Recommendations for image hosting site
March 4, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Who is doing the best free image hosting out there now? I have a family project to post a bunch of images for other family members from around the country and world to see.

I need a place where I can upload images so other can view them via a web browser. I do quite a bit on the web, but I don’t post much in the way of pictures, so I am a bit out of the loop as to what is available, what is working or not and what sites are a PITA and should be avoided.

I have been given the responsibility to share images that family members can view. Most are cards from a wake of a recently deceased family member (which is what started all this) but there may be a need in the future for family members to swap family photos with each other - like old grandparents photos from the early 1900s and such. Not sure how that would work anyway, so for now, I am more interested in a simple repository than some sort of managed sharing thing.

I will web optimize all content, put it in jpg format, add tags and all the other basic stuff. No animations, music files or other interactivity. Just basic image hosting, maybe a PDF and some word processed docs on occasion. A few hundred images total to start with, but it could grow depending on interest.

Suffice to say, free would be a very good thing.

More wish list stuff…..
1) Ability to password the files or create permissions based on group id / password.
2) For those approved persons, downloading would be available (not batch though).
3) Batch uploading and/or FTP would be nice for me.
4) A decent control panel on the site for renaming, moving to directories and other simple admin tasks.
5) Commenting for the posted image by me would be good, but not for visitors. This is not a discussion board.

So, of the sites that are out there like Flickr or Picasa or whatever, who is doing it the best with regards to not only ease of use for me but that of a bunch of visitors who may not be all that web savvy? Flickr seems the obvious choice, but there is all this ongoing grousing about the impending demise of the site. Is that true or what? If true, then what other suggestions.

Also, if a service has to be purchased, then so be it. I just would rather do it for free if possible.

posted by lampshade to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I use photobucket and it does almost (file naming?) everything you seem to want. The only problem with free vs paid would be that it will compress larger images since you're basically using their service for free. If you go with the paid version you can upload files of any size.
posted by zombieApoc at 11:07 AM on March 4, 2012

Flickr has the features you want, but it's only free for the first 200 images. After that, you can upload more but the older images won't be accessible until you (the uploader) get a paid account.
posted by zippy at 11:16 AM on March 4, 2012

I have used Flickr since 2005, initially free and then pro account. Today I explored Picasa for a temporary project that I didn't want to put on my main Flickr account.

I endorse Flickr wholeheartedly, free or pro - just keep the photo limits in mind.
posted by infini at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2012

And free accounts only permit 3 sets whereas there's no limit in the paid account.
posted by infini at 11:28 AM on March 4, 2012

cool...this is good stuff....

I just had to ask about the free thing. $25/yr is not such a big deal - (I had not even looked at the cost until right now). As for the lack of restrictions, a paid account will save me that much in acetaminophen over the course of a year. I'll just curtail my Cheetos consumption bit to compensate.

So let me alter the question a bit - forget the free account stuff. With a paid account I get the permissions in general, but are there any potholes to be aware of? Also (and I expect this to be something that will come up), the editing of tags, file name and descriptions for files already uploaded....of the 3 sites mentioned above, how do they rate with the "admin" functions? Along with that, is there an FTP or some sort of bulk upload option?

What experiences do people have in those areas? - good, bad, indifferent?
posted by lampshade at 12:06 PM on March 4, 2012

I have used a paid Flickr account (now lapsed, sadly) in the past specifically for a project. There are two types of bulk uploading mechanisms - the flash based inline one and a desktop app (sorry my terminology may be wrong) that can be used for much larger sets.

While I hated the "new and improved" Flick, I must confess that now I don't even notice it and still have no complaints.

You can put descriptions on sets, on photos, and create an entire storyline. You can choose to have viewers go through photo by photo or create a slideshow with controlled timing (I used it once for a closing plenary speech at a conference), you can create a group upload function or a gallery.

Do you have something specific in mind that you are concerned about?
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on March 4, 2012

One irksome issue (for me) is that the new flash based uploader for bulk doesn't always upload them in the order you select - if you need them in a particular order then you may have to use the old 6 photo by 6 photo version. Related is some limitation on how you can sort them (date taken etc) later.
posted by infini at 12:27 PM on March 4, 2012

There are a number of third-party applications that take care of bulk upload needs -- Flickr Uploadr does file names, tags, and sets at the same time as uploads, and it's drag and drop.
posted by Sallyfur at 1:18 PM on March 4, 2012

I continue to recommend SmugMug. Although it's not free, I find their prices reasonable and their features, forum and customer service amazing.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 1:38 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

A hardly known free one I found is I think it has what you want, including restricted access.
posted by caclwmr4 at 2:30 PM on March 4, 2012

have you tried to set up a facebook group?
then you can choose who you want to invite.
posted by sylviaunlimited at 2:41 PM on March 4, 2012

Sorry for the delay in responding. More really good answers....will be checking all of them out....

Do you have something specific in mind that you are concerned about?

Well I do have a concern but it is not so much something that I know I want but what I absolutely don't want. An example: currently I am working on a freelance job uploading scans of brochures to a site that aggregates that stuff and sells subscription to see brochures from all over the country. So there are thousands of images, any where from 1 to 10 panels per brochure and there are thousands of brochures. The issue is the uploading that I have to go through - there is this one screen per brochure and each image has to be selected one by one. As you can imagine it is time consuming and tedious and. that is what I don't want.

Ideally I would like to be able to upload a mass of images to a single directory (or a series of organized directories) along with a CSV spreadsheet of the meta-data for those images. That way, I can do all sorts of editing of tags, descriptions and names offline, then do the mass upload of images and meta-data which will feed the site to display the appropriate info per image and be done with it. Sort of like what is done on some online stores (I don't have much experience with that, but I have seen it done).

Another end issue is that I am planning for is the future past this initial project. While this part of the project is relatively contained, I can imagine it becoming a big deal down the line and I want to be prepared for that. It may not happen, but there is always the chance. So the issue of scaling in whatever form that takes, is one to be considered.

And yes, I am probably asking pretty much for what is apparently known in tech parlance as something called a "web server" (gadzooks!). But I don't want to be a webmaster, build some site or maintain all that tech if a company has already the setup in place for it. I would far rather pay a few bucks to not be burdened with that tech.

Lots of good links and thanks again. I will be checking them out and checking back here. FWIW, I think I might just mark this entire thread as "best answer"!
posted by lampshade at 4:09 PM on March 5, 2012

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