Almost everyone knows the feeling of having a data-loss scare. Whether you accidentally spill something on your laptop, you lose your iPhone/smartphone, or you just find that your desktop won’t boot up, it can be one of the worst feelings in the modern world. Some types of files, you have to admit, are more important than others and would cause you much more dismay if they really did disappear into the ether. While music can always be re-downloaded and applications can always be re-bought, it is your pictures that are truly irreplaceable.
Until recently, you only had a few options for backing up all of your photos. You could buy an external hard drive (or several), but even then, you would be out of luck if your whole home was destroyed. You could back your pictures up into the cloud via services like Dropbox—but with the limited amounts of free data you are given, you would quickly run out of space and find yourself paying lots of money for more storage. You could also back up your photos online to photo-sharing sites like Photobucket. The problem with these, however, is that you would usually need to shrink your pictures’ file sizes to avoid filling up the small amount of data these sites gave you for free.
Yahoo swooped in and introduced a new viable and free option for backing up your photos. The company’s photo-sharing site, Flickr, had been among the most trusted sites for uploading pictures for years, but users had often found themselves running into some of the same issues with limited data storage and needing to resize photos. When Flickr underwent a total overhaul, however, Yahoo brought a new feature to the site—1 terabyte (TB) of free data for every user. For those of you who can’t picture exactly how much data this is, 1 TB is equal to 1000 gigabytes (GB), and 1 gigabyte is equal to 1000 megabytes (MB). The average picture file is approximately 2MB, so essentially, Yahoo is giving you the space to upload 500,000 photos for free at their original, full quality.
Flickr is actively trying to compete with Instagram by touting itself as a social network, so if you want to use it like that, you will be able to find, “like,” and comment on your friends’ photos. You can also use it, however, to privately back up all of your photos for free and limit the settings so that only you can see them. On Flickr.com, you can create an account (or sign in with your pre-existing Yahoo ID) and immediately be able to upload photos. From the upper right hand corner of the main Flickr page, you can then select “Settings,” and under “Privacy & Permissions,” you can customize who is able to see your photos as well as a whole slew of more specific settings. If you just want to use the site for backup, then you can change every setting to only allowing you to see/download your photos. If you want your friends and family to be able to see your pictures, there are options for that too, and if you want them to be open to the world, you can select that.
Now you should set to work uploading your files. Yes, it will likely take a while since you can only upload 200 files at a time. Still, you can rest assured that with every photo that enters the cloud, you are one step closer to having all of your precious pictures backed up to an offsite location that is both safe from anything that might happen to your computer and completely free.