Instagram Feed API

Cristian Echeverria · November 27th, 2019 · 5 min read·

While I was working on a website for a relative, one of the requirements was to link one of the sections of the site with their Instagram account.

So the concept was that; every time they post a picture on Instagram shows that picture on their website. But, only show the last 3 pictures.

So I was googling trying to find a solution for this, I was thinking there has to be a third-party solution for this, and maybe I can find it for FREE, and yes, I found a couple of solutions but none was something I liked.

And of course, I didn't want to pay for something like that, after all this site is hosted on Netlify with their free tier, the site is simple... no special framework, no nothing... just good old Javascript, HTML & CSS.

Step 1: Instagram API

Instagram has documentation for developers where you can find Endpoints for "Get the most recent media published by the owner of the access_token." The endpoint is this:

So, what we need now is to get an ACCESS_TOKEN.

And you can do that by two simple steps:

1- Login to the user Instagram Account

2- Once you had logged in, you can click this Site, where you can Generate an ACCES_TOKEN by clicking a simple button.

Now, we need somehow to have access to the Instagram API. But our website is static, I'm not using a server, is not necessary because this site was mean to be simple, remember? just good old Javascript, HTML & CSS.

So we have a problem here. The Solution?. Add dynamic-functionality with AWS Lambda Functions, here you can read more about this concept.

Step 2: Netlify Functions

When you build and deploy sites on netlify, you can interact with third-party services and APIs with javascript places directly on your site. For example, you can have a script that sends event data to google analytics, or adds someone to a Mailchimp list or sends a request to a Zapier webhook.

But what if you want to write scripts with something other than javascript? Or if you want to do more complex things like resize images or query a database? Or if you have sensitive information in your script such as API tokens that you don’t want to be embedded on your site and visible to all? Or if no service or API does what you need?

That’s where Netlify Functions come in.

Now that we have access to AWS Lambda Functions we can use one of the examples that you can find in Netlify site and create a Javascript script in your project like this:

const axios = require('axios')
exports.handler = function instagram(event, context, callback) {
  const endpoint = ''
  const token = process.env.INSTAGRAM_ACCESS_TOKEN
  const limit = 5
    .then(({ data: { data: posts } }) => {
      callback(null, {
        statusCode: 200,
        headers: {
          'content-type': 'application/json',
        body: JSON.stringify(
 => ({
            images: i.images,
            videos: i.videos,
            caption: i.caption.text,
    .catch((e) => {

Step 3: Testing your Lambda

As you can see, at this point we need to install some node libraries like Axios to fetch data from Instagram API. Also, you can test your code locally using netlify-lambda.

npm i netlify-lambda axios

With that, you can add a new script into your package.json. To serve your lambda function using netlify-lambda, you have to specify the location of your lambda function. In my case, I created a ./functions folder and added my lambda functions there:

"scripts": {
    "lambda-serve": "netlify-lambda serve functions",
    "lambda-build": "netlify-lambda build functions"

Another useful step is to create a netlify.toml file in the root of your project, then you can add the following commands:

    functions = "lambda"
    Command = "npm run lambda-build"

Keep in mind that you can also specify the location of your lambda functions in netlify settings for your project, but if you use netlify.toml file it will override your configuration.

Once you deploy your project to Netlify, it will install all the dependencies of your lambda function like axios.

Also, you have to create environment variables for your ACCESS_TOKEN, as we defined in our code.

const token = process.env.INSTAGRAM_ACCESS_TOKEN

To create environment variables in Netlify, you can follow this guide, this is important because it allows us to hide the value of our ACCESS_TOKEN.


Once you deploy your project, now you can get the result of your Lambda Function adding /.netlify/functions/ to your domain, for example: where my-lambda-function is the name of the Javascript file where you defined your lambda function.

Testing locally

You can also test the result of your Lambda locally. Remember that we added netlify-lambda library into our project?. We also added a command in our project.json file for serving our lambda functions.

So to test this locally, just run the command npm run lambda-serve and you have a local server in the port 9000.

Let me show you a small example of how you can test this locally:

const fetchInstafeed = async () =>
  await (await fetch('http://localhost:9000/getInstagramFeed')).json();
fetchInstafeed().then(data => {

But don´t forget to update the fetch URL to just /.netlify/functions/getInstagramFeed when you're ready to deploy your site.

One more note: Also I have to say that to test Instagram API locally, I had to update the header of my Lambda Function, because of CORS policy, to something like this:

headers: {
 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin': '*',
 'Origin, X-Requested-With, Content-Type, Accept'


I hope that you found this blog post helpful in some way. I think that using Static sites with the power of Lambda Functions is just awesome, the power of serverless applications is just great, thanks to Netlify team that set up this. Now I can request some API and transform my static site into a dynamic one.

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