All Articles

Instagram photo parser

Today we are going to create a web application that enables user to see the original photo that is posted on Instagram. First we create a web service that sends a request to the embedded version of that photo with a given image url, then the service is gonna parse the page it gets and finds the image url from there. In order to bypass Instagram CORS rules we will use some npm modules to be able to display the photo on our page.

Server side

Server side is a simple node express app that has only two endpoints. It is responsible for listening for the Instagram link and requesting the embedded photo from Instagram as well as returning a proxyed URL to the client.

Start by installing the required modules:

yarn add axios cors express node-html-parser pass-cors

The modules are pretty self explanatory but I want to highlight cors and pass-corsmodule here which will allow us to bypass the same origin rule of Instagram so that the image can be shown.

Now it is time to write the parser module.

const axios = require("axios");
const { parse } = require("node-html-parser");

async function parseInstagramUrl(url) {
  url = `${url}embed`;
  console.log(`Fetching ${url}`);

  let res = axios.get(url).then(async (response) => {
    const root = parse(;
    let source = root

    source = `http://localhost:3001/proxy?url=${source}`;
    return { source };

  return res;

module.exports = {
  parseInstagramUrl: parseInstagramUrl,

As you can see, the function requests the image from Instagram, passes this response to node-html-parser then goes over the parsed DOM to find the image source.

Line 14 returns the image source but prefixed with our another endpoint proxy. We will be looking into that next. Here is our index.js file which is the main file for our server

const express = require("express");
const cors = require("cors");
const proxy = require("pass-cors");

const app = express().use("*", cors());
const port = process.env.port || 3001;

const { parseInstagramUrl } = require("./parser");

app.get("/", async (req, res) => {

app.use("/proxy", proxy);
app.get("/parse", async (req, res) => {
  const instagramUrl = req.query.url;
  let imageData = "";
  if (instagramUrl) {
    imageData = await parseInstagramUrl(instagramUrl);
  res.json({ data: imageData });

app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log(`Listening on port: ${port}`);

On line 14 the enpoint ‘/proxy’ handles the request using the pass-cors module.

Client side

Client side is a simple create-react-app that only consists of a form containing an input. If request is valid and contains a image url, our react application is just going to display the returned image.

import React from "react";
import { useState } from "react";

function App() {
  const [data, setData] = useState();

  const getImage = (e) => {
    const { url } =;
      .then((res) => res.json())
      .then((data) => {

  return (
    <div className="App">
      <form onSubmit={getImage}>
        <input name="url" type="text"></input>
        <button type="submit">Get Photo</button>
      {data && data.source && (
          <img src={data.source} alt="Instagram"/>

export default App;

That concludes this mini parser project. This is a good hand-made instagram photo saver that you don’t need to pay etc.