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Muna Mohamed
Muna Mohamed

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What image-hosting sites do you use?

Hi everyone 🙂! I'm curious to know what image hosting sites you use and if you have any recommendations.

I'm an avid user of Cloudinary but there's quite a gap between the free plan and the paid plan ($99/month). Are there any inexpensive (or free) image-hosting sites that offer a moderate amount of storage and bandwidth?

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Ben Halpern

Cloudinary is nice because of on-the-fly manipulation and its ability to serve different image formats in different scenarios. But you're definitely right that it comes at a premium.

If you don't need the manipulation services, it somewhat depends on your context. Is hosting the images through a CDN baked into your host itself and maybe you don't have to worry about it?

For what it's worth I'll provide one good option that might be overkill for some indie scenarios:

Host the images on Amazon S3 (simple storage service) and connect an Amazon Cloudfront distribution for the serving of the images. Cloudfront will sit in front of the storage bucket to serve the images as fast as possible.

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Subbu Lakshmanan

I too use Amazon S3 for the images that I add to my blog. My usage is very minimal and there’s not a whole lot of images, so the cost is very minimal. As it’s only for the blogs, I didn’t investigate in Cloudfront(I am going to check it out).

Amazon S3 is a good place to start and based on your purpose, you could extend the idea.

P.S: HipChat a popular Enterprise chat app uses S3 for the files shared in the chat. So S3 can scale well.

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Ben Halpern

S3 is great for storage and you can serve direct, but Cloudfront cuts down on latency to make the image load a split second faster. It's a small thing but worth doing on the web and once you have it set up it's as simple as serving direct from S3.

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munamohamed94 profile image
Muna Mohamed Author

Nice! I'm familiar with S3 but I haven't heard about the S3 + Cloudfront before. Will definitely check it out! Thank you both for the recommendations! :)

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Daniel da Rocha
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Michael "notriddle" Howell

CloudFront is a pull CDN, meaning that it fetches a file when someone requests it so that next time it's physically closer to them. It is not a magic "make it faster" panacea.

If a file is expected to be requested by a lot of people in a lot of different places, like on a popular website, it'll make it faster. If it's being uploaded by one person and downloaded by one other person, like in a chat app, it'll probably make it slower.

A push CDN might make everything faster all the time, but those are even more expensive.

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Adnan Rahić

I just use GitHub as a CDN. Haven't had any issues so far. :)

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Roger K.

How do you mean 'use GitHub as a cdn'? Do you just upload your images there or are you doing something special? I'm confused by your statement and my understanding of a CDN. Sorry for the silly question, but please clarify so I can learn.

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Jonathan Völkle

Are you hitting any limits?

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Adnan Rahić

Haven't faced any issues yet. Hopefully, that won't change. But I'm not hosting gigabytes of images though. In that case, I'd just go with S3 and save myself from sleepless nights.

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Muna Mohamed Author

Interesting! Hadn't thought of using it as a CDN for that purpose 🤔.Thank you for the suggestion Adnan!

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Adnan Rahić

You're welcome! :)

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Strahinja Babić

If you are referring to sites like Imgur or lightshot, then I highly recommend
image.ibb.co have discovered it recently and works really good :)
Some PNGs that i have put into my recent project weren't able to load, and i found that page and helped me big time :D

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Muna Mohamed Author

Awesome! I've used Imgur before (and a whole host of other websites like it) but they always go down and my images disappear. I will give image.ibb.co a go! Thank you for the recommendation!

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Ran Rubinstein

Curious, what's the usage limit you're hitting on Cloudinary that's pushing you to find a different solution? If it's bandwidth on a personal project, this can usually be solved: send a quick email to Cloudinary support and they should be able to give you advice on how to deliver more optimized videos/images and keep you within the free plan.

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Muna Mohamed Author • Edited on

Hi Ran, I've been looking into alternatives because I've gone over the bandwidth limit on Cloudinary due to several of my pens being picked on Codepen (which I didn't account for happening) but I've since optimized the images using an image optimization app and moved the images to another image hosting site that I've been using as well. Thank you for the advice Ran, it's much appreciated! :)

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Namir

We use Filestack, which is similar to Cloudinary or uploadcare as far as I know, and we are pretty happy with it.

