Taking hundreds of pictures is fun - but finding a reliable way to share them with family and friends, or even with the World Wide Web can be a bit tricky.
That’s where having a photo hosting site comes into play.
The best photo sharing site will let you easily upload, store, and share your photos, as well as access them from anywhere.
But when it comes to choosing the right image hosting service for you, there are a lot of options with different sharing mechanisms, storage limits, and features.
Without further ado, these are the best free image hosting sites for getting your photos online:
- Flickr (Social media-focused photo sharing)
- Google Photos (Automatic image backup with unlimited storage for smartphone photos)
- Imgur (Simple URL-based image sharing across the Internet)
- ImageVenue (Unlimited photo storage for images under 6 MB)
- 500px (Instant portfolios with many social media features)
- imgbox (Unlimited image hosting for blogs and websites)
- Facebook (Auto-identification and tagging of friends and family in images)
Recommended for: Mobile photo uploading and viewing.
Flickr is one of the most widely used photo-hosting services, with over 90 million monthly users. The platform styles itself as social media for photo sharing, which means there is a strong emphasis on following other photographers and sharing photos. You can join groups based on photography interests, comment on photos, and easily start discussions with other Flickr members.
In addition, you can automatically upload photos to your Flickr account from your computer, or even Dropbox, using the Flickr Uploader app. Alternatively, Flickr has a mobile app that lets you share photos directly from your phone and explore what other photographers are adding.
Once your photos are online, you can organize them into albums. Albums can be shared with the entire Flickr community or with just selected groups of friends and family. It’s also easy to embed photos from Flickr across the Internet or to share them across social media platforms.
The only downside to using Flickr as a free image hosting site is that you’re limited to 1,000 photos for free. That’s down from 1 TB of free storage in the past and, depending on how many photos you take, it can be easy to reach the storage limit.
- Social platform for photo sharing
- Mobile app available
- Can share albums with selected users
- Easily share photos across social media
- Limited to 1,000 photo uploads for free
Recommended for: Integrated photo sharing and editing.
For anyone with a Google account, Google photos integrates seamlessly with your Gmail and Google Drive to make it simple to share photos. This photo hosting service lacks the social media flair of Flickr since Google+ was shut down. But, it’s still easy to share links to individual photos or to entire Google Photos albums through email or text message.
Another advantage of using Google Photos is that the platform has an automatic backup feature. When turned on, Google Photos will regularly ingest photos from your computer or smartphone. This means you always have a cloud backup of your photos. Plus, the more you use Google Photos, the better the platform gets at automatically organizing your images into albums for you.
Better yet, you have the option to fully tag and describe your photos for easy searching later. Google Photos even includes a decent suite of image editing tools. That means you can clean up your photos and share them all from a single app or browser page.
Storage is unlimited if you only take photos with your smartphone and upload through the mobile app. But, if you take photos with a DSLR and upload via your computer, your storage eats into your Google Drive account (10 GB free).
- Integrates with Gmail and Google Drive
- Automatic backups
- Image editing tools are included
- Unlimited smartphone photo storage
- Fewer social media sharing options
- DLSR photos use your Google Drive storage space
Recommended for: Sharing photos across the Internet.
Imgur is a lightning-fast image upload site that is designed to make your photos available to the entire Internet community. While Imgur boasts a community of its own, the platform has also become the image hosting service of choice for social media sites like Reddit and Twitter.
You don’t even need an account to upload to Imgur, which is ideal if you’re only looking for a photo hosting site to share one-off images with an online community or friends and family. In that case, you can share your photos using a direct link that never expires.
If you do create an account, you get unlimited storage and the ability to create albums, tag your images, and send photos as email attachments. You can also choose to share your images with the entire Imgur community or to store images in private albums.
Imgur supports photos up to 20 MB in size and also provides a home for GIFs up to 200 MB in size. Another advantage to this photo hosting site is that it accepts a wider range of file types than other free image hosting sites. This includes PDF, TIF, and PNG images.
- Widely used for image embedding
- Social community for discovering images
- No account needed to upload images
- Accepts a wide range of file formats
- No image editing tools
Recommended for: Unlimited hosting of JPEG images less than 6 MB in size.
ImageVenue provides a stripped-down version of photo hosting compared to many other image hosting services. However, it’s ideal for anyone who needs to store large quantities of photos for free and wants to share them easily.
Photos on ImageVenue are limited to 6 MB in size, which can be an issue if you’re shooting with a DSLR. But if you have a ton of small photos, you’re in luck because free accounts can upload up to 6 GB worth of photos per month. Once uploaded, your images never expire.
