Recently, there has been a lot of reports of problems uploading photos via Blogger, and someone has recommended using PhotoBucket instead. I myself have had only a short spell of problem uploading photos via Blogger, but the problem got resolved either by itself or by using a different browser. See post What to do when you can't upload photos, can't publish, etc. (close new window to get back to this post). But in any case, for me, the problem was transient. Anyway, I thought it will be a good idea to post a comparison between hosting images with Blogger and hosting with third party photo host like PhotoBucket.
Hosting images with BloggerWhen one upload a photo to a post via Blogger, the photo is automatically scaled to fit into the width of the main column width, so you don't have to worry about resizing the photo to do that. To do so, you click on the upload photo icon in the post editor toolbar and a pop-up window will appear. You first have to browse through your computer to find the photo, then make a selection - none, left, right, center, small, medium, large. The result of the choices are explained in this post: Uploading and manipulating photos in Blogger blogs (click "Back" button to get back to this page). In the case of the screenshot of the "upload photo icon" you see in this paragraph above, "none" was chosen, which enable me to put the picture right in the middle of text. With that choice, you can place the photo anywhere you wish.
Hosting images with Blogger is my first choice (others may differ). My reason: Blogger, is owned by the giant Google, and is likely to stay in business for a very long time, and the photos I expect to stay as long as my blog and Blogger. Also, Blogger has a very generous limit for the amount of images we can host for our blogs. This is taken from their Help files: "Number of Pictures: If you are posting pictures through Blogger, Picasa, or Hello to a free BlogSpot blog, there is a total limit of 300 MB. If you are posting them to an FTP-published blog, then you are limited to the amount of space available on your server. SIZE OF PICTURES: If you are posting pictures through Blogger Mobile there is a limit of 250K per picture.".
BTW, if you upload pictures via Blogger, the alt="" is automatically included in the HTML for the image. It would be wise for you to add in some descriptive text in between the quotation marks as search engines can't read photos, but can read the text you put in there, plus if for any reason your image can't be displayed, the description will be shown instead. If you do that, make sure your "Insert" key is set to insert and not overwrite, otherwise you will overwrite the HTML. You can test it with notepad if you are not sure. (Note: you will see the HTML code only if you are in the EDIT HTML mode and not in the COMPOSE mode)
Even if I wish to put a photo in the profile or in the sidebar (this I can't do via the "upload photo icon"), I will still prefer to get Blogger to host my photo. This post will explain how: How to get Blogger to host your photo for the profile, sidebar, etc. (close new window to get back to this page).
However, photos hosted with Blogger tend to have long URL like this one I tried to use for my profile: Descartes said..., Enviroman says... (close new window to get back to this page). That has a character length of 83 whereas the maximum for Blogger classic profile photo URL is 68 (Update: for the New Blogger, this has been increased to 256 characters). Thus for the profile for this blog, the photo is hosted with Photobucket, which uses a shorter URL. This disadvantage may no longer be a hinderance if you are using New Blogger (formerly Blogger beta) because the maximum character length has been increased to 256. BTW, if you are interested in using that cartoon I used for my profile photo to help environmental awareness, you are free to do so. A link back will be highly appreciated, but not compulsory.
Hosting images with PhotobucketThere are other photo hosts, but I will concentrate on PhotoBucket since I can write from personal experience. The profile photo in this blog Enviroman Says (close new window to get back to this page) is hosted with Photobucket because it was my first blog, and that was the way I knew how to do it then. If I ever want to host a photo again for a profile, I will use Blogger. I am using a free account as I do not need the extras for a paid account which is USD25 per year (about $2 per month), and which may be cheap for US bloggers, but for me, translated to my country's currency, is a significant amount. However, there is a requirement for free account holder to log in at least once in 3 months, otherwise the account may be deleted. (Update: this is no longer a requirement as confirmed by writing to PhotoBucket, but they said they reserve the right to delete inactive accounts). Pro accounts are not subjected to this as long as you continue to pay the renewal fee. You can always opt for a paid (Pro) account which will cost you only USD25 a year or just slightly over USD2 per month, and you wouldn't have to worry about having to log in to preserve your account, plus you get higher storage limits, unlimited bandwidth, etc. Only thing you need to remember is to renew your subscription every year.
I don't know how big PhotoBucket is as I live half way around the globe from their headquaters, but my guess is it is a far cry from Google. Its survival as a business is dependent on getting sufficient income from paid accounts and from advertisements. Photobucket may be a big business, I do not know, but I don't think it come anywhere near Google. If the business goes, your photos goes with it. Blogger may close shop too, but then the blog will go with it, together with the photos, and at least one would not have posts hanging with no pictures displayed. However, PhotoBucket has the advantage of being able to upload videos as well. (Note: According to Rose Desrochers, Photobucket is a large company, so you may not need to worry).
