Let’s assume you need to create a direct link to serve an image file which stored in a web server using Spring Boot. Here we are discussing how we can achieve that.

This tutorial is developed using Spring Boot, If you are really new to Spring Boot, Please follow our article on How to Create a Spring Boot Project.

Scenario: We have an image folder where we store multiple images inside a server. We need to read the image using a direct URL as below to use in a frontend.


eg: http://localhost:8080/images/pexels-ave-calvar-martinez-4852353.jpg

Adding GetMapping to Serve Image For Image Name

Here we need to introduce the GET endpoint to return Byte[] for the requested image setting return content type as MediaType.IMAGE_JPEG.

Additionally we should use Apache Commons IO since we need to use FileUtils inside Apache commons library.

We can add Apache Commons IO as a dependency by adding follow to build.gradle.

implementation 'commons-io:commons-io:2.8.0'

Java Implementation.

package com.javatodev.image.controller;

import com.javatodev.image.exception.ImageNotFoundException;

import org.apache.commons.io.FileUtils;
import org.springframework.http.MediaType;
import org.springframework.http.ResponseEntity;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.GetMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.PathVariable;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController;

import java.io.File;
import java.io.IOException;

@RequestMapping(value = "/images")
public class FileController {

    //root path for image files
    private String FILE_PATH_ROOT = "/opt/javatodev/images/";

    public ResponseEntity<byte[]> getImage(@PathVariable("filename") String filename) {
        byte[] image = new byte[0];
        try {
            image = FileUtils.readFileToByteArray(new File(FILE_PATH_ROOT+filename));
        } catch (IOException e) {
        return ResponseEntity.ok().contentType(MediaType.IMAGE_JPEG).body(image);


That’s all now we are ready to serve image content via a GET URL. Run the application and request image using browser as follows.

eg: http://localhost:8080/images/pexels-ave-calvar-martinez-4852353.jpg

Handling 404 Error When Image Not Found

Here when there is no image found for given path, It will send IOException, Hence we could handle that and send a proper 404 as a response.

To do that we can introduce new Exception which returns 404 status.

package com.javatodev.image.exception;

import org.springframework.http.HttpStatus;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.ResponseStatus;

@ResponseStatus(code = HttpStatus.NOT_FOUND, reason = "Image Not Found")
public class ImageNotFoundException extends RuntimeException{

And then throw it on IOException while FileUtils.readFileToByteArray.

try {
     image = FileUtils.readFileToByteArray(new File(FILE_PATH_ROOT+filename));
        } catch (IOException e) {
            throw new ImageNotFoundException();


For this example, we’ve only used a JPEG formatted image set only. But this program could be changed to support multi-image types if you need by adding few conditions.

In this article, we’ve discussed Serve Image Stored in a Server Using Spring Boot covering initial project setup, dependencies, API endpoint to return a byte[] for requested image file, handling 404 error on conditions with Spring Boot.

You can find source codes for this tutorial from our Github.

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