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I'm sure this has been asked before but a quick search on Stack Overflow didn't turn up any result.

I've put images on my own site for now but it's quite possible I'll restructure or move hosts at some time and the images would be lost to the community. Is there any recognized free host for storing images referenced in questions and answers on Stack Overflow?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 1 '09 at 19:32

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
google.com/… –  Shog9 May 1 '09 at 5:27
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To clarify: there is no official SO image host. Host 'em wherever you please. I use my own site; if i go under, screw all y'alls... ;-) –  Shog9 May 1 '09 at 5:43
    
Paul this would be a good Community Wiki question. I'd also like to see it as part of the FAQ. –  James McMahon May 20 '09 at 18:23
    
    
Let's not turn this question into a big list of image hosters we individually use, that's not what the question is asking. –  rlb.usa Mar 12 '10 at 15:44

6 Answers 6

Thanks to our awesome friends at http://imgur.com we now have built in image uploads, via the standard image upload button.

hosted image UI

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+1 Awesome! I'll have to post a picture in an answer just to try it out! –  Mark Byers Aug 13 '10 at 8:29
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We noticed this over on electronics.stackexchange, and are curious if SO has a special relationship with imgur. imgur images are candidates for deletion after three months of inactivity - Does SO have an exception from this? –  Kevin Vermeer Oct 4 '10 at 23:22
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@reem see the blog post blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/new-image-upload-support specifically "Alan Schaaf, the man behind Imgur, generously provided us a network-wide “pro” account that keeps any images hosted through our websites around indefinitely." –  Jeff Atwood Oct 4 '10 at 23:36
    
Assume the user is hosting images for answers and questions. Assume his host goes down. - All his answers and questions lose the given pictures. Is there anyway of forcing SO to downloand pictures in the user's old answers and questions from external links? -- I cannot afford to host my pictures anymore. About thousand of posts will get poorer if the situation happens. - You have restricted me from using Meta so I could not make this a new post. So please solve the problem somehow. I will not go through my posts separately. –  Masi Dec 18 '11 at 23:04
    
How long are images kept alive? Most free image hostings kleen up from time to time. Safest I know is probably Google Drive. –  Eugene Sep 18 at 11:35

A lot of us sit behind corporate proxy servers loaded with urls to block.

Most of these proxies block 'Network Storage' type sites. Is there any hope for people like us then?

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You could make a proxy, host it for free in Heroku or AppEngine, and make a userscript that replaces URLs to imgur with URLs to your proxy. :-) –  Andres Riofrio May 28 '12 at 22:02
    
Yup...that's quick and easy. :-( –  Kevin Brown Mar 28 at 18:45

TinyPic is free and with the Cropper tool, it is super duper easy to store screen snaps online. Alt-PrtScrn captures the screen or current window, saves the image on disk, and, with the SendToTinyPic plugin, uploads the image to TinyPic, and drops the URL of the uploaded image on your clipboard. What used to take me 102 keystrokes ... PrntScrn ...open paint.net...save... open browser...upload...copy...switch windows...paste......where was I?.. etc etc... is now 2 seconds and one key-combo.

It also logs the URLs in a file so you can recall them later.

The build as of today doesn't do all this, you need the patch #3239. Download the cropper.Plugins source and apply that patch, you will be good to go.

Cropper also has a SendToFlickr plugin, though I haven't tried it.

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Don't use Tinypic. Their images get deleted randomly. imgur. –  Ben Shelock Aug 5 '10 at 17:23
    
Also, with imgur.com you can just Ctrl+V any images from Clipboard (right after Alt+PrtScr). And there is crop tool too, and even blur (to hide any private information). –  LogicDaemon Jan 3 at 7:43

My view is Flickr will be more reliable than imageshack, tinypic etc - it needs a signup but the images won't get deleted. An alternative is Picasa

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Photo Bucket might last a while as well. –  Brad Gilbert Oct 15 '09 at 5:11

Clicking the Image button above the edit dialog on SO includes a link to "Need free image hosting?" that goes here:

http://www.google.com/search?q=free+image+hosting

[Sorry, editors, for not copy+pasting the entire results page.] Top link currently is imageshack.us, followed by tinypic.com. I believe Google Sites (sites.google.com) will also let you host images for free.

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I'm familiar with the variety of hosts available out there - but the issue with them is the same as hosting on my own site. I'm concerned about the long term availability of the images. Most of the free image hosting services cull their data after a period of time. I'm wondering if there is any official word on a longer term host specifically for SO images. –  Paul Alexander May 1 '09 at 5:40
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Could I paraphrase your question as "Where can I indefinitely host something for free?" ? I don't think that question has an answer. Considering that pretty much every free host from 15 years ago is gone, I don't think there's an answer you will like. Even free email accounts get culled for non-use. Side note is that since the SO editors seem to believe that it makes sense for respondents to copy/paste from primary sources into SO for posterity, SO really should host images itself for completeness. –  runako May 1 '09 at 5:44
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It's not really a matter of free forever. The cost isn't the issue - its long term reliability. I'm sure that SO makes regular backups of the questions, answers, comments and other valuable assets on the site. But as they say an image is worth a thousand words so should a site discontinue hosting an images, thousands of words could be lost :) –  Paul Alexander May 1 '09 at 7:58
    
I used imageshack for an answer, and the image has now been removed 3 months on so I'd find another –  Chris S Jun 14 '09 at 10:52
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In light of the fact the corporate firewalls tend to block network storage sites (and ours just started blocking imgur.com recently, so it's quite irritating not being able to see the images anymore), I agree with #runako that Stack Exchange itself should host the images, not only for the longevity issue but also for the corporate firewall issue. I shouldn't have to go through hoops to see images on Stack Exchange sites when I'm at work. –  RobH Mar 15 '13 at 16:45

As an aside: skitch.com (for Mac) will probably not be free after its long-lasting beta, but not too many people who recommend Skitch mention that. When payment is required then maybe images of those who don't want to pay are lost. Hopefully any such announcement will be made long before images are really deleted, and then maybe some data dump can be used to find those, and then copy them to other services.

Of course, for SEO purposes, text is better than images anyhow.

(Because of the beta, I actually use the comments at skitch.com to keep track of where I use each image that I've shared. But surely not everyone is crazy/stupid/bored/... enough to do that.)

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