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Cloud Storage vs. Image Hosts: Which Should You Use to Back Up Your Media?

Smartphones with eight-megapixel (or higher) cameras and the DSLR revolution have helped create a new wave of amateur photographers and videographers. There are 3.5 million photos uploaded to Flickr alone every day, according to The Verge. When you capture your memories in the digital camera age, you quickly fill up hard drives, SD cards, your roommate’s hard drives and every bit of storage you can get your hands on. Image hosts and general cloud file storage offer two alternate methods of backing up your photos that don’t require a dedicated room in your house for external hard drives.

Image Hosts

Image hosting services are, at the most basic, Web hosts that specialize in photo file storage. They have features such as galleries, easy social network sharing, tags and other ways to present your photos to your adoring fans. Most also have multiple privacy settings, so you’re only sharing the photos you want to share. Several image hosts are available that give you a significant amount of photo storage space for free, such as Flickr, Imgur and Photobucket.
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When you’re selecting an image host, you want to go for reputable services with great availability. The last thing you want to deal with is an image host that constantly crashes and is unavailable. Check out where other users are storing their images. Ask around.
Also, take a look at the style of image hosts. Lifehacker reports that some, such as Photobucket, are more akin to a social network than a plain image host, which could work out great or disastrously, depending on what you’re going for.

Cloud Storage

If you don’t need galleries, portfolios, social networks or any of the other bells and whistles that come with image hosts, consider a standard cloud storage account. Like the image hosts, your photos are stored online in remote servers, so you can access them wherever and whenever you have Internet access. Your photos are safe even if your physical hard drive gets destroyed in a disaster. Cloud storage uses multiple servers in a distributed resources environment to make it less expensive than a standard Web hosting account with the same specifications. This mitigates any problems due to hardware failure, since there is always redundant equipment in place. You do need to have a solid Internet connection, reports, since uploading a large photo collection takes quite a bit of time.


Some cloud storage services to consider for your photo backups include Dropbox, which has free, paid and business tiers; Google Drive, which starts you off with 15 gigs for free and integrates with the rest of your Google services; and Microsoft SkyDrive, which Digital Trends recommends as the most feature-rich of them all. When you select a cloud storage service, look at your budget range, the capacity provided, integration with third-party services such as social networks, and app availability to make it easy to upload your files directly from your smartphone.

Written by Jake Fruia

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