Photos are so beloved that to lose them would crush a person. Many people keep them just on their computer, but doing that can be especially dangerous. Hard drives fail all the time, and losing all your pictures would be heartbreaking.
In a worst case scenario, you always want to have backups elsewhere. While backing them up on an external hard drive is a fine backup, here are some tools that will backup your photos online for offsite backup. Offsite backup gives you that extra layer of protection, so you can keep your memories around forever.
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums
(Free: Mac, Windows, Linux)
Picasa is not a backup service, but a way to simply and easily backup and manage your photos. Run by Google, Picasa allows you to backup your photos, for free, online, to Picasa Web Albums.
With Google’s Picasa, you can upload 1 gb of your photos, for free, online, to Picasa Web Albums. Picasa Web Albums is an excellent service that has great sharing capabilities and allows for collaborative albums. One of my favorite things about this service is that it integrates wonderfully with Google Contacts for facial recognition. If 1