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. Mariya Dems said on July 28, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I just deleted my account. I will not be held hostage by anyone. There are far too many other venues to use.

  2. Vladimir Sotirov said on May 28, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    I’m sorry! The address of the forum cited above is It’s strange that my photos stored in Photobucket are showed correctly there. At least on my computer and just today!?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 28, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      They sent out emails to all users; it is only temporary IIRC.

  3. Vladimir Sotirov said on May 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Almost immediately after the unexpected decision of the Photobucket storage I shared here my indignation. Of course, stopping our photos in many forums was absolutely incorrect and perhaps without precedent in this field. As a result, I had to upload all my photos – more than 1000! – into another storage and accordingly to change their addresses in the forums I participated. I mean concretely the Bulgarian mountain forum when I write under my real family Sotirov (in Bulgarian Сотиров). Everyone can imagine all complexity and tedium of that process: first to find the photo hidden behind the “speedometer” of the Photobucket, after that to find it into my archive, afterwards to upload the photo in the new storage, then to copy its new address and to replace it in the forum! When the long process of corrections was coming to the end, I was wondered to observe that in another forum where I had incidentally published some opinions, , all my photos had been seen correctly! Recently, when I am near the end of the moving my photos I am again wondered to notice that my old photos stored yet in Photobucket appear normally!

    Or at least I hope so because how should I know what Photobucket will decide as regards to the IP of YOUR computer! Does anybody have an explanation of this phenomenon? Is it a result of a sudden benevolence concretely to my person after my Tantalus torments? By the way, my post cited above is devoted to a Bulgarian ancient pagan ritual of chasing bad spirits using terrible masks and bells. May the change affected my photos be a result of this ritual?

  4. foromir said on May 15, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    I used JDownloader 2 to download the entire albums and I deleted my account right after that!

  5. philipjewell said on November 10, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Here is a way to download all your content from photobucket without paying them:

  6. Sheefag said on November 2, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Photobucket messed up big time with this BS.
    Deleted my account.

  7. Reinhard von Albertheim said on October 27, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Those greedy bastards fucked up all my important photos of awards on axis history forums

  8. o_O said on October 12, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    How to fix this “problem”:
    google “Photobucket embed fix” ;)

    There is version for both chrome and firefox, you will need to clean up your cache to make it work.

  9. o_O said on September 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I don’t really like profanity, but: FUCK PhotoBucket. It is not that I’ve used it, no, it was horribly slow and I’ve advised everyone to not use it ever again, and now they clog forums with their BS signs, their move is prime example on why you should not relay on “””cloud””” only solutions, always have local backup (say, external drive in safe location, more the better). Other part of the problem is forums allowing 3rd party image hosters embeds, this is bad, ultimately due to this shit-economy most off those images will be lost, instead, there should be a ban on them and mandatory use of forum attachments to post said images.

  10. alice said on September 10, 2017 at 11:01 am

    is previously use imgur bur was not satisfy so i use its other alternative like 500 px, etc they are much better.
    may be this will help you guyz

  11. herdgadfly said on August 12, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Years ago, I purchased a non-blogger theme for my Blogger blog (paid cash, but not $400!). Little did know that the lines, boxes, icons and other drawings for the theme were stored on Photobucket but not by me. I discontinued the blog a few years ago, but kept it on Blogger to easily access the posts that I wrote for years. In other words, it is no longer available for everyone to see – so the 20 JPGs could hardly have been hogging any band width.

    But I quickly found that without an an account, I had no way to do anything but look at the pictures. So I jumped back on Blogger and converted my blog to a standard New Blogger theme. Now I can see what I wanted to see. Before, all I could see was a page full of those ugly Photobucket warnings.

  12. Susan said on July 31, 2017 at 4:19 am

    I just deleted my account. I will not be held hostage by anyone. There are far too many other venues to use.

  13. Sebastien said on July 29, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    I found a fix but but don’t know if it will last especially if PB find it lol

    When in a forum you can still see the image if you do open image in a new tab

    and for some reason in my case the image become visible in the original forum for some reason

    i have done that to around 50 pics closed and opened google chrome and everything is there … will see in the long run

    i don’t think it will that easy lol

  14. Chris Peacock said on July 28, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    So when I access a woodworking blog where all the images have now been replaced by the “…3rd party hosting – Please go to Photobucket P500…” image there is nothing I can do about it?

  15. Cindi said on July 28, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    It’s like being held hostage
    I don’t like bullies
    I closed my account

  16. Keith said on July 28, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    I use PB to host maybe 20 online pics on my sites, thats it. And have used them for years. All of a sudden I have to upgrade. So I upgrade, BUT NO, I need to upgrade one more time to the $400.00 Plan. They want 400 a month for hosting 20 pics?? I say no way, then they say well then you can be part of our special elite group of monthly subsciber. 69.00 a month!!! How is that special?? Do they not know math at all??

    Everyone needs to jump ship. If anything they need to make their prices fair.

  17. Abiatha said on July 27, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I just found the Photobucket email in my spam folder whilst looking for a different email – what a rude shock I got – I initially thought it was a phishing email as well (like others have mentioned). I had actually previously considered subscribing to Photobucket to get rid of the annoying adverts and popups and get additional storage but because you can’t make a single one off payment for the year that put me off (I loathe credit card deductions). The price for the plan which allows third-party hosting is ridiculously expensive, even taking into account what it would cost Photobucket to host our pics. I’m glad I never subscribed in the past and will take my pics elsewhere! I foresee this business decision being the death knell for Photobucket.

