When you take photos for a living, the last thing you need is to have your local storage or your personal laptop crash and take all your shots down with it. Every professional photographer worth his salt knows the importance of having backups of his work and photo hosting sites provide a cost-effective way of keeping files secure. These platforms not only provide an efficient backup and storage system for your files but also allow you to share them with close contacts and clients.

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With the wide range of choices for image hosting sites available today, how do you choose the right platform? Here are a few features that the best photo hosting sites should have.

1. The right fit for your specific needs

Free online image hosting can take on several different forms depending on your requirements. The first step towards choosing the right platform is to identify what kind of services you need from an image hosting website. For instance, some photographers need a straightforward storage and file-sharing solution to allow them to manage projects and make outputs accessible to their clients. Others, however, may need a free image hosting site to start off an online portfolio. Most creatives use both a free image hosting site such as Google Photos for coordinating with their current clients as well as a website builder like Strikingly to host previous projects for potential clients.

2. Ability to share files seamlessly and securely

Your choice of top photo hosting sites also depends on how you want to share your images. For an online portfolio, you probably don’t want to share all the photos you have taken since day 1 but you will want to publish your best work. Do you want to allot a space for a private collection that is available only to a close group of friends and family? Or do you want to share a collection of your work with a community of creatives and photographers for networking purposes? Some platforms may be great for one or two of these purposes but not for all. For instance, Flickr is great for participating in a community of photographers but may not be suitable for sharing files with clients because they may be more familiar with a shared drive like Google Photos or Dropbox. Flickr as an online portfolio may not offer a lot of flexibility in terms of creating a branded space as compared to a website builder such as Strikingly.

3. More than enough storage space for your growing file library

When you use image hosting sites free of charge, limited storage space is a usual caveat. Some platforms may start you off with a decent amount of space for your files but you may need to upgrade to a paid version as your archive grows bigger. There are also those that provide unlimited storage but the quality may be compromised. You need to look towards your current archive for guidance on how much online storage you need. For starters, your image hosting website should be able to accommodate your files and give you a bit of room to grow.

4. Quality of photos should be topnotch

The best free photo hosting sites store and display your photos in the best possible way. If you’re looking for image hosting services for the purpose of creating an online portfolio, you have to find a platform that will not compress your files too much that it affects the quality of your images.

5. Easy to use

Finally, photo hosting sites should allow you to get set up easily. If you’re creating an online portfolio, for instance, Strikingly allows you to build your own image hosting website in minutes. You don’t need to worry about the technical details. All you need to do is select a website template and add your own personal touch through the intuitive website editor. There’s no coding required so you can focus on building great content for your potential clients.