25 Free Image Hosting That Allows 3rd Party [Hotlinking] Sharing

  1. Imgur: Imgur allows you to upload, share, and discover new images. You can upload images up to 20MB and GIFs up to 200MB for free. However, they do compress larger images. Users have commented on the platform’s ease of use, but some have concerns about the changes in terms of service that discourage third-party hosting.
  2. Postimages: Postimages specializes in hosting images for forums and blogs, and it’s free. You can upload images up to 24MB. Some users appreciate its simplicity, but others have noted that the site design is quite basic.
  3. ImgBB: ImgBB is a free image hosting service that allows you to upload images without size restrictions. Users have praised its user-friendly interface, but some have commented that the site’s speed could be improved.
  4. Flickr: Flickr offers 1,000 photos or videos for free, with a limit of 200MB per photo. It’s a well-known platform, particularly among photographers. Users appreciate the community aspect of Flickr, but some have expressed concerns about the limit on free storage.
  5. 500px: 500px is a community-based platform for photographers. It allows you to upload high-resolution photos, but free users are limited to seven uploads per week. Some users love the quality of the community and the photos, but others have noted that the upload limit can be restrictive.
  6. Google Photos: Google Photos provides 15GB of free storage shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. After June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage. Users generally appreciate the integration with other Google services, but some have noted that the changes to the storage policy are less generous. Yikes.
  7. Photobucket
  8. TinyPic
  9. SmugMug
  10. ImgBB
  11. ImageVenue
  12. ImageFra.me
  13. ImgSafe
  14. CubeUpload
  15. Pixady
  16. ImageBam
  17. Directupload
  18. Picoolio
  19. UltraIMG
  20. ImageTwist
  21. Free Image Hosting
  22. Hotflick.net
  23. Use.com
  24. Imgup.net
  25. DropShots
  26. TurboImageHost



Imgur is a popular image hosting and sharing platform. It was initially created as a simple, no-sign-up-required service where users could upload images and share the links. Over time, it has evolved into a full-fledged social media platform, with a strong community and features such as comments, voting, and user profiles.

Imgur’s terms of service discourage the use of Imgur for third-party hosting. Previously, it was common for users to host images on Imgur that they would then embed on other websites. However, the current terms of service state:

“While you’re more than welcome to link to your uploads off-site, you should not use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you’re hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on Imgur.com.”

This suggests that while casual sharing of individual images (like sharing a meme on a forum) is likely fine, using Imgur as a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for your website is against their terms of service.

Imgur provides various tools for sharing the images you upload, including direct links, Markdown links, and HTML embed codes. It supports a range of image formats including JPEG, PNG, GIF, APNG, TIFF, MP4, MPEG, AVI, WEBM, MKV, FLV, MOV, and others. There’s also a maximum file size limit: 20MB for images and 200MB for GIFs.

As a community platform, Imgur also has features like comments, votes (upvote and downvote), and the ability to follow other users. It’s known for its often humorous and meme-oriented content. It’s free to use, with a premium tier (Imgur Emerald) that offers ad-free browsing, priority customer support, and other perks.



Postimages is a free image hosting service that is geared towards providing an easy-to-use service for forum and blog posts, which makes it a popular choice for third-party hosting. It allows direct image linking, which is a must-have for third-party hosting.

Here’s an in-depth look at the key features:

  1. Simple and user-friendly interface: Postimages is straightforward to use. You simply choose your image and click “Upload”. You do not need to create an account to use the service, but if you want to manage your images, you can create a free account.
  2. Direct image links: Postimages provides direct URLs to the images you upload, which can be used to embed your images on other websites.
  3. Multiple image upload: You can upload several images at once, which can be time-saving if you have a lot of images to upload.
  4. Image resizing: Postimages offers the option to automatically resize your images upon upload, which can be helpful if you need your images to fit certain dimensions.
  5. Image formats and size: Postimages supports most popular image formats including JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, and PDF. There is a maximum file size limit of 24MB.
  6. Lifetime storage: Images uploaded to Postimages are stored indefinitely unless they violate the service’s terms and conditions.
  7. Adult content: Postimages does allow adult content, as long as it is marked as such when it is uploaded. This is in contrast to many other image hosting services, which often have stricter policies regarding adult content.


What is Hotlinking?

Hotlinking is kind of like crashing a party. You didn’t bring the drinks (or the image files in this case), but you’re using them anyway, and they’re not even from your own house (server)! It’s when you link to an image (or any other media) that’s hosted on another server, instead of uploading it to your own server.

How Does it Work?

Hotlinking works just like any other hyperlink on the internet, but instead of linking to a webpage, you’re linking directly to an image file. When a user opens a page with a hotlinked image, their browser requests the image from the third-party server, not from the server hosting the webpage they’re viewing. It’s like going to a concert, but the band is actually playing live from another venue, and you’re watching them on a big screen.

