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How to find web hosting that meets my requirements?

I'm building a photo-collection/gallery sharing web-app.

I need to know what I should consider for storage. I only have a few gb on my website. And it's not possible for me to get the amount of storage I need, the same place I have my website.

Would it make sense to use a cloud-service for this purpose? Is it possible to use some online storage service like hotfile or the likes? What would be best? I'm thinking at least 20-30 gb of space is needed.

Thanks in advance.

  • Comments about building web applications should be asked on our sister site for Web Masters. I'll migrate the question for you - head over there and create a linked account and you'll have your question waiting for you. – ChrisF Dec 8 '10 at 21:09

Pretty much everyone uses amazon s3 for this kind of thing. Extremely cheap and reliable.

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  • I have been using Amazon S3 for years and it is awesome. However... I am recently wishing that it had some built-in, on-the-fly image manipulation features (resize, sharpen, crop, etc). – jessegavin Dec 9 '10 at 15:25

You can for imageshake, photobucket like server. But both are banned on many of the servers(even in my office).

flicker will be a very good option for you since its provide APIs to access and manipulate your stored images at their server.

You also can refer picasa

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  • I would not recommend hosting your images at a third party service, especially not if they're an integral part of the website's concept. The more you can host your files yourself (whether that's a hosting plan or a cloud storage service) the more control you have over your own stuff. – Stephan Muller Dec 9 '10 at 9:49
  • Amazon S3 is a third party service. It's third party unless you host them on servers that you have complete control over. – Piers Karsenbarg Dec 14 '10 at 17:26

Good question, I'm currently struggling with this myself at the moment so I hope some good answers will be posted. My personal view on this: I think one of the important questions you'll have to ask yourself is not only how much space you'll be needing in terms of storage, but also how much traffic you're expecting and what growth rate.

If it's a personal/group photo collection (like your holiday pictures, for example) that you and a handful of people will sometimes visit, the traffic won't be too high and the growth will be overseeable. A fixed hosting plan will do, and I'd advice you to take your entire website and switch to another host, not host your site at provider x and your files at provider y.

On the other end of the spectrum, if it's an open-to-everyone image sharing website with viral potential (like the icanhascheeseburger network) you're definitely going to need a flexible hosting plan that's not only prepared for growth over time (multiple dataplans, high bandwidth and storage limits) but also for huge spikes in visitors (the slashdot effect).

For the latter cloud storage may be a really good idea. While the visits and storage is relatively low you pay low prices, albeit higher compared to 'fixed' hosting plans. As your site grows rapidly the storage + costs will automatically grow with you and in time will become cheaper compared to fixed hosting plans, but also save you the trouble of having to upgrade hosting plans or even having downtimes because of high traffic spikes. In this case, stick with a good host for the website and put your images in the cloud.

Make sure your website host can not only handle the requests in terms of bandwidth but also in terms of CPU power. Especially shared hosting can give you a lot of trouble if the website you host takes up too much processor power (like siteground.com, who promise unlimited bandwidth and storage but even with 6 small wordpress blogs I'm hitting my cpu limit almost daily.. this sucks! try to avoid it).

I wish I could back this up for you with some cool statistics but I've yet to find that out myself. In my case it's the second of the stated cases (viral-like image sharing site), but I'm not sure how many visitors to expect and at what growth rate, so I'm sticking to fixed hosting plans until I'm coming close to 75% of storage/bandwidth used. I do think I'll be switching to Amazon S3 hosting very soon, I'll let you know if there's progress.

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The image storage used by SE and this site is http://imgur.com/register/upgrade You might want to give a try to it. You can test its usuablity from a user perspective by attempting to add an image in your question.

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  • Hmm, I may have to take back my 3rd party comment. This looks like one I'd actually consider. – Stephan Muller Dec 9 '10 at 14:13