Photobucket alternatives for third-party hosted images
Photobucket disabled the third-party hosting of images functionality of the site recently which had been a part of it for years.
Internet users who used Photobucket for that, that is store their images so that they can embed them on other sites, were asked to pay $399 per year, or $39.99 per month, to reactivate the functionality.
This was done with barely any advanced warning that this would happen, and the replacing of all images on third-party sites with a dummy image asking users to become a Plus 500 subscriber to restore the hotlinking functionality.
I'm going to list several Photobucket alternatives in this article that users affected by the move, and Internet users who are looking for reliable image hosting with hotlinking functionality have.
You have plenty of options when it comes to services that provide you with options to hotlink your images.
There are a couple of things you need to be aware of before you select the next best offer though:
- Some services may allow hotlinking of images, but they Terms of Service gives them the right to terminate your account at any time if they find that you use this excessively (read: you cost them too much).
- Other services may be owned by a larger service. This is for instance the case for TinyPic which is owned by Photobucket.
- Some image hosting sites are quite catastrophic when it comes to advertisement. A user clicking on your image may be directed to a page filled with advertisement. These are often low quality ads, or worse.
As far as alternatives are concerned, there are three groups that you may pick one from:
- Image hosting sites -- These sites are designed for image hosting on the Internet. They work similar to Photobucket.
- Services that allow you to upload files, and link to them -- These services may not be designed specifically for the embedding of images, but they support it.
- Web space -- Your own private website or server that you use for hosting and embedding of images.
The first two groups may allow you to hotlink to images right now, but they may have a change of heart (or policy) at any time in the future. The advantage of the third group is that you are in control, but that you have to pay for that.
Photobucket Image Hosting site alternatives
- Cubeupload -- A free image hosting service that does not require an account for use. It uses a donation-based system for keeping the service up and running.
- Flickr -- While Flickr's future is not clear right now, with the purchase of Yahoo by Verizon, it allows you to host your uploaded images elsewhere provided that you link back to Flickr. Also, may not be used as a content distribution network for websites or applications.
- Flickr makes it possible to post content hosted on Flickr to other web sites. Pages on other web sites that display content hosted on flickr.com must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr. This provides a way to get more information about the content and the photographer.
- Imgur (but only with the Embed option) -- Imgur is named as an alternative whenever it comes to image hosting services on the Internet. While you may hotlink to images uploaded to Imgur, the service's Terms of Service forbid you explicitly from doing so. What it allows is to use the embed feature, but this may not work in many cases. Also this which does not bode well.
- Don't hotlink to adult content or to file-sharing, gambling, torrent, warez, or Imgur rip-off sites. Don't impersonate someone else. 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
- VGY -- A free image hosting service that requires no account. You can upload the image directly to the service, and get some embed codes and the direct URL to the image displayed on the next screen automatically.
Other services that you may use
While it would go too far to list dozens of services that provide you with image hosting and linking functionality, I'd like to highlight some of the options to you.
These are all free at the time of writing:
- Blogger -- Google's blog platform is just a quick sign up away. You can set up a new blog there using your Google account, and may upload the photos that you plan to display elsewhere on the Internet to it. It may not be the most straightforward way of doing this, but it has worked reliably for users for years. Other blogging platforms may allow this as well. Google Photos works as well, but it is not super intuitive and requires that you copy the direct link to the photo.
- GitHub -- GitHub is designed for project hosting. Anyone can create an account, and you may upload files to the service. GitHub may suspend accounts or throttle them if they find that it requires excessive bandwidth.
- If we determine your bandwidth usage to be significantly excessive in relation to other GitHub customers, we reserve the right to suspend your account or throttle your file hosting until you can reduce your bandwidth consumption.
Your own web space
If you want full control, you may have to pay a couple of bucks for that. If you have a website or server already, you may use it to host your images, and hotlink to them.
The core benefit here is that you control the storage. You may delete images, modify them, prevent certain sites from linking to them, and so on.
The disadvantage is that you have to pay for that, and that there is a setup period involved usually.
Here are a few options:
- Amazon S3 -- Amazon AWS has a free tier that is good for 5 Gigabytes of storage, 15 Gigabytes of data transfer each month, and 20000 get requests. It gets quite expensive though when you leave the free tier, as you pay $0.090 per Gigabyte. The offer is free for the first 12 months only.
- VPS Servers -- A VPS is a virtual server that starts at a couple of bucks per month. You can grab a 10 GB Storage VPS with unlimited traffic from OVH for $2.99 per month for instance.
