“Every picture tells a story.”
Have you heard this song by Rod Stewart?
If yes, you know it’s amazing!
Indeed, every picture has a story to tell, and it makes events timeless and memorable. It has the power to cast a dramatic effect on viewers' minds and help them catch things within split seconds.
In this digital age, photos' existence is not limited to just personal lives, but it also has become one of the important parts of a business' marketing strategy. That said, online photo sharing, in fact, is an effective and popular means of communication.
Whether you want to share images with family, friends, and colleagues or upload them to your website, you need to have a comprehensive gallery of high-quality images that you can access anytime. For this, image hosting could be the best way to store, upload, and share photos.
So, let’s dive in to find a few things about image hosting and the best sites you can consider buying a hosting plan from.
What is online image hosting?
A platform that allows you to upload images. Once you have uploaded them, the images are said to be “hosted”, and you can access them online. You get full control of the images and can decide where to store and organize in one place and share it with anyone you like.
The specialized image hosting platform performs optimally for delivering images to your audience spread worldwide. They leverage advanced features like content distribution network (CDN) to accelerate image loading and offer a lot of bandwidth to distribute images online without limiting their daily services as photo-sharing websites do.
It is perfect for graphic designers, photographers, wallpaper creators, artists, and models, and helps them give a boost to their work.
Image hosting vs. Photo-sharing
Now, many people get confused between image hosting and photo sharing websites.
Are you one of them?
Let’s get a clear picture.
Photo sharing is pretty much self-explanatory. You have pictures stored on your device, and you choose to share them with the outside world through Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Google Photos, where you create an album and share it.
Now, it differs from image hosting in the light of the fact that photo-sharing stays limited to a platform where you have uploaded the images to. It becomes impossible for you to embed photos from one platform into another photo-sharing platform, or into a website or blog. It is just meant to share images and no illustrations, banners, or avatars.
On the other hand, image hosting lets you put out images to a broader audience and embed them into another website like your blog. These services make it effortless to determine an image's direct link with an easy-to-recognize button to copy links.
How is it different from traditional hosting?
With a traditional hosting service, your site is hosted over one server and in one data center. You choose the service based on your business scale, traffic volumes, and technical expertise you have. Basically, the service has many limitations in terms of resources, which could become a problem while scaling up or down.
But with an image hosting service, your images are hosted on the cloud, and it is not hosted on one single server only. Instead, it is spread across several servers in multiple locations and connected through the internet. You get more scalability, reliability, and flexibility for your site, far better than traditional hosting.
How and why?
Why should you go for a specialized image hosting platform?
Whether you are a professional blogger, photographer, or passionate hobbyist, image hosting could help you in tons. Besides, you never know when your hard drives will fail or crash, for that matter.
And when it does, it results in a huge data loss, which is frustrating and painful, given your entire work or prized memories vanish within a blink of an eye.
Would you like to take that risk?
If I were you, I would never.
And the ideal solution to such a scenario could be reliable hosting. With your images stored safely in the cloud, you can rest assured your memories and work are both perfectly secure.
So, let’s find a few more benefits of choosing a specialized image hosting service.
Saves storage space
Based on your web hosting plan, you are assigned a specific storage space to use. But when you outgrow this space, freeing up some space makes sense.
Good news – you can achieve it by hosting your images.
It saves storage space on your site and from your smartphone or other devices so you can capture new memories while securing the older ones.
Robust features and flexibility
Suppose you crowd your website with too many images, the page loading speed impacts. It not only ruins visitors' experience but also decreases your SEO rankings. But if you decouple image hosting, things get streamlined.
Ultimately, your page loading speed increases by a substantial amount, promoting a better user experience.
Apart from that, it provides you with features such as a sharing facility, backups, quick uploading, collaboration features, and more. Some hosting services also offer a statistical analysis of images such as page loading speeds, failed loading attempts, views, etc. All of these combine to make your experience even better and give a new direction to your management.
If it makes sense to you, here are some of the best image hosting sites that can take care of your varying needs.
The minimalist free image hosting service like Imgbb is hard to find, and that might be the probable reason it is so popular. Just drag and drop images over its homepage and keep uploading photos to your blog, website, or forums with a simple click.
There is a limitation of uploading files of up to 32 MB, which includes major file formats. It does not restrict you on the number of images you upload and neither on the amount of time they can stay online. To use Imgbb, you don’t even need to register necessarily.
Keep in mind that it does not support copyrighted images. Its human editors will review the photos to verify them for the same and be compliant with regulations. Imgbb is effortless to use and needs you to copy and paste its embed code on your webpage.
You don’t need any additional customization because the plugin places the upload button that matches with your editor toolbar and has features like image resizing, remote upload, drag and drop, and more.
The best thing – it is free to use.
