What is photo hosting?
Photo hosting is only for selling photographs. That’s what I thought, at one stage.
update: I’ve written a huge review of online photo hosts as a complement to this article. The link is at the bottom of this page too.
Travel blogs & photographs generally go hand in hand. And, rightfully so. The main reason I started putting so many photographs up here, was not to attract people (even if it now does), it was simply a place to hang my memories.
I don’t have a permanent place to live, so an important aspect of this website was to have a place I could go and remember places & people. And, to keep them safe!
Online / Offline realities of photo hosting
So what happens when an earthquake hits your house? The travel photographs fall. This happened to my website last October.
My journey was featured on the front page of La Republica (a main stream Italian Newspaper). Over 50,000 people came to my site that day. My hosting provider shut off my site as they thought it was an attack.
Thankfully my web host is very quick to respond, and had the site up again in a few minutes. But, it came with a warning:
“You won’t stay up for more than a day, you’ve too many photos, it’s eating up your bandwidth …”
What? I had spent countless hours processing all my photographs so that they would be resized, and tiny. Isn’t that what all the webmasters tell you?
Optimize your images for display! Most of my images were only 43kb!
But then I have large headers weighing in at 150-200kb. And then, on the travel blog, I had some at 300kb.
How could I get them any smaller without killing the very reason they were there … to be seen?!!
The problem with website hosts
Website hosting firms are not all what they seem. They have file limits, and even unlimited bandwidth does not mean unlimited.
Someone from fair trade or the better business bureau really needs to do something about the latter.
Travel photographs suck bandwidth.
Let’s look under the cover of our photos on a website briefly to understand this. If I shoot a photo in RAW, its 20MB+, process it to JPEG it’s 12MB+, resize to 300×220 it’s 500kb-1MB, optimize and it’s down to 50kb.
That’s great! For a website that has only a few people visiting it.
10 ppl x 50kb = 500kb or .5MB of bandwidth
50,000 x 50kb = 2 500 000kb or 2 441MB or just about 2.5 GB
That’s a lot, and it’s only one image! That has been optimized?!!
Now for a hidden killer. WordPress, self hosted blogs, consume a lot of resources, CPU & bandwidth. It’s yet another burden many travel bloggers don’t take into account.
Host a lot of travel photographs yourself using WordPress – and you might have your whole travel blog banned by your host. With or without a lot of people visiting.
I had 1000’s of images. Was I doomed?
The answer to online photo hosting
Host travel photographs on a specific photo hosting site and link them to your website. Photography hosting is not as expensive, in general, as web hosting. Some are even free.
Hosting your travel photography on a photo host will remove all that bandwidth from a website, and even cut costs. What’s more there are some huge advantages from hosting photographs externally.
Advantages of photo hosting externally:
- Save web hosting bandwidth & costs
- Display larger images on your website without worry
- Another source for people to see your work
- Forums to help you improve your photography
- Photographs are backed up securely
- Protect the original photograph from being stolen or copied
- Add watermarks easily
- Only show certain sizes of your photograph publicly
- A little more time is needed to login, upload elsewhere, and then link.
- New learning curve (is that a bad thing)
- Small increase in yearly expenses
(All of the above plus a lot more is covered in my comprehensive review of online photo hosts and online storage providers, see Including direct company comparisons, top picks, alternatives, how to protect your photographs from theft, and much, much more )
Use what I learned before it’s too late
Thankfully the way I built my website I was able to stay online during this huge spike in traffic, and the ones that have occurred since then. But it did take me weeks, to transfer all my photographs to my photo host, redo all the links. This in turn cost me a lot financially, and in time, as I had to extend my stay in a place with wi-fi.
If you are starting a travel blog or any blog with many photographs, or already have one up and running and hope to have a lot of people visiting it. Take the above into account. Start hosting photographs on a photo host now. Before it will cost extra time, money, and a lost travel blog.
I am preparing two follow-up articles to this, including a giant review of storage & photo hosts that I have tested out personally. If there’s something you would like covered, now would be a good time to leave a comment / request.
The review page is now live here: Online storage & photo hosting reviews (please be warned, it’s a quite a big review)
Part 2: Online file storage, why every good traveler needs some. Plus a review with names & links to over 20 storage providers!
This is an additional article written to help others in travel & life