Instagram is probably the most popular social photo sharing app that people use today, and even though photos are easily viewable through the iPhone or Android app, a lot of people wonder how they can view Instagram on the web and get the same experience on a computer as they do on a mobile platform.
There are some restrictions about how you can upload Instagram photos on a regular computer, but until November 2012, you couldn’t even access users’ profiles via a web. Here's an updated explanation of how to use Instagram online.
Instagram Web Profiles
For years, there was no option to view all of a user's Instagram photos in one place on the web at Instagram.com, but your could at least see individual photos that get pushed to the web when they're shared on other social networking platforms.
Instagram started out as an exclusive mobile app only for the iOS platform. It was eventually brought to Android as well, and some interactive features were brought to photo web pages—such as liking and commenting (as long as you were signed in to your account).
On November 5, 2012, Instagram announced that it was finally rolling out individual web-based profiles for all Instagram users. To visit your own Instagram web profile or anyone else’s, you can simply visit:
(change “username” to whatever yours is)
The layout of the new web profile looks a lot like the current Facebook Timeline layout. There’s a large header collage section, which changes slowly and features your most recent Instagram photos. Your profile picture, name, bio and other information is displayed below, and as you scroll down, thumbnails of your photos are shown in the order of which they were taken.
You can click any photo to view it in full size. It’s displayed the same way individual photo pages have always been displayed online, except they pop up over your web profile rather than opening in a new window.
Instagram Liking & Commenting on the Web
Before web profiles, Instagram rolled out the ability to sign in to your Instagram account on the web and interact through likes and comments on any photo's web URL. Whenever you come across someone’s web profile or an individual "instagr.am/p/XXXXXXXXXX/" link on the web, you'll notice a sign-in option at the top and the options to leave a comment or hit the big heart-shaped icon to like it.
You can also edit your profile, change your password or manage applications on the web. (Sign-in at the top, click your username and choose "Edit Profile."
Instagram Privacy Concerns
Now that we have web profiles, as long as your profile is public, anyone on the web can access your profile and see all of your photos. If you don’t want strangers looking at your photos, you need to set your profile to “Private.”
When your profile is set to private, only users you approve to follow you will be able to see your photos within the mobile app and on your web profile—as long as they are signed in.
Although you can now view a user’s photos all in one place now on the web, users still can’t upload photos via the web. This feature remains restricted to the iOS or Android app on your mobile device.
What Will Happen to Webstagram?
Before Instagram introduced web profiles, Webstagram used to be the unofficial solution to viewing and interacting with Instagram photos via the web. All you had to do was visit web.stagram.com/username to view anyone’s Instagram photo feed in list format.
As long as you were signed in to your Instagram account through Webstagram, you could like and comment on photos as well. It’s still a good alternative, but who knows how long people might keep using it now that Instagram has officially rolled out web profiles.