If you're a regular on my blog then you may have noticed that some of my blog entries like my phone reviews have missing photos or screenshots. I've been finding the best free method to maintain my blog since it's just a hobby with little ads. What has worked for me in a long time has been to use BlogSpot for my blogging with images hosted on imageshack. Unfortunately Imageshack isn't very reliable so I'm considering my options and thought I'd write a short entry on it and why I chose what I did. And surprisingly it's a new service that I'm trying out right now.
So let's start with my experiences on some of the popular image hosting sites I've used after the jump.
For the last 3 years I've been using Imageshack.us to host my images. I like it because it's fast to upload, a thumbnail is automatically generated for photos, keeps my original files intact (within a certain file size), the URL to the image is easy to access, and it's unlimited storage. A great addition to the imageshack was the multiple image upload through Flash. Image editing tools offered are 8 different sizes but they only store a thumbnail and the image. One major drawback to the service, that has led me to start looking for alternatives, is my images frequently disappear because one or more of their servers are down.
I use to use this service a long time ago but the 1GB limit of storage that will automatically delete your oldest images isn't ideal for people like me who needs their images indefinitely to maintain a blog. A positive point to Photobucket are their wealth of integrated photo editing options such as cropping, red-eye, and even auto-fix. There are some more obscure ones such as bulge/pinch and even support for layers! The servers were very slow and their pages are littered with ads. The maximum image size of 1MB and 1024x768 pixels is laughable. This easily forced me off Photobucket.
My photo bar at the top right is powered by Flickr. So why don't I just use Flickr for all my photo needs? I don't like the organization tools they have with collections. It's just overly complicated so all my images end up in one big bucket. There's also limited storage if you're not a paid member. Being limited by bandwidth on the images you upload didn't work for me since I upload in bursts like after a vacation I'll have a ton of photos to upload. Only being able to see the last 200 images I uploaded meant I couldn't manage my older images either. Lucky for me, Rogers Highspeed gives me access to the paid functions in Flickr but how do I know if I'll be with Rogers forever.
So now enter Ovi, Nokia's push into the crowded services space. Ovi offers unlimited uploads, no stated bandwidth limit, image file size limit of 100MB, support multiple image upload through an Active X plug-in (unfortunate for Mac users out there), free, and fast web site. Ovi store images in 5 different sizes. There isn't a lot of editing options available compared to the other services but most people will find rotate, contrast, and brightness sufficient. I don't like how they don't offer an easy way to get the image's URL for posting.
I quickly summarized some of the variety of limits and services each of the image hosts I mentioned in the table below:
|Cost||Free / Pro||Free / Pro||Free / Pro||Free|
|Image Size Limit||1.53MB/3MB||1MB/5MB||10MB/20MB||100MB|
|Total Space Limit||Unlimited||1G/10GB||100MB upload per month and last 200 images available/unlimited||Unlimited|
|Multiple Image Upload||Yes (Flash)||Yes (Flash)||Yes (Flash)||Yes (Active X)|
|Mobile Upload||No||Yes (e-mail, Shozu)||Yes (S60, Shozu)||Yes (S60, e-mail)|
|Keeps original image||Yes||Yes (no direct link)||No/Yes||Yes (no direct link)|
|Optional Image Resize||Yes (8 sizes)||Yes (7 sizes)||Yes (8 sizes)||No|
|Photo sets||unlimited tags||unlimited||3/unlimited||Unlimited|
|Editing Options||Rotate||Resize, Rotate, Crap, Red-eye, auto-fix, etc.||Rotate, Picnik (Auto-fix, Crop, Resize, Exposure, Colors, Sharpen, Red-eye)||Brightness, Contrast, Rotate|
Nokia Ovi offers a compelling service compared to other image hosting sites. Ovi easily matches key features offered for a fee by other services. Although it may lack the community in Flickr or the quick upload and shortcuts in Imageshack it is still a young service. I have high hopes for Ovi and will be migrating to Ovi for my image hosting. I'll keep you updated with my experiences with Ovi image hosting on this blog entry.
*07/15 updated with Original Size