Professional and amateur photographers are often faced with the following dilemma: where will they store their digital images? Web hosting services are one thing, but they aren’t specialized in image hosting. What you need is a website focused exclusively on catering to your photo (and occasional video) hosting needs. But there are so many options out there, where to even begin?
Some offer image hosting or storage without a community, some have an abundance of customization and editing tools, while others have to be combined with third-party web hosts to get your photos online. They may also vary in the size of storage space and supported file size.
With that in mind, here are a few quality ideas to consider, depending on your requirements.
1. Google Photos
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When Picasa Web Albums became Google Photos, millions of people became enthralled. This now very popular photo (and video) hosting service specializes in private image hosting, although sharing your photos with others is exceptionally easy.
Do note that all your photos will be stored on Google’s servers for the purposes of refining the company’s machine learning capabilities as it enables it to recognize faces and locations.
Google Photos has a bunch of handy features for various requirements. For instance, Memories can display photos and videos from the past at the top of your gallery, while Gallery Go allows you to automatically organize and enhance your images offline using the advances in machine learning technology.
The best part? You get unlimited storage for free if you store the photos in the high-quality mode, up to 16 megapixels. If you want them stored in their original resolution, you’ll have to pay more, depending on whether you’re using Google Drive or Google One.
One of the largest independent image hosting websites in the world, Imgur doesn’t require you to register before you can use it and its advantages don’t stop there. Specifically, almost everything is unlimited, save for some exceptions.
Namely, the maximum allowed file size for static images is 20MB, while for GIFs this limit is 200MB. Also, you can’t upload more than 50 pictures from one IP address per hour. The uploaded files are stored forever and you’ll also get access to a bunch of tools courtesy of Imgur or other users.
That said, this service isn’t ideal if you need online backup service for your important photos as lossy compression is applied to non-animated images more than 1MB in size uploaded anonymously and 5MB for registered members.
3. Flickr Pro
One of the largest photography communities on the Internet, priding itself on tens of millions of subscribers, Flickr started its career in 2004 when it was created by the Canadian software company Ludicorp.
However, its true success hasn’t begun until 2017, when it changed ownership from Yahoo to Oath/Verizon, and continued in 2018 when it became part of SmugMug.
Mostly focused on catering to professional photographers and passionate amateurs, the provider offers its basic service for free, albeit limited to 1,000 photos or videos. Nevertheless, the service is accompanied by robust photo editing tools and smart photo management.
Those willing to pay for its Pro plan will get access to a desktop auto-uploader, advanced statistics, backup, and an ad-free browsing experience. This option also allows you to print whichever photos you want, straight from your Flickr account.
You can either sign up for the monthly subscription at $6.99/month or annual subscription at $4.99/month (billed annually), which includes exclusive discounts from Adobe, Blurb, Priime, and SmugMug.
If you want to earn your living by selling pictures, SmugMug might be the right solution as a trusted choice of over 75 million users so far. All of its pricing plans provide unlimited cloud storage and bandwidth for all your image uploads, and other great features like password-protected folders, galleries, and pages.
For instance, you’ll also be getting the tools necessary for creating an attractive full-screen gallery, sharing your photos via social media, email, or private share groups, and selling personalized gifts and other items.
That said, print and photo e-commerce features, custom watermark protection, or live chat support aren’t available unless you choose one of the pricier Portfolio and Pro options. The plans start at $47.88/year for the Basic option, while for $71.88/year, the provider will add extensive privacy and security tools, complete web customization, 20+ premade modern website templates, and support for your own domain under the Power subscription.
The Portfolio subscription is billed $179.88/year, while the Pro option costs $359.88/year, and throws coupons and event photo marketing into the mix.
Whichever plan you choose, you’ll get a 14-day free trial period during which you will not be charged. That way, if you don’t like the service, just cancel it and your money will be safe in your account.
There’s a 24/7/364* email customer support for your every concern and question.
(*they take one day off)
5. Piwigo (+InMotion Hosting Power)
With an online presence of over 17 years, Piwigo is one of the open-source apps that can be found in the Softaculous app store. A self-hosted photo gallery software that works with your own image hosting website, Piwigo provides everything you need for your image storing and sharing requirements, including privacy options, themes, plugins, tags, albums, management tools, analytics, and much more.
