My Thoughts on Photo Hosting

Way back when I got caught up in the Flickr hype and set up an account. They offered a good deal to go pro for two years too, so I did. I’m not sure what started me thinking but I knew my account was up sometime this year so I had a quick poke around to see what other options there were.

As it turns out my account has already run out and reverted to the free account, as far as I can see Flickr never bothered to send me a reminder it was running out.

The reason for looking at other options were mainly down to two things:

  1. I’m not massively happy with Flickr.
  2. I don’t use it very much.

Why am I not massively happy with Flickr? Very simple, it doesn’t work the way I want. For starters, it’s US-based, which means it doesn’t have any option for people wanting to order prints in the UK. One of things I use my account for is when I go to social events I can load the images for others to see, but to allow them to print them I end up loading them to a Photobox account, I’d rather not have to do both (ironically it appears you can use Photobox to grab photos from Flickr to print).

Another function is to share these pictures, now these are generally private events so I don’t want the photos accessible to everyone. Flickr allows me to set them to be viewed by friends or family or both, but the relevant members have to create an account and login and I need to designate their role. What I want is the ability to create an unguessable URL and assign a password of my choosing, then I can just email out the password and the URL and people can login quickly and easily (to be fair, just a secure URL might be sufficient).

The other point is that I don’t use Flickr that often. I don’t take that many photos and don’t load all that I take. The last ones I uploaded were in July last year. So paying $24.95 a year for it seems a bit OTT. I have plenty of web space from my web host so I could use an installed solution.

So I went hunting for alternatives and was a bit disappointed. There are plenty of alternatives, paid and not, hosted and self-hosted. Most seem to be lacking in some way. My requirements are fairly simple:

  • Low-no cost for unlimited storage.
  • Integration with a UK photo printer.
  • Easy upload and basic organisation (albums).
  • Leave comments without registering.
  • Ability to secure albums/photos and provide password-protected URLs.

Not a massive list, but no one seems to do them all (and printing especially).

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