What are IPFS Pinning Services and How do they work?




Mar 11, 2024

Data serve different purposes, so you want to ensure that your data is kept in the most efficient storage system and structure. A secure storage system should do more than protect your data. It should also give you easy access to them.

That's where IPFS pinning becomes necessary.

Keep reading to learn more about IPFS and how the system keeps your data safe and easily accessible.

You will also learn why you should turn to IPFS to meet your data storage and access needs, along with some of the known issues that persist with IPFS.

IPFS Definition

IPFS, which means Interplanetary File System, is a distributed storage system that keeps data through a network of computers or nodes. It helps you store and access data by keeping a cache of the local data it receives from the network of computers in the system. This can also include applications and websites. In addition, the file system makes the storage completely decentralized by running it on a peer-to-peer network.

Here's a comparison that may help you understand this better. Imagine that you're interested in investments and want to know how to make the most profitable investments.

When you search Wikipedia or Google about profitable investments, your computer will request that information from Wikipedia or Google (depending on the search engine you use) through the location of the content you're looking for. With IPFS, on the other hand, content mirroring takes place, which helps you find the data through its content and not by its location.

This is because the data is pinned to an IPFS node to prevent it from being deleted when clearing the cache. Instead, information is temporarily stored in the cache before clearing it out to make room for additional content.

The file system makes web storage completely decentralized by running it on a peer-to-peer network system. IPFS enables you to download a file that is not managed by one organization, which may make it easy to access websites or data anywhere and anytime.

How It Works

We've taken a look at what IPFS is all about. Next, let’s look at how exactly IPFS works.

IPFS makes data accessible through a peer-to-peer network system. You can access your content through computers that receive, store and distribute data anywhere in the world.

To further understand how IPFS works, let's examine three fundamental principles that guide how IPFS works.

Content addressing

You've probably heard about IP addresses and how they help you find information by location. When you search for information on the web, you tell the computer where to find it so it can get it for you. If that location isn't accessible, you won't be able to get the data.

IPFS uses content-based addressing instead of location-based addressing. This means that it can get you information or data by the content you are looking for. So you tell it what you are looking for, and it gets it for you.

Even if someone moves that data from its initial location to another, you will still be able to find it. Again, this is because you are not looking for the data by its location but by what it is.

This is made possible by the hashing function of the IPFS. The hash helps you find the content as it is unique to its content. Every content has a unique hash that is used in finding it. So if you want to download content on the network, you ask the network for the file using its unique hash, and someone on the network will provide it.

Directed acyclic graphs

The directed acyclic graphs data structure, also known as DAGs, is very common to IPFS. Specifically, IPFS uses a type of DAG called the Merkle DAGs, which is more like an open-ended cycle where each node on the network has a unique identifier, the hash of the node's content. The hash helps you identify the content without mixups.

A Merkle DAG can be structured in different ways. For example, the structure of Merkle DAG that IPFS uses is structured to enable an optimized file representation. This means that the Merkle DAG works well with content representation or description.

IPFS will first split your content into blocks to build a DAG representation of your file. This means that there will be a part of the file or content in different nodes, which can speed things up for you when authenticating.

With Merkle DAG, you can link your content together using their unique identifiers or hashes. This is another essential principle in IPFS that you should know about.

Distributed hash tables

The third principle that explains how IPFS works is the distributed hash tables (DHT). Here is what the distributed hash table does; it matches keys to values. DHT maps the content that a user is looking for to the computer or peer that stores it.

Remember how you draw tables to match items with their values. You can use this illustration to describe the DHT and its purpose. In this case, the table records which peer has what data or content.

It helps in content routing. When you find out the peer that is storing your content or each part that makes up the content you're looking for, you can use the table to find the location of those peers. To access the content, you must use libp2p to verify the DHT.

After you have found who has your content and their current location, you need to access and get You're seeking toe content. To connect with the peer(s) that you're seeking. You need a module called Bitswap. Through this module, you can have them send you the content or pieces you're interested in after requesting.

That's not all. You can also verify the content you receive by getting their unique ID through the hashing function.

A unique hash compares to a fingerprint, so a hash function verifies that your request matches what you have received.

Advantages of IPFS

Let's look at why you want to consider using IPFS instead of the traditional system of storing and accessing data.


You can retrieve data swiftly with IPFS. Since the IPFS is a distributed storage system made up of different computers worldwide, there are better chances of recovering data faster from the network of computers through an IPFS node.

