Skip to main content

How safe / secure is it to use unsigned upload from web browsers or mobile clients?



  • Siphiwe


    I've been reading the cloudinary documentation and I have the following concerns:

    • Anyone who has the time and ability is allowed to abuse my account quota? :/
    • To delete images from my mobile app, the admin API authentication is done using Basic Authentication, meaning that someone can grab my API Key and API "Secret" (it seems they are part of the URL!), list all my resources and delete them THAT easily?
    • Isn't there a secure alternative for submitting authentication details (maybe as part of a form) over https and preventing unsecured access to my resources?



  • Shirly Manor

    Hi Siphiwe,

    In order to prevent abusing your account quota you can restrict the transformations/storage/image only to signed/authenticated requests. 

    For our enterprise plans: authenticated (cookie based) delivery, including IP-based, domain-based and white/black-listing.

    In regard to the delete, you can either use the Admin API, which indeed uses basic authentication, or use the destroy API.

    The destroy API requires a signature as part of the given parameters. The signature is calculated based on the api_secret, but the api_secret isn't actually included in the request itself.

    Please let me know if that answers your questions

  • Siphiwe

    That certainly helps, thanks. How do I generate the signature when not using any of your SDK? I'm using ionic 3 on my current project but I had version compatibility issues so I had to settle for url access to my Cloudinary assets.


  • Shirly Manor

    Hi Siphiwe,

    In order to generate a signature on your own without using our SDK. Please follow the directions here: 


  • Kevin Zheng


    My I ask a question:

    Causes usually "unsigned preset name" is public at browser/app ends, so anyone can use it to upload files to anyone's account quota? So my account might be full of anyone's files, and so might others? Can't understand it.

    Thank you!

  • Aleksandar Kostadinov

    Hi Kevin,

    Unsigned uploads do indeed allow users to upload into an account without needing an authenticated/signed request. In most cases, however, your app/website would not expose or allow public users (i.e. ones which are not logged in/authenticated) to upload. In such cases, clients often separate different uploads for their users into separate folders or add metadata or tags to associate an upload with a user on their end. In addition, we also allow the ability for you to configure moderation for all uploaded resources in your account so that you would have to approve the uploads via the Media Library or API. Support for add-ons that perform this moderation automatically is also available, such as by using Amazon Rekognition to ensure no explicit/adult images are uploaded.

    Having said that, we do recommend going the route of using signed uploads on the client-side too, but of course, for that, you'll need a server that will generate the relevant signature.

    Let me know if this clears things up.

    Best regards,



Please sign in to leave a comment.