Digital cameras have made it possible to click thousands of photographs and long videos that you want to share with friends and family across the world, but their large size prevents them from being sent as attachments via email. Image hosting sites allow large storage as well as a central location where a one-time upload can be accessed by multiple intended recipients. It also serves as an offsite backup for your precious photos and videos, along with stability and security. These sites offer free hosting services because they make their money by featuring text advertisements on the account.
• Acceptable image files types include JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF and non-animated GIF, as well as AVI, MPEG, MP4, MOV, FLV and other video files formats.
• You can choose to privately display the pictures to a few people or make them public.
• Uploaded photos can be embedded or “hot-linked” into applications such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, message boards and email.
• Apps are available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7.
Here are the unique features and upload limits for some popular free image hosting sites:
This is probably the most popular application for managing and sharing photos, with over 70 million users. Photos can be organized into albums, people and locations and can be tagged, and comments can be received from viewers. 300 MB of images plus 2 videos is the total limit per calendar month, with each image and video not exceeding 30 MB and 150 MB, respectively.
This is another popular image hosting site at no cost, where you can even edit your photos online and add various effects. You are entitled to unlimited storage of photos, with each file no larger than 1 MB. A maximum of 500 videos can be uploaded, each limited by a 500 MB size and a 10-minute duration.
Registration is not mandatory on this site. It allows hot-linking, but the target domain sometimes needs to be registered with Image Shack. The site allows resizing to fit avatars. There is an upload limit of 500 files per account, with each image restricted to 5 MB; anything above that will be resized. Only the first 15 minutes of long videos will be uploaded. Content may be deleted for non-registered users if not accessed within 1 year, else it is hosted forever.
Reddit account holders can access Imgur hosting services without creating a separate account. It is possible to upload animated GIF and PNG files. Any public image that you upload can be featured in the Imgur Gallery based on popularity votes from Imgur users. Photos are limited to 10 MB each; anything over 1 MB is resized to 1 MB for optimized web viewing. Animated files are limited to 2 MB. Files viewed at least once every 6 months are hosted permanently.
ImageVenue is a relatively simple hosting site, and it is not mandatory to register before uploading content. The only file types supported are JPEG and JPG. Any image less than 3 MB can be uploaded in batches of 10 or less; there is no limit on the bandwidth. Images will be hosted forever, provided they are accessed within 1 year.
There are many other free image hosting services, such as PostImage, TinyPic, Pict, WordPress and more. In most cases, users can subscribe to additional features such as larger file size limits and unlimited storage, by paying a small amount. If you haven’t taken advantage of any of these free sites before, start today.