the limits of a free flickr account

I took some time, but I just hit one of the limits of my free flickr account. Here is the message I am seeing at the top of my account:

You've run into one of the limits of a free account. Your free account will only display the most recent 200 photos you've uploaded. All of your photos beyond 200 will remain hidden from view until you either delete newer photos, or upgrade to a Pro account.

None of your photos have been deleted, and if you upgrade, they'll all come back unharmed.

To get a pro account I need to shell out $24.95 per year. This is not unreasonable, but it is making me pause and think how much I want to continue with this service...

What are the alternatives? Well I have my own server at I am already paying for that service, so I might as well use it more fully, and upload my pictures there. But pictures take up quite a lot of space so this is not going to end up being cheaper, as it will use up more space and force me at some time to either increase the space on my rented server or even buy my own server. What would I get for that price? I would certainly get more control over my work, but at the cost of more work on my part. Publishing photos could be done simply with an improved BlogEd, which can push those photos to the file system. This would make publishing easy, but would not give me the interactive collaborative features of flickr, where people can directly add notes to the pictures, tag them, etc... Adding that functionality is not a huge amount of work, but it makes maintenance of the service more difficult, which means costs in developer time, which has to be paid somehow too...

What is the price of freedom? Owning your content at URLs you control may long term be worth quite a lot, a bet Tim Bray clearly is making, by hosting everything on his own server...


Have you tried google's picasaweb? It has come along way in recent months. You now get 1 gig of storage.

Posted by Simon Coggins on September 08, 2007 at 04:30 PM CEST #

$25 a year for unlimited photo hosting and archiving is a great deal. Assuming you require more than the limit (as you have just demonstrated) I say go for it. Having someone else manage the backups, hosting, disk space, web server, uptime, comments, tags, community, etc, etc is well worth $25 a year.

I don't work for Flickr or anything, but I like knowing my original photos and scans are hosted and backed up out on the net. It would take a lot more than $25/year of my time and effort to duplicate what I get from Flickr.

Posted by Seth Ladd on September 08, 2007 at 05:03 PM CEST #

I’d recommend Picasaweb,

1GB of disk space, and none of the silly limitations that Flickr has. Unlimited number of albums, unlimited number of photos, you can post videos as well, etc. Also you can use Google Picasa as a nice fast client for managing and uploading your photos, instead of your web browser.

Oh, and it doesn’t load a new page everytime you just want to load a new photo. Fast.

Posted by Laurens Holst on September 10, 2007 at 06:44 AM CEST #

The limitation of the flickr free account is a surprise for me, and makes me think about alternatives as well.

I would try to self-host some lightweight gallery app like Original ( or Singapore (, but I miss the scross-folder quene on the index page and tags building my folksonomy. Are there any alternatives?

Posted by Josef Petrak on September 12, 2007 at 05:27 AM CEST #

I had a similar problem, but not the space limitations, but the agressive censoring they do, and that they ignore the community aspect when it comes to it.

I was seperated from a friend's pictures.

Read my blogpost about it:

The commenters there also suggested alternatives, I (and many other people) collected them here:

Posted by Leo Sauermann on September 13, 2007 at 02:45 AM CEST #

Concerning Picassa: it really does not do a good job with colors. Just compare the two photos


The second one on flickr is clearly a lot closer to what I see in Adobe Lightroom. The first one on Picassa is - like most of the other pictures I just uploaded there - very greyed out and flat.

I am looking at this from Apple's Safari, which is I guess one of the most carefully tuned browsers for graphics. So Picassa is definitely not up to scratch yet.

Posted by Henry Story on September 16, 2007 at 01:00 PM CEST #


Zoomr also does not do a good job with picture quality, oddly enough. It does keep the quality of the original, but does a bad job with the reductions:


You can clearly see (at least in Safari, now available for Windows too (and based on konqueror for linux)) that the woman in the smaller picture is a lot greyer.

Flickr definitively wins out on picture quality.

Btw. one problem I have with flickr is that one cannot sort by the time the picture was taken. For some reason it puts the pictures in some random order, even though it knows when they were taken. I think zoomr does the same....

Posted by Henry Story on September 16, 2007 at 03:25 PM CEST #

Flickr orders by uploaded time, with the latest uploaded picture "first". You can think of it like you're moving back through time, \*in order of upload\*.

You can order your Sets however you want. Most people create a Set as a logical grouping, and then you can order that by EXIF picture taken time.

BTW have you tried SmugMug?

Frankly, Flickr is by far "good enough", especially at such a cheap price point. I'd rather dump a bunch of images, tag, and get on with my day that micromanage my online pictures. But that's just me. :)

Posted by Seth Ladd on September 16, 2007 at 08:33 PM CEST #

Seth said it does a good job at making a backup of your pictures, but what happens when the day you want to extract this backup?

1. Is it non destructive repository? (image integrity)
2. How do you get back a few gigas that you have taken a few years to put online? (I produce around 14 Gig/year of photos.)
3. (related to 2.) and how do you do it when the service announces that it will be closed in a few weeks. [Yahoo! Photos announced that it was closing and all photos will be removed. It can happen again.]

I don't want that much the backup feature of Flickr but the community feature of it. I dream of a system where P2P technologies are used to add all the social interaction for my photos, but I keep my photos. Another benefit with P2P is that I have a real granularity of my social network.

My social network is a set of aggregates of P2P communications.

Posted by Karl Dubost, W3C on September 26, 2007 at 04:59 PM CEST #

Yet Another example of what I was talking about.

"Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Oct. 31, 2007" --

Posted by Karl Dubost, W3C on September 30, 2007 at 08:25 AM CEST #

Thanks for the links Karl.

I have paid up for a couple of years of flickr. Hopefully by paying them I am guaranteeing them a revenue stream that will reduce their likelihood of closing down. At least it should make it more difficult to close, since my paying has put them into some legal obligation.

But you are right, one is never as well served as by oneself. I hope to be building some tools that should allow me to exit the system when needed.... Based on RDF of course :-)

Posted by Henry Story on September 30, 2007 at 09:11 AM CEST #

It turns out that the problem I had with the colors looking bad on the other services was probably due to my not using sRGB color space when exporting from LightRoom.

So I probably could have used the other photo services just as well as flickr, instead of spending that money on them.

I learnt this the hard way after deploying a lot of photos for my brother's wedding:

Posted by Henry Story on November 22, 2007 at 12:28 PM CET #

Check out
They allow high amounts of traffic to images they host free.

Posted by Todd Kenlet on March 24, 2008 at 08:55 PM CET #

I just tried to play with flickr and saw that I need api for which I should apply. It seems that there is still need of a greater community dedicated site for image/photo hosting. Upload photos for years and lose them at some end? It is awsome. There must certainly be some legel binding otherwise poor users will have nothing left at the end.

I would, however, give a try to google's picasa. Hope to find something better with it.

Posted by Sangam Uprety on July 28, 2009 at 04:19 AM CEST #

you might want to mention also because we use Gallery 2 as our base platform.

Posted by steve caturan on January 02, 2010 at 12:35 PM CET #

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