  18. woods walker said on July 26, 2017 at 12:17 am

    I have over 42 gigs of photos posted on internet outdoor gear forums over nearly a decade using Photobucket. I have been paying Photobucket for years rather than using a free service to avoid just this problem. Paying Photobucket only made my problems worse as the free services are still free and I can’t afford this massive increase in price. I wanted to leave them as their service was getting worse and worse but stayed on because of all those internet posts.. It crashes often, goes dark showing a stupid kitten saying they’re down…again…and again… (WTF!) and the mobile app doesn’t work last time I tried it. Aw heck it never fully worked. So why would I pay more for something others get for free? What is to stop Photobucket in a few years (odds are they will be BK over this) from charging 100 dollars a month. That would add gigs more photos hostage if I stayed. So will move on. You suck photobucket before this and suck more now. What other use is Photobucket for other than this given all the options on the internet? Good bye Photobucket. I should never of paid you a penny in the first place as it only resulted in more work cleaning up your mess.

  19. tekwyzrd said on July 19, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I have tried downloading an album three times and receive the email message that the download is ready. In every instance clicking on the included link leads to a page with the message “This download is no longer available”. Mere seconds after receiving the message it’s no longer available?

    1. JC said on July 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Tekwyzard, I have exactly the same “no longer available” message as you, despite getting the email seconds earlier.

  20. tekwyzrd said on July 19, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I received the notification from photobucket about eight hours ago – about three weeks AFTER it was implemented. Attempts to download my albums have failed. It seems photobucket has stepped up enforcement of their extortion scheme.

  21. BibbiT said on July 17, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Slowly and carefully transferring all of my image files to Postimage from my Photobucket accounts.
    Excellent photo hosting site and also allows 3rd party hosting without a RIDICULOUS fee and it’s free!
    Also I’ve sent a formal complaint.
    This really stupid and @#!!!***@&^^!! move from Photobucket has gotten over 1 million users very, very ANGRY!
    If they don’t reverse that “smart” decision by IMHO opinion a very, very stupid CEO.
    I’m predicting Photobucket will be shutting down very, very soon!

  22. Sinea said on July 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I host most of my images on Blogger. The only Photobucket I used was for social media icons on EVERY post of 1000 posts! What a mess. I deleted all of my photos on PB and then closed the account, thinking that would at least make the warnings disappear. So far, no go. Even on the posts where I have manually removed them the warning ad shows up at the footer. I am so-so with html but follow directions well. Where is it still connected? Why is it in the footer?

    Seems like this move will finish off PB. Maybe that is what they want.

  23. Neil said on July 14, 2017 at 5:12 am
    Bring it on. And DON’T delete your account. Leave the servers all clogged up.

  24. ching said on July 12, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I don’t host a lot of images, and I don’t mind paying for service, but $400 a year, what a dick!
    The image I need hosting are for forums, so other people can learn or benefit from my projects experience.
    There are plenty of places can do 3rd party hosting, I moved my small collection of photos over to google photos

  25. Suka said on July 11, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I am sure there are people who will just pay $400 to avoid any headache and photobucket gonna make some money. They will lose plenty of free users, but I doubt they really care. Downloading all my pictures right now, moving them to my hosting and fixing the links. What a damn headache. But I learned a lesson not to rely on free images hosting providers.

  26. Leigh Ann said on July 11, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    I just got the email this morning. Nice of them to let us know ahead of time there was going to be a policy change. What I don’t understand is why, when I got to my album, all the options for sharing photos are still there. I’m looking for something else now.

  27. mosieurfran said on July 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

    it’s incredible! I use photobucket for maybe 10 years now! I’m on many forums and I used to be a photographer so I have planty pictures hosted by photobucket! for me it’s a racket!!!!

  28. DW said on July 11, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Go look up John Corpus, Photobucket’s current CEO, and not be surprised a grinning moron like that is destroying his company. Fuck Photobucket, was turning to shit anyway.

    1. ching said on July 12, 2017 at 12:22 am

      I agree. Where the heck he come up with $400 a year! Did he smoke too much weed in Colorado?

  29. gboyd said on July 11, 2017 at 4:06 am

    This will spell the END for This absurd ransom is some idiot CEO’s thought of getting rich and then leave the company in ruins. Not even a 1.99 per month fee, but the 39.99 per month fee. What is the board thinking ? I personally have deleted any pictures and albums that I used as a “3rd party” . There are other alternatives to The ads were getting unbearable anyway.

  30. Nugsy said on July 10, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Please join in & sign the petition against photobucket’s actions.

  31. photoguy said on July 10, 2017 at 2:46 am

    I would highly recommend SmugMug

    Site: http://WWW.SMUGMUG.COM

    It’s paid, but it’s very inexpensive (I think $5?) considering it gives you unlimited bandwidth, much better album control than photobucket, attractive gallery layouts which you can actually customize, and the in-browser resolution is fantastic.

    Can’t recommend it enough!

