Here’s a public service announcement that might explain why there are broken Instagram image links on some of my older blog posts. I’ll explain what I think is happening and how I’ll change posts going forward.

For the long time I’ve used the great tool IFTTT (If This Then That) to automate tasks in my life. IFTTT enables connecting two or more services to be triggered based on events like a new post, a location, or time of day. It turns on the security cameras when I leave the house. It turns off a bunch of devices when I tell my voice assistant “Goodnight”. I’ve also used it to connect various photo sharing, social media and sites so that I can easily publish to multiple services at once.

For example when I add a photo to Instagram with the hashtag #FLICKR it crossposts to Flickr as well, or with #IFTTT, the service automatically tweets the photo using Twitter’s native photo feature and creates a draft post on WordPress. The idea was to go back into WordPress later when I had time to add text to the post, categories, tags, etc, and then schedule the blog post.

I thought it was working well, or at least well enough for me and my limited publishing schedule. However I had noticed that if I tagged an IG post and then didn’t convert that into a published WordPress blog post quickly enough, the image link in WordPress would be broken. This wasn’t an issue so long as I got to the draft post within a few days or its creation.

Now going back through some old published posts I realize that the image links to these IG photos are missing. Here’s an screenshot of a post made just a few months ago.

beach wood

You can see the text link to IG is still there and is working but the image connection between IG, IFTTT and WordPress is somehow broken as indicated by the “missing image” browser icon. That means using IFTTT to cross post from Instagram to WordPress is broken for anything you want to be visible more than a few days or weeks.

Right now I don’t think this is a configuration problem with how I’m using WP, IG, or IFTTT. The only solution to the older posts is to work my way through the posts to find broken links and fix them — annoying and tedious at best.

Moving forward I will stop using IFTT to create WP posts directly. I’ll use the #IFTTT tag on IG to create the draft post, but will replace the image it creates in WP with the native Instagram block object then delete the IFTTT generated image. It will be a way of queueing up interesting posts from my Instagram that I want to share on the blog but won’t be nearly as efficient as I thought it once was.

IFTTT is a helpful tool that I still recommend. However if you’re using it for social media posting make sure that not only is it working for current posts but that it’s not creating an archive of broken links all over your site.

Published by Steve Banfield

Kentucky born, Seattle based. Entrepreneur. Team Builder. Photographer.

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