It’s not always in a webmaster’s best interest to keep images hosted on their own server.
- Offloading images helps reduce server load.
- Offloading images usually results in faster loading because image hosts use dedicated servers and quality content delivery networks to host the images.
When a webmaster looks for an image host to offload their images to they’re looking for speed, uptime, and reliability.
- Speed – The host must deliver images quickly.
- Uptime – The images must be available at any time visitors attempt to access them.
- Reliability – The webmaster must be confident that the images will remain online and will not be deleted.
When comparing different image hosts I was unable to find speed comparisons, so I created my own experiment. I took a 60 kb image of a panda bear and uploaded it to the image hosting sites Imgur, Photobucket, ImageShack, Flickr, TinyPic, and Picasa. I then used Pingdom Tools, Uptrends (Using the New York checkpoint), and OctaGate SiteTimer to measure the load times of the images. These are my results.
This was a very limited experiment and these results don’t prove any host to be faster than another, but they may help webmasters choose a host to offload their images to.