PhotoBucket Change of Service Terms Affects CountryPlans Forum (July 1, 2017)

Started by hpinson, July 02, 2017, 06:46:32 PM

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This is an important message regarding the health of this forum. We are very interested in your input.

PhotoBucket, the image sharing service that many of you rely on, has started charging for image linking, and is charging what we consider an exorbitant amount - $399 a year per user.

This policy was implemented by PhotoBucket a few days ago without warning, and as of now, a large number of your existing topics that link to PhotoBucket images have gone "dark".  Your topic text and replies still exist here, but the images are replaced with a link to the PhotoBucket P500 subscription service that allows image linking.

The images you have posted are in a large part the value of this forum. We are by no means the only forum to be affected by this. Many other forums and blogs have suddenly been devalued - consider the time and effort people go through here to document their cabin projects!

We are considering what to do about this.

1. We would like to hear your ideas.

2. If possible, move your images to another reliable hosting service. At this point we cannot recommend you maintain any relationship with PhotoBucket. Imgur, Google Photos, DropBox, FaceBook, and ImageShack have been suggested as commercial alternatives, and may or may not involve a fee.

3. Relink the images stored on your new hosting service in your topics.  We will be providing direction on how to do this shortly, and recognize for some this is a Herculean task.

All that said, there is no guarantee that this will not happen again (as many of us learned from MySpace). These are all commercial image storing services. What is free now, may not be free, or may not even exist, in the future.

Please keep this in mind: we at CountryPlans are constrained by costs of server hosting, and bandwidth. This forum is solely financially supported by one person, John Rabbe, who to date, has wanted to keep the forum entirely free. It is also supported by a few volunteer administrators who are passionate about it and mostly donate their time.  Like many online forums, we are at the edge of what we can support financially. Not allowing direct photo uploads to date has been a financial decision.

Your comments on this will be taken under consideration.

-- Harlow


I personally find this forum extremely informative and without pictures to reinforce ideas/concepts, well it just would not be the same.
I would contribute financially to this forum if the opportunity presented itself, I am sure that I am not by myself.


"You will find the key to success under the alarm Glock"  Ben Franklin
Forget it Ben, just remember, the check comes at the first of the month and it's not your fault, your a victim.

Pray while there is still time


I have been linking to my Facebook images more and more as Photobucket's service has gotten worse and worse.
I have been downloading my albums off PB and when I'm done I will be deleting my PB account.
Had enough of PB issues.
Dave's Arctic Cabin:


I closed my PB account yesterday. Luckily, I have all of the photos saved, but all of my threads on various forums are trashed. I don't plan on using another hosting site, free or not. I'm old and cranky, and it would be a ton of work to restore those threads. My build thread here didn't generate all that much interest anyway, as it wasn't your typical small house/cabin build. I used to use the link to my build to interested folks, but no more. Once bitten, twice shy. If you want to look at pics of my build, c'mon over, I'll put the coffee on, and we'll look through my photo albums, like God intended.

I'm not poor- I'm financially underpowered.


I would add that Google Photos no longer allows direct linking.  It used to back when it was "picassaweb".  But not any more.  Luckily, the photos that I added this way still show up (although sometimes rotated for some reason).  But google photos is not an alternative to photobucket.

$399/yr?  Wow!!


Just posting a test image from google photo. I think some users have successfully been posting from there, it is not user friendly, though.

I added this photo to a shared album, and then from that shared album, I right clicked the image and selected copy image address.

Image is loading from Chrome Incognito mode, would like to know if you all can see as well.


My understanding is that those links are just temporary and don't last.  I guess we will find out in a couple days ;-)

All my links in my project threads (and yes, will start building this year!  Will probably be hoping for your comments Nathan since I am in NYS, too) are from google photos, so I was doing a lot of research on this.

For example:

Adam Roby



Yeah looks like SouthernTier was spot on, it lasted a few hours and doesn't work anymore. The link to stackoverflow says as much. The Google Archive doesn't seem like a great long term option either.

In some ways all this doesn't surprise me. The internet is not the same place it used to be, everything is being amalgamated and and billions of dollars are being spent on monetizing everything into a perverse customized billboard.