  32. SweetestAngel said on July 9, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Photo Puke bucket has been crap for many years a lot of the time there was issues with it find another site and let photo puke bucket die with the rest of the garbage out there

  33. BeeGee said on July 9, 2017 at 9:46 am

    It now says:
    “If you were a Plus subscriber in good standing as of June 30th 2017, you will continue to have all the privileges you have enjoyed including 3rd Party Hosting until December 31, 2018 as long as you maintain your subscription”.

    I have a Plus 50 account (the cheapest), so I hope this applies to me.

    I mainly use it for storage and if I wanted to post an image when I was away, I always downloaded it to my Laptop first, then I uploaded it from there into my forum; and not from Photobucket, so I do not really need the linking feature.

    I want to be sure this statement applies to me before my auto payment on 19th July.

  34. PikaPika said on July 9, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Alright guys! Which websites for alternative version of PhotoBucket to upload any image, just for posting into forums???

  35. Ben said on July 9, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Just deleted my account and left some choice words for them. Judging by the idiot move on their part, I’d bet the farm that the site is owned/run by a liberal fool! Their actions make no sense and will surely back fire on them. I wonder if they realize that every time someone pages through a forum and see’s all those horrible stock “ransom” images of theirs, it will only remind them of what a horrible company they are over and over again! Sucks to be them! Wonder what the stock holders think of this? LOL

  36. Fred said on July 8, 2017 at 1:18 am

    where do I sign up for the class action lawsuit???

  37. susan krevat said on July 4, 2017 at 12:34 am

    I’m deleting my Photobucket account right now, but how do I get that annoying ad off my blog?

    I apologize if this was answered above.

    thank you,


    1. Posy said on July 4, 2017 at 8:26 am

      If you can edit your posts, just go thru all of them and delete every link to images on photobucket you find. If you cannot edit the posts, I am afraid the only way is to delete them and create them without links as new, but I doubt you want to do that, because the dates will get messed and you will lose all comments attached to that original articles.

  38. Posy said on July 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I have been solving this problem during weekend for an artist who writes stories and draws and posts articles on several story and art websites – and because of this situation with Photobucket all her posts that somehow relies on pictures are now useless (and because the servers usually don’t allow to edit the posts, there is no way how to repair them). Thanks to this I have realized very important thing – if you want this never happen to you again, you have to forget any public image hosting websites (TinyPic etc.) and get your own domain and run on it your own site with image hosting app – this way you are safe even when your hosting company goes out of business, because you can always transfer your domain to another hosting company, restore your website and all links will be instantly working again. Yes, it will cost you domain fee (and hosting probably), but as was mentioned above, it will be still very low price, lower than most paid plans on image hosting websites (and if your country have expensive domains fees, you can usually get domains from cheaper countries at your hosting company – I am from Czech republic and .cz domain – and many more – cost here about 4 USD per year).

    The only thing remaining is the image hosting app, which will run on your site – I checked about 20 free ones and sadly, haven’t found any that would allow simple upload and then copying out links in various formats (from some reason, they all were more like galleries for your website, but lacked the links generating part). Then I checked some paid ones and ultimately found this:
    which is very cheap (considering it is one time payment) and very easy to install (no database, just PHP, so it can be used even with cheap hostings without database). I am sure there are many more options (actually even on that codecanyon site you can find several more, but they have usually more functions and thanks to it are more complicated and more expensive), and probably some free too (I just haven’t found any suitable for the needs of that artist).

  39. Ebsan said on July 3, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Please note that TinyPic’s owner is Photobucket.

    I just deleted my account by PB and had images for 2 graphic forums there.
    We have done a good job, uploaded to an other host and fixed all the links.

    Rest in peace PB as you will soon be gone.

  40. Wolfier said on July 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I used photobucket for a fairly long time, and granted the Ads were a bit over the top, and getting out of hand on the website, the 3rd party hosting is all i used it for. but seeing Imgur does the same thing (minus the ads) it’s no big deal to simply change host. Photobucket was beginning to look like a broken down abandon building anyway.

  41. BeeGee said on July 3, 2017 at 3:09 am

    I have been charged monthly for several years now. They have not sent me an email regarding any changes or high payment increases. This is disgusting.

  42. Erin @Paperbackstash said on July 3, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Yeah, I’m irritated. I wasn’t even aware that hosting my four images on my site through them was against their terms of service. And they removed the images and replaced with a warning image – thankfully I had the images backed up on my computer. I would have been willing to play a low and reasonable fee (I have a small website that I can’t spend a lot of money on), but 400??

  43. yowzers said on July 2, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    wow thanks yo!

  44. Kzahel Gee said on July 2, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I wrote a small non intrusive extension that you can use to view embedded photobucket images.

    1. Santosa said on July 3, 2017 at 5:35 am

      Thanks K. Gee. The problem mostly is not us not being able to view our posted images. We want others to be able to view our embedded images.
      Somehow we need to let others know to download this embed fix or install the extension in order to view photobucket embedded photos.
      Of course if this fix really works. I tested it briefly and some photos still did not show.
      Besides installing the extension and clearing the browser cache, is there anything else we need to do?

  45. freja said on July 2, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I am def downloading all my pics – as many as I can. And I will close my acc w Photobucket. This is so wrong, and unfair.
    They could’ve warned people at least.

  46. Agy said on July 2, 2017 at 9:45 am

    OMG, what happened? I logged into my account and it is absolutely hard to navigate the site without all the ads popping up, and the library is not even loading (I have less than 100 images).