Pros of Hotlinking:

  1. Saves storage and bandwidth: It’s like having your cake and eating it too, without having to buy or bake the cake! You don’t have to use your own server’s storage or bandwidth for images because they’re hosted elsewhere.
  2. Ease of use: It’s as simple as copying and pasting the image URL into your webpage’s HTML.
  3. Quick updates: If the original image changes, the new image will automatically appear wherever you’ve hotlinked it. This can be handy… or disastrous, depending on the change!

Cons of Hotlinking:

  1. You’re not in control: If the owner of the image decides to delete it, change it, or block you from accessing it, your webpage will show a broken link or a replacement image. Imagine turning on the TV to watch your favorite show, only to find it’s been replaced with an infomercial for a revolutionary mop!
  2. It can be seen as stealing: You’re using someone else’s server resources without their permission. It’s like using your neighbor’s WiFi without asking. They might not notice if they have plenty of bandwidth, but if their connection starts to slow down because you’re streaming every season of “The Office”, they’re probably not going to be happy.
  3. Legal issues: If you hotlink an image without permission, you could be in violation of copyright laws. You might think you’re just sharing a cute cat photo, but the law might see it as theft!
  4. Potential for embarrassment: If the owner of the image decides to swap the image you’re hotlinking with something embarrassing or inappropriate, it will show up on your website. It’s like borrowing someone’s projector for a serious business presentation, but instead of your slides, up pops a photo from their recent karaoke night!




What is hotlinking?

Hotlinking, also known as direct linking, is when you link directly to a file hosted on another server from your website. This is most commonly done with images, but it can also be done with other file types such as videos or documents. It’s like showing a picture in your photo album that’s actually stored in someone else’s house.

2. How does hotlinking work?

When you hotlink an image, instead of uploading the image to your own server, you simply insert the URL of the image hosted on the other server into your webpage. When someone visits your webpage, their browser retrieves the image directly from the other server, not yours.

3. Is hotlinking legal?

Hotlinking can potentially infringe copyright laws if you don’t have permission to use the image. It’s always a good idea to ask for permission from the image owner before hotlinking. Besides, some websites explicitly forbid hotlinking in their terms of service.

4. What are the downsides to hotlinking?

There are several potential issues with hotlinking:

  • Loss of control: You have no control over the hosted content. If the owner of the image decides to delete or change it, it will also change or disappear on your website.
  • Bandwidth theft: Hotlinking uses the bandwidth of the server where the image is stored. This can add up to a significant cost for the owner of the server, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as bandwidth theft.
  • Potential for embarrassment: If the owner of the image decides to swap the image you’re hotlinking with something different, that swapped image will show up on your website.

5. Can I prevent others from hotlinking to my images?

Yes, it’s possible to prevent hotlinking on your server. This usually involves modifying your website’s .htaccess file to prevent external websites from linking directly to your files. However, the specifics can vary depending on your server’s configuration.

6. Are there any good uses for hotlinking?

Hotlinking can be useful in certain circumstances. For example, some image hosting services are specifically designed for hotlinking and encourage it. However, it’s always essential to have permission before hotlinking to someone else’s content.

Remember, while hotlinking can seem like a quick and easy solution, it’s important to consider the potential issues and always respect the rights of content owners.





Hotlinking, or direct linking, is when one directly uses the URL of a file (like an image, video, or document) stored on another server. Here are a few examples of what hotlinking looks like in practice:

1. Hotlinking an Image:

Suppose you find an image on a website, let’s call it www.example.com, and you want to display that image on your own website or blog. Instead of downloading the image and uploading it to your own server, you directly link to it from your webpage.

Here’s an example of how that might look in HTML:

<img src="http://www.example.com/images/hotlinked-image.jpg" alt="Hotlinked Image">

In this case, hotlinked-image.jpg is being hotlinked from www.example.com. Every time someone visits your webpage, their browser will load the image directly from www.example.com.

2. Hotlinking a Video:

The same principle applies to videos. If you’re embedding a video from a platform like YouTube or Vimeo, you’re essentially hotlinking. The video file is stored on their servers, and you’re just providing a path to it.

Here’s an example of hotlinking a video using an iframe:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/abcXYZ123" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

In this case, the YouTube video with the id abcXYZ123 is being hotlinked and embedded on your webpage.

Note: Hotlinking can lead to copyright infringement if done without permission, and it can also use up the bandwidth of the host server. It’s always best to ask for permission and/or use a reputable hosting service that allows hotlinking. It’s also worth mentioning that some websites actively prevent hotlinking to save their bandwidth.




How to block hotlinking in depth

Blocking hotlinking, also known as bandwidth theft, is a common task for website administrators who wish to protect their site’s resources. There are several ways to do this, but one of the most common is by modifying the .htaccess file on your server.

