NFTs are meant to live forever, being bought, sold, held and enjoyed for the rest of time. As such, the storage on which your assets are written should be permanent. NFTs created through Metaplex are written to scalable, durable, permanent, censorship resistant storage by default, but there are other options available too. Let's take a look.
Arweave is a decentralized, trust-minimized, censorship-resistant data storage network designed to retain data permanently, making it a great fit for NFTs. To cover the cost of storing your media forever, storage and mining fees are paid at the time of upload and distributed to storage providers participating in the network.
Arweave storage fees
Storage fees are based on the total size of the files you upload to the network during NFT creation. Each NFT consists of three files:
- The asset itself (image, video, audio, etc)
- The accompanying metadata file (attributes etc.)
- A generated manifest which creates a logical grouping or relationship between your files
The cumulative size of these files (in bytes) is submitted to the Arweave storage cost estimation service which returns the real time estimated fee for storage, priced in winstons. We then convert the winstons to SOL for payment.
Amazon Web Services S3 is a global, affordable but centralized storage provider. Because S3 is centralized, NFTs stored there are not censorship resistant. If AWS receives legal threats, decides they no longer support NFTs, goes out of business, or you stop making payments, they can remove your assets from their service, potentially leaving holders of your NFTs without their media. For NFTs which are meant to be censorship resistant and permanent, we do not recommend using S3. However, it is an affordable option so depending on your needs may be what you need.
S3 storage fees
Please visit https://aws.amazon.com/s3/pricing/ for details.
The InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, is a decentralized, trust-minimized, censorship-resistant, peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol designed to preserve and grow humanity's knowledge by making the web upgradeable, resilient, and more open. It's P2P design allows for file deduplication and other efficiencies. IPFS is not designed to store files permanently and so is therefore not the default storage option.
IPFS storage fees
Please visit https://infura.io/docs/ipfs for details.
NFT.Storage currently supports files up to 31 Gib and does not charge for storage.
The GenesysGo Shadow Drive is a decentralized storage network designed to run in parallel to, and integrate seamlessly with, Solana. Storage fees are paid in the SPL token, SHDW, and allow immutable or mutable storage of data.