Friday 30 June 2017

PHOTOBUCKET ALERT! A new sort of ransom!

Don't think this doesn't affect you because you don't use Photobucket, this still affects you if you look at any site which uses images stored on Photobucket.

Photobucket, which is owned by Fox Interactive Media, is an image storage site.  It provides the facility to store photos and other images, allows users to create many albums and sub-albums, and provides links so that you can either direct friends to look at your photos, or embed those images into other websites, blogs and forums.  You can have a free account which displays many adverts, not only on site, but popping up, or you can have a paid account which gives you more storage (in various stages).

However, they recently changed their terms and conditions with no prior announcement.  With the lower levels of subscription (my basic paid level has been abandoned for more expensive models) they have eliminated the ability to embed images elsewhere - something which they erroneously refer to as Third Party Hosting).  With the lowest level of subscription they don't even allow linking, so it is just a place to store photos as a back-up from your own computer.  What they call Third Party Hosting, embedding images in another place, will now cost US$399.99 - per annum!

How does this affect me?
If you are only an occasional user of forums you may not notice any difference yet.  But if you are a Photobucket user, and if you have embedded images anywhere there is a strong possibility that this image will no longer display.   Here is a post from the Stampboards forum.  Stampboards is a forum using php software and has no image hosting capability for users (the logos etc are obviously hosted on the php host).   The forum is now slowly disintegrating:

This should show three interesting postal history covers.    There are also 'wiki' threads there, which are a in many cases a very detailed and unique repository for information and images about all sorts of things about stamps, not just Australian.   A UK member has, for the last 5 years, been compiling a fascinating record of all the provisional overprints on Fiji's bird definitives, which runs to 243 posts (most of which have 1-4 images).  This is what post 1 now looks like:

This is a disaster, and is being discussed not only on Stampboards but on other forums worldwide.  If you don't want to pay US400 per annum to continue using Photobucket for image hosting, then I suggest you ensure that you have all the images hosted on your computer, or download them immediately!    Stampboards discussion on this is here.

If you don't have a copy of your PB images stored elsewhere, it's simple to download the entire library as a .zip file. Well, simple if you haven't yet been blackmailed and been locked out.

1. click on the "Library" link in the black bar at the top

2. click the "Download Album" link at the right, under 'ACTIONS'.

This may take some time, depending on the number and size of the images you have stored.

But if you are going to cancel your subscription, or if you don't have the images elsewhere, it is essential.

UPDATE 25 April 2020
I hadn't realised how many mages on the blog had been posted on, say, Stampboards and hosted on Photobucket and relinked here.  Seemed ok at the time.  I can now say that I have been back and replaced all images in 6 years of blog posts that were not showing because of the Photobucket problem.


  1. Sadly I don't seem to be the biggest back slapping buddy of the admin at Stmpboards but it might be worth him (or his site hosters) visiting the phpBB website (the software he uses for the forums). They offer plenty of free image hosting add ons - which are easily installed - meaning he won't need to rely on a third party image hosting service again.

    If you have an issue hosting images for Norphil at zero cost then I'd be pleased to help you out with a facility on my own server.

    1. Thanks for the offer Graham, we have our own server.

      One of the advantages of hosts like PB is that they can be set to resize all images to the max size permitted by the forum that you want to post on.

      But I'll mention the other aspect.

  2. Might as well buy your own hosting for less per month. It's clearly a cash in and nothing else.

  3. I have lost photo links to a massive amount of web page material. I do have all the photos backed up to external drives threfore I won't loose anything but not being able to see the photos in my HTML editor makes it a difficult task re-linking all these photos again should I find a new photo hosting site and could prove near impossible with so many photos involved. How do you go about hosting your own photos?

    1. Your internet service provider should have some webspace available for each subscriber.

      Failing that there are a number of 'webhosts' who are established primarily to provide you with a place to set up your website (see You can buy a domain, which gives you web space - if you don't use this for a webpage, but only for pictures that's no problem.

      You then need software to upload your (html or image) files, and then need to know how to reference those files (as you do with your YouTube videos) onto any other webpage. Send me an email?

    2. How much storage space and bandwidth do you need? I'm somewhat familiar with web hosting and I can give you some suggestions if you want.

  4. Somewhat late in the day the BBC have picked up on the story -

    They also include screenshots and quotes from Stampboards.

    1. Now that the techno-chatter has spread round the world a quick search-engine look at "Photobucket" and the news tab, shows that this is being discusses in Spanish, Romanian, Turkish, and Chinese, as well as in English around the world (and that's just page 1 of the search results)!

  5. Check out Image Hosting for Stamp Collectors

    1. Ok for storing images, Phil, but not for linking them to other sites.

      The Share links are not jpg or png files.


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