What could cause data to be lost from IPFS?

Hi All,
Firstly sorry if this sounds negative - I don’t mean to be, and am only trying to understand more about IPFS.

Many NFTs are stored within IPFS and I can see it clearly works really well, but would like to understand the risks associated with it. However it is difficult to finding anything that outlines what could cause data to be lost.

Is there any guide to what has to be done to ensure the data is kept in perpetuum?
For example what happens if files aren’t accessed for years and/or the team that uploaded it initially goes bankrupt?

Thanks for any assistance

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There is no such thing as “upload a file to IPFS”. For content to be available on IPFS, someone has to run a server (an IPFS node) where the content is “pinned”, and that node has to “reprovide” that content (announce it to the network) properly and regularly (usually, every 12 hours).

If the node goes offline, or if it stops reproviding properly, the content will disappear from the network (the content is only available while the node is up. if the node goes down, the content disappears immediately). If the node comes back up, the content reappears.

Now, you can run your own node to do that, or you can get someone else to do it (there are various pinning services on the network. some are free, some cost something).


Thanks so much, that makes sense now!

…only when you have deleated the original content and no other node has cached that content.

Is there an incentive for other nodes to cache the data, or is that only via a paid pinning service?

Meaning that the access path to get to a file is decentralized, but the actual hosting is not specifically?

That’s what Filecoin was initially created to do, but then evolved into something else.

Any node that accesses content will cache it and serve it for a time. However, it will eventually be GC’d. Only pinning nodes will retain the content for as long as they exist (or until the content is unpinned).

Gotcha - thanks, will read up on filecoin