The new world of digital media has opened the doors for amateur and professionals alike to share their images online. With a few clicks, your work can be seen by hundreds, thousands, even millions of people. Image searches by all of the major search engines widens your audience and social networking like Facebook and Twitter give all of your network instant notification of your work. Get your images hosted online with these image hosting sites.
Note: This article was originally written in 2011 and updated in 2022.
Smugmug is one of the best ways to host your photos. The service allows you to hosts unlimited photos, as a full, professional web store option, and great customer support. Of course, this all comes with a cost, with no “free” options. This is a great option if you’re a serious amateur or even professional photographer.
The service is very affordable, with plans that star from $55 per year. Bonus points for SmugMug because you can create your full website, which helps you cut costs if you don’t want to use Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress for your main portfolio. See the Best Website Builders for Photographers for more information and insight.
Note that the e-commerce options, along with other marketing and branding features, are only available with the Portfolio/Pro packages.
Google Photos is a great option because it provides a great set of features for free (with an option to upgrade to store full resolution photos for a fee). This makes it the best option for casual photographers and everyday mobile phone photographers. Being a Google product, you can also expect everything to work as intended without any bugs or hick-ups.
Formerly known as “Picasa Web Albums,” Google Photos is a private image hosting service, so your work won’t get shared unless you decide to share it with others. While this is great for privacy, this also limits the discoverability of your photos, so you won’t be able to grow your audience and following on Google Photos like you would on Flickr or 500px.
Other cool/notable features include the following:
- Facial recognition and the ability to search by person
- Ability to searching for text in images
- Location-based searching
- Automatic slideshows called “Memories”
- Automatic image backup/syncing
f you already have a Google account, you do not have to sign up for a Google Photos account. Simply use your Google account to log in.
The giant on the playing field is Flickr, which was formerly owned by Yahoo and is not owned by Smugmug. Users can opt for a free or Pro account. With a free account, you will get up to 100MB monthly upload. This is calculated based on the bandwidth and not the size of the images. If you wish for unlimited bandwidth, you can opt for a Pro account which comes at an annual cost. Also, with Flickr, you can easily make your photos available on your blog or website by using their custom widget.
If you like the community aspect of photography, such as belonging to interest or niche-based groups, then this is the best option for your image hosting.
Other notable features include:
- Unlimited storage (limited to 1,000 photos for the free plan)
- Image editing tools for those who want to make additional edits after upload
- Intuitive photo management tools and filters
- Discounts on Adobe Creative Cloud with a Flickr Pro account
Imgur is the largest image hosting website in the world. If you’re looking for quick and easy uploading, then Imgur is a great option for your image hosting. In fact, you don’t even need to sign up for an account. However, many of your images will experience a reduction of quality. This makes it a bad option for professionals or those looking for reliable, long-term backup.
Here are some notable features:
- No registration required.
- Limited to 50 pictures per IP address per hour
- Limited to a maximum file size for non-animated images of 20MB
- You can upload 1-minute videos
Photobucket is one of the most popular video and photo hosting sites. With a free account, users get a monthly bandwidth of 25GB and 1GB space. However, free accounts come with ads. If you would like unlimited monthly bandwidth, the Pro account is what you should sign up for. Some of the features of this account include premium support, support for FTP uploads, 5GB storage space, enhanced widgets, no ads, ability to upload images of up to 2240×1680 image size, 10% discounts on prints and you can also upload videos running up to 10 minutes.
ImageShack is one of the easiest image hosting websites to use. To host your images, you do not have to create an account with them. You simply upload the images and save the generated links for viewing or future reference. However, if you want to arrange your images according to albums, you will have to register an account. The uploading procedure is very easy and most of the major types of images are supported.
Don’t let the below average aesthetics fool you! ImageVenue is one of the steadily rising image hosting websites. With the website, you can share your photos to friends, blogs, forums, message boards and others. You can change the settings to have the images viewable either publicly or privately and can upload unlimited number of photos for free. However, you are not allowed to hotlink the images and the maximum file size you can upload is 1.5MB.
Other Notable Services
Still don’t have what you’re looking for? Here are a few more you might want to check out. We haven’t had a chance to dig into each of these, so do your own research and let us know what you think in the comments below!
Host Your Own!
Of course there’s always the option of hosting your own images on your own websites. If you find cheap hosting like Bluehost, you won’t have to worry too much about storage capacity or reduction of image quality. However, there is a learning curve, as you might have to learn how to use FTP software and upload your images directly to the server or use content management systems like WordPress.