Monday, June 26, 2017

Photobucket phail, or How to ruin a hosting site, on

UPDATE July 3: Photobucket keeps sending me autoresponses and demands for payment, so that's no help. BUT, I did find a viable workaround for myself, so I've updated what I'm doing at

I try not to blog too much about blogging on here for fear of having it get too meta. However, there's a situation going down with my archive images that warrants a head's up. I explain it all over on — here's an excerpt:

The pirate's sign that you must
pay the ransom or forfeit your photos
A few days ago, without any advance warning, Photobucket sneakily changed its terms of service to disallow third-party hosting, or hotlinking, on nearly all of its plan tiers. Most people use Photobucket explicitly for the ability to link from images on Photobucket to other locations such as blogs and forums, so this seems like a baffling move.

Until you realize the scam that's afoot: The only way to get your images to show up again is to pay Photobucket $400, upfront, as an annual subscription to its most expensive plan.

Ah, I see. It's a ransom demand.

I'm livid. I'd been using Photobucket to host my images on my Blogger blogs for ten years. For several of those years, I paid Photobucket an annual subscription for the benefits of unlimited bandwidth and extra storage.

A couple years ago or so, though, Photobucket's user interface went downhill. […]

Fortunately, then, for my more recent posts, I had gotten fed up with Photobucket and started hosting my newer images directly on the Google/Blogger interface. […]

Then, last week, I opened up my blog and saw: Ack! Everything was black-boxed. My header, my sidebar icons, my profile picture. It was awful. I tore into my templates and quickly uploaded any image I could find to Blogger, then repasted all the links until my templates were fixed. But, I realized I was still staring into the abyss of hundreds of blogposts, thousands of images, that all needed to be reuploaded and recoded. It was enough to make me want to cry.

My blog of doom

Well, at least I could get my images off Photobucket, right? Nope. You heard me. I can't get my own photos off Photobucket. A decade's worth of blog photos are being held hostage.

You can read the whole shebang on

What this means for you: Please be patient as I transition to new hosting. I currently don't have easy access to all my old photos or a simple way to replace all the Photobucket uploads, so the process will take time. You'll notice the black boxes of doom primarily in my older posts and pages. Trying to fix them piecemeal is more time than I have at my disposal, so I'm using a nuclear option, outlined at the end of the article I wrote above.

I'm hoping this is all taken care of quickly and that Photobucket is reasonable enough to grant me access to my own photos so I can download them off their site and get out of their hair. We will then be done with each other.



Ngan Bakes said...

I am having the same problem with you. I have been blogging for almost 10 years and now i have to download every photos from photobucket (which is more than 5000 photos) and reupload them to Flickr then replace the link one by one in my blog . That freaking website never replies to my message, the only thing they do is to email me and ask for money!!!

Lauren Wayne said...

@Ngan Ha: Ugh, I'm sorry you're going through this, too. It's true — I finally got a response today, and it just told me to pay up. Grr.

fili said...

I'm also in the same situation. Have a personal blog and have always hosted my pics on a free photobucket account.

Any suggestions for where to host the pics now?

S2F-2 Tracker said...

Like Ngan Ha said he started using Flickr.

Javi said...

Hi guys

I woke up this morning and WTF!? my pics were replaced for a stupid icon about a ransom $400.

Now I'm reading lotsa posts and articles about alternatives BUT I can't find a real alternative because I got tons of pics and they were uploaded and set in folders so as you know every pic had an URL with a route.

Now every free hosting service offers a lot of options but NOTHING about keep an URL scheme. You know what I mean?

Finally I'll need to upload my pics to my server... but I presume it'll be almost full.

Does anybody know if it's possible to upload pics to and after that hotlink them?

Thank you

stimfish said...

I'm having the same problem as you! All my photos from older posts were hosted from photobucket, I did paid once when photobucket claimed that my account almost reach the bandwidth. Can't believe they are doing this to us...

This is so dissapointing.

Lauren Wayne said...

