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Free Photo Hosting

Before one can understand the pros and cons of free photo hosting, one must understand what photo hosting, or image hosting, is. This article defines photo hosting, the pros and cons of free photo hosting, and offers tips on choosing free photo hosting providers.

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What Is Photo Hosting?

Photo hosting is a file hosting service that specializes in a particular type of file. By specializing, it can offer upgrades and services that are likely to appeal to a subset of people searching for file hosting and can ignore the needs of people who need file hosting for, say, Word documents.

What Is Free Photo Hosting?

Free photo hosting is hosting restricted to photo files as a service for which you do not need to pay. Photo web hosting>, like other types of hosting services, provides you with several guaranteed advantages (and—depending on the service—may also provide others). First of all, it can provide back-up storage. Because photo files are characteristically larger than word processing documents, for example, they can fill up your hard drive quickly, so photo hosting can also free up space on your hard drive. Free photo hosting can also increase your access to your files. If you are away from home and computer, say, if your photos are accessible through an online photo hosting service, you can still access them to share with friends or for work.

Beyond simply having another copy that is accessible in other ways, free photo hosting sites often provide gallery display capabilities. This means that you can display images for family, friends, clients or potential clients, and—depending on the service—for sale or sharing with others.

Choosing Free Photo Hosting

As you consider various free photo hosting services, it is important that you read the terms of service. Any free photo hosting service that doesn't provide terms of service is not a good place for your photos. Check to see if your access can be shut down without warning and make sure that your rights to your work are maintained. 

It's also important to check for the type and size of files you are allowed to upload. If your photos exceed the maximum, then the service, obviously, won't work well for you. Also, learn what you can about the ways you can access the service. Typical options include ftp, but email or an uploading tool may also be options. A number of photo hosting sites also allow the uploading of images, so if you have, for example, vector images, too, you might want to search for a site on which you can store or display both.

Speaking of display, check the options for sharing your work with others. How do the galleries work, and will the features suit your needs? If you think this will be an ongoing project, check the hosting for services you might need (making your images into a calendar or book, for example) or upgrades that would give you more space. Presumably, once you have your files uploaded and organized, you're not going to want to have to switch services because you're out of space. Flickr and PhotoBucket are services that many people have been happy with.

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