Discord, the popular communication tool that has become a cornerstone of online communities, is about to undergo a significant change. Users have leveraged its capabilities for not only text-based communication but also for sharing various forms of media, including videos, GIFs, links, and files. However, there is news circulating that Discord is gradually phasing out its role as a file hosting service, with a significant change slated to take place by the end of the year.

Discord file hosting going away later this year

The alarm bells began to ring when a concerned user posted a thread on Reddit, expressing uncertainty about whether the upcoming change was real or mere speculation. The proposed change centers on the expiration of file links shared outside of the Discord ecosystem.

Discord file hosting
(Click/tap to view)

According to the information made available, these links, which could include images or videos, will expire after 24 hours and subsequently become inaccessible. In essence, this means that if you share a Discord file link on a platform such as Twitter or Reddit, it will only be accessible for a limited time. This change, however, will not affect file links that are viewed within the Discord app itself. Discord has a built-in mechanism for renewing these links once they expire.

Discord’s introduction of New Authenticated Attachment URL Parameters

One of the clearest indications of this impending change comes from Discord’s introduction of New Authenticated Attachment URL Parameters.

Discord New Authenticated Attachment URL Parameters
(Click/tap to view)

Discord’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) attachment URLs will now have three new parameters: ex, is, and hm. These parameters are designed to enhance the security of the platform. Ex stands for the expiration timestamp, is denotes the signature, and hm represents the given signature.

When authentication enforcement takes effect later this year, links with a specified signature (hm) will remain valid until the expiration timestamp (ex). If a link expires, users will need to fetch a new CDN URL. Importantly, the API will automatically provide valid, non-expired URLs when accessing resources containing an attachment CDN URL. This development offers reassurance to users who were concerned about whether these changes would materialize.

What you need to know about this Discord file hosting change

Now, let’s delve into some important questions and their answers concerning this transformation:

1. Will this affect images in your Discord servers?

No, this change will not impact the images stored within your Discord servers. It is essential to clarify that nothing within your servers or messages will be deleted. Discord is not wiping the slate clean; the changes primarily pertain to the accessibility of file links shared externally. However, the specific effects between servers are not entirely clear at this stage.

2. What is an image host?

For images to be viewable on the internet, they must be hosted somewhere with a permanent web address. When someone loads a webpage with an image, the web address allows the browser to retrieve the image and display it. This concept is akin to ordering a pizza. You need the address of the restaurant with the recipe to get your pizza. If you have your own recipe (image), you can make it at home (your computer). Still, if you want others to access it, you need a restaurant (image host) with more ovens (server capacity) to serve it to them.

3. What is hotlinking?

Hotlinking is the practice of using a link to an image hosted on someone else’s server to display the image on your website. In other words, you’re serving the image on your website, but the image itself is hosted on someone else’s server. This can strain the host server, especially if it was not intended to serve images for multiple websites. It’s like one restaurant making pizza for all its customers, and then another restaurant asking the first one to make pizzas for its customers as well. Some restaurants (servers) have the capacity for this, while others do not. In this analogy, Discord does not have the necessary capacity to host images for everyone.

4. Discord file hosting alternatives, that are not alternatives

There are some platforms that have been suggested as alternatives for hotlinking, but they have their limitations. Imgur is one such platform. While it may seem like a good option, its terms of service prohibit hotlinking, and they have made it challenging to do so. Violating these terms can lead to a ban from the site. Neocities is another platform that doesn’t allow hotlinking, primarily for the same resource constraints mentioned earlier. It is worth noting that Neocities can host your images, but you cannot hotlink to them on external websites.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the impending changes in Discord’s file hosting capabilities are significant. While they won’t affect images within your servers or messages, they do signal a shift in how file links will work when shared outside of the platform. Discord’s introduction of authenticated attachment URL parameters provides clarity on the mechanisms behind these changes and offers reassurance that the platform will continue to function smoothly. As these changes unfold, users should be prepared to adapt their file-sharing practices.

Note: We have more such stories in our dedicated Apps Section so be sure to follow them as well.

Featured image source: Discord

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Karanjot Sidhu
984 Posts

A computer science engineer who loves tech and won't stop talking about it. Here at Piunikaweb, I mostly cover Google Pixel deals and how-tos, though you may find me covering Pixel news as well sometimes. Apart from being a nerd, i love gaming and watching movies in my free time.

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