Thanks to digital photos, people can take many photos of a single moment. Before the advent of digital photos, people had to hope they caught great shots with their cameras. Unlike with digital cameras, photographers took care when they pressed the button. That’s because the more photos you take, the more film you use. And you can’t select which image to develop. Photo developers processed the entire roll.
Now, you can easily share your digital photos and files with friends and family. Most send a photo or two through a text message, direct message, or email. Those routes work fine for a photo or two. However, sharing more than 10 photos and one video can be too much. Media files, especially video, consume more storage than documents and text files.
Reasons to Use Free File Hosting
Your phone may contain recent photos. But phones break or get stolen. Those recent photos could be gone for good. It depends on a few factors. For one, your phone settings. Did you have cloud storage and sharing turned on? If you do, it may not have enough space for your more recent photos. It doesn’t take much to fill up a phone with more than 5 GB of photos and videos.
If you want to share an image in a forum, you may need to upload it to a file sharing site. Some forums don’t allow you to upload images. Instead, you post a link to the image. This is called hotlinking.
Of course, family photos and videos are irreplaceable. You can’t recreate the moment of babies taking their first bath. Children grow so fast. No longer do you need to back up your photos by burning all your photos to a CD.
Instead, you can save your precious memories on a free online image storage site. This provides additional reassurance. If your computer or device crashes, your photos remain safe in the cloud.
Designers, photographers, and other creative professionals create an online portfolio of their work. It’s important these professionals search for reliable file hosting sites. They wouldn’t want to lose an opportunity because a prospect couldn’t view their work.
These are some of the many reasons why you may seek free file hosting. How do you choose the right free file hosting site?
Factors to Look for in a Free File Hosting Service
The factors to think about depend on how you plan to use free file hosting. Maybe you’re seeking online image storage or free file management. Perhaps, you want free file syncing software to back up and keep your files in sync. Whatever the goal, here are factors to think about.
One thing most everyone wants from a file hosting service is as much storage space as possible. File hosting services vary on how much space comes included with the free plan. Don’t let the one with the highest amount of free space be your own reason for choosing it. The service could have a file size threshold or another limitation.
Free services tend to sacrifice speed. If the file hosting service offers a premium plan, it will give priority to paying users. Most services have decent speeds. However, images and videos are larger than the average file. They take longer to upload and download. Review the service’s notes about speed and test it.
Most photo services accept JPG files. Some also allow PNG, TIF, BMP, GIF, and animated GIF. For video files, you’ll want to see if the service allows MP4 and other video file types.
Anywhere, any device access
How important is it to be able to upload and download files from a mobile device? A mobile app can make file management easier than with websites.
One concern about free file hosting is security. After all, you get what you pay for. The security may not be as good as those with premium accounts. Still, most free file hosting services provide some type of security. Moreover, not everyone is comfortable with saving files in the cloud. They’d rather keep their files on their own computers and devices.
Photographers and other creatives will want to showcase their work in a portfolio that’s easy to browse and navigate. Some services include the ability to categorize and sort files. For instance, a photographer could specialize in weddings and graduation photos. Graduates won’t want to look at wedding photos and vice versa. Having the ability to sort by theme allows their clients to browse the category of interest.
Several image hosting services are communities in which users can like and comment on images. People don’t use these for file storage. Rather, they visit them for the smiles and laughs.
Best Free Image Hosting Sites
As you browse these file hosting sites, you’ll discover each is different with little similarities. Each has specific features designed with a certain user in mind.
When talking about file sharing, many think of Dropbox first. One reason the service grew by leaps and bounds because users could gain more free storage by referring others. Access it by going to dropbox.com in any web browser.
Dropbox has mobile and desktop apps for effortlessly managing your files on small devices. Its desktop file management app allows you to seamlessly manage files between your computer and Dropbox’s cloud.