  47. Jojo said on July 2, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Martin – sounds like an opportunity here to write an article with alternatives to PB.

  48. David said on July 2, 2017 at 7:38 am

    I had the 24,95/year account since 2011 and it was working ok for commercial third party image showing, now I not only need to find where to go with that pics (maybe imgur or hostgator website acct) but need to edit every listing I have and change pictures url … DANG PB, backfire on urs, see ya !

  49. Colorado777 said on July 2, 2017 at 2:28 am

    If you want to see that Photobucket gets what it deserves, write to:

    Colorado Office of the Attorney General
    Criminal Justice
    Ralph L Carr Colorado Judicial Center
    1300 Broadway, 9th Floor
    Denver, CO 80203

    They are based in Colorado, and I’m sure that the Attorney General’s office would like to hear about the criminal unfair business practice and extortion.

    1. Aoresteen said on July 4, 2017 at 3:49 am

      The term to use is Tortious interference

  50. charlie69 said on July 2, 2017 at 1:58 am

    I downloaded all my photos from Photobucket but I also left the pictures there to take up space on their servers. I was going to pay the $59.99 a year to photobucket until I realized this price only supposedly removes the ads.

    This was not are clearly thought out move on Photobuckets account as it will probably in time whipe them off the net entirely.

    Propably the best out come for such a low life business.

  51. Bobby said on July 1, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I’ve banned Photobucket on all my forums. Fuck ’em.

  52. Guest703 said on July 1, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    I don’t get it. I’ve known for years Photobucket was garbage, I don’t know why people keep using it.

    1. Julie said on July 1, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      When I started using it 8 years ago it was just another OK photo hosting service. But when you have hundreds of pictures you loaded over the years, even for as bad as it got, I reluctantly used it because that’s where all my pics were. Now I’m glad they pulled that stunt. It makes leaving a no-brainer.

  53. Kalin Stavrev said on July 1, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    On 30 June I was surprised to find some of my Photobucket pictures do not show and the ransom message is shown instead. I did not receive any warning or any “policy update” email from Photobucket and this only fact leaves me thinking they’ve done something very wrong and most probably illigal in many countries.

    There are a couple of interesting things which I would like to share with you. Actually I use two Photobucket accounts.
    – The First one I use approximately since 2008 – it is still not affected by their new policy. I have more than 250 photos on it, but in the last 2-3 years I rarely use it and change/upload photos only once every 9-12 months. As of June 2017 I think I have no more than 10-15 of these photos linked somewhere over the internet.
    – The second account I use approximately since 2011-2012 – I use it a bit more in the last years and it was affected – that’s where I saw the above ransom message. I have about 100 photos on this account, but I think about 40-50 photos are currently linked.
    I’m not sure, but probably they first hit the accounts with more visits or more traffic? And yet, my traffic on the second (more used) account is still a very small one. My ~50 photos are small, and probably seen not more than 20 times per photo per 1 month.

    – Today I searched on Google, and I found a Photobucket support page which explains how to link Photobucket photos to ebay or to another website. Nothing is mentioned about having to upgrade to a certain type of account, etc.
    link here –>

    To put it politely, both the sudden change in their policy AND the ridiculous price they are asking are not acceptable.
    Way to go, Photobucket, you loose one more customer. And probably 1000s other people are closing their accounts each and every minute while you are reading this.

  54. Aoresteen said on July 1, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Every site affected by PB stupid actions should block ALL media coming from PB. Tit for tat. That would render the PB $400 plan useless.

  55. John Car said on July 1, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    What bothers me most, is that this exact feature, was what Photobucket was selling some years ago (many years ago). And now they block it?

  56. Constant said on July 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    It was a blow in my face when I learned about this action. For many years I used Phobucket with good results. Now all my postings on a forum are blocked. Not only for myself, but also for all my colleges.
    One thing is certain , I am not going to pay.
    On this moment Photobucket is out (because of this action?)

  57. ozone333 said on July 1, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I have never used any free image hosting platform because I inherently distrust any website that offers FREE anything. When you don’t pay, you don’t have control! And since I already have a few domain names and plenty of storage space on my hosting plans, that I pay for, I always use the space I pay for. I’m surprised people are so cheap when it comes to storing pics. I have no time for any free cloud service because I believe that any of the FREE services will at sometime pull this routine on its customers.

    I also am very careful about upgrades because time and time again the upgrade is really a downgrade that forces you to pay for some feature that was free in the previous version. I hope everyone drops Photobucket like a hot potato showing them that the ransom style method does not work! Good luck!

  58. Vladimir Sotirov said on July 1, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    This is my second comment because my surprising and indignation are constantly increasing. The first cause was in the direct violating the fundamental principle of Law introducing a retroactive decision. Can anyone imagine a restaurant announcing “Our lunch is free of charge!” but charging the visitors (say, $399.99) when they leave the restaurant? How is such an absurd possible in a democratic country? The second cause: I have just seen that has produced an act that I supposed was a business of the hackers only. The most part of my photos stored in Photobucket have been shared in a mountain forum permitting avatars. My avatar is NOT stored in Photobucket, it is kept on my personal computer. entered the site of the forum and replaced my avatar with its ugly warning! I am not a lawyer but am intuitively feeling that this act is a direct violation of a few appropriate laws and in such a way it is an object of a criminal prosecution. Please look at this act in its entire gravity: did attack not only my personal computer but a “3rd party” site as well! What is your opinion? I would be very grateful to read a comment by a specialist in the Internet Law.