@fili: Some have suggested tinypic or flickr, though I fear for their future as well. (Who knows!) I decided to go with Amazon S3 storage for now, which is a little opaque for users, but I got it to work. There's a free tier, and you pay for storage and bandwidth above that.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Javi: I don't know about hotlinking from wordpress. I've seen plenty of people hotlink from Blogger, though I think it's supposed to be against the rules. Plus, the Blogger upload is kind of a mess. For now, flickr and tinypic are a free option (though tedious). I'm doing Amazon S3, but it's too soon to say how convenient or cheap it is.

Lauren Wayne said...

@stimfish: Agreed! It's beyond frustrating, especially when we've paid them money already.

Style, Decor & More said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linche said...

I got this too from Photobucket but I'm confused.

What did they think we were using Photobucket for if not to host photos we use elsewhere?

Javi said...

One of the best alternatives to Photobucket is

You can upload your pics there with the same structure as in Photobucket (folders) and you just need to change the first part of your pics' URL and you got it!

For example:

You can get massive changes in URLs with a plugin.

It's really easy

toxicpunkette said...

Ugh I just took 600+ and have many more to move to a new host. I use
This sucks and I this has doomed Photobucket.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Linche: Right?! Totally agree.

Lauren Wayne said...

@Javi: Oo, nice, thanks for the recommend!

Lauren Wayne said...

@toxicpunkette: No kidding! Glad to hear you found a new host at least.

Javi said...

@Lauren Wayne
Hi Lauren

I'm sorry. I was wrong.
I uploaded my pics to cdn77 as I previously said.
BUT I've received an email warning that trial period is near to end.

I didn't read conditions of this service. Well, basically you need to pay. It's a prepaid service. Around 130 bucks for one year.

So I'll need to move my pics once again.

Oh, it's so disgusting!

Thank you for your support.

This article is perfect for sharing experiences.

I hope somebody can find a real alternative to Photo-buck-et

Lauren Wayne said...

@Javi: Bummer! They sure don't make this easy.

TheAtticGirl said...

Ugh. My entire page has their logo all over it and I can't read ANYTHING on my blog. I have contacted the person who did my design but she has not gotten back to me. I have images in my widgets that are from photobucket too, but for some reason they plastered that image all over my entire page instead of just my sidebar. I tried taking out the widgets with photobucket images and it still is covered completely at

What do I do if my whole design seems to be messed up by this? Do you know someone who might help me? I don't have a ton of money to completely re-design my site or switch over to wordpress right now. I need my site to be readable! I have asked other bloggers but haven't gotten any answers as to why this is covering my whole page like this.

Any advice?

Javi said...

@The Attic Girl

Well, the only thing you can do is to get into your Photobucket Account and to download all of your pics from there.
You can do it folder by folder.
You can download each folder in zip file.

After that...well, I don't know so much about website design but I guess somebody can help you easily.

Good luck

Lauren Wayne said...

@The Attic Girl: It must be something in your template. See if this will fix it:
Go to Dashboard --> Theme.
Click Edit HTML.
Click in the box and do a find (Ctrl/Command-F) for the word photobucket.
Likely it will return multiple results. Just keep clicking return in the find box to discover them all.
Those are the images you need to download from Photobucket and upload elsewhere.
Once you have the new image URLs, replace all the Photobucket ones in your template.

If you want to upload those images to Blogger, open a draft blogpost and upload the images to it but don't publish the post. Then just copy the URLs from that draft from the HTML view (not Compose). You can add as many images to that draft as you want. Title it something memorable like "Photobucket is the worst."

Hope that helps! Let me know if you need screenshots or further tips.

Jeremy S said...

@Javi you can pretty much do the same thing in Amazon S3 (retain folder structure); just upload your photos from your computer using either the Amazon interface, or S3 browser ( or extensions like CloudBerry ( Just make sure to set up a bucket (or folder) rule to make everything public. Cost is negligible: 20GB, adding 1000 per month, with 100k views = $0.37mo. Even a million views is $0.73/mo.

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