The image hosting and photo-sharing platform, which is trusted by over 90 million members across the globe, is none other than Photobucket. It gives you the freedom to upload the same picture multiple times to different blogs, websites, online marketplaces, or forums.
Just utilize its easy-to-copy embed link and share images wherever you want and save your time and efforts on repetitive tasks. Have peace of mind, always knowing that your entire gallery is secure, and you can fully control your photos and view them by using their smart privacy settings.
For example, if you want to share birthday party pictures with only your family members, you can adjust them accordingly.
You can capture photos anytime you want with the same people and at the same pace, but you can’t recreate the same memories and emotions. Hence, Photobucket allows you to keep the original photos intact in its top quality and never lets you compromise on it.
Using their intuitive image editor, let your creativity run wild. You can present images the way you want them to be with the help of brilliant filters, annotations, stickers, and cropping and then upload them without wasting much time. With Photobucket, you get a button for social sharing that works hassle-free so you can upload your images across different platforms.
It comes with both free and paid plans. You can store a maximum of 250 images with the free plan, while its paid plans are of 3 types:
- $5.99/month for 2,500 images
- $7.99/month for 25,000 images
- $12.99/month for unlimited images
Imgur currently reigns in the realm of free image hosting websites. It hosts an unending number of photos ranging from famous GIFs to funny memes and so many more than that. It has a passionate and supportive online community and can probably be the best place for hosting your photos.
Imgur works with any photo formats such as JPEG, JPG, APNG, PNG, PDF, BMP, TIFF, XCF, and more. The flexibility of this level is hard to match with a lot of providers. It supports non-animated files having a maximum of 20 MB size and up to 200 MB for GIFs.
Imgur lets you add captions into your images and upload them easily through email. It also allows you for direct linking of images where each link can be embedded in HTML. For using Imgur, you don’t need to create an account mandatorily. However, if you want to add a caption or upload albums, you will require a username.
Imgur sets Imgur completely different from other services because here, uploaded images could be upvoted or even downvoted by other account holders. Hence, the highest-ranking photos would be placed on the top page of this site. This way, emerging photographers could get exposure.
Imgur's effortless interface makes it easy to perform uploading and sharing images to social media, making your portfolio reach wider with ease.
All these amazing features are available free to use; amazing, isn’t it?
Host your videos and images on Img.vision and embed them later on your site, online store, or anywhere you like online. It provides an uncomplicated platform that you can trust and rely on for your personal and work-related pictures.
You can drag and drop files from your PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox. It supports file formats, including PNG, JPG, and GIF. They leverage quality content distribution networks (CDNs) spread across 90 nations, including 200 cities worldwide and invest resources for high-speed optimizations.
They provide a customizable HTML5 code for a video player that you can easily embed on your website and keep uploading videos. Their cloud storage complies with industry-standard norms for extra safety and security of your images. You get an image gallery for eCommerce sites that you can use to showcase all your best services or products.
They offer next-gen video marketing, including storage and encoding. Img.vision allows you to share images to 18 different social media platforms or through your email, having an integrated sharing button. With the help of responsive images, you don’t need to resize any photos because they will look awesome on various screen sizes.
Img.vision guarantees 100% uptime for their image CDN, so you get consistent services without frustrating your visitors. Its pricing starts at $9/month (when billed annually) for 5k images and 5 videos.
For more bandwidth, you can either go for:
- $25/month for 9k images, 40 videos
- $99/month for 50k images, 500 videos
One of the famous and oldest photo-sharing platforms – Flickr can be your next destination for image hosting. It allows you to publish pictures under the license of Creative Commons, permitting you to use images externally with proper recognition.
You can use its excellent editor to fine-tune your images before publishing. All your uploaded photos can easily be arranged into an album, so you don’t face trouble finding them. You can backup photos seamlessly from your system, Dropbox, Apple iPhoto, and other avenues.
Supplement your images with geolocation, tags, license information, etc., and use its API to help your developers collaborate. Flickr's base offering is completely free, with a limitation of 1000 images or videos with smart management and editing tools.
Flickr Pro is its paid version and comes with advanced stats, automatic image uploads, ad-free browsing, and more in addition to all the basic features mentioned above. You get advanced statistics like how people discover your Flickr images, view trending photos, best-performing images, etc.
With the paid plan, you can upload unlimited photos at full resolution. If you buy their annual subscription, you get:
- 50% discount on SmugMug
- 2 complimentary months of Adobe Creative Cloud worth $20
- $35 off from Blurb, Phlearn, and Capture One
- 20% discount from Peak Design and Priime
- and, Pixy to flight photo theft
PostImage is truly a great resource when it comes to the convenience of uploading photos from a wide range of image file types. You can upload an image of a maximum of 8 MB in size, and you don't need to create an account.
