Sharing a photo with friends and family is as easy as a click of a button in today’s world. Dozens of free photo-hosting sites provide large amounts of storage and simple ways to share your photos. But do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Most Popular Photo-Hosting Sites
First, let’s take a look at a few of the most popular photo-hosting sites available today. Most of these sites are free, with options to upgrade to paid accounts.
Instagram: With over 100,000,000 unique visitors every month, Instagram is by far the most popular photo sharing site. Its web and mobile apps make it easy to share photos with your friends and followers even when you’re on the go.
Flickr: Flickr is one of the best known photo-hosting sites, frequently used by both amateurs and professionals for storing and sharing photos. The free basic membership includes 100GB of storage and access to basic photo editing software.
500PX: 500PX is designed to help professional photographers share and sell their work. The free membership includes 20 uploads a week with the option to license the photos in order to earn a little money from them.
Photobucket: Photobucket makes it easy to upload and share your photos through various social media sites. Upload speed is fast, and there are a number of photo editing tools. Basic membership is free but includes ads.
Imgur: Like Photobucket, Imgur makes it easy to share photos through social media and provides tools to show you how many times your photos have been viewed. Free storage space is limited—only 225 items can be saved at any one time.
Picasa: Picasa—Google’s photo storage offering—provides up to 15GB of free storage and plenty of ways to organize your photos, including creating albums and maps of where photos were taken.
Shutterfly: Shutterfly’s biggest draw is its ability to produce fun products like cards, stationery, photo books, quilts, coasters, etc. from your photos. A few free photo prints are also included when you sign up.
Pros of Free Photo Hosting Sites
So what are the top benefits of these photo sharing sites? First, they all provide a free membership, and many include a large amount of storage space with that free membership. Second, most of them make it very easy to share your photos with family, friends, and even the world. Third, simple photo editing tools are included with most of these sites, allowing you to touch up your photos before sharing them. Lastly, some of these sites provide ways to print your photos and make photo gifts such as mugs or photo books.
There’s plenty to love about these free sites. And depending on your needs, one of them may be just what you’re looking for. But many people don’t realize the potential pitfalls that come along with free sites…
Cons of Free Photo Hosting Sites
First, free photo hosting sites have to make their money somehow, and many of them choose to do this through advertising. Seeing ads alongside their photos may deter some users, but what can be more disturbing is how specific ads are chosen for users. Like Facebook and other social media sites, some of these photo sharing sites will use the information you provide through your account and photos to target you with specific advertisements.
Second, although a few of these sites may offer you the option to make a photo private, hidden, or secret, none of them are designed with the security necessary for private photo sharing. Sharing your photos publicly through these sites could easily lead to photo theft, and sometimes it is even possible for people to learn personal information about you through your pictures or determine your location through the geo-tagging software included in some smart phone cameras and photo editing tools.
FamilyArc – a Private Option
If you are a professional photographer hoping to help others discover your work, or if you just want to share a few photos through social media, a free photo-hosting site may be the perfect solution. But if you want to archive your photo library and only share it with your family or a few friends, a private photo-hosting site will be a better option.
FamilyArc is designed to be a private digital archive, meaning that our software provides a way for you to upload and store anything that can be digitized—photos, videos, audio files, documents, etc. Both our individual and family memberships include 100GB of storage for each member, and our Library provides basic photo editing tools.
Additionally, you can turn any photo into a story or social post that will be shared on your Storyline or Activity Feed. This provides an easy way for you to share your photos in a meaningful, engaging way with your family.
Perhaps most importantly, FamilyArc is entirely private and secure. The only people who have access to your account (and therefore to your photos and stories) are the people you choose to give access. Every member must have an account and password to log in, and your more important files can be stored in the Private Vault and encrypted with a unique password for more security.
If you have more questions about FamilyArc or the services we provide, click here to request more information, and one of our representatives will be in touch!