You can store your files in S3 or different storage providers, and it comes with a customizable upload dialog with built-in edition. Also has an API for transformations, which is really good if you want to deliver images in different formats, compress videos, etc

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Tom Dale

imgix can certainly be cheaper alternative between the free and $99 tier at Cloudinary. 100% clarity here, I am an employee at imgix. That's being said, no one's paying me to convince people to leave Cloudinary's $99 plan and I think Cloudinary is a great service. imgix just has differing viewpoints on pricing and hosting; they will not host your images. You leave your images wherever they are and imgix connects (S3, GCS, web folder, proxy, etc). imgix makes you pay for unique master images with unlimited image renders. So if you want to have more than 2 renders (transformations) for a responsive design, then imgix will make more sense for you.

You also just pay for what you use each month ($10 minimum, sorry no free tier). So if you are outside Cloudinary's free tier and well below $99, it's a much cheaper idea. If you want to do a lot of transformations it's also a cheaper idea to go with imgix at the higher level tiers. We don't have tiers, but we do lower pricing for you as grow.

Hope this was helpful for you!

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Kamal Mustafa

A simple website to upload images which then store it on S3 definitely something I want to build if got some free time. I have the same observation that most of the services in this area come with huge gap between the free plan and the paid one. The paid plan definitely not something we want (or can afford) and the free one just not enough.

I also like the way dev.to handle image upload, very practical and in term of implementing it, doesn't have to deal with lot of UI quirk.

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Paul Wanjohi

My comment may be long overdue, nonetheless i found this from Wes Bos-Syntax podcast
open.spotify.com/episode/1Stb1exYs...

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munamohamed94 profile image
Muna Mohamed Author

Not at all! Thank you very much, Paul! I'll be adding this episode to my playlist 😄

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ComputerSmiths

Another vote for Amazon S3, I’m just converting a bunch of webcam stills from a MacMini Server to S3 and it’s not only easy, but very responsive. Look for "How To Host, Secure, and Deliver Static Websites on Amazon Web Services" ebook for easy setup instructions.

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Gabe Ragland

I'm a huge fan of imgix.com, which also does image resizing and manipulation via url parameters, but you'll need to point it to an image store like s3 or your server. They bill by usage starting at $10/month.

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Adrian B.G.

For small or free projects I haven't used special image hosting websites, but rather use a cheap hosting and transform the images myself.
AWS S3 and backblaze.com both have a nice free plan.

They number of requests can be dramatically reduced (and bandwidth) by using a CDN (CloudFlare has an amazing free tier).

Sites like imgur do not allow their service to be used as a hosting.

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Muna Mohamed Author

Thank you for the suggestion Adrian! Haven't come across backblaze - will look into it 👍!

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Josh

I use AWS to host my digital assets (sites, images and videos). If you are looking to use AWS, I think you should try Simple Silo (simplesilo.app), they automate the configuration of AWS for you, leaving you with a web bucket that you can host your files. Plans start at £5 per month which is reasonable compared to the jump to cloudinary.

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Dávid Szabó

rsz.io

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Muna Mohamed Author

Thank you for the recommendation Dávid!

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Adam Crockett

AWS S3

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Muna Mohamed Author

Thank you for sharing Adam! AWS S3 seems to be a popular choice amongst devs :)

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Ben Halpern

In terms of direct Cloudinary comparisons, Imgix and Imagekit come to mind, but I haven’t used either.

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Chris Moore

Worth checking out Libpixel too. My team have only had good experiences with them. They've got a 14 day trial so you can give it a play before committing to anything.

libpixel.com

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Adam Gerthel

I use Cloudinary. Its API is not great, and the UI is a bit so-so, but all in all, it's a good service, and their free tier is actually pretty generous imho.

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Klaus

AWS S3.

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derk-wola

I use firebase/storage

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Luigui Moreno

Digital ocean Spaces + CDN is another cheap alternative, but it doesn't have image resizing nor manipulation, digitalocean.com/docs/spaces/

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