Imgur is a good option for now, wouldn't surprise me if that changes in the future. Otherwise Don P suggested somewhere paying for your own web host, which would be the safest option. This really all does put a new perspective on 'cloud storage.' Definitely need to read the small print.



"Also, don't use Imgur to host image libraries you link to from elsewhere, content for your website, advertising, avatars, or anything else that turns us into your content delivery network. If you do – and we will be the judge – or if you do anything illegal, in addition to any other legal rights we may have, we will ban you along with the site you're hotlinking from, delete all your images, report you to the authorities if necessary, and prevent you from viewing any images hosted on We mean it."

Google I can't get to work
Facebook used to work, but can't get that to work now either

Forums as we know it sadly may have finished.....with no pics the builds and threads we spent 1000's of hours writing and explaining become as useful as Teletext "oracle" or even the older Minitel services

Looks like I might need to dig out my 386 win 3.1 PC and start relearning DOS

Every forum on the planet is affected and as all the other pic hosting people are seemingly all adopting new rules, forums my have become obsolete, unless they can generate enough funds to be able to become independent from 3rd parties, the big companies seem to be channelling us into their platforms in order to "rule" the internet

I'll keep trying to find a hoster that works and report anything I find....I have a website I set up for the wife, I need to see if I can hide some photos on there


I was talking about this with John Rabbe the other day. Similar conclusion.

At this point I am even hesitant to recommend a particular image hosting service. Letting members make there own decision as to image hosting moving forward might be a way of mitigating risk of relying on one particular service.

Maintaining my own small website has allowed inexpensive and so far reliable image hosting for me. Just purchase a cheap hosting plan, create a folder on the web server through the control panel, and dump your images.  If you keep the same name, you just need to change the absolute URL and path.

Some really cheap services, like Dreamhost, disallow hotlinking in their terms of service, but to date have not seemed to enforce if you are not abusing, and I don't think anyone here is.  Not sure about GoDaddy hosting - it costs about $10 a month.


Looks like Photobucket forgot to take down this how-to:

It obviously wasn't previously contrary to their terms.  Maybe they will say now it only applies to the P500 accounts (doesn't currently)

I guess I can kind of understand PB's or Imgur's policies (but would think they would grandfather existing images in like PicassaWeb did), but I am miffed that Google Photos is doing this, too.  Google Photos is *not* really "free".  Sure I don't pay anything for my web storage (but may have to pay if I go over a limit), but Google makes their money by knowing all about me.  All these photos are automatically copied to their server from my android phone.  I have a gmail account. A Youtube account, etc.  They know what I search for.  I made the decision to let Google know a certain amount about me in exchange for their services.  Obviously, that information is valuable to them.  They already have the photos stored online (this is default for Androids I believe), and there are ways to share them, just not as direct links.  Bandwidth costs my add up if the links are being dumped full-res onto every forum pageview, but again, that's a small price to pay for the information they have about me.


Very sad development, however the "writing was on the wall" for several years at PB.  PB became severely annoying to deal with when all of the aggressive ad tactics started occurring.

I have over a decade of helpful forum posts, from restoring vintage stereo equipment, engine swaps, vehicle modifications, etc detailed by pics hosted on PB. It will all be lost. Not to mention all of the help others have provided and I have sought on this forum.

My local news websites have just begun to start behaving like PB also. Ads that suddenly overtake the news article and start playing unwanted video at 11pm at night while the wife is trying to sleep.

The internet will destroy itself this way.

Time to renew my library card and become friends with the local officials at the permit offices!


What a shame that so many of the archived threads have lost their pictures.  It was really nice to be able to refer back to something you saw in a past thread for reference.  Now all gone. >:(
Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough,  and I will move the world.


