Notion API File Request has expired


If you follow me, you know I'm a huge fan of Notion. I use it for everything in my personal and professional life. Since the release of the Notion API, I've been playing with it, but I've never built anything that I was going to launch publicly.

That's all about to change as I work on launching my wife's new blog, This is my Momoir. To prepare for that, I put together a simple blog called AI Blog. This is a blog that I'm writing in Notion, using Notion AI to generate blog posts.

I figured this would be a great playground for me to work out any issues I might come across before I work on launching her site. I'm building the website in Vue using Nuxt 3. There are a bunch of things I want to blog about or create YouTube videos on, but I wanted to start with this one.

After finishing the AI Blog, I wanted to deploy it on Netlify to see if there were any issues with publishing it out in the wild. I decided to statically generate the entire site because there will only be about 1-2 blog posts per week, making this a perfect scenario to prioritize performance over real-time updates.

When I first deployed the site everything looked as I expected it to:

API Blog

When I returned to the blog the following day, I noticed that all of the images were missing. This was puzzling, so I decided to investigate further. Using the Chrome Dev Tools, I quickly discovered that I was receiving a 403 Forbidden error on each of the images. What was particularly strange was that some of the blog posts had images that were displaying properly.

Images Missing

I decided to redeploy the website and sure enough, everything was working again. I came back a couple of hours later and the images were missing again.

Notion Page Property File & Media Type

I decided to investigate the cause of this issue. It turns out that the cover images are a property of the page in Notion. If you take a look at the screenshot below, you can see that the page has various properties such as status, date created, and Image. The "Image" property is a file type, which I use to select the thumbnail image for this post.

Notion Page Properties

When you retrieve the details for a page and request a specific property, you will receive some data that looks like this. Is there anything that stands out to you?

"Image": {
    "id": "%5EmJf",
    "type": "files",
    "files": [
            "name": "arseny-togulev-MECKPoKJYjM-unsplash.jpg",
            "type": "file",
            "file": {
                "url": "
                "expiry_time": "2023-03-11T20:56:53.872Z"

That's right, each file and media type, including images returned by the Notion API, has an expiry_time field. This means that they will expire after 1 hour. If the cover image is going to expire after an hour and I'm statically generating the entire site, I only have one option, which is to download all of the cover images.

This raises some questions about build time performance when the site gets larger, but I can put that issue aside for now as I have bigger problems to deal with. To solve this, I wrote a function that will take the image URL and a destination to save it in. When working in Nuxt 3, you should save any public images to the /public directory. In this case, I am putting them into an images directory, but on a larger site, I could create a directory structure for each post.

database.results.forEach(post => {
  // cover:[0]?.file.url,
  const imgName =[0]?.name;

  // the cover image expires after 1 hour so we need to download it

async function downloadImage(url, filepath) {
      res =>
        new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
          const dest = fs.createWriteStream(filepath);
          res.body.on("end", () =>
            resolve(filepath.split("/")[3] + " was downloaded successfully.")
          dest.on("error", reject);
    .then(x => console.log(x));

Back on the home page where I display the image I can now just reference the local /images directory.

<NuxtLink :to="`/blog/${post.slug}`">
    alt="Blog post image"
    class="w-full h-48 object-cover"

I tried writing the download image function using Nuxt’s $fetch but I didn’t have much luck. I decided to take my issues to Twitter and ask my friends there. I don’t have any answers yet but If I get one I will be sure to update this blog post.

Images Expiring Update

I realized that after I deployed a test version of my Wife's new blog she was having the same problem on all of her post pages. This is because she was using her own images that she uploaded to Notion while I was using Unsplash Images on the AI Blog.

This now presents the same problem in each of her posts. I can use the same technique to download each of the images and save them to the public directory. I'm not sure I want to do this for every single image and I sure don't want to do this all at build time. My current thought process is that I might look to see if this image exists first and if it doesn't then I will save it. This of course presents a problem if there is a newer version of the same file but I don't think I am going to run into that problem right now.

I’m also interested in using the Nuxt Image module which would allow me to use a single image and translate it to different versions for different screen sizes. The Nuxt Image module has many different options when it comes to providers but this is something I haven’t done before. My next question is how do I take these images and programmatically push them to one of these providers? My small task of using Notion as a CMS has quickly created some interesting problems.


I’m having a lot of fun writing a blog that uses Notion as the CMS. It certainly hasn’t been easy but I am learning a lot and that always makes me happy. If you’re interested in the code for the AI Blog you can check it out here.

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