Flickr is an online photo management service that helps its users share and organize images and videos. With a free account, you can upload up to 1,000 photos. People on free accounts will see ads, but they won’t receive stats for their photos. The service has an app for viewing and managing images.
Unlike most free online image storage services, Flickr is more like a social network for photos. Users can comment on photos and follow others. An interesting tidbit to note is that Flickr is owned by SmugMug, a paid video and image sharing and hosting service.
Free Image Hosting
It may not look like much, but Free Image Hosting is 100 percent free. The service is supported by advertisers. The one advantage of Free Image Hosting is that you can upload files without an account. You’ll receive a link to the image for posting and sharing. Free always comes with a price. In this case, the maximum file size is 3,000 KB.
Be aware that the service converts BMP files to JPG to reduce the file size. Barring any unexpected events, the service will keep your image forever. But the service may delete an image when it’s used on a website with high bandwidth. You can use Free Image Hosting for legal images except for adult-rated ones.
Before digging into Google Drive, here’s a little background. Android is an operating system developed by an alliance of developers and sponsored by Google. That said, Google Drive is integrated with Android devices for effortless file management. Should you use an iOS device, you can install the Google Drive app or go to drive.google.com in a web browser.
Each file on Google Drive gets its own link. You can designate someone as a viewer, commenter, or editor for every file or folder. While Google Drive comes with 15 GB on the free plan, it counts everything you have on Google. Gmail and its attachments, Google Docs, and Google Sheets all count toward the allotment.
Since it’s a cloud storage service from Apple, iCloud works seamlessly with Apple’s iOS devices and macOS computers. Offering up to 5 GB of storage, users can automatically transfer files between their devices and iCloud. Storage includes photos, videos, files, notes, apps, and other data. Adding more storage will require switching to a paid plan.
One option to access your files is by going to icloud.com in a web browser. You don’t need an app for iOS or macOS devices because iCloud is built-in. Windows users can download iCloud for Windows. While you can share albums with friends and family, it’s not as easy as it is with other image hosting services. The options can be confusing and take some playing with to get it right.
Although a subscription-based image hosting service, ImageShack has a free account option that limits bandwidth to 10 GB per month. When you sign up for an account, you’ll get a free 30-day trial. As soon as the trial ends, the premium features will become unavailable. The service will continue to host your images if the bandwidth remains under 10 GB. The free account has unlimited uploads. That is, if the bandwidth doesn’t exceed 10 GB.
ImageShack has a following feature for staying up to date with friends, family, and favorite photographers. However, if you prefer no one to follow you, you can opt out. Paid plans are available for upgrading. They also have a mobile app for managing your images.
What makes Imgur different from most file hosting sites is that it considers itself an image sharing community. In other words, it’s a visual social network like Instagram. People browse memes, animated GIFs, and funny and inspiring images on the website or mobile app. People use Imgur to post images for others to share, like, and comment. They don’t use it to store files.
Although similar to Flickr, Imgur is less photography and more memes and funny videos. You can browse by hashtags and keywords. Check out what happens to this cute pup who gets ahold of a bracelet.
Windows 10 users will find that Microsoft OneDrive comes fused in the operating system. Open File Explorer and you’ll see OneDrive has its own folder. Any file you move into OneDrive automatically syncs with the Microsoft cloud. The service is free as long as you don’t go over 5 GB. You can store Microsoft Office documents as well as photos and videos.
Owners of Apple and Android phones can download the OneDrive app to manage photos and files. With the app, you can view and share your files. It can also automatically backup the files on your phone.
How Do I Pick the Right Free File Hosting Site?
These eight free file hosting services have different purposes. What are you looking for? Do you want community and humor? Imgur may be the ticket. Do you need a portfolio of your work? Flickr may fit the bill. If you have a WordPress website, you may be better off with a portfolio plug-in and using Google Drive, One Drive, or iCloud for storage.
Your choices are many. Make a list of your requirements. Prioritize them from most important to least important.
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