Hacky way to embed a public instagram in react using gatsby

January 12, 2021 . 3 min read




Table of contents


I have been working on side project for a friend (will share more when we finish) and she asked me if I was able to integrate her live instagram feed into a page of her website.

I said, let me have a look.

There are a couple of problems if you try to do that. Well, technically they are not problems, they are more constrains given that Instagram requires you to create and app for you to be able to use their API. Moreover, it you are using any static site generator, such as Gatsby, you will have access to the instagram data via graphQL at built time and as a result this will not be dynamic (meaning, this will not automatically change if you upload a new photo into Instagram).

There are ways to fix that, but let's be honest they are painful to set up and will probably involve different integrations, e.i. using Zappier to triger your CDN to build.

There is a workaround, that right now, seems easy and quicker to set up.

Instagram hidden API

You might not have noticed, but if you load instagram on the webrowser there are numerous network request that are basically pinging Instagram graphQL APIs so that your webrowser can render them on the DOM.

With a bit of research, trial and error I was able to find the proper API endpoint that retrieves that information.


You will only need to prepend (using &) a variable that points for the Instagram profile and, for me, the number of photos that you want to render: &variables={"id":40346689,"first":6}

A there you go, now with a simple react component that uses hooks to store the retrieved data you can implement your Instagram feed wherever you want to.


import React, { useState, useEffect } from "react";
import styled from "@emotion/styled"
const Card = styled.img`
justify-self: center;
width: 300px;
height: 300px;
background-position: center;
background-repeat: no-repeat;
const Grid = styled.div`
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(auto-fit, minmax(200px, 1fr));
grid-gap: 10px;
const url =
const Insta = () => {
const [insta, setInsta] = useState([]);
useEffect(() => {
.then((data) => data.json())
.then((data) => {
const photosArray = data.data.user.edge_owner_to_timeline_media.edges;
}, []);
return (
{insta.map((photo) => (
<Card src={photo.node.display_url} key={photo.node.id} />
export default Insta;

My latest Instagram pictures

Now, using that newly created component, I can request my 6 Instagram latest posts to be rendered here, or anywhere on my digital garden!

Personaly I hope that Instagram never changes that query_hash ID as I like the simplicity of this implementation, specially in a static site generator such as Gatsby.

I am tempted to create a gatsby-plugin for this...

Hope this was useful.

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