You can combine Piwigo with a good web hosting solution such as InMotion’s Power plan which can host up to six websites, as well as providing unlimited SSD storage and unmetered bandwidth.
The service allows you to upload photos using the web form, any FTP client, or a desktop app like Lightroom, Shotwell, digiKam, or mobile apps. Piwigo can even read GPS latitude and longitude from embedded metadata and display your photos on an interactive map via Google Maps or OpenStreetMap plugin.
For those more tech-savvy users, there are self-hosting photo gallery platforms out there like MediaGoblin, Koken, Chevereto, Lychee, etc.
Who hasn’t heard of Pixabay? One of the largest online image-sharing communities, it currently prides itself with over one million hosted images and videos. Having said that, there are some restrictions when you’re trying to use it.
Specifically, you’ll have to make sure your images are adhering to the company’s strict image quality rules, backed up by its (human) editorial team who is checking every photo.
All the images must be a minimum of 3,000 pixels on their longer side, a maximum of 40MB in size, and new contributors may submit up to 10 files in 10 days. However, you can increase the last limitation by uploading images that will increase your average quality score.
The mobile apps don’t support direct image uploads at the moment and you’ll also have to sign up if you’re planning to use Pixabay’s services. Regardless, one of Pixabay’s main selling points is its developer API, trusted by 1,561 developers so far.
Not as popular as Pixabay or some other image hosts, Imagebam is nevertheless a useful website that has facilitated a speedy creation of thumbnail galleries for over 10 years now. The website enables multi-upload of compressed ZIP files (up to 250MB in size), which may be perfect for bulk index-less archiving requirements.
Although it supports an unlimited number of uploads and downloads, Imagebam imposes a 10MB download limit, and only supports JPG, PNG, and GIF files.
The focus isn’t on discoverability or growing a community. Instead, Imagebam is simply a great place to store your photos in huge amounts. It can be used without creating an account, but registering comes with a few useful perks, like photo management features, as well as organizing capabilities for your images and galleries and adding titles and descriptions to the latter.
Sometimes less is more - this seems to be the motto of Imgbb, one of the most popular image hosting solutions with its simple drag & drop feature that allows you to quickly and easily move your files on the homepage.
Although there’s a 16MB limit on file size, the provider supports all major image file types, as well as removing the annoying limitations on the number of files you can upload and the duration of their life cycle online.
Its upload plugin allows you to add direct image uploading options to your website, blog, or forum in just a few clicks. You don’t have to register to use Imgbb’s services: just go to the website and start uploading immediately. Do note that all of your images will undergo the scrutiny of a human editorial team.
Another one of the image hosting providers that aren’t interested in having a community, but rather in providing a straightforward browser uploading interface to its users is Imagetitan. It doesn’t have any mobile apps, so there’s only desktop upload available. Furthermore, it has severe restrictions, such as the not-so-titanic 1.5MB file size limit and support for only JPG, GIF, and PNG files. Although the company doesn’t offer direct links, hotlinking is allowed.
On the other hand, you can upload as many files as you want and they can stay hosted for an unlimited amount of time, with a deletion code to delete pictures in the future. Bandwidth is unlimited as well, and you can upload up to 100 photos via FTP. No registration is required for any of this.
Offering image hosting services starting at $4.49/month, Photobucket is a premium image hosting company loved by professionals and amateurs alike.
It provides an ad-free, secure, and flexible platform for lifetime image storage, as well as easy social sharing, handy editing tools for captions and titles, and more. The cheapest Beginner plan offers 25GB of storage for around 2,500 images, up to 25MB in size. It costs $4.49/month (billed annually) if you select the annual subscription or $5.99/month for the monthly option.
Right after you register for an account, you’ll receive a limited time offer of 250GB of storage and unlimited bandwidth and photo albums under the Intermediate plan for only $5/month (regularly costing $6.29/month).
You can also sign up for a free account which is limited to 25MB per account (not per image) in one month and adds a Photobucket watermark to your hosted images.
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