I expect to host a website with many images, and I mean many - around 300-400k.

I am wondering if the number of items on my server affects access time? In other words, will GET requests be slower because I host so many images? Is saving images in plain folders even the way to go? Should I use some other method of organising images, such as databases?

The main concern here is how fast the client can get images from server.

Thanks for help

  • There will be OS restrictions / slowdown with a large number of images in a single directory, but if you distribute these images across a series of subdirectories, then you should be OK. Also note that some (shared) hosts impose limits on the number of inodes/files.
    – MrWhite
    Apr 8, 2017 at 20:36
  • True about the inode limit, but anyone who tried what the OP is talking about on a shared host would be foolish.
    – Steve
    Apr 8, 2017 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


The short answer is yes and no :P

Access time will depend on the power of your server and the speed of your server's network connection. So having lots of images on an underpowered server will affect things, but on an an adequately powered server won't.

If you have information about the location of images in a database rather than a direct link you you will slow things down by as long as it takes to access the database (milliseconds?). For me, the benefits of managing files via a database compared to managing hundreds of thousands of direct links is overwhelming.


there are several parameters that affect the access time. the harddisk type ssd is faster then 7200 hd and 5400 hd (I read somewhere that the speed of the ssd and its reliability drops after some time. the amount of ram is an important factor, the hosting os is a factor, the network speed, etc... if you use more than one pc the pros and cons adds up. more ram and ssd hard disk is the beginer place to start but as I said there is a lot more to do

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