Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, unless thou pay Photobucket $500/year. The 14-year-old photo hosting site recently stopped letting outside sites display its photos for free, a move that instantly broke images on blogs, home pages, and eBay and Amazon listings, and infuriated longtime users. Some users are even having trouble downloading their own images, driving home an expensive lesson: Never trust a third-party site to hold onto your photos forever.
Photo by Michael Sheehan
Every few months or years an old hosting service shuts down or starts charging for previously free services, often leaving users little or no time to recover their data. As Gizmodo's Casey Chan put it when Webshots deleted its photos in 2012, "Your old pictures on the internet are going to be deleted." Full stop. Some day Flickr will shut down, as will Picasa, Imgur and Facebook. Maybe in a year, maybe in a century, but it will happen. So always keep local copies of your photos, like all your other priceless data. And keep a couple of cloud backups for when your house burns down.