    And once again, thank you Martin!

    1. Anonymous said on July 8, 2017 at 12:00 am


      Unfortunately, this country is not a Democracy, as you so elegantly put it. It is a Republic, which ties our hands, somewhat. And, yes, PhotoBucket just shot themselves in the foot. In fact, both feet.

      When the dust settles, most, if not all of us, will have either found a different way of handling our pictures or will just no longer worry about showing them at all. Humans are a flexible lot and can learn to do without many things we have take for granted over the years. In fact, this may even simplify our lives, a bit.

      I personally have hundreds of pictures on several forums that are no longer visible. But, most people will not miss them, nor will I worry about the fact that they can no longer see them.

      I think it’s time to place some of my interests in other areas, rather than wasting so much time on my computer.

      Oh yes, thanks so much, Martin, for your keen intelligence and hard work keeping us abreast of these matters.

    2. Erin @Paperbackstash said on July 3, 2017 at 1:41 am

      I know – I have seen people commenting on “freeloaders” but I thought the point of photobucket was free image store with the option to upgrade if you want additional storage and no adds. I wasn’t trying to be sneaky. I was beyond annoyed they replaced my images too without warning. They were edited images from vectors I had purchased for my small website no one but me cares about – but still! Thankfully I had the images saved on my computer too and can reload them somewhere else. I use Blogger and pay for domain name hosting but there isn’t a way for me to save the three particular images in my header there since it’s through html coding and external linking – otherwise I would have stored it there along with my other images that I can just upload to the server. Frustrating and confusing.

  59. Abraxis said on July 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    There’s a warning here for all of us: You get what you pay for!

    But even those that pay for some of their services will still not get their image links restored without paying for the full $400 Ransomware. Pure blackmail.

    If you rely on this sort of thing for your Forum – consider hosting the images directly on your Forum instead, or it will still be way cheaper to pay for a domain and hosted service yourself – it won’t be anywhere near the cost.

    I hope Photobucket dies a rapid death now, but before that, the CEO should be sacked before the company goes bankrupt.

  60. Cold_Beer839 said on July 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Been a PB customer for well over 10 years and have 2.4 GB of pics hosted there (all now broken). Was paying $25/yr for a premium account. The annoying ads started up about a year ago and they want $30/yr to remove them. I knew then that they were on a heading to put the ship up on the rocks. Well, this morning they hit the rocks!! I will not be renewing my account and I will find another method to host my forum pictures. I will probably go with a private domain with hosting option since I will be the boss then. Other services that are free now, will probably use this tactic later on after people have so much hosted with them. Trust is hard to earn, but can never be re-earned.

  61. Timmythefrog said on July 1, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    They have the right to do it but it’s very shitty of them. This policy change should affect only new images uploaded to the site not older images uploaded under the previous policy.

  62. Anonymous said on July 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Photobucket just killed themselves.

  63. Max said on July 1, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    For some years I am using MediaFire for hosting some documents and/or photos for my blog. They probably saw I have some more traffic than other users and I received more free space. I am very pleased with their service.

  64. Tau said on July 1, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Never understood why people used PhotoBucket at all. The site was very flawed and complicated, they always had profit on mind also. This was a matter of time.

  65. Mark said on July 1, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Absolutely shocking. Millions of forum posts rendered useless without images. Surely a change such as this should not apply retrospectively.

  66. Heimen Stoffels said on July 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Nah, I don’t like Imgur (and I didn’t like Photobucket either). IMHO nothing can beat – been using it for years now, IMHO it’s the absolute best! :)

    But I’m sorry for people who did use Photobucket. Asking $39.99/$399.99 is outrageous! I hope people move away so that they’ll feel the consequences.

  67. kate said on July 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

    This is so upsetting. Even if it was $100/year. I have been using Photobucket for years now. That is going to be a LOT of work having to re-save everything. $400?!!!!! That’s crazy! That is ALL people use Photobucket for! 3rd party imaging. That is why there is coding available for forums and blogs and links etc. etc. etc. It is going to be a lot of work but I truly hope if other sites like Photobucket follow suit that their prices will be more reasonable.

  68. What's a Name? said on July 1, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Site’s been a smoldering garbage fire for years now anyway, so this is not surprising in the least. When they realize the throng of teens who use it for selfie hosting and the cadre of internet dinosaurs who know better than to pay $400 for it won’t be giving them the money they hope to get for it, hopefully the site can finally die the death it’s been narrowly avoiding for a while now.

  69. M said on July 1, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Plain and simply? I’ve deleted my Photobucket account.

    Many lines now absent with photos but I’ll find another to replace them with.

    PB will go the way of MySpace. How many others cut their throats?

  70. Ed said on July 1, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Well, shit.

  71. joko said on July 1, 2017 at 2:05 am

    I understand they want to start charging for this service now but $300 a year? Just so I can embed a few pics here and there on a couple forums I’m on? No thanks.

    I mean, I was more than willing to pay for the service and when I got the email I signed in so I could pay, I figured it’d be about $50 or $60 a year and I would have been totally fine w/ that. I mean companies need to make $ right? And if I’m using their service I should pay. No issue w/ that whatsoever. But $300?! Yeah right. And a little warning would have been nice. Bye photobucket, I’ll be deleting my account.

