There’s a question every serious blogger will inevitably face: where to host photos. Many Web hosts and blog platforms provide a certain amount of space for hosting photos, but the space limits or upgrade costs can become restrictive. An alternative option is to use a photo sharing service like Flickr, Picasa or SmugMug to store the images you plan to use for your blog.
Benefits of Hosting on a Photo Sharing Service
Hosting photos on a photo sharing service is becoming an increasingly popular solution. Even large, established companies regularly use this approach–an example is the way Rackspace has used Flickr to host a huge collection of photos from their company-wide events. One of the obvious benefits is cost. Most photo sharing sites offer free accounts with fairly generous upload and hosting limits. With an inexpensive upgrade you can get large and cost-effective increases. On Flickr, for example, you can get unlimited photo hosting and uploads for under $2 per month.
Reliability is another benefit of hosting your pictures on a photo sharing site. These websites specialize in storing vast volumes of photos in a way that’s efficient, easy to access and consistently stable. They have a vested interest in making sure their hosting service stays excellent.
Of course, there are drawbacks as well. The main one from most bloggers’ perspectives is that they’re depending on a third party to host their photos. More specifically, you are storing your photos on a service that is completely unrelated to where your blog is hosted. If the service goes down, your blog loses its pictures.
How to Set Up Flickr Hosting for a WordPress Blog
Let’s take a look at how to use Flickr to host photos on a WordPress blog. These are two of the big players in their respective fields, so the approach here is representative regardless of which blog platform and photo service you’re planning to use.
- Upload your photos to Flickr. This will save the photos onto Flickr’s Web servers.
- To find the Web address of the photo you plan to use, find that photo in your Flickr stream, then click the “Share” menu.
- Copy the photo’s URL to the clipboard.
- In WordPress, click the “Image” button to insert an image and choose the “From URL” tab in the dialog that opens.
- Paste the URL into the “Image URL” text box to indicate the address of the photo you’re inserting. Fill out the rest of the information as desired.
If you’d like more detail, here are a couple more useful tutorials.
If you’re creating an image-heavy blog, you can get a lot of mileage out of a third-party photo service. Advanced bloggers may balk at the loss of control. Many users–including those in the hosting business like Rackspace–find these services inexpensive, reliable and easy to use.