Build an extensive gallery of all your favorite photos in one place, having unique links attached to every single one of them so that you can share them instantly with others. PostImage allows you to select the size you want to give to the final image and even set expiry dates like one month, one week, or one day for images meant for sharing once.
PostImage is quite famous among message boards and forums because it can easily be modified to share photos amongst themselves, plus users can resize images to use as avatars.
It is also available free to use.
One of the most famous hosting services – Google Photos, is loved by individuals and businesses alike. It offers unmatched performance, refreshing simplicity, and user-friendliness hardly anyone can say no to.
It provides unlimited space to store pictures of high quality up to 16 MP and creates backups automatically. Google Photos also gives you the option to organize and edit your images with ease. It supports file formats like JPG, GIF, PNG, etc. and takes images for up to 75 MB while videos up to 10 GB.
Another impeccable feature it provides is convenience. Setting up your account with Google means all the pictures you have uploaded over Google Photos could easily be accessed and shared with another Google account such as Docs, Gmail, etc.
Besides, you can even upload videos of full HD 1080p over the platform. Other features include the memory of showcasing your previous years’ videos and photos at the top. Backup your images using Wi-Fi and synchronize them from PC, Mac, or mobile devices.
Print your images anywhere easily without using any memory card or drive. All you need is to integrate with 3rd party applications and services like Chatbooks, Fujifilm, Popsa, and more.
If you have used Pinterest, you will find it familiar to work with ImageShack because of a similar layout. Here, you need to create an account for free before you begin uploading images, plus it has wonderful features useful for users of varied skill sets.
You can organize your images into albums and add tags to track them easily. It has dedicated web and mobile applications like ImageShack Resize and ShackIt so you can access photos anywhere you want. ImageShack Resize lets your edit, resize, and crop images before you publish them.
The platform gives full privacy of your images and syncs them automatically for quick sharing and uploading. With a free account, you get 10 GB of maximum storage space in a month. For extended benefits like direct linking, watermarking, unlimited uploading, and more, you can try the premium version.
Don’t worry; you can try the service free for 30-days before coming to a decision.
Are you a fan of minimalist services whose features do not confuse you in any way?
Pasteboard is for you!
The image hosting provider allows you to upload images via three options:
- Drag & drop files directly from your system
- Copy & paste images from the clipboard, or
- Select an image over its easy-to-use and straightforward interface
It provides a simple means to store and share your images and screenshots online. It supports file formats, including PNG, JPEG, TIFF, APNG, and GIF up to 10 MB of size. If you need to capture an image from your mobile and then upload it onto Pasteboard, you can do it without leaving the site.
You can also insert images after snapping a photo using the webcam. The uploaded photos stay forever on it with no expiry date. Decide with whom you want to share the images, and you can also add a description and title to them to provide better context to the images.
Pasteboard also offers advanced analytics where you can see the number of viewers of your pictures.
A great for tool businesses and freelancers alike, Dropbox is an efficient image hosting solution. Its offerings extend far beyond secure storage; it is smart and seamless to optimize the workflow.
Create and store your images and then share them using various tools, including Docs, Sheets, Microsoft Office, Slides, Dropbox Paper, etc. You can drag & ‘drop’ and then arrange your files into an interconnected and handy icon in your home screen’s corner.
Dropbox creates automatic backups for all the stored images without tampering, changing, sizing, or editing the photos. It provides an easy way to organize sub-galleries and folders better. You can invite your contacts to collaborate and allow them to download the images.
One of the best perks of using Dropbox is that your images are completely secure, plus you can only share with people you want. It is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. The free plan of Dropbox offers a storage space of up to 3 GB. The paid plans start at $19.99/month for 1 user, 3 TB space, including a 14-days free trial.
Are you taking visuals seriously on your blog or website?
I think everyone should, and SmugMug can be one of the best ones you can consider. It not only provides quality features but lets you create your site with plenty of stunning themes to select from, along with tools for customizing the design templates.
With SmugMug, you can even set up your eCommerce store to sell the prints of your uploaded pictures. The image hosting service provides a responsive design capable of adapting easily to monitors, tablets, and mobiles.
You can utilize powerful SEO tools that include site maps and meta tags. Enjoy the unlimited and high-resolution video and photo storage and uploads, control your viewers, and access. With HTML and CSS integration, drag and drop customization, and beautiful templates, you can build your site and portfolio.
SmugMug never mines, shares, or sells your images or videos; hence, you get uncompromised security. Print quality photos from trusted brands with a 100% guarantee on printing. For image editing, you can integrate it with Lightroom, On1, and Luminar to simplify workflow and save time.
Its basic plan starts at $7/month or $55/year (annual billing).
The pain of losing the images that you can never capture again is soul-crushing. Be it your personal or work-related images, you would never want to lose them. Store your images in a quality image hosting service and share with people you want or upload them in your blog, website, or online store whenever you want to.
Next, check out how to create beautiful images.
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