Now You: Do you use another alternative? Feel free to share it in the comments below.
I like https://postimage.io/ but they were writing about the costs some time ago.
I used it a couple of years ago, back then I wanted to delete my account and all the images with it as well, but I accidentally found that even if I delete an image from my account, the link still works, I waited for days and it still worked, so I contacted them and asked them to delete all my images, not just my account.
Don’t know if they ever complied, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone using it.
I personally like using imgur for that because I can just press Print Screen on my keyboard and open imgur’s website and press Ctrl+V anywhere and it will upload, whether I use an account there or not I don’t care as I don’t post anything personal so it doesn’t matter.
I just think it’s the easiest one to use and the best.
As for Photobucket, I don’t know who in their right mine would use that broken, slow and pathetic website, when I see someone uploading images from there, I immediately know it’s gonna be a pain to see the image and then see the original image to see all the small details.
Maybe something for everyone here:
dropbox may work for some
I use Picload (picload.org) you do not need to create an account, but you can if you want access to the images, it also gives you the nice feature of embedding options HTML, BBCode, DirectURL, as well as a url to delete the image. It is supported by advertisements and will mention that if you have an adblocker running.
Imgur’s recent hijacking was in place for a day. It went back after (sudden traffic drop?). Anyway, the hotlink clicked, sometimes opens the image directly, while other times it opens the website with the image (the regular website not that crap they tried recently). This behaviour has been in place for a year or more. It’s okay-ish, I still use it, but definitely looking for alternatives.
Also one annoying thing, it recompresses JPG/PNG larger than 1MB, and it’s horribly aggressive.
i tried to load some ebay images today from both photobucket & my ebay listings but they refused to load the url. they said they don’t allow hotlinking.now!
It gets quite expensive though when you leave the free tier, as you pay $0.090 per Gigabyte.
I’m not sure where you got those numbers, but almost all regions (other than Sao Paulo) have a price structure for standard storage something like:
First 50 TB / month $0.025 per GB
Next 450 TB / month $0.024 per GB
Over 500 TB / month $0.023 per GB
Rick, you pay for data transfers. I was referring specifically to that.
You do get your first 1GB free before the next tier of 10TB kicks in at $0.09/GB. Depending on how many visitors you have, and the size of the images etc….
If we compare to the cost of a hosting solution for $4/mo for example, that gets you around say 40GB of data transfer including the cost of the initial storage. And of course, the hosting solution most likely doesn’t come with the speed of AWS.
Before you ask.. no, I am not an AWS spokesperson :)
Now.. if you are storing files other than images, the cost can add up fairly quickly.
Rick, the linked VPS solution is good for unlimited transfers for less than $3. Just saying, Amazon’s offering is quite expensive in my eyes.
Martin is wrong about AWS. AWS is for availbility and reliability. That’s why it’s quite expensive.
Just use a shared hosting or VPS. 3rd party image hosting was popular because hosting’s space and bandwith were very limited, nowadays we have unlimited VPS with only $3 a month like Martin said above.
“And of course, the hosting solution most likely doesn’t come with the speed of AWS.”
I don’t understand what you meant by ‘speed’. Is it transfer speed? Processing speed? Unless you’re serving million users I don’t think you should worry about ‘speed’.
Hey, not to push my own article, but I did a cost analysis based on some assumptions. Assuming one hundred (100) 150KB files each viewed 100 times a day (or a total of 300,000 requests monthly) AWS S3 is still cheaper than Photobucket’s $399. Check out the math if you want:
Monthly Storage Cost + Cost to put and replace files in S3 + Cost of Monthly Request + Monthly Management Costs + Monthly Transfer Bandwidth <= $33.25 ($399/12)
(0.0012Gb * Tf)*$0.023 + ((Tf)/1000)*$0.005 + ((Tf * 100)/10000)*0.004*30 + $0.1035 + (Tf * 100 * 0.0012Gb)*$0.090*30 = $33.25
0.3252326Tf = $33.1465
Tf = 101 files
My full article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-how-replace-photobucket-aws-s3-michael-wasielewski-jr-
Does it generate IMG code?
That’s what I need.
I’ve been using HostingPics for years [https://www.hostingpics.net/]. It’s not fancy, but hosts images flawlessly and provides several links to include in forums. I use it only for that purpose. Images can be private or public. It’s basic but it’s OK for basic purposes.
photoBUCKet … money has always been in the name, now at $399 should be renamed to PhotoBucks.