One thing to watch out for when using ImageVenue is that the platform only accepts JPEG files. For photos, this typically isn’t an issue. However, it can make ImageVenue a less than ideal solution for graphic designers and creatives using other image formats. RAW or PNG files are simply out of question.
In addition, note that images are automatically resized when you upload. However, this can be a benefit for blogs and other websites, since ImageVenue also automatically creates small thumbnails for each of your images. You can easily embed photos or thumbnails in your site using direct links to your photo on ImageVenue.
- Unlimited storage for small images
- Images automatically resized for websites and blogs
- Images never expire
- Limited to 6 MB uploads
- Only accepts JPEG files
Recommended for: Creating instant portfolios and finding fellow photographers.
500px was originally designed as a direct competitor to Flickr. But it differs in that it is marketed towards professional photographers and creatives. That said, it’s a solid photo hosting solution for non-professionals as well and it makes it easy to see other people’s photos.
It’s worth noting that 500px is unlike many other free image hosting sites in that the platform isn’t designed for sharing across the Internet. While you can link directly to an image on Flickr using the image’s page URL, there’s no built-in functionality for giving friends and family access to an album. You’ll also have to do some work to share photos directly across your other social media sites.
What 500px offers instead is the ability to easily organize your photos into beautiful portfolios and to tag and caption them. You can also comment on others’ photos, join groups of photographers, and follow photographers whose work you like.
500px is also a great choice for storing large photos like those from a DSLR. There are no file size limits to the images you can upload. However, with a free account, the platform limits you to uploading 20 images per week.
- Easy to create beautiful portfolios
- Image tagging, captioning and commenting
- Social platform for discovering other photographers
- No image upload size limits
- Limited to 20 image uploads per week with free account
- Difficult to share images outside of 500px
Recommended for: Simple unlimited photo storage space.
imgbox is a do-it-all image hosting service and one of the best under-the-radar photo sharing sites. With imgbox, you get unlimited storage space, photos that never expire, and the ability to upload images up to 10 MB in size. On top of that, the image uploader is simple to use and extremely fast.
One of the major advantages to imgbox is that once your images are uploaded, you can easily share them across any main social media site. For embedding images in a blog or website, imgbox automatically creates direct links for each of your photos. Plus, you can choose whether or not you want to allow imgbox users to find and comment on your images.
Options for organizing your photos with imgbox are relatively limited. You can create galleries to keep your photos together, and the drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to move things around. However, there are no built-in functions for tagging, auto-categorizing, or captioning your photos.
- Unlimited image storage space
- Uploads up to 10 MB in size
- Automatic direct links to photos for embedding
- Drag-and-drop interface
- No photo tagging or captioning
Recommended for: Auto-tagging friends and family and sharing low-resolution images.
Facebook isn’t often thought of as a free image hosting site, but in reality, it is one of the largest image hosts on the Internet. And, Facebook offers a huge array of functionality for organizing, tagging, and categorizing your images.
The first feature Facebook offers is the ability to organize your photos into albums and galleries. Moving photos around later on can be time-consuming, but the bulk edit functions make re-organization a bit easier.
On top of that, one unique function that Facebook offers is facial recognition. Facebook will automatically identify your friends and family in your photos, and notify them when you upload new photos of them. Alternatively, you can share your photos on your own profile or on a friend’s profile, or choose to make photos private.
The main issue with using Facebook as your primary photo hosting solution is that Facebook automatically shrinks your photos upon upload. That makes it a relatively unsafe place to back up your images since you won’t be able to download the image at its original resolution later. It also means that friends and family won’t have access to high-resolution images through the platform.
- Automatically recognizes friends and family
- Excellent organizational features
- Photos can be shared easily or made private
- Tagging, captioning and commenting
- Automatically shrinks photos upon upload
Which Free Image Hosting Service Is Right for You?
When it comes to finding the best photo sharing site to get your photos online and delivered to friends and family, there are a lot of options. It's important to consider the features that you need out of a good image hosting site:
- Flickr offers a social photo sharing platform
- Google Photos automatically backs up your images online
- Imgur makes it easy to embed images across the Internet
- ImageVenue gives you unlimited photo storage for images under 6 MB
- 500px allows you to create beautiful portfolios easily
- imgbox offers unlimited image storage for blogs and websites
- Facebook automatically recognizes and tags family and friends in images
Did this guide help you choose a free image hosting site? Let me know in the comments below!