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In this review, we compare the ten best, free, and most popular photo and video sharing websites on the net. We cover ones that you are probably already familiar with and some you may not have heard of that offer media storage as well. Some offer a large community and some just offer a great way to store a mindboggling number of images and movies for personal or more private sharing. Depending on your intent for posting your content on the web, you may find some services better than others. Many of these sites have both free and paid memberships, but the free accounts are enough to get you started and sharing.
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1. Facebook (www.facebook.com)
Facebook has the most hosted photos out of all of the websites listed here. In fact, you probably already have a Facebook account and are sharing pictures right now. Facebook, however, is more about sharing snapshots and vacation photos and videos with friends and family on Facebook. While you can generate links to share your albums publicly, Facebook severely limits the resolution of your images to less than 720 pixels (vertical or horizontal, whichever is longer). This makes it less than ideal for a photographer to really show off their work and portfolio. However, you can upload an unlimited number and contribute to the billions already shared among Facebook users.
Bottomline: Perfect for sharing vacation, party, and personal photos and short video clips with friends and family.
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2. YouTube (www.youtube.com)
Like Facebook, YouTube is the king of video hosting. It hosts billions of videos and serves up a whopping 2 billion views per day! It is both a wealth of knowledge and endless supply of silly, time-wasting videos. If you are hoping for the next viral video or just as many viewers as possible, YouTube should be your first choice. YouTube has also recently added support for HD including 720p and 1080p and now 4K ultra-high resolution video footage. When it comes to standard accounts however, YouTube limits videos to 15 minutes in runtime and a 2GB file size limit. YouTube does have some privacy controls (recently added) to create private sharing links for select videos.
Bottomline: Perfect for HD video and movie sharing to a large audience and searching for videos to watch.
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3. Flickr (www.flickr.com)
If you are a photographer, you have probably heard of Flickr. Flickr is a large, primarily photo sharing, community made up of photographers from around the world. It allows you to easily upload, organize, share, and discuss your photos and photography in general in the many groups around the site. Free accounts are limited to 200 photos (unlimited bandwidth) and 1024x768, but pro accounts can store an unlimited number of photos, with most at their original sizes. Flickr also allows you to share videos (including 720p HD) of under 1 minute. If you plan on using Flickr, you will quickly find that upgrading to a pro account will be very useful.
Bottomline: Perfect for amateur photographers looking to share their photos and get feedback.
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4. Vimeo (www.vimeo.com)
Vimeo is to video and cinematography as Flickr is to photos and photography. It is a community primarily made up of amateur filmmakers who are looking to share and gain feedback on their work. Vimeo's emphasis is on their community and high quality video content. They give uploaders the option to allow downloads on their video for easy sharing. The video quality of videos is also at a higher bitrate (quality) than YouTube and they have a more lenient Terms of Service when it comes to copyrighted music. Free accounts are limited to 500MB and 1 HD video of uploads per week so any serious user will definitely need to upgrade to a pro account to enjoy the full benefits of the site.
Bottomline: Perfect for amateur cinematographers looking to get exposure and feedback from professionals and amateurs alike. Vimeo's focus is more about quality rather than quantity.
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More great free sharing websites!
In our previous page, we ran down the four premiere sharing sites for both photos and videos. On this page, you will find more great sites to share your media with friends and family. Many of these sites give you the storage to store more files for free!
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5. Photobucket (www.photobucket.com)
Next on our list of top free photo sharing and video sharing websites is Photobucket. Photobucket is a popular photo and video sharing site especially for hosting forum signatures and pictures. As a free member, you are limited to 500MB of storage, 10GB of bandwidth per month, and reduced resolution photos. If you have many small photos to store, this would make a better alternative to Flickr as you are not limited to 200 files, but 500MB. 10GB of bandwidth is also a good amount to get started.
Bottomline: Great place to quickly upload and share small photos and videos.
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6. Picasa Web Albums (www.picasaweb.com)
Picasa is now owned and managed by Google and thus integrated into your Google account. This means that the amount you can upload and share is approximately up to 7.5GB or whatever is remaining after using other Google services like Gmail and Google Docs. Picasa supports original-sized photos and easy album and photo sharing through email and Blogger blogs.
Bottomline: Excellent for storage and sharing of original-sized photos and Blogger bloggers.
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7. Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com)
Shutterfly is known for their online printing services, but did you know you can upload an unlimited number of photos to their site to share? They also offer some basic editing and of course a number of ways to get your photos printed. You might also be interested in reading How to Find Shutterfly Coupon Codes.
Bottomline: Great for uploading a large number of pictures, especially if you intend to get them printed at Shutterfly.
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8. Windows Live Skydrive by Microsoft (www.windowslive.com/Online/SkyDrive)
Microsoft's Windows Live Skydrive service gives you a enormous 25GB of storage absolutely free with your Microsoft Passport/Hotmail/MSN account. It is perfect for storage of more than just photos and videos as you can use the 25GB of storage for just about anything, including your music and personal files. It is secure, easy to use, and has the ability to share your entire drive to the public to download.
Bottomline: If you have a lot of photos, videos, and large files to store, this is the place!
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9. Twitpic (www.twitpic.com)
Twitpic is the primary host of pictures and photos on Twitter. To upload, you need a Twitter account. Twitpic gives you the convenience of uploading photos (up to 5MB) and posting them to your Twitter account with a tweet and geotags (location data) when available. It is great for keeping your friends and world up to date with what is going on around you. You can even upload using a personal email address when on the go from your smartphone.
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10. Tinypic (www.tinypic.com)
The final website to make our list of top free photo sharing and video sharing websites is Tinypic. Tinypic is actually owned by Photobucket and allows you to upload pictures and videos from your computer or a URL. You do not need an account to upload files and therefore can upload as much as you want. Upload limits are 1600 pixels for photos and 5 minutes (truncated if longer) for videos.
Bottomline: Great for quickly uploading a picture or two without registering for an account. This is useful for forums, email, or MySpace/Twitter users.