Hosting Your Images on Flickr

On September 12th I wrote about “Hosting Your Own Image Files“, which by the way already has a PR 2 ranking for those following such things : )   In that post I asked about what others were doing for hosting their images.   Self-hosting or using something like Flickr to host your blog images and link back to them.

Windmill Power Generator At Night

Windmill Power Generator At Night

For the past month I’ve been hosting my images for the Lab and the Tucson real estate blog I author on Flickr to see if two things would happen.

  1. Would my blog and individual posts load faster ?
  2. Would the overall size of my homepage decrease ?

After a month of testing I have to say NO to both of these questions.

I notice no increase in the speed of the blog loading.   I do notice a decrease in load time when the home page is being loaded and often see Flickr is one of the links taking time to load on the page.

I’m going back to hosting my own images even if it is more work.

If You Are Hosting on Flickr

If you are hosting on Flickr I’ve learned a couple of things I’ll pass along to you.

Image on Flickr but not visible on Flickr

There were some images I wanted for blog posts I didn’t want showing up in my Flickr stream.   Some were small, some were modified to fit a particular post.   Some were not the size of image or quality I wanted displayed on Flickr but were perfect for an insert into a post.

Hint:   Upload the image and set it to private before you link to the image in your post.   The image will appear in the post but not in Flickr.   If you do it the other way around, link to it then change it to private you break the link and will need to get the link code again.

Violating Flickr Terms of Service

Flickr TOS and Captions

Flickr TOS and Captions

You embed images in a post by going to the image page on Flickr, chose view all sizes and pick the size you want to embed in your post.

There are two sets of links there.   The bottom link is a single link to the location of the image.   However, if you use that link in a blog post it states under the link code this is a violation of the Terms of Service with Flickr since you are not providing a link back to the image page on Flickr in that code.

Here is what it says:

Remember! Flickr Community Guidelines specify that if you post a Flickr photo on an external website, the photo must link back to its photo page. (So, use Option 1.)

If you are using it to send in an email you can use that link, but if it is to be published the top link is the one to be used on a post.

If the URL in your post start with: you are violating the Flickr Terms of Service.

Putting Captions Around Flickr Links

There is a simple two step process to put a caption around a Flickr image in your post.

  1. Select the image and size you want for on your post.
  2. Copy the image ULR at the bottom, the one you aren’t supposed to use in a post.
  3. Click in the Add media button in your post and copy the URL into the first line.   FIll out the title and caption and save.
  4. Go back to the Flickr page and copy the linking code.
  5. Click on the HTML tab and between the Caption codes insert the new link.

The caption codes to start and finish will have [ these around them ]   paste the link between them and you have a caption around your image and not violated Flickr TOS.

You can’t start with this code because it won’t validate in the Add media window as a valid URL.

Picnik and Flickr

Another tip and a gotcha at the same time. You have to have both a Flickr and a Picnik account. If you have an image in Flickr but it is just not quite right and you want to do a quick edit you can click on the edit image button in Flickr and it will take you to your picnik account.   A quick tweak of the brightness and contrast and save the image back to Flickr.   The Gotcha: But if you already linked to it, you will have to do it again, it changes the file name when you save over the existing image.   Do this first before you link to it.

I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t use Flickr to host your images.   I still might do it from time to time for the sake of speed.   It is much easier to do when I’m on the road and blogging to link to a Flickr image than to FTP one up to my site and link to it.

For me the answer to the original question “Is the Weight Worth the Freight”   The answer is YES.


  1. Someone needs to have a way to host the image and have the link for that image go to the site that provided it. I’m curious to know if that exists

  2. Curtis,

    I’m not sure I’m following what you are saying here.

    Could you explain this a little more. Because the only way you can get an image to show up in a blog post is to link back to where that image is hosted. Either yourself or some place else like Flickr.

  3. Nice tutorial here; but one thing that left me puzzled was step 3 in “Putting Captions Around Flickr Links”. I spend a good 10 minutes searching for the “Add media” button on Flickr (first time I use it); until it finally dawned on me that perhaps you weren’t talking about Flickr, but the CMS you’re using for blogging, which a peek in your source code somewhat confirmed. (I don’t use WordPress myself, but I imagine it has an ‘Add media’ button).

    If I’m wrong, please correct me. If I’m right, maybe you should make that clear… or maybe I’m the only one on the web *that* stupid. 😀

  4. Casper,

    Since this entire blog is about WordPress Blogging for Real Estate Agents, it is part of the core assumptions. Everything here is in the context of WordPress as the blogging platform. If this is your first time at the Lab, I can see how it is like walking into the middle of an ongoing conversations. The short answer, Yes, in WordPress, at least the last few versions, there is an Add Media button on the editor page.