I am pretty much appalled that this is such a hard thing to find
May 5, 2012 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Okay so what about the best image hosting websites that aren't free?

I asked previously about how to best find a LJ Scrapbook replacement. It did not go well. Now, Livejournal is really replacing Scrapbook with something else and changing everything and ugh, change is bad! So here's the deal, I'm trying to do research and figure out what site is best for me, but it seems like all of the comparisons and reviews out there never really give me information on the things that are most important to me. Further, I'm perfectly willing to pay money for my image hosting, and it seems like every review or list of hosting sites or discussion thereof is all about the free options. Before I got a permanent LJ account I was paying $25 a year for it; with inflation I'd be happy spending up to $40 a year for the exact kind of image hosting that I want.


-No, I do NOT want to have my own server and domain! That is a hassle I don't want to have to deal with. I don't care about urls. Please don't tell me to get a Coppermine gallery, unless there's some super easy simple intuitive way to combine such a thing with absolutely ZERO hassle website maintenance, with NO ads or bandwidth caps and NO reminders to renew any domains or anything, EVER, as well as no real html knowledge required.

-The thing that never seems to be in reviews that is most important to me is the ability to create numerous (and by numerous I mean at least 50, more like in the hundreds) galleries and sub-galleries, either by tagging or folders or preferably both, of my images, and the ability to link others to these galleries.

-No image compression. Imgur, which otherwise seems to be in the top-running as far as I can tell, is the worst about this. I don't want my stupid gifs OR my enormous cherished travel photos compressed in any way.

-Video hosting not required; I'll never use it. I will also never use online image editing (I'm fully armed with photoshop) or the social aspects of sites like flickr or photobucket. I also really don't care about site stats.

-Hotlinking definitely required. I use my LJ Scrapbook as a place to host images that illustrate stories, which will hopefully continue to exist in perpetuity. I don't want to muck up their formatting with broken image links.

I'm happy to pony up cashdollars for this. I just don't want the clutter and nonsense of every non-professional site out there, nor do I want the pretentious BS of the portfolio sites. I'm just a girl with a few thousand gifs and screencaps and fanfic graphics and the occasional personally important family photo to host. Google results are failing me utterly. People don't seem to care about gallery organization. Image hosting website index pages are either really sketchy-seeming or slickly twitter-like to the point of obfuscation.

If you can share your image hosting experiences with different sites, or can provide alternatives I might not have thought of, or if you can just say something like "nah, here is the best compromise:" I would really, really appreciate it. Thanks.
posted by Mizu to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Is flickr a no-go? It's free with some options for upgrading. I have not experimented with making a ton of folders and subfolders but I imagine it'd work OK. It has an API so it's possible to integrate it with lots of other things, so many programs can export straight to flickr (such as lightroom)
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:55 PM on May 5, 2012

Just trying to think of options for you, I was wondering if a paid file storage service would have something you would like. For example, Dropbox seems to have some kind of photo sharing capability. There seem to be a bunch of services that have Amazon S3 for storage on the back end like this one (that's just the first search result I found).
posted by XMLicious at 1:57 PM on May 5, 2012

Response by poster: I find flickr's navigation to be completely cluttered and messy and awful. I despise the way an image looks on its own page, with all that crap around it. I don't care one whit about any of the social/comments/community aspects of Flickr and find them getting in my way when I just am looking at someone else's photos. That being said, I've never used it myself, so maybe someone with experience as an upgraded user could let me know if maybe my concerns can be handled with application of money?
posted by Mizu at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2012

Best answer: Check out SmugMug. They have everything you're asking for.
posted by tayknight at 2:18 PM on May 5, 2012

Best answer: I was going to list SmugMug too, it is probably the most popular of that level of photo hosting.

Also look at


posted by caclwmr4 at 2:23 PM on May 5, 2012

I'm using Picasa right now - I have the free version, but I'm planning to buy additional storage space when I run out of room.

You can hotlink from it, it does not compress images. I like it because I can sync it with Picasa on my desktop - I have some folders synced, and some folders are not synced.

As far as I can tell, you can create as many folders as you want, though I can't figure out if you can make sub-folders. You can tag images.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:24 PM on May 5, 2012

Thirding SmugMug.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 2:28 PM on May 5, 2012

A couple of recent image hosting options: 500px and OpenPhoto. I agree with your criticisms of Flickr but you can remove a lot of the clutter by sharing Lightbox views. Not sure if that's a paid only feature or not.
posted by Nelson at 3:43 PM on May 5, 2012

Fourth SmugMug adding Lightroom as the interface. I've always loved smugmug - security + ability for others to download the original photos + no annoying ads or forced signups when others access the photos...

Adding lightroom as the primary interface has made this a breeze. Once you set up the smugmug plug-in, you can create / modify smugmug galleries in lightroom. You drag to these galleries in lightroom and publish to smugmug. If you edit the photos in lightroom you have the option to republish...It really makes photo sharing easy...I often hate this kind of interface, because they often do not work well - I've had no problems using this for 1000s of photos...and 40+ galleries...
posted by NoDef at 5:28 PM on May 5, 2012

I started using FastMail.fm's files/galleries feature for this type of thing. I'm also sad about LJ's gallery changes.
posted by airways at 5:45 AM on May 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks guys! SmugMug seems to hit most of the marks, but it's a little overly complex, and at the very top of my pricerange. I'm giving it a trial run, but I'll probably pay for a year of it no matter what.

PBase actually would be almost perfect, but it's a little *too* bare bones. If I were building my image collection from the ground up, it would be the way for me to go, because I could more easily learn as I go. But as it is, it's too intimidating with the size of the job I have to do. I'm really glad to know it exists, though!

I'm going to see if I can't find someone with Lightroom and poke around on it, but I really don't want to commit the cash to it, most particularly because my problem is that I've got about four different computers with images and the online hosting would be my way of permanently centralizing my collection, as opposed to using a program on one particular machine of mine. Right now Adobe Bridge serves most of my needs on the box end of things.

I'm surprised that SmugMug didn't come up in more of my futile google results, if it's as popular as you folks say. It's definitely not targeted at people like me, but I think if I spend enough time futzing with options I'll be able to force it into the shape I want. Thank you!
posted by Mizu at 10:21 PM on May 6, 2012

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