Also, if you publish post with images hosted with PhotoBucket, you it will be good for you to be familiar with some basic HTML. Here is a screenshot of a photo hosted with PhotoBucket: . To put the image in your post, you will have to use the image tag <img src="URL of photo" alt="text" width="X" /"> (the URL is in the first box in photobucket. Height is automatically adjusted to preserve the aspect ratio if you leave out height="" and the photo will remain undistorted).
You must know the width of the main column. For this, you will have to get to the template editor window and look for the block of codes
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
This is for the main column of this blog and tells me the width of the main column is 400 pixels, so the width of the photo must be 400px or less. You may leave out the attributes width="" height="" attributes if you want the size to be displayed the same as the actual image, or use Irfanview (click "BACK" button to get back to this page) to resize the photo before you upload it to PhotoBucket. The other way is to include in your tag the width you want for the photo, like <img src=URL of photo" width="395" /> or after loading, change to the COMPOSE mode and grab the corner of the image you see and drag it to whatever size you want, but it is not a method I would use. A little trial and error will be required here. Also, I am very careful about using the COMPOSE mode as if I have included some special code to display HTML codes, and the moment I chose COMPOSE mode, those get convert th HTML when posted, it wouldn't be displayed and I will have to redo the special characters all over again. A bit difficult to explain unless you frequently use such special characters to display HTML codes like I do, and I have to be very careful when I edit posts. This is one reason why Blogger give you the option of having COMPOSE mode or not for your post editor as if one is not careful and use the COMPOSE mode for posts containing special characters, the post will be altered and some characters may no longer be visible and will have to be redone all over again.
If you are lazy and don't want to write the HTML yourself, you can select the second option (Tag) in your PhotoBucket account where the HTML code is already written for you which you can just paste into the post, but in this case, clicking on the picture will not lead you to an enlarged version of the image, but back to PhotoBucket site, and the alt attribute describe Photobucket, not the nature of the photo. Further, you have to ensure that the image concerned has a width less than the width of the main column, or you will have to add in the width="" attribute (height will automatically be rescaled to keep the aspect ratio constant), or resize the image in the COMPOSE mode If the width of the photo is wider thant the width of the main column, it will send your sidebar sliding to the bottom of the page in Internet Explorer.
BTW, I have made the cartoon of Enviroman to be an active link. Try clicking on it and see where it leads you (guaranteed family safe). The actual HTML I used to make the image a clickable link is given below in the box: .
For more control over how your image will be displayed, it will be good for you to learn the various usages of the HTML image tag at HTML Images (close new window to get back to this page).
Other photo hostsA reader of this blog commented (See comments section) that he had frequent problems with uploading images (via Blogger, I presume) and uses http://imageshack.us/ or http://imgspot.com/. With his permission, I decided to check it out to see how good it is and update this post. The moment I landed on http://imageshack.us/, I got not one, but two pop-ups. See thumbscreen (which by the way is hosted by imageshack (click to enlarge): . The advantages of imageshack are that you don't even need to get an account, you get the code for a thumbnail image as one of the many choices, codes to use in forums, etc. and they don't threaten you with deletion of your photos, only thing is if you ever need to use the uploaded image, you will need to remember where to go to get it (I think there is an option for you to register when uploading so that you can get back to the photos you uploaded). Anyway, if you use imageshack, I think it will be a good thing to copy the URL into Notepad and save it so that anytime you want it displayed on the Web, you have it. And they too have to generate enough revenue to stay in business, something that may not be easy in the Internet world where so many people are used to getting/using things for free.
ConclusionWhich method you use I suppose will depend on the circumstances you are in and your own preferences. If for example, you really is having problems uploading via Blogger, and you need to get the photo into the post urgently, I suppose you will have no choice other than hosting it with PhotoBucket, Imagedshack, etc. As for me, as far as possible, I will try to use Blogger, and occasionally PhotoBucket as I already have a free account.
There is also FlickR (owned by Yahoo). I have used it once to blog direct to Blogger, but didn't like it because it gave me few choices. You can also upload via Picasa, the Google photo software, and that host the photos on Blogger. You can get the Picasa software which is included in the Google Pact which you can download by clicking on the text link "Make your PC more useful. Get the free Google Pack" at the top of the right sidebar of this blog.
Items from Amazon
TAO 1-Inch Digital Picture Keychain (Square)
The Better Photo Guide To Digital Photography (Amphoto Guide Series)
Shoot Like a Pro! Digital Photography Techniques (Paperback)
Rick Sammon's Complete Guide to Digital Photography: 107 Lessons on Taking, Making, Editing, Storing, Printing, and Sharing Better Digital Images (Paperback)
d:book Digital 8x8 Scrapbook Kit - Green
Canon PowerShot Pro Series S3 IS 6MP with 12x Image Stabilized Zoom
Samsung SPP-2040 Digital Photo Printer ( Windows Macintosh )
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