The .htaccess file is a configuration file used by Apache-based web servers that can be used to control the behavior of your website. By adding a few lines of code, you can prevent other sites from hotlinking your images.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Locate or Create Your .htaccess File:

You’ll need to access your server via FTP or your web host’s file manager. The .htaccess file is usually located in the root directory of your website (public_html folder). If you can’t find it, make sure you have enabled ‘show hidden files’ as .htaccess is a hidden file. If it doesn’t exist, you can create a new one.

2. Edit the .htaccess File:

Open the .htaccess file in a text editor. To prevent hotlinking, you need to set up a rewrite condition and rule. Add the following lines to your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourwebsite.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ - [NC,F,L]

Replace yourwebsite.com with your own domain name. This code prevents access to your images (jpg, jpeg, png, gif) when the referrer is not your own website.

3. Save Your Changes:

Once you’ve added these lines to your .htaccess file, save it and then upload it back to your server if you downloaded it for editing. The changes take effect immediately.

This script basically tells your server to block requests for image files when the request doesn’t come from your own site. The [NC] flag makes the rule case-insensitive, and the [F,L] flags tell the server to return a 403 Forbidden error and stop processing further rules.

Warning: Be careful when editing your .htaccess file, as mistakes can cause your website to become inaccessible. Always take a backup before making changes.

4. Displaying Alternate Content:

Rather than just blocking the image, you might want to replace it with a different image when someone tries to hotlink. This could be a graphic that says “This image is hosted by www.yourwebsite.com, please visit for access” or something similar. Here’s how you can do that:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourwebsite.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ http://www.yourwebsite.com/alternate-image.jpg [R,L]

Just replace yourwebsite.com with your domain name and alternate-image.jpg with the image you want to display. This way, anyone trying to hotlink will unknowingly promote your website!

5. Blocking Specific Offenders:

If there are specific websites hotlinking your images, you can target them specifically:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} offenderwebsite.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} anotheroffender.com [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F]

This will block any hotlinked files from being displayed on offenderwebsite.com and anotheroffender.com.

6. Disabling Hotlinking for Specific Domains:

If you want to allow hotlinking for specific domains while blocking all others, you can do so with the following code:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourwebsite.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?allowedwebsite.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ - [NC,F,L]

This will allow yourwebsite.com and allowedwebsite.com to hotlink your images, while blocking all others.

Remember to always backup your .htaccess file before making changes, as errors can take your entire site offline. Also, remember that these methods only work for Apache servers. If you’re using a server with a different configuration (like NGINX), you’ll need to use a different method to prevent hotlinking.


Hotlinking when using a premium paid hosting service

So you’ve decided to opt for a premium paid hosting service. Great choice, my friend! This means you’re all in for a smooth ride, as these services generally provide more reliable and superior features compared to their free counterparts.

1. Lights, Camera, Stability!

In the dramatic theater of the internet, you don’t want your star performers (your images or files) disappearing in the middle of the show. That’s where our friend, ‘Premium Hosting’ comes to the rescue. It ensures that your files are securely stored and reliably served, reducing the chances of them pulling a vanishing act on you.

2. Safety First, Right?

Paid hosting services are like the superheroes of the internet world. They swoop in and offer enhanced security measures, protecting your precious files from the villains of the internet realm – unauthorized access and misuse. You can sleep easy knowing your files are guarded round the clock.

3. Speedy Gonzales Alert!

Are you tired of the tortoise pace at which your images load? Time to say hello to the hare! Premium hosting services often have top-notch infrastructure which translates to faster load times for your hotlinked images. Especially if you’re hotlinking large files, this can make a huge difference. No more waiting for images to load while you grow a beard!

4. 24/7 Helpdesk – Your New Best Friend

Whenever you find yourself in a pickle, remember you’re not alone. With premium services, you have access to round-the-clock customer support. Whether it’s a technical glitch or a query about hotlinking, you have the assurance of expert help at your fingertips.

5. All About That Bandwidth

Premium hosting services generally offer higher bandwidth limits compared to free services. This means you can hotlink to your heart’s content without worrying about hitting bandwidth caps.





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In the virtual town of World Wide Web, Lived a savvy cat named Jeb. He didn’t host, but liked to link, From others’ servers, in a blink.

He’d find a photo, oh so dandy, Hotlink it like a candy. Displayed on his site, oh so bright, Yet hosted in another’s site.

One fine day, he found a pic, Of a mouse, so slick and quick. He hotlinked fast, with a twitch of his tail, “Easy peasy,” he said, “without fail.”

But the mouse was sly, knew the game, Swapped the pic, to Jeb’s great shame. Instead of a mouse, so slick and neat, Now Jeb’s site showed a beet.

Visitors laughed, oh what a sight, Jeb the cat, got quite a fright. Hotlinking seemed easy, and free, But it came with a cost, now he could see.

So heed this tale, all who may, Hotlinking can lead you astray. Your site’s content, might just hinge, On another’s whimsical change.




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