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Insta Success: 3 Must Know Instagram Follow Number Limits

One of my Instagram accounts was behaving oddly and I discovered my following accounts number had been capped.
I originally suspected I was shadow banned, because so many other people I knew had been. However, I’d never bought followers, I posted photos directly to the Instagram app and tried to mix up my hashtags. I didn’t use the hashtag trick where you post one set of hashtags, and then replace them with a new set of hashtags. My actions were not what I’d consider to be spammy or dodgy.

Follow Limit
After a couple of weeks of testing I thought there might have been a ratio of follower to following accounts, so I searched Instagram’s support pages. It turns out that there is a limit to the number of people or accounts you can follow. I wasn’t receiving the error message, but I was definitively capped. Instagram says:

To help reduce spam, Instagram doesn’t allow anyone to follow more than 7,500 people.
Anyone who tries to follow more than 7,500 people will see an error message, regardless of how many followers they have. Anyone who’s currently following more than 7,500 people did so before this change was made.

Instagram Limits 
After some further research, I discovered hidden in the developer pages of Instagram there are other Instagram limits. (Please note a sandbox is just another name for testing – it’s good practice to test any app before it’s launched to the public).
Sandbox /media/media-id/likes 30 / hour
Sandbox /media/media-id/comments 30 / hour
Sandbox /users/user-id/relationships 30 / hour
Live /media/media-id/likes 60 / hour
Live /media/media-id/comments 60 / hour
Live /users/user-id/relationships 60 / hour

Instagram Like and Comment Limits
According to Instagram, you can only like 60 photos in an hour. You can also leave 60 comments on photos or videos. You can have 60 relationships per hour – so that’s a total of follow and unfollow actions combined.
There might be other limits which we aren’t told about. For example, it would be considered spammy to leave the exact same comment 60 times. As the platform matures and grows in popularity there will be more algorithm changes and perhaps new limits. It pays to stay up to date with social media.
Figures correct: January 2018

Written by Emma Crameri

I am a Brisbane-based freelance technical reviewer and writer. I have experience working in ICT, online education and digital marketing. I can turn your ideas into engaging and shareable online content. I'm an early adopter with both Android and Apple devices. I'm also the Editor of the Brisbanista website.


  1. also there is probably some sort of stories limit, where you can post only 100 stories per day and if you follow too many account and view all stories from people you follow and hit refres, the tab gets somehow broken and doesn’t load ANY stories and it makes you think, you got banned from viewing stories. Not sure about the cap though.

  2. Hey Emma I like this article. I was able to follow a LOT of people but after I got over 8k and most recently 9,900 they throttled me so hard.

    I’m going to try the 60 actions per hour tomorrow. Instagram doesn’t clearly define rules and it seems very subjective. They also seem to want to limit growth yet they want people to invest money and grow businesses on there (which is 90% of the time a waste of money).

    I think it is better as a free for all users can decline and block spammy people. But ambitious people like us who don’t do spammy things but are successful in engaging people should not be limited and sabotaged.

    You know celebrities like Selena and Biebs can’t have these limits.

  3. I have a new IG account. I followed totalt in six days 600 accounts and now can’t follow anymore. I followed under 60 per hour and not too fast. I read somewhere that under 300-350 should be safe but it is not true.

  4. Thanks for all of the comments.

    Unfortunately, Instagram is fairly unresponsive to support queries.

    Many growth strategies that used to work, no longer do. Celebrities grew their accounts in the early days when there weren’t limits in place like the ones mentioned above. You need to remember that it is a level playing field – we all have to follow the same rules.

  5. Thanks for the information. I have been trying to search for the limits and I have felt it is subjective to each account. But these numbers look like the safer limits to play with.

  6. Thank you! I was wondering why I couldn’t follow anyone accounts, thought I had been shadow blocked/banned too but then noticed when I unfollowed a few accounts I was able to follow again. Boo Instagram! I just want to follow back the accounts that follow me, I feel it’s polite. Well, at least follow back the non-spammy accounts.

  7. My 2 cents :-)… I have found that as long as I am following people IG suggests to me, they wont throttle me or do anything. In other words follow someone and then follow everyone they then suggest. I followed over 500 this morning in like an hour no problem.

  8. i am following 724 people, but can’t follow any more, I have to unfollow to follow. I have never got a blocked action message and everything works fine. It’s been like this since dec 26th – what can i do? Can anyone help? n.b. i don’t follow private accounts so I don’t have any outstanding follow requests.

  9. Hi Carol, Sorry, the Instagram rules and algorithm have changed since I wrote this article. You might need to log a support request directly with Instagram.





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