Uploading Files to IPFS from a Web Application

Nader Dabit
2 min readAug 5, 2021

One of the most common interactions with IPFS is uploading files like images and videos from a client-side application, so I found it surprising that there were not a lot of straightforward tutorials showing how this is done.

In this tutorial you will learn just that in as few lines of code (and as simply) as possible using ipfs-http-client. The ideas here are implemented in React but should be fairly easily transferrable to doing the same thing in any other JavaScript framework, like Vue, Angular, or Svelte.

About IPFS

IPFS is a decentralized, peer to peer file sharing protocol.

There are various types of IPFS gateways available. Some are free, some are not. Some offer read-only access, and others offer both read and write access.

You can also run your own IPFS gateway.

Because we will be uploading / saving files, we need to be sure to choose a gateway that allows us write access. The gateway we will be using today is Infura. Other popular services are Pinata or Fleek.

For an example of how to pin a file to IPFS with Pinata, check out this repo.

Getting started

If you already have a React application created, you can skip this step.

First, create a new React app and change into the new directory:

npx create-react-app ipfs-examplecd ipfs-example 

Next, install the ipfs-http-client library using either NPM or Yarn:

npm install ipfs-http-client

Base code

The basic functionality can be summed up in only 3 lines of code, but I’ll also be building out an entire UI to show how it all fits together.

The basic code for getting this to work is here:

/* import the ipfs-http-client library */
import { create } from 'ipfs-http-client';
/* Create an instance of the client */
const client = ipfsHttpClient('https://ipfs.infura.io:5001/api/v0')
/* upload the file */
const added = await client.add(file)
/* or a string */
const added = await client.add('hello world')

Full code

Nader Dabit

Developer Relations Engineer at Edge & Node working with The Graph Protocol