PhotoBucket now charges $399 for third-party hosted images

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 30, 2017
Updated • May 28, 2018

If you have visited a website recently that displays images hosted on Photobucket, or are embedding images hosted on Photobucket on your own, you may have had a rather rude awakening one day as Photobucket decided to block these images from being displayed on third-party sites.

All Photobucket images hosted on third-party sites, at least from what we can tell, are replaced by a dummy image. It reads: Please update your account to enable 3rd party hosting. For important info, please go to

Update: Photobucket sent out emails in May 2018 to users of the service in which it announced a change in management and new membership levels starting at €1.99 per month or $19.99 per year for a limited period of time. Hosted images were restored for a limited time as well under free accounts. End

Tip: We have published a Photobucket alternatives guide for users of the service who are looking for an alternative.

According to some users that we spoke with who are affected by this, this happened without prior notice or any form of warning on Photobucket's part.

Photobucket defines third-party hosting (what is with using 3rd instead of third?) as embedding an image or photo on another website. This includes embedding photos on forums, eBay, Etsy, Craigslist or another other site on the Internet that is not

When you open the referenced page on the Photobucket website, you are informed that you may restore the third-party hosted content by becoming a Plus 500 subscriber.

A Plus 500 plan allows for unlimited third-party hosting, and provides members with other benefits such as an ad-free browsing environment on the Photobucket site, priority customer support, or full resolution photo storage.

Photobucket offers three paid plans to members, but only the most expensive plan supports third-party hosting of images. It is available for $39.99 per month, or at a discount when billed yearly for $399.99.

According to Photobucket, the site has more than 100 million unique users who have stored more than 15 billion images on its servers.

For users who are affected by this, it is important to note that the images are not gone. They are still hosted on Photobucket, and you can actually load them right then and there by right-clicking on them and selecting "open image in new tab" or "open link in new tab" depending on the web browser that you are using. This opens the Photobucket website where the original image is displayed.

The problem right now is however that Photobucket has been used as a host for images for years on many sites on the Internet. And it is not even the case that the site owner can do something about it if other members of the site have embedded photos from Photobucket as the disabling is account linked.

All members of a site who used Photobucket in the past would have to sign up for the -- rather expensive I might say -- Plus 500 plan to restore the old functionality. This is not practicable at all, and it won't happen.

As far as alternatives are concerned, there is Imgur for instance which supports the embedding of images on third-party sites.

While members of Photobucket may wait and hope that the company reverses the stance on third-party hosted images, it is probably better to migrate the photos to another hosting service entirely.

You can download your entire library of images by selecting Library on Photobucket, and there the download album link under actions.

Closing Words

Photobucket may make a quick buck from the unannounced change, as some members may feel pressured in paying up so that their images are displayed again on third-party sites.

I think however that many more will leave Photobucket and use another service instead for image hosting. This may be fueled by site-wide bans of the service.

The plan is overpriced in my opinion, not only because there are free alternatives available out there, but also because you may sign up for a VPS or web hosting account instead for a fraction of the price that Photobucket charges.

Even if it would be priced reasonably, and Photobucket has any right to adjust its pricing, blocking images without prior notice or migration options, especially since this was free before, is not the most elegant of ways to go about it.

Now you: Do you host images on third-party sites? If so, on which?

PhotoBucket now charges $399 for third-party hosted images
Article Name
PhotoBucket now charges $399 for third-party hosted images
Photo hosting service Photobucket blocks all third-party hosted images now, and charges members $399 per year to unlock the previously free feature.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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