. As we’ve talked about it with our customers, we’ve noticed that people are happy to have HTTP/2, but not everyone fully understands how it can improve their site. So here’s a short, jargon-free explanation about what HTTP/2 does and how you can benefit from it.

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State of the URL API

State of the URL API

When you’re looking for information about an imgix feature, the API documentation is your friend—every parameter in the service is listed with examples, ranges, and default values. We also have in-depth tutorials for more complex multi-parameter use cases.

This is great for humans who need to know the ins and outs of imgix, but what about machines? If you’re building tools, libraries, or URL generators based on our Image URL API, having a single, machine-readable source of truth about the capabilities of all available parameters is crucial. Fortunately, it’s available on GitHub in JSON format and as Bower and NPM packages.

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