  72. Vladimir Sotirov said on June 30, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I am Bulgarian and unfortunately I am so angry that I find only Bulgarian expressions relevant to the decision of the Photobucket! How it is possible in the modern civilization? It has one name: racket! I have used this storage for more then 10 years and I may say that an essential part of my biography is kept inside: thousands of photos taken from my trips, excursions with grandchildren and even copies of some scientific papers. All of them have now disappeared from the forums! This retroactive decision is absolutely illegal and unmoral. Is that a “pay or die” epoch? OK, suppose I pay $400. And what, I will have to support the storage each year with this amount? Or perhaps next year the price will be $1400?! I do hope the people which are better informed about the Internet law and practice will be able to help. Please take in account that a replacement of our photos to another storage is not a solution because our texts in the forums will remain without illustrations. Probably the only correct gesture of the Photobucket after its extremely incorrect decision would be to redirect all links automatically to the new address. May I hope this will come true? By the way, a negative reaction from many sites (forums) is quite probable and even necessary!

    Thank you, Martin, for your notice! I found it via Google. At least I know now that I am not the only wretch!

  73. Rose Kasper said on June 30, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    This was unconscionable on Photobucket’s part. That ugly image is now in every email I’ve ever sent out. There is no way to fix this unless Photobucket removes their ugly link. I will NEVER use Photobucket again! I hope this is the beginning of their demise.

  74. Lash said on June 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    This is only slightly more palatable than the ransom viruses that are currently all the rage. This is a potent impetus for me to finally begin hosting my own pictures. PB was getting more and more difficult to use anyway, especially for all of us free loaders (pun intended). The constant barrage of banner, video and pop-up ads made for one of the most annoying experiences currently available on the web.

    I was able to download my images. Even though I have them all somewhere, my smallish PB account (previously rated at only 3% of allowable amount for a free account), amounted to 10+ years of miscellaneous postings on forums and the like. It’s nice to have it all available on one thumb drive for re-hosting as needed.

    It burns me that so many helpful forums will lose valuable content for it’s members. Those are the real losers in this.

  75. mikef90000 said on June 30, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    One observation as a Photobucket user – my ‘third party’ linkage still works, probably since I have less than the ‘free’ 2GB limit of photos stored there. Agree that this is a poorly thought out money grab and that it IS backfiring.

    1. fookun said on July 1, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Are you a new user? I’ve been using it for more than 10 years already but I haven’t uploaded anything past few years. I only use about 50mb but my images already got blocked. It seems they’re rolling out from the oldest users first.

    2. Abraxis said on July 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm

      It won’t make any difference, there are lots of people that have used less than a few % of their allowance and have still had all their links blocked. Now’s the time to get them hosted elsewhere while you can still see the images!

    3. Yunlihn said on July 1, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Nah, I hadn’t used my free 2GBand I’m still fully hand-tied thanks to their “update” (is there a contrary to that word?)

      Well, now they’ll just see all their users leave the ship while it sinks.

      1. David said on July 2, 2017 at 7:33 am


  76. Anonymous said on June 30, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Anyone have any alternative options?

    1. Otto Rapp said on December 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Use Flickr! You get one TB and linking to an image is easy and no problem. I have over 10.000 images on it and barely used 2% of my storage space!
      A little self-promotion: here is my account on Flickr:

    2. Dave said on July 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      There is rumors of a hot link fix extension ,but I can’t find it…

    3. Laura said on July 1, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      tumblr, people.
      create a blog, leave it public or set it to private.
      upload the pictures into a “photo” type of post. you can upload up to ten on a single post; publish it. if you need to upload more images, just make another photo post.

      copy the images url and paste it wherever

      free, no limits on bandwidth or amount of photos stored.

      1. Guy Incognito said on July 17, 2017 at 3:04 am

        As a fair note: tumblr occasionally changes which servers your images are hosted on. This is the random number in the URL before Media. If they change the server all of your 3rd party images, displayed on other sites, will break.

    4. Cornelis said on July 1, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Just register a free account on, upload images to your posts and then you can share them on any forum, 3rd party site etc.

      1. Christa said on July 2, 2017 at 1:55 am

        Yup. That’s what I’ve been doing for years. It’s a bit more effort than just upload and go, and results in a very strange blog floating around that will make no sense to anyone who stumbles upon it, but I don’t care :-P (now I just hope Google doesn’t try to pull a similar antic…).

    5. yvon said on July 1, 2017 at 12:50 am

      u can use tiny picture

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

        Photobucket owns Tiny Picture ;)

  77. RichardT said on June 30, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you for the heads up, Martin – account deleted!

  78. Amy said on June 30, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    What is 3rd party Photobucket? I have never seen this type of message before. It displayed in all my email. Please help what is this error? I am really worried with my account. I never used Photobucket before. I am very new to this.

    1. Abraxis said on July 1, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      It’s actually not correct and Photobucket staff obviously do not understand their own service:
      Most Forums only display the actual URL link to Photobucket – i.e. there is no actual image being hosted on your forum – as the image is physically stored and hosted by Photobcket. So they are in error saying that it is hosted by a third party (your Forum or similar). I think there is going to be a class action in the states against these idiots.