Postimage works very well. HostingPics is nice too except their servers are regularly busy and the images won’t load, I choose one or the other according to my needs. As for PhotoBucket, using Noscript or uMatrix I tried once to open an image, no two.
agree! postimage does work very well! hostingpics doesnt seem to convert to english display. imgbox is not very convenient to use (can only share thumbnails to forums, clicking on which leads one to the main hosting site)….while with postimage, can share images on forums with 640×480 pixel size.
Martin, I read the the free Amazon tier is valid only for the first year. Do you have other information?
Antionio, you are right. Some offers remain free after 12 months, the storage option does not. I clarify this in the article. See here: https://aws.amazon.com/free/
You should list ultraimg and nickpic.host as well.
Tom trying https://www.hostingpics.net but cannot get it to switch to English. Flag does nothing.
That’s strange, Fena. Here I can switch to the English page flawlessly.
You may try http instead of https, maybe that will make it. In fact the site is non-secured but opening it securely allows secure logging, after which the inner links are non-secured …
Rejoice! Imgbox has undergone a revival!
– Super blazing fast
– 10MB maximum file size
– Simple interface
– Unlimited storage space
– Unlimited storage time
And it worked great for me till today when they deleted all of my images except a handful of random ones from the last year and a half
Direct link on imgur is always have 3 request https://i.imgur.com/jk7iNAU.png
Which addon have you used to track the requests?
Built-in development tools: Ctrl + Shift + i or F12
imgur today refused to load my photobucket pics for my ebay listing pics, said they don’t allow hotlinking
I stopped using PhotoBucket years ago. The sign-in process became increasingly and needlessly complicated, the ads kept getting more intrusive, and their image compression is terrible. And now they’ve picked off the last reason why anyone would want to use their garbage service.
I jumped ship to Imgur and didn’t look back.
imgur does not produce IMG code.
It is of little use to me.
THat’s what I’m looking for in a hosting site along with editing tools.
Yeah, unfortunately my blog (which can be quite picture heavy) is down the drain due to Photobuckets unnecessary cost of 3rd party hosting images. No warning too. This is YEARS down the drain and now have to transfer all my photos to a new site and then edit EACH post to get my photos back. This does NOT make this pregnant girl very happy. Any easy way to make the switch? I’m guessing not. I have to go back and edit each post after I find a new image hosting site.
Does your blog use self-hosted WordPress? If so, I think there could be someone having written a script to make the relocation a bit painless. Obviously you have to upload all your images elsewhere…
Thanks for this!! I was SO unhappy when I logged onto my site and found that nastily all over my sidebars, uggg.
Why isn’t Google stepping in?!
Hi, For upload my image for free i use IMGhost.io.
Is a free service and works without account.
It has a 16mb limit for Image and this is verry good for a heavy gifs!
You can find it here: https://imghost.io
This has been a really helpful article. I have used Photobucket for years. $400 is a lot to pay. Have over 36 automated emails with direct links from photobucket that now have to be re-uploaded. It will take me hours to go through and in the mean time I have had to shut down my emails to my customers. Disaster.
Reading the tips here I have switched over to imgur.com. It was recommended by Amazon. However I have played around with picload.org. Seems to be easier to make albums in imgur.
Thanks everyone! Good-luck
I got fed up with Photobucket early last year and switched to Smugmug. Smugmug isn’t free, but the cost is a small fraction of what Photobucket is demanding, the customer support is good, and moving my photos was relatively painless.
The direct link at photobucket is always based on USERNAME and FILENAME:
Therefore the link is always predictable, which is neccessary for me.
Since I am not willing to pay 400 per year I am looking for another image hosting site.
I already signed up for flickr, imgbb, imgbox, imgur, imagevenue, postimage, imageshack, TinyPic, USE, abload, picload, picturetrail, vgy but for some reason ALL sites scramble the filename or for ther reasons the filename is not predictable.
e.g. after uploading the link for FILENAME.jpg will be http://….tzdstjsd.jpg
Does anybody know a image hosting site where the link is only based on USERNAME and FILENAME and is always predictable with these two information? just like in photobucket :)
I need that kind of hosting because I’ve been publishing lots of posts for years so I need a predictable links of images.
If you finally find a real alternative to Photobucket please let me know.
I’m worknig hard searching day by day.
THIS IS WHAT I NEED AS WELL! A site that will host a crap ton of photos with keeping the predictable file name!
Has anyone found a legit free image hosting site that mimics Photobucket’s file naming system instead of changing file names to random characters (like poster John above was looking for)?
Any new news from anyone on finding an image hosting site that allows hotlinking AND doesn’t change the image file name upon uploading to the hosting site, like poster John above was looking for?
Photobucket hosting still works for those of us that have less than 2.0GB of storage there. The simple answer is not to use PB unless you have no other alternative and, if you approach the 2GB threshold, just open an additional account.
I was only using 1% of my storage and their ugly ad is all over my blog.
Photobucket hosting may still work if you have less than 2 GB of storage, but no hotlinking is allowed. I would use one of the alternatives. One that I use is http://kiwi6.com – which gives 2 GB of storage for free and hotlinking is allowed.
Has anyone use dropbox as a solution? https://zapier.com/learn/how-to/generate-direct-dropbox-link/
I would like to know also if dropbox could be a solution. I’m willing to pay for the service but I’m not going back to FauxBuc except to suck down my pix and fold the account.
Postimage is an EXCELLENT alternative to Photobucket. ;)
Very user friendly and allows for 3rd party hosting and best of all it’s FREE! :)
I have tried several of the alternatives mentioned above but I’m sorry to say that at the moment I haven’t found any site offering the same clear professional service Photobucket offers. For my business storage of large amounts of images , both photos and scans and easy mapping are essential. If someone has alternatives other then the ones mentioned please notify !
Thanks in advance
Sooo.. this explains the shitload of that bizarre picture I see all over the web. Well.. noway I’m gonna pay that amount of money. Noticed so many alternatives here, thus time to move the show elsewhere. I had planned on using Photobucket for my business too, but that’s now off the table.
It makes me wonder why Photobucket has made this move.
And what to do with my Photobucket account? How do I give them the F U signal to them? Deleting all my pictures there? Deleting my account? Because if I can’t use it for hotlinking, then Photobucket is of no use to me.
Yeah. A few days after I posted that it still worked for me I got the email that it wouldn’t work anymore. I’ve been working on replacing pics wherever I remember that they are. Fortunately I didn’t use it much.
My frustration comes from three things:
1.) The obvious re-doing all of my links (I’ve been with photobucket for 10 years so that is a LOT of links).
2.) As a few people mentioned above, I like A LOT that you can actually NAME and KEEP your photo names instead of random numbers/letter gibberish. I have yet to find another site that offers that.
3.) I can create an album and then a sub-album inside that album. I’m very organized so this really helps me.
I can’t believe that there are no other image hosting sites (and I am more than willing to shell out a reasonable amount of cash) that offer the above two. How can Photobucket be the ONLY one that does this?
Mathias here, owner of img.vision.
I created img.vision specifically for people who need 3rd party image hosting.
I launched the site in the beginning of this year.
Give it a try:
Pale Moon: https://github.com/JustOff/photobucket-unlocker/releases
OMG you are a saint! Anyone reading this, this actually works- I just installed the add on and lo and behold my images are back baby!
But does this only work with YOUR images or does it allow others images to load?
I have been using imgur and i love how simple it is. I have been using it for my ebay account without any problems.
BUT starting in October ebay won’t allow non-secure http content anymore. That means not only do I have to find another site that allows third-party hosting but it also has to be https compliant.
So where do I go from here?
to get around the ebay non secure http content using photo bucket, you copy the html for your pics but before you paste into your auction listing, past it to a word doc, use the find and replace all http: with https: and it will work because photobucket has the https security. Problem is, I can’t figure out how to have my codes automatically contain the https, so the above is how I’ve been getting around the issue. I have been looking for a replacement for photo bucket for years because they suck and surprisingly still suck and are unreliable (you’d think they would have improved by now). But they will eventually make me pay 400 bucks so I’m still wanting to find an alternative. My backup on the night PB isn’t working is slickpic but I don’t have a paid account and that sticks an add right across my pictures. Anyway, I hope the work around might help you until you find a solution.
You can also use https://imgrpost.com 120mb images allowed, hotlinking allowed, no resizing or compression of images.
it has a compression :/
No it does not, check again ;)
Maybe it did a year ago…
Is it not possible to use “google photo album” images on ebay?
https://photoland.io or the short url https://pli.io
I have nothing bad to say about photoland, it’s free image hosting without compression.
it give me 20MB limit with unlimited storage space and i can make private albums
honorable mention https://picc.io