Bring us (back) onto the web!
July 1, 2008 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I want to share pictures and videos on the web with family. Is a website my best bet? Where do I start?

We have a lot of family spread across the country, and a new baby we want to share with them. My web design experience consists of two very simple pages that my wife and I made in college (~10 years ago) using Claris Homepage. We have comcast for internet service, but their hosting seems to suck pretty hard.

I am picturing a blog-esque page/site with picture galleries and embedded video. So I need a domain, a host (dreamhost?), and then something to put together the site with (right?). From searching askme it looks like Wordpress is a promising route. I have very little html knowledge. Can anyone point me in some directions? Tell me things to avoid?

After an hour or so's research I am feeling a little overwhelmed.
posted by Big_B to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Pictures and video only? Your #1 best bet is Flickr. Nothing could be simpler for this sort of thing.
posted by unixrat at 1:14 PM on July 1, 2008

Second flickr. It's terrific.
posted by booknerd at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2008

Go to and sign yourself up for a free account. You can add photos and video, and unlike just using Flickr, you can write lengthy posts about your new little one to go along with the photos if you so choose.

There's also the self-hosted version of WordPress, but it sounds like that might be a bit much for you at the moment. The version will get you up and running in no time.

Congrats on the new baby, and happy posting!
posted by meggan at 1:30 PM on July 1, 2008

Seconding and Flickr. You can even blog to your wordpress page from Flickr. They are both ridiculously easy to use (speaking as a non-technical person).
posted by HauteMama at 1:35 PM on July 1, 2008

Third for flickr. But I would recommend complementing it with a blog. If you can avoid it, I wouldn't host it yourself, it's extra hassle for little gain. If your willing to put up with, blogs are free. With that (or any blog) you can embed your flickr pictures into blog entries.

If you want a customized domain name, almost any registrar will do free redirection for you to your wordpress blog (or wherever). Oh and I would avoid Dreamhost like the plague, you get what you pay for. If you want the flexibility of hosting it yourself, take a look at ServerPronto, they have barebones dedicated hosting for $30/mo.
posted by notpeter at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2008

I love Google's Picasa. It is free (You have to have a Flickr Pro account for video) and it has built-in picture editing that is really quite good. Plus you can link to your friend's and family's albums and get notices when they update.

So, I use Flickr for my general photos and Picasa for my kiddo-photos.
posted by Ostara at 1:48 PM on July 1, 2008

Another idea - Facebook. You can upload pics and video, blog, and restrict access to specific individuals. It's free, but everybody that wants access will need a Facebook account. No programming skills required.
posted by COD at 1:58 PM on July 1, 2008

flickr for photos + vimeo for videos + tumblr for blog posts that you want to write AND automatic aggregation of stuff you post to flickr and vimeo. all free, all awesome.
posted by lia at 2:23 PM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: Hmm. I guess I have very little experience/exposure to Flickr becuase it's blocked here at work. Not that I do a lot of surfing here at work....

As far as facebook, I was kinda shying away from that for the same reason I don't want to use our myspace accounts. I was thinking more professional/personalized.

I'll check out the Flickr options when I get home.
posted by Big_B at 2:23 PM on July 1, 2008

Since no one else has suggested it, I really like Vox. I have pictures, video and a blog all in one spot.
posted by moosedogtoo at 3:39 PM on July 1, 2008

absolutely, 100% flickr for photos. so much easier than creating a site yourself.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:32 PM on July 1, 2008

Meh, Wordpress. I'd sign up for Blogger. It's just as free and more intuitive. In fact, if your computer skills aren't very advanced, I would really suggest Blogger over Wordpress. I think if I would have started at Wordpress first, I would have given up blogging a long time ago. If you already have a Google account (Gmail?), I don't think you need to re-sign up for Blogger. Yes, technically, you can use Wordpress, or another blogging-type site. You can even use LiveJournal, if you're so inclined. Check out all the blogging sites recommended here. Go with the one that will best fit your needs. We all have our blogging biases, but since this will be your (and your family's) site, you need to consider the skills and needs of you and your audience over everything else.

As far as photo uploads goes, Flickr is highly recommended. Technically, there is a limit to how much you can upload, and the ways in which you can organize those photos, with a free account. Another consideration: do you want your photos and videos to be public, or do you want them only visible to your family? Do you want your entire blog to be visible only to family? Okay, getting back to the photos, if Flickr really turns you off for some reason, you could just use a photo upload site like Photobucket. There's also Picasa, but I don't have any experience with that. Basically, upload your photos to whichever photo site you choose, and either post them directly in your blog, or you can post a link to the gallery/set that you create at Flickr or Photobucket (that would be a folder at Photobucket). Family can follow the link off your blog, and view the photos right where you posted them. You don't need to know much html to post photos or to post a link. I'm afraid that I'm telling you stuff you already know, but I can list the most basic html that you'd need to post your photos and links if you need that information. Most of the blogging sites have a WYSIWIG option, which wouldn't require knowing any html at all.

Where you would post your videos would depend on the length and size of your videos. There are definite limits to what you can upload to Flickr, and here is some information on that. For one thing, unless it's changed recently, there is a time limit of 90 seconds per video (and less than 150MB in size). Also, that same page says that only pro members can upload videos. This means that you would have to pay for a subscription to the service ($24.95/year). Photobucket has also jumped on the video sharing bandwagon. With a free Photobucket account, you can upload a video that is up to 5 minutes long, and the size can be no larger than 100MB. Here's the help page for videos (and the rest of their services). Here is what is included in a free account.

Finally, I think YouTube would be your best bet for hosting videos. I only view videos on the site, so I'm assuming that anyone can upload and that there are fewer limits to size and length of videos there. YouTube videos can be embedded directly into your blog (they give you the little bit of coding to post), or you can post a link. Whatever works best for you! I'm more than willing to answer any other questions (or clarify anything I've said). Let me know, and I'm sorry for how long this is.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:08 PM on July 1, 2008

Also, there is Yahoo!'s 360° service. I've never used it, but I wonder if that would be a better fit. I believe you can create a sort of 'blog'/page. The site says that it is 'a place that's all about you to share with friends and family.' Here's the Wikipedia page that might give you more information. Has anyone used this site? Is it recommended?
posted by Mael Oui at 9:13 PM on July 1, 2008

Y'all are making this more complicated than it needs to be. Flickr is free, hosts pics and video, and you can give them custom titles, tags so they're organized, and comment on them as much as you like, and share them with whoever you like with no coding or hosting necessary. The Flickr guest pass thing means they don't even have to sign up for Flickr accounts themselves.

Picasa and photobucket will work, but they're more like holding bins. Flickr lets you do more stuff with your pictures - it's more social. You only need a blog(Wordpress rocks) if you want to do more than just post photos and video.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:38 PM on July 1, 2008

I do this all the time. Picasa online web albums are great for online photo storage -- it allows you to privatize your albums, making them accessible with an authorization code built-in to the URL. I think the limit is 1GB. Picasa has the added usefulness of a desktop program (Windows-based) that allows for quick uploads, integrated album backups, and easy creation of gift CDs of slideshows and stand-alone pictures.

I suggest Vimeo for video uploads -- mainly because you can privatize the video with a password. You have a 500MB per week limit (it re-sets on Sunday) and uploads are pretty quick (the final compressed version is available within 10-15 minutes).
posted by parilous at 2:05 PM on July 2, 2008

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