This is because the data is pinned to an IPFS node to prevent it from being deleted when clearing the cache. Instead, information is temporarily stored in the cache before clearing it out to make room for additional content.

As a result of the way IPFS works, it can retrieve data from multiple systems simultaneously. This reduces latency and increases download speeds which can only happen if the data is on multiple nodes. This shows that pinning your data on as many nodes as possible will increase swiftness.


Keeping your data in the same storage system in more than two places helps you keep them more secure. You'll be safest if your data is pinned on multiple nodes in IPFS. There will be no need to worry about data loss threats or tendencies.

Other nodes with your pinned data will still have it safe and untouched if a node is unavailable. Pinning your data sends a signal to the node that the pinned data is essential, so it should not be deleted even when other information is being deleted during the clearing process. So if you have them pinned on multiple nodes, you keep them safe in more than one node.


Like most storage providers, a fee is usually attached to storing your data with a pinning service in IPFS. In addition, you will be charged a monthly fee to keep your data pinned by the storage provider or pinning service.

Just as Apple charges you monthly for storing your data in iCloud, IPFS also charges you for hosting and keeping your content on their nodes.

The fee depends on the hosting or pinning service that you use. Some services offer free and flexible plans. However, the free program is limited, unlike the paid plans that give you access to a more advanced and personalized experience.


Managing your space on IPFS can be a lot of work because your nodes may not be able to meet all your storage needs. Using a pinning service helps you pin all or some of your data on the IPFS pinning service.

This helps you remove the heavy workload of managing many servers at once on IPFS. In addition, you are renting enough space with the pinning services, which can help you keep your data safe regardless of the volume.

If you don't have a lot of disk space, don't think twice about using a pinning service.

Disadvantages of IPFS Pinning Services

There is barely any system without its disadvantages, no matter how holistic and practical. So let's look at some of the other sides of IPFS pinning services.

Threatens Decentralization

IPFS requires a lot of space, so you may be unable to store all your data on your nodes. As a result, you need to hire extra services, such as IPFS pinning services, to secure your data safely. This defeats the whole point of decentralization in IPFS since an organization provides storage for your data.

Lack of On-chain Record

Even though IPFS operates on a peer-to-peer network system, verifying the authenticity of the data it stores is almost impossible. This is because the peers do not have to show or record proof of data stored in their nodes.

This means there is no on-chain record that is similar to the Blockchain. This makes the stored data less secure than it should be.

Incurred Cost

You will have to incur extra costs using IPFS pinning services if you don't want to store your data on your nodes. In addition, the free plans on IPFS are limited, so you can only enjoy the complete package when you subscribe to paid plans.

This means you must make monthly payments to enjoy the data storage system's full benefits fully.

Not User Friendly

Setting up your IFPS to store your data can be a hassle. It involves a lot of technical processes that may throw you off the balance if you are not tech-savvy. Storing data on IPFS is not the same way you store data on your mobile phone or desktop. There are lots of installations involved which need to be done accurately.

It also requires a lot of bandwidth unavailable for metered internet users. But, again, this is because the internet service provider doesn't provide that bandwidth limit to users.


You'd be correct if you said IPFS has come to replace location-based addressing with content-based addressing. What makes it even better is the IPFS pinning services. It has been proven to be highly reliable when accessing and securing data.

Its network system has one of the most high-end security systems, similar to the Blockchain. It's also not too late to become a part of the peer-to-peer (p2p) storage network.

About Arcana Network

Built for Ethereum and EVM-based chains, Arcana is the web3 infrastructure to quickly onboard dApp users and enable user data privacy and ownership. Web3 developers use Arcana's SDKs for a seamless, familiar user onboarding experience via social authentication and passwordless login. In addition, all user data is encrypted, secured with data access fully controlled by the users, and powered by Blockchain.

Arcana has raised 2.7Mn USD from some of the leading investors and founders in the ecosystem, such as Balaji Srinivasan, Founders of Polygon, Woodstock, Republic Crypto, and Digital Currency Group.

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Schedule a Demo

The call is completely free and no commitment is required.

Copyright © Arcana Technologies Ltd. All rights reserved.

Schedule a Demo

The call is completely free and no commitment is required.

Schedule a Demo

The call is completely free and no commitment is required.

Schedule a Demo

The call is completely free and

no commitment is required.