Quote from: archimedes on July 05, 2017, 03:15:37 PM
What a shame that so many of the archived threads have lost their pictures.  It was really nice to be able to refer back to something you saw in a past thread for reference.  Now all gone. >:(
I just fiddled around and saw that if you really want to refer back to something, you still can.  You can't just browse the forum looking at pics, but if you see a post and want to see the picture, right click on the stupid, blurry "upgrade to P500" image, and select "open image in a new tab" or "open link in new tab" (at least on chrome, probably something similar in other browsers.  That will then open up the photobucket page with the image (and all of their ads, etc. which is why they allow that to still work).

And if you right click on the photo on that tab, and select "open image in a new tab", you can still get to the bare image.

Lots of steps, but all the retained knowledge is not lost if someone wants to go back and check on how someone did something.

I guess this is a reason *not* to delete your PB account even if you are rightfully pissed off.   Unless you plan on relinking all your photos (99% chance of *not* happening), probably leaving things as is would be best. 


Basically if a forum cannot host its own photo gallery it's going to lose that content, which I think we've all known all along. What would it cost to do that for this forum? Are we willing to view images as being for the immediate time without thinking you are writing for some future reader?

Although I am keeping my photos on my own website, this is my 4th website for that stuff, so that is not necessarily stable either. One went under, one changed terms, one got hijacked, and I'm on #4.

Adam Roby

I am playing with some options.  I just created a fake wix free webpage and inserted an image into the existing template.
Below I am linking to that image...   

I wonder how many you can link to and if they would complain at some point?

Adam Roby

Quote from: Don_P on July 05, 2017, 04:24:50 PM
What would it cost to do that for this forum?

I wonder the same thing.  Can someone give us an estimate how much per year this would cost, and then maybe we could do a small survey to see who might be willing to donate.  I mean, if there are enough of us, would it be very expensive each?  If it were voluntary donation, the donators can get a special title - and it remains free for the general public. 



Quote from: Adam Roby on July 05, 2017, 05:37:55 PM
I wonder the same thing.  Can someone give us an estimate how much per year this would cost, and then maybe we could do a small survey to see who might be willing to donate.  I mean, if there are enough of us, would it be very expensive each?  If it were voluntary donation, the donators can get a special title - and it remains free for the general public.

While I am not sure of the cost I can say that the text and code info that tells a single page how to be displayed might only be 200 KB but if there are 10 images on the page each image could be 200 KB or more. That is partly dependent on how the image sizes might be limited. As things were with photobucket, some users stored huge size files on PB which caused a large bandwidth use for PB. The increased bandwidth use id images were stored on the countryplans server could be substantial.  Perhaps Harlow can give us a better idea. That extra bandwidth gets used every time the page is loaded by someone. Exceptions would be images that get loaded to the computer cache; if the info is still cached and that same user re-loads the page the page would use the cache. However, if someone is clicking through a build thread they could use a lot of bandwidth.

Storing and serving images on the countryplans server would only help with future posts unless somebody took the time to download the images from PB, upload them to the CP server and then correct all the links.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.



Another thing that would need addressing if we were to have the images uploaded to the countryplans server is the file size. We can set limits to the maximum file size that could be uploaded to help minimize bandwidth use. However, as things sit that would mean users would have to have the skill to resize their camera originals as the present forum software will not downsize images that are uploaded. There are websites that can be used to do that but extra steps make it less user friendly.

azgreg, is that a TD you built?

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Nope. It belongs to rickxr2 over at TNTTT. I love the shape though.


Well, several things.

The owner has specifically said he wants to keep the site free and does not want to accept donations. That may change, but at the moment it has not.

I don't believe there is any mechanism for accepting donations. That mechanism would have to be created, both legally and physically.

The owner is right now at the limit of what he is willing to pay monthly. We are on a quality host, and that is not inexpensive.

We have 50GB of disk space.   File upload size can be limited.  Users would need to know/ learn how to make their (say) 24MG photos MUCH smaller. We could limit uploads to say 3MB and probably go a long time. At some point the disk would fill and we would need to purchase more resources.

We average about 70GB of transfer a month. At this point we have excess bandwidth, and can support modestly sized image uploads. We would have to monitor closely. If we exceed our allocation, then we have no mechanism to pay for that.

I should point out that I am not trying to discourage any of this.  These is just our current situation.

-- Harlow