Choosing a photo hosting site

I’ve caught the photography bug. Not sure exactly what did it…I was reading a copy of PC Magazine a few months ago where they reviewed some DSLR’s, and somehow got excited about it. Many hours of research later, and I had a Nikon D50 sitting on my table, and that was just the beginning. :-) Since then I’ve accumulated a bunch of those gold Nikon boxes (lenses, flash, the list goes on and on), not to mention a tripod and other such things.

Since then I’ve taken a bunch of photos, of course, and I looked for a place to put some of them online so I could share them with others. Flickr was the first thing that came to mind (duh!), but I wasn’t immediately satisfied with that…so I started looking around some more.

My basic requirements were as follows:

  • Lots of storage space and bandwidth (I wanted to upload high-quality original images, from 2-4MB each)
  • Galleries, where I could group my own photos together (by trip, subject, etc)
  • Ability to password-protect certain galleries
  • Ability to customize interface if I want to
  • Relatively professional appearance (in case I happen to shoot a Pulitzer prize winner :-)
  • Reasonable cost

I ended up spending some quality time with four different systems:

JAlbum (not a site, but an application that publishes pages to a site)

I also looked briefly at PBase, but the basic account limits you to 300MB of storage (and 900MB for the uplevel account), so that just wasn’t going to work.

I really liked JAlbum, and I was tempted to create my own site and host it. One of the perks of being NewsGator’s founder is my blog is hosted on the company’s hardware, and if something breaks, I can call one of our operations guys and if they’re not doing anything really important then they will help me with it :-). So that was tempting…but in the end, I wanted a hosted service (password protection built in, with no work from me, cross-user tagging, etc).

So that leaves us with Flickr, Zoto, and Smugmug. I’m going to write up short reviews of each of these, and I’ll let you know at the end what I finally ended up going with…so here we go!

[links updated]

Flickr – review
Zoto – review
Smugmug – review

23 thoughts on “Choosing a photo hosting site

  1. manoj.

    am surprised not to find here. They give u upto 250 mb of space if ur not a paying member and more if your are.but their features aplenty, its like having ur own site and managing it.. they help u with tools though to customize your page settings.they offer the choice of ur url ..i.e…urgallery name..

    you can ofcourse link it if u ve got a domain name(dot tk gives u free ones!)

    FLICKr: i ve been using flickr too but i too had the problem of asking my friends to sign up with yahoo or flicr first and they do not allow u resize ur photos. But sharing within the flickr community works only too


  2. Obbop

    Howdy Y’all,

    Watch out for PhotoBucket. They have some nice features, enough that I went for the 25 bucks yearly offering BUT…. their moderators kept deleting pics, even though I uploaded nothing with adult content.

    If one of their cubical-dwelling politically correct moderators disagrees with something, your pic is gone with the wind. Even a pic that pokes fun at something politically correct it will likely be banished.

    Too much subjective censorship there. I would not have been fearful to show my collection to anybody; law enforcement, a church deacon, even little kids BUT…. irk some brainwashed politically-correct buffoon bored in their cubical and, poof!!!!! gone is your pic.

    Who needs some likely uneducated self-centered buffoon to lord over you that way?

    I removed all my pics and ignored their recent notice that it’s time to renew.

    Uh huh, right. As if I am going to support censorship and political correctness!!!!!!

    Bye bye, PhotoBucket. I will do without before I ever utilize your service again.

  3. Salt Lake Photographer

    I only really heard of flickr, maybe ill have to check out those other ones.

  4. Samantha Laitha

    At the time I am using flickr. I am also trying smugmug and bluemelon. It has been just a week and I am not sure which of them if any I want to pay yet. I like them both and flickr is not that bad either. Thank you for the reviews! :)

  5. snapshotsammy

    Any suggestions for me. I am shopping around for websites for my new photography business. Can anyone help?

  6. Bert

    Will, having looked at the Photoswarm about page, aren’t you a co-owner of Photoswarm? If so it would only be polite to add a disclaimer about that before publically praising your own company as if you are a happy customer.


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