As a website owner or developer, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make involves the storage and management of your site’s images. The way you handle this can significantly impact your site’s performance, user experience, and SEO rankings.
This article will explore various options for where to store images for your website, highlighting their pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
Where To Store Images For Your Website
Why Listen to Me? I was a professional photographer (Bauman Photographers) for 12 years. I educated pro photographers at the highest level (Creative Live). I now run a marketing agency that grows and manages websites for businesses (201 Creative). I know a good amount about images and how to store them.
1. Local Hosting
Local hosting refers to storing your images directly on the web server where your website is hosted. This is the most straightforward method and is commonly used, especially for smaller websites.
Some hosts do this better than others. For example, we’ve found Kinsta to deliver really good results with delivering photos, due in large part to their custom CDN.
However, local hosting might not be the best option for websites with high traffic or a large number of images. It can lead to slow loading times, and a poorer user experience, as the same server is handling both website content and image requests.
2. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network is a network of servers distributed geographically. When a user visits your website, the CDN will deliver images from the server closest to them, reducing latency and improving load times.
Oh, and referencing back to Local Hosting… Kinsta hosting comes already integrated with Cloudflare. Just saying 🙂
CDNs also offer better scalability and reliability than local hosting, as they are designed to handle large amounts of data and traffic. However, they can be more complex to set up and may incur additional costs. They’re also just another thing to manage.
3. Cloud Storage Services
Cloud storage services like Google Cloud Storage, Amazon S3, and Microsoft Azure offer another viable option for storing your website’s images. These services offer robust scalability, high availability, and durability.
However, using a cloud storage service to store and serve images might require more technical expertise, and while costs are usually based on usage, they can add up for high-traffic websites.
Here are a few ways we use Cloud Storage Services for our website photos:
It’s always good to have a base of photos for your website. It’s almost like having a stock photo repository of images that can be used when you publish content (especially informational).
Granted, you’ll probably want to do unique photo shoots when you publish content about specific products or services. But, for those generic photos that help bulk out articles, a general stockpile of photos will usually suffice.
We keep these photos in a Google Drive folder that all of our team members have access to. That way, if someone is publishing an article, they can access the folder and quickly pull images for use.
We prefer to use Amazon Glacier for storing photos long term, but as more of an archive type of situation. So, as an example, we’ll do a photo shoot for a website. We might pick a handful of images to go live on the site, but we’ll archive all of the photos to Amazon Glacier.
You never know when you might want to go back and grab some additional photos for a marketing campaign, social media, or a new article on the website.
4. Image Hosting Services
Image hosting services like Imgur, Flickr, and Photobucket are platforms specifically designed to host images. They often provide easy-to-use interfaces and the ability to quickly upload and share images.
However, for professional websites, this is usually not the best option. These platforms often compress images, potentially decreasing their quality, and the terms of service may limit commercial use.
We think it’s best to look at image hosting services as a good repository for your photos, but not a good place for your website photos to be shared.
These platforms are not a good replacement for a professional website either. But, if you’re just a casual content creator focused on images only, they can be an easy way to get started.
Plus, as you learn how to create unique images for websites, you might start to do it for personal reasons. If so, these are great platforms for showcasing your personal photos.
5. Combining Options
For the best results, a combination of the above solutions might be ideal. For instance, you can store your images in a cloud storage service and use a CDN to deliver them, leveraging the advantages of both. This is often the case for larger, high-traffic websites.
Here is our recommendation for how to store and serve images for your website:
- Store your images on a Cloud Storage Service if your website has a decent amount of traffic. If not, just keep them on local host.
- Serve your images with a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Cloudflare.
- Backup and store your images with either a Cloud Storage Service like Amazon Glacier or use an Image Hosting Service like Flickr.
In conclusion, the ideal image storage solution for your website depends on several factors, including the size of your website, the amount of traffic you receive, and the number and size of images you need to store. By considering these factors and the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that optimizes your website’s performance and user experience.