      Unfortunately, as it stands, you don’t have any control unless you pay up – but even then it is not happening quickly for some. I would download all your albums off Photobucket and look at another provider. It might involve a lot of re-linking work though unfortunately.

  79. Larry Hancock said on June 30, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I have used Photobucket for hosting ebay images for a couple of years, but I won’t pay them. I will find an alternative. This really is a huge money grab that will backfire on them.

    Also, if you look at their charges, they say that they are charging $39.99 per month or $399.99 per year, and that by paying for a year you get two free months. However, you cannot pay by the month. You can only pay annually, meaning that the $39.99 per month rate is a fabrication, a lie.

    If they allowed people to pay by the month, then they may have a sound business reason for their decision. Most people would pay for one month and find a solution during that month. But charging for a full year up front means this is a pure money grab.

    Larry Hancock

  80. Greg Shepherd said on June 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I was able to get my images to show again by logging into my PB account, clicking on the Magnifying glass Icon on each image, then when reloading the forum page they appeared again.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 30, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Probably cached then, and likely only for you but not for other users. Try private browsing mode to see if they show up in it.

  81. cobalt said on June 30, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Photobucket’s in for a rude awakening when everyone just up and leaves the site for any of the others out there. I can’t even get the album download option to work as the security images refuse to be acknowledged when you click on them. Now I remember why I quit dealing with this company years ago.

  82. Mikhoul said on June 30, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    IMGUR is the wat to go, they even promote third-party hosting with their FREE API which is very useful !

    Photobucket will lost most of his customers since they are not reliable and responsible to enforce such policy for old images. At least if it was only for the new Images it would not be “good” but at least photobucket would be acting responsibly.

    1. Abraxis said on July 1, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      What part of the following did you not understand?:

      Imgur terms of service also prohibit third party hosting:

      “Also, don’t use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you’re hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on We mean it.”

  83. Anonymous said on June 30, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    This is extortion, plain and simple… no advanced notice and a $400 bill.
    No more Photobucket for me.

    1. Don't be so entitled said on June 30, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Wah wah wah can you be any more entitled? It’s a free service. Relocate your images to Imgur for pete’s sake.

      1. shane said on July 6, 2017 at 8:24 pm

        I don’t think you understand. The site gave no notice of this at all, effectively turning any forums, blogs etc into a complete mess. With no prior notification and all images replaced with a photobucket stock image ‘inviting’ people to pay a not insignificant amount per year, it’s only reasonable for people to be shocked and upset. Entitlement has nothing to do with any of this, it’s the lack of prior notice that’s at issue.

      2. Ben said on July 3, 2017 at 2:43 am

        It’s entitled to be pissed that we received no advanced notification? Got news dude, some of us used the extension for business, and other reasons, and may have literally thousands of files to migrate, some of which impact our fucking livelihood. That ain’t entitlement.

        Having to move things ain’t the issue. It’s the completely unprofessional lack of notification that has a lot of people scrambling and putting out fires that affect their income.

  84. Richard Allen said on June 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve had a PhotoBucket account for years. I didn’t try to verify that the images are replaced by dummy images. I’ll take your word for it Martin. The forums I visit allow you to directly upload images nowadays so I didn’t really use the website very much anymore. And others complained of the hassle of even trying to view the images hosted on PhotoBucket. So, thanks to another user here on gHacks I’ve been using for a little while now. I created an account but actually rarely sign in to upload an image. And just like PhotoBucket and many other hosting services Postimage will work with the Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey script “Mouseover Popup Image Viewer”. I never did get an email about the change. I went to PhotoBucket to download my Library then immediately received an email..

    Thanks for waiting! For the next 12 hours, “*****’s album” will be available for one download.
    Please note: Videos and GIFs are not included.

    Click on the “Download” button in the email then get sent to the PhotoBucket website where I then see:

    “This download is no longer available”

    No problem, most everything was fairly old and everything I wanted to keep I still have the original. Looked like I could have downloaded everything individually but I didn’t bother. I deleted my account, account page then claims it will happen in two days, July 2. Whatev! ;)

    1. j.p. de paepe said on November 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm


  85. RG said on June 30, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    I still remember when places like Photobucket added restrictions like ‘registration required’ at around the same time imgur became less limited, no limit, etc. Strange that imgur was and is able to do it.

  86. Bittersylence said on June 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I use PhotoBucket all the time. What a shame. Will find a new host now. Goodbye PhotoPhuckit.

  87. Aura said on June 30, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    My photobucket account was used for creating props in a virtual 3d world… and now every single image/prop in my previously FREE user account is a black sign. I cannot believe they cannot be sued for taking images of props legally created and in effect, “holding them hostage” for $399 a year………

    Something needs to be done and be done now….

    1. Anonymous said on July 7, 2017 at 1:06 am

      Wonder if a lawsuit can work?

    2. Ralf S. said on July 5, 2017 at 9:06 am

      If you can download them, get them off Bucket and never use it again. If you can’t download them unless you pay, then that’s technically extortion. Hopefully jail-time for the Bucket boys.. :D

      1. Susan said on July 31, 2017 at 3:20 am

        I tried to download my pics and all I got was that sign about third party. Too bad photobucket, I have them on my hard drive too.

