5 Unique Image Hosting Services for All User Types

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An image hosting system saves time and hard drive space. However, not all image sites are created equal. Learn important attributes of hosting sites to ensure you’re using the most applicable system. Here is an in-depth breakdown of five beneficial image hosting services.

Canto DAM

Canto digital asset management (DAM) is an advanced enterprise image hosting system. DAM is a comprehensive tool designed specifically for companies in need of efficient storage. Its features include impressive security, integrations and metadata management.

Canto DAM uses Amazon Web Service to ensure an extremely high level of security for hosted images. Its authentication system is state-of-the-art, and the admin overview assures only wanted eyes will see stored photos. The most intriguing security function it offers is copyright protection, as images are watermarked throughout multiple stages of use.

A screenshot of the Canto DAM interface.
Canto DAM is a premier enterprise image hosting system.

Metadata is elaborate data about a file. Canto DAM has metadata management that makes it perfect for businesses who need to locate images quickly. Finally, extensive integrations separate Canto from a lot of other hosting sites. It  integrates with important photo design brands, including Adobe InDesign.


Dropbox is one of the biggest names in image hosting services. One convenient benefit of Dropbox is the ability to sort images into folders. This organizes pictures and makes for faster, more efficient retrieval. It also has a free basic version for users who don’t need extensive storage.

A screenshot of the Drobox interface.
Dropbox is a popular image hosting option.

Dropbox also has some attractive features for enterprises. For one, it increases team collaboration through its comments and sharing tools. Members can comment on images, giving instant feedback to help produce stronger projects with good communication. Teams can also share images instantly  to users outside the organization.

Where Dropbox misses the mark is lack of comprehensive modern security. Its file safety excels when compared with other generic image hosting sites but business systems are clear upgrades over Dropbox.

Google Photos

Google Photos is a free service that offers unlimited image storage. One of the most unique benefits is its detailed search functionality. For example, a search for “doors” fetches all images containing doors. This pinpoints exact photos relating to a particular project. Another strong benefit is its ability to edit images. This helps users create compelling visual design.

A screenshot of the Google Photos interface.
Google Photos is great for users with a Google account.

One downside to Google Photos is the unlimited storage comes with a catch – the images are compressed and lose quality. This is a problem for a lot of users. Ultimately, Google Photos isn’t for everyone. Even with its weaknesses, it remains a solid image hosting site overall.


Imgur is a strong image hosting candidate due to its immense social presence. Users looking to store and share photos in order to promote something should consider Imgur as their source for image hosting. Think of Imgur as a way to spread ideas or get instant feedback through shared graphics. It is a socially-based image hosting service.

A screenshot of the Imgur site.
Imgur is a great social tool as well as image hosting site.

Imgur has quite a few limitations, including lack of freedom to upload infinite photos at all times, security limitations and privacy concerns. Despite this, it is a strong candidate for users who want social flair with their image hosting.


SmugMug fits a niche category perfectly – image hosting for amateur and professional photographers. It’s not only great for storage, but it has a bevy of options fascinating for anyone who likes to snap photos. One thing that really appeals to artists is the option to put stored images on display, like a virtual art/photography gallery.

A screenshot of the SmugMug interface.
SmugMug is a great site for photographers.

Though SmugMug is an exciting storage site, it is very specific to photographers. Though its security features are quite extensive, it’s mostly going to be overkill for users looking for basic storage.

With all the amazing image hosting options out there, it’s important to identify your online photo storage needs before selecting one. Make sure your top requirements are met by the one you choose.

Casey Schmidt – Content Manager and Industry Expert | Canto

Casey Schmidt is a content manager at Canto who enjoys taking complex subjects and making them easy to understand for readers.