Dear Lifehacker, What's the fastest way to get a screenshot or a photo I downloaded up on the web? I know I can post photos to Facebook or Flickr, but I just need a quick place to upload one image.
Sincerely, Photo Confused
Title image by Hasloo Group Production Studio (Shutterstock).
Dear Photo Confused,
Back in the day, you had to get an account with a service like PhotoBucket in order to upload images to a forum or share it with a friend. Now, there are lots of services that let you just drag in a photo and send that link. Unfortunately, if you ask a dozen people what to use, you'll get a dozen different answers.
It's not that there is no easy way to do it -- there are so many ways it's hard to know where to start. Fortunately, the best methods don't require much effort on your part. Let's look at some of the simplest ways to get a picture off your computer and onto the internet.
Looking for a fast and easy way to get an image off your desktop and onto the internet where everyone can see it? Try one of these drag-and-drop services:
- Dropbox: If you're already a Dropbox user (or use any other Dropbox alternative), the easiest method for you would be to drop that image into your Dropbox folder. After the image syncs with the cloud, you can right-click it to get a URL you can paste anywhere -- forum posts, emails, support chats, wherever you need it to be.
- Minus: Minus started off as a simple image-sharing service, but now you can use it for much more than just image files. Drag and drop your image onto the page, and Minus will upload the file and return a URL you can share with others. That's all it takes. Minus operates a little like Dropbox, so if you want to sign up for an account, you get 50GB of storage for your files and images.
- Imgur: You don't have to sign up for an account to use this popular service -- you can simply select the image you want to share, upload it and that's it. Best of all, you can link to the Imgur page if you have a gallery of images to share, or directly to the image file.
- CloudApp/FluffyApp: CloudApp (Mac) and FluffyApp (Windows) both make it super-easy to share screenshots, not to mention other files. They're great if screenshots are your most frequently posted files, although they need a little setup before you can start using them. You'll have to download the respective app and then sign up for an account. But once you're up and running, sharing with either tool is just as seamless as Dropbox.
If you share screenshots frequently, your best bet is to find a screenshot utility -- like our favourites for Windows, Mac or Linux -- that integrates with the service you want to use. Almost all of these services have third-party apps that will take screen captures, upload them to the web for you, and even drop the link to the image onto your clipboard. We should also note that if your goal is to share an image with a specific community -- like your Facebook friends or Twitter followers -- you should just upload your file to that service. If you're posting an image to a forum or customer service page that allows image uploads, just upload it directly. It's usually the fastest option.
Sharing a photo or screenshot of your phone is a slightly more complicated matter. Unless you feel like making your computer an intermediary between an image you have on your phone and the place you need to share it on the web, try these services that make mobile image-sharing easy:
- Dropbox: Dropbox works just as well on mobile devices as it does on the desktop. Again, you'll have to be a user and have the Dropbox app installed, but uploading an image to Dropbox is easy in iOS and Android, and once the image is uploaded, getting a link to the file is just as easy.
- Minus: Minus users can use the service's iOS or Android apps to share images quickly from their mobile phones. If you're a minus user, your files go right into your account. If you're not, you can still use the apps to upload and share images with just a few taps.
If you want to post mobile images to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using those services directly is faster and easier than using one of the alternatives mentioned in the list. If you're interested in a private photo-sharing network, consider these great options for Android and for iOS.
The only downside to this is that uploading an image to a social network means you'll have to tweak your settings to make the image viewable to the world (if that's what you want) or to specified people. If you're looking to share one link with specific people, these services are the best way to go.
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right.