How to onboard your NFT data to IPFS

Getting started with IPFS
April 4, 2024

If you’re an artist or creator, ensuring your work can withstand the test of time is one of the most important things you can do. NFT.Storage enables you to do just that thanks to the power of the Filecoin network and the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). The process starts with generating a Content Identifier (CID). 

A CID is a unique cryptographic hash of your data; think of it like a fingerprint. It allows people to access your creation based on what it is rather than where it is. If the data were to change, so would the cryptographic hash. This is important because it provides verifiability – meaning people can know that the data they are looking for is the data that they find. It can’t be tampered with without the CID changing. For NFTs this is especially important to establish trust and credibility. 

To get started preserving your data with NFT.Storage, the first step is to onboard your data to IPFS and make it highly available so that it shows up on marketplaces and other platforms. There are five different ways of doing this, and each has a different degree of difficulty or ease of use. To help you onboard your data, here are the different options you have:

1. Use a minting service

Skill level: easiest

The first and easiest way to onboard NFT data to IPFS is through a minting service that supports it. A few well-known examples are Zora, OpenSea, and Foundation. Each of these uses a slightly different process, but there are guides available for each process:

How to mint an NFT with Zora

How to mint an NFT with OpenSea

How to mint an NFT with Foundation

2. Use a pinning service

Skill level: easier

The next way to onboard data to IPFS is to use a pinning service. These services have free and paid plans that take your data and make it highly available on the IPFS network. Their user interfaces are similar to how you might upload data to Google Drive or iCloud, but instead the data is being pinned to the IPFS network in a decentralized fashion.

Examples of pinning services include Pinata, Filebase, and QuickNode.

3. Use the IPFS desktop application

Skill level: easy

IPFS also has a dedicated desktop application that anyone can use to pin their own files to the IPFS network. This solution is best suited for lightweight usage, as the data availability won’t be as high as some of the other options we explore here. Still, it is a helpful tool to be aware of.

IPFS Desktop Application

4. Use an IPFS developer service

Skill level: intermediate

From APIs to dedicated gateways, IPFS developer services offer developers one of the simplest ways to interact with the IPFS ecosystem. There are many service providers available with different pricing structures and models. A few examples are Fleek, Web3.Storage, Lighthouse, Thirdweb, Infura, Filebase, and Pinata

5. Host your own node with Kubo

Skill level: intermediate

The last method of onboarding data to IPFS that we’ll cover is hosting your own node with an IPFS implementation like Kubo. This process is much more in-depth than all of the other options presented, but it allows for much more customization and flexibility. It also requires a development background, so if you don’t know how to code this option might not be for you unless you have someone who could assist.

How to get started with Kubo


There are multiple paths to onboard your NFT data to IPFS, with different levels of ease or difficulty. Take some time to evaluate these different options and then choose the one that best suits your skill level and needs. Once you have your NFT data onboarded to IPFS, you can then get started preserving the data with NFT.Storage.