– Can an ASP.NET MVC controller return an Image

Can I create a Controller that simply returns an image asset?

I would like to route this logic through a controller, whenever a URL such as the following is requested:

The controller will look up topbanner.png and send that image directly back to the client.

I've seen examples of this where you have to create a View – I don't want to use a View. I want to do it all with just the Controller.

Is this possible?

Best Solution

Use the base controllers File method.

public ActionResult Image(string id)
    var dir = Server.MapPath("/Images");
    var path = Path.Combine(dir, id + ".jpg"); //validate the path for security or use other means to generate the path.
    return base.File(path, "image/jpeg");

As a note, this seems to be fairly efficient. I did a test where I requested the image through the controller (http://localhost/MyController/Image/MyImage) and through the direct URL (http://localhost/Images/MyImage.jpg) and the results were:

  • MVC: 7.6 milliseconds per photo
  • Direct: 6.7 milliseconds per photo

Note: this is the average time of a request. The average was calculated by making thousands of requests on the local machine, so the totals should not include network latency or bandwidth issues.