Instagram is what? What Is the technology behind Instagram? The world of social media is an ocean of cutting-edge technologies that help it gain popularity in the virtual space. Among the top few platforms that have successfully transformed into a massive digital marketplace, Instagram holds special significance due to its minimalist yet extremely powerful design.

Following the phenomenal success of this platform, a series of unique tools have emerged in recent years surrounding the main application. These highly evolved tools or applications have tremendously helped both businesses and individuals leverage the power of Instagram. Take the example of Likefy; this platform helps increase real likes and followers via activity boost for better content reach.

So, yes there are tons of various interesting tech tools that many of us use alongside Instagram, to make the most of this social media channel for our uses. But how often do we consider the core technologies that fortify the backbone of the actual application?

Well, that is one hugely interesting topic. And today’s article is all about that.

What Is the technology behind Instagram?

The ever-evolving array of technologies has helped shape and modify Instagram to a considerable extent. And it might come as a surprise but there is not one but a whole bunch of very sophisticated technologies on which Instagram runs. When it was first launched, Instagram was primarily focused on sharing images, where connected users could instantly share and like photos. However, the capabilities of this platform have expanded to a magnitude that is nothing but incredible!

Now that the majority of users have hopped on to the Insta bandwagon, curious tech minds now want to go beyond just using Instagram to browse and share and like. They want to know what technologies govern each and every aspect of this platform. What technologies govern followers and likes on this social media platform? What technologies go behind the posts that we see on our feed every time we log in? What technologies are employed to ensure the sustainability and ease of use of this platform? Etc., etc.

So let us explore one aspect at a time and find it out.

#1. Tech stack – Django

As far as the underlying technologies are concerned, the tech stack comes first in the mind. Instagram adopts the Python-based Django framework as its base in 2005. This is the core technology that powers the server-side of this platform, wherein the servers are all stateless and function across a distributed environment. Django provides a comprehensive application management capability crucial for running an enterprise-level application.

Not to mention that Django’s modular approach enables including various packages such as ORM (Object Relational Mapper) that help Instagram manage its millions of users. Furthermore, it provides essential functions like URL routing, Database Schema Migration (DSM), Template Engines, and Authentication modules all in a scalable and hassle-free ecosystem.

#2. Node components

There is no doubt that a hyper-functional application like Instagram has to use node components to perform various operations. Node components help the application filter through a collection of events and assemble top lists. Besides Scorer Node, Ranker Node, and Parser Node, the Pre-Processor Node also helps skim through content to come up with trending hashtags and topics.

#3. Databases used in Instagram

Each day Instagram witnesses millions and millions of posts! Without an uber-powerful database model, managing such large data is practically impossible. Hence, Instagram uses state-of-the-art database technologies to store its data.

Instagram uses PostgreSQL as its primary storage database application, which contains user data, media data, and even meta tags, photos, likes, comments, and follower count. Along with the stupendous popularity of Instagram, as the volume of data also kept growing, engineers decided to shard the PostgreSQL database to fit the evolving requirements. The core database cluster now comprises 12 replicas in different geographical regions and 12 quadruple extra-large instances of memory! One can only imagine the sheer magnitude of the overall application and what goes on in its backend.

Now, for storing dynamic content, Instagram relies on Redis, which is a NoSQL database. The in-memory design of Redis boosts the application’s speed when dealing with real-time data such as feeds and sessions. Additionally, both these DBMSs work in tandem with their Artificial Intelligence tools and Machine Learning Algorithm smoothly.

Along with PostgreSQL and Redis, Cassandra was also employed for providing personalized content to active users on this platform. Apache Cassandra is a NoSQL database that is distributed in architecture and reckoned by top companies for its high availability and exceptional scalability. Cassandra serves as a key-value general storage service in order to support things like the feed that users see and direct messages sent on the platform. It also helps with fraud detection. Later on, Instagram’s engineers substituted Cassandra’s storage engine with a more powerful one based on C++ from RocksDB which is another database.

#4. AMPQ – RabbitMQ

A feature-rich AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) broker called RabbitMQ becomes necessary when it comes to managing real-time messaging within Instagram. The instant messaging on Instagram uses this dedicated technology merely to queue and regulate message flow within the integral Instagram Direct Messenger.

#5. Task management and distribution – Celery and Gearman

Celery is Instagram’s primary task management tool. It works particularly towards managing tasks in a synchronous fashion. Celery works on distributing tasks based on real-time, i.e., live operations within the entire Instagram system.

While Celery focuses on real-time operations, Gearman tackles more basic functions such as media uploads. Instagram employs Gearman technology to distribute tasks to different nodes within the system. Gearman technology is especially helpful in managing and driving media uploads and other such asynchronous tasks. 

Wrapping up

Hope now you know What Is the technology behind Instagram. Although there is an array of other useful cutting-edge technologies that Instagram uses, these are the primary technologies that power this incredible platform. The part played by these technologies mentioned here is instrumental in delivering the best experience to users. In the years ahead, given the platform’s growth, we can expect it to go through further important changes that will increase its value even more.

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