  88. Angry Former Photobucket Account Holder said on June 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Title should read “Photobucket Makes Millions of Forums Useless”

    All the forums I am a part of have my images embedded which are no longer visible. Way to go…

  89. Just a user said on June 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Imgur terms of service also prohibit third party hosting:

    “Also, don’t use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you’re hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on We mean it.”

    1. TelV said on July 2, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      I upload to Imgur using this third party site:

      Never had a problem with it (so far) and I’m not registered on Imgur.

  90. Ollie Hopnoode said on June 30, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    They did send an email on the same day but it went to junk. “You account has been restricted for excessive usage and 3rd(sic) party hosting.”

    Well, I can tell you for sure I am not an excessive user.

    I agree with your analysis. The cost is pretty high and, with tactics like this, how do we know they won’t raise the price once you have committed even more pictures to them?

    1. Phil said on June 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      I found out that my forum signature got broken today and I saw this article from Google.
      I’ve used Photobucket since more than 10 years ago.
      I’m sure I’m not the only one to use them for forums and blogs.
      Really nice for Photobucket to break all those images.

  91. uteki said on June 30, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Just check the site I used to post the image hosted with Photobucket account, yep, all display the image in the article.
    Goodbye Photobucket. It was fun while it lasted.
    Oh, and thank you Martin for the heads up.

    1. Robyn said on February 5, 2018 at 12:04 am

      I am wondering how to delete my photobucket acct.

    2. OTTO RAPP said on July 21, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      my reaction to this, and I only noticed on one of my websites where I repeatedly used a GIF for my logo that now shows this butt-ugly sticker. Well, FUCK YOU PHOTOBUCKET
      I could have hosted my own, but was just too lazy to switch when I started my websites on Weebly. I don’t need Photobucket, I have unlimited hosting on my web provider Weebly (and I can hot-link to any of it if I need to for blogs etc).
      The pain in the ass is that there are so many images out in my blogs and on other sites, it will be cumbersome to replace them. But before I spend 399 bucks ……….

  92. Lehst said on June 30, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I can’t believe this is happening.
    I honestly thought I had received a phishing e-mail at first, but nope. I’ll have to find a new host. : (

    1. SHIRLEY said on July 9, 2017 at 11:59 pm

      I totally agree its so unbelievable I too thought this was a hoke a fake email wow..

    2. Julie said on July 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      I noticed the change when I went to a website where I had posted images stored on Photobucket. That’s when I saw the dummy image. I had been using Photobucket for 8 years specifically for 3rd party hosting. Two days later I received an email informing me about the TOS changes they made.

      The moment I saw the dummy image, I went to my Photobucket account and, after enduring the countless ads loading into the page and the several pop up ads, I looked into the “problem”. Once I saw what they were trying to ransom my photos, I deleted the account. The ad loading had become so annoying I was already thinking about giving up on Photobucket. The ads made it a pain but I figured that’s the price for free storage of photos and the ability to use them on other websites. But $400/year sold me on deleting the account.

      I will now use my own website for all photo storage. It costs me $8/year for the domain name and $8/mo for hosting. No ads. Complete control of the contents. And no fear of one day finding the pictures I posted on other websites has suddenly, and without notice, been replaced by a ransom notice.

      1. Otto Rapp said on December 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm

        Julie, I did not look on this tread for months – I hope you found a good web provider, but if not, then this is what I use primarily, Weebly:
        I also have some websites on Wix:

      2. Susan said on July 31, 2017 at 3:17 am

        What site are you using for web hosting? I went to Imgur and can’t get past the registration page. I am not happy having to change over 400 listings, but hey it will keep me off the streets. – Thankfully I found this page because I didn’t realize you had to pay almost $400 for third party hosting and had almost opted for the cheapest which would have no benefit at all. talk about shooting themselves in the foot, or financial suicide as I call it.

        – and the ads are obscene. I have ad blockers but that didn’t work. I could barely get to my library. Thankfully I have only a few pics on the site having deleted the others a long time ago and have them on my hard drive.

      3. OTTO RAPP said on July 21, 2017 at 9:54 pm

        I am exactly with you on this, Julie! My exact same experience. I had used Photobucket just for 3rd party hosting, because they are practically useless for anything else.
        Similar experience to yours with my own website – it cost me a lot less, including the domain, and I have unlimited storage. When I first set up my new website years ago, I wholesale imported the HTML code for several pages from the old one, some of which had Photobucket images on it. Regretfully now, since I have to fix all that crap. My website is savable because I mostly just used logos I had placed on Photobucket, but there are some blogs I wrote that will have this same butt-ugly ad buried over the past 8 years or so I used the service. Nothing more annoying than missing images and such stupid ads replacing them. And yes, you can hot-link to images on your own website and place them in any other blog or website, and for a lot less.
        I do have ads on my website, but they are my own and I get paid for it. And I control what kind of ads.

      4. KLB said on July 8, 2017 at 10:39 pm

        More and more sites are detecting add-blockers and preventing access. I just hit the X on the screen to kill it and don’t ever go to that site again.

      5. Larry Kniveton said on July 8, 2017 at 12:12 am

        I’m a 60ish year old dude who is not nearly as savvy as a lot of you folks. But reading your complaints about pop ups and banner ads??? Are you not using an ad blocker?
        I installed Adblockplus a couple of years ago…bullet proof. Count ’em 30 -40 -70 ads per page snuffed out.

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