Photobucket kicks out all Free users of the image hosting service

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 15, 2023

Free users of the image and media hosting service Photobucket are receiving cancellation emails currently. The service informs users that it is ending support for Free subscriptions and that accounts have been deactivated as a consequence.

Deactivated accounts are not deleted and all stored images and video files remain in storage. Users may sign-up for a free trial or one of the three available subscription plans to regain access to their photos and media, and continue using the service. This appears to be the only option to export media.

photobucket free accounts

The email provides the following information: "We regret to inform you that your Photobucket account has been deactivated because we no longer support free accounts". It goes on to explain how former users of the service may regain access to their date: "To reactivate your account, simply click here and follow the instructions provided. If you encounter any issues during the reactivation process, please feel free to reach out to our member engagement team for assistance".

Photobucket has published a help page on its support website that offers additional details. The company does not explain why it decided to end support for free accounts. Users may download their images and videos only if they sign-up for a free trial, which requires a credit card, or when they sign-up for one of Photobucket's free plans.

photobucket deactivated

Photobucket's plans start at $6 per month or $65 per year. The company is holding a birthday sale currently that gives subscribers access to a Plus account per year for $50.

Photobucket launched a new version earlier this month that it says offers faster speeds, easier uploading and album management, a smart auto backup feature and  a guarantee that images are not compressed.

The 2017 incident

In 2017, Photobucket, then a very popular image hosting service, announced that it would disable third-party hosting for all accounts. This lead to dummy images being displayed on numerous websites that used the image hosting service for that purpose.

Photobucket asked users to pay them $399 to reactivate third-party image hosting. This decision led to a mass exodus of users who found viable Photobucket alternatives on the Internet.

Photobucket changed course in 2018 when it introduced cheaper plans for users starting at $1.99 per month and restoring hosted images for a limited time for free users.

Closing Words

Photobucket has deactivated the accounts of all free users and asking these users to either sign-up for a free trial or a paid plan to regain access to their images and media. It appears that the kicked out users have no other recourse to regain access to their media, e.g., for exporting.

We contacted Photobucket for clarification and will update the article if we receive a response.

Photobucket kicks out all Free users of the image hosting service
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Photobucket kicks out all Free users of the image hosting service
Free users of the image and media hosting service Photobucket are receiving cancellation emails currently.
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  1. former bucketeer said on January 22, 2024 at 3:44 am

    When I signed up with Photpbucket it was touted as Free Forever.

  2. Josef said on January 19, 2024 at 6:41 pm

    The troubles of Photobucket started as early as 2014 when they suddenly claimed that people had exceeded their bandwith. A simple calculation showed that they were apparently operating with false figures. And then in 2017 they started their greedy and disastrous plan of charging an outrageous $399 per year just for hosting some photos. Ever since I have been pelted with e-mails threatening to shut down the account. Ever since several mails per week are their normal quota. And they still pelt people with mails, not realising that those who don’t react to them have, long since, found new places to upload their images.

  3. JS said on July 30, 2023 at 3:06 am

    Just throwing this out there, but this is literally the definition of extortion. If someone were willing to create a class-action lawsuit, Photobucket would likely lose. It would be one thing with proper warning and the ability to still retrieve your hosted items, even if you can’t upload or host anymore, however they are forcing users to pay to even access their content which belongs to them, that Photobucket agreed to host long ago, and provided no warning of restricting access to. This policy is clearly meant to force the hand of its users, and is absolutely criminal in nature. Photobucket is desperate for money, so they are now trying to break the law while slipping under the radar to get it. It’s not hard to see that there is an obvious legal violation here, and I’m absolutely amazed no one else has said it yet. No sign-up agreement protects Photobucket from this, and even if they had one containing this wording that users agreed to, they were doing so unknowningly by Photobucket’s misleading business practices.

    In my honest opinion, Photobucket needs to be closed down for good. They changed in a very bad way many years ago, and they have been a plague upon the internet since, praying on innocent users who just want their content to remain online. The fact that you even need a credit card to access your content now is absolutely ridiculous, and I sure as hell don’t trust them with that information, even on a free trial, after their past history of data breaches, poor web administration, and maliciously-hosted file and ad content they failed to remove.

  4. KW said on July 16, 2023 at 5:46 am

    No warning email, just a sorry but we have all your pics and if you want them back, pay us. Unfortunately, I don’t know if they have any of my pictures and I refuse to give a company who acted this unprofessional my credit card information. I would have probably been reminded they existed and maybe considered a paid account if they had sent a courtesy email. Bye Photobucket!

  5. owl said on June 16, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Photobucket alternatives: Pixelfed
    Pixelfed is an image sharing platform with focus on Privacy, Safety and Security, an ethical alternative to centralized platforms like Instagram. Federated, Ad-Free, No algorithms (Timelines in order), No 3rd party analytics or tracking. Can run on your own server.

    1. Rex said on June 17, 2023 at 8:39 am

      Pixelfed is more of an open & federated Instagram clone than an image hosting service.

  6. upp said on June 16, 2023 at 4:26 am

    Wtf people still using this garbage ?

  7. Scroogled said on June 15, 2023 at 10:43 pm

    I had no idea that garbage firm was still in business.

  8. John G. said on June 15, 2023 at 10:42 pm

    The worst decision of the worst company ever. Nobody should trust its services, never.

  9. jazzy said on June 15, 2023 at 10:50 am

    digging their own grave, stupid is as stupid does is the trend

    1. Timbo said on June 15, 2023 at 5:05 pm

      Right? The audacity they have to charge money for a service! Unbelievable.

      1. Mystique said on June 16, 2023 at 8:46 am

        It’s not about charging for the service, it’s the way in which this service conducted itself in the past and now which is despicable.

        They are basically holding peoples images/property to ransom behind a paywall.

        Nobody should be using their services. Just like Reddit and the others it is the behaviour of these scumbags that makes it an issue.

        When Zippyshare decided to pack it up they gave a fair warning and received an outpouring of support and kind messages. At no time did they didn’t start demanding money or hold peoples files to ransom. Photobucket is a scumbag and I am quite sure they are aware of that.

        Yes! You are right though… “The AUDACITY!”

  10. Mystique said on June 15, 2023 at 8:02 am

    This service is trash. It caused a lot of problems all over the internet a few years ago when they went rogue particularly hobby forums with how to guides and stuff.
    Never depend on one source for your images.

    They must have seen Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, imgur attempting to challenge their role as king scumbag and decided to remind people how bad they are.

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