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Store Images in the Database

In this article we'll tell you how to store images in a database and we'll sum up the advantages and disadvantages of the possible solutions.

A database gives you the opportunity to store photos and other small images in a database table. You can create such a database table for example when you want to create an online photo album with descriptions of your photos.

Storing images in a database table is not recommended. There are too many disadvantages to this approach. Storing the image data in the table requires the database server to process and traffic huge amounts of data that could be better spent on processing it is best suited to. A file server can process such image files much better. Storing the image data inside a binary field leaves that data only available to an application that streams raw image data to and from that field. You cannot view the image with an external standard image viewer anymore. The only advantage to this approach is that you can better secure your images because you can use the database security features.

An alternative, and better method is to store the images outside of the database and store only a link to the image file. You only need a text field in your database table to store this information. The only problem to this approach is that you must synchronize the data in the link field with your file system. It is also very easy to use this method of storing images in combination with a programming language since most programming languages support some kind of LoadFromFile() function which can be used to display the image file.

See also: Data type for storing rich text format (RTF)

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