Best Image Hosting Providers
In today's world of smartphone photography and social networking, it's easy to quickly upload your pictures to the web no matter where you are. But, what are the top image hosting companies for your images? What about the cheapest image hosting options? Each site has unique features, so you really need to ask yourself what's most important. Here are some top image hosting websites… and things to consider before making your choice.
Flickr Image Hosting
Flickr is the the most popular image hosting site to date. With over 70-million users, and a staggering eight billion photos and counting, Flickr ranks high with both amateur and professional photographers alike. Whether uploading from your smartphone or laptop computer, Flickr offers many different ways to get the job done.
Tags help keep everything organized, and you choose who to share your photos with through the privacy settings. Flickr's ultimate value (besides the easy sharing and the massive volume of pictures) is the online backup option. Choose from either a Free or Pro account.
A free account allows up to 300MB of images and two videos per month, while a Pro account includes an unlimited amount of images and videos. Pay $6.95 for a three-month subscription; $24.95 for a year; or $44.95 for two years.
If it's online backup of your pictures you are looking for, a Pro account is your best (and cheapest) option. Note: if you opt for a free account, Flickr will delete inactive accounts after 90-days.
Photobucket Image Hosting
Photobucket is similar to Flickr. With mobile sharing, Twitter and Facebook integration, and privacy settings, Photobucket is popular. Users also have access to an online photo editor, which is something that Flickr does not include.
Just as with Flickr, two storage options exist: Free or Plus. Free users are limited to 2GB of online backup and up to 10GB of bandwidth each month. If you upgrade to a Plus account, what you will pay depends on much storage you will need. 20GB is $2.99/month, 50GB $4.99/month, 100GB $8.99/month, 200GB $16.99/month, and 500GB $39.99/month.
SmugMug Image Hosting
SmugMug boasts hundreds of thousands of professional photographers users. These photographers rely on SmugMug to provide cloud backup and other professional photo option.
This site offers unlimited photo uploads, no matter what account you choose: $5/month for Basic, $8/month for Power, $20/month for Portfolio, and $35/month for Business. Basic accounts will not store video, however.
The real difference with SmugMug: the “commerce” section. Potential photo collectors can purchase a photo that's been uploaded to a commerce gallery kind of like an Etsy for photographers. Professional photographers will want to select a Portfolio or Business account (these accounts include the most options).
Picasa Image Hosting
Picasa (from Google) is a bit different than the two sites listed above. It is essentially software, but it offers users a “Web Albums” option. This option allows users to store a limited number of photos online.
You are only allowed 1GB of online backup with a free account, but you can upgrade to a 25GB account for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month, 200GB for $9.99/month, 400GB for $19.99, and 1TB for $49.99. Picasa also offers 16TB of storage for $799.99/month, but the average user likely won't need more than 1TB. Storage size can be easily increased too.
The bottom line: before you start uploading your pictures to any image hosting site, take a close look at your needs. Make sure it fits with your lifestyle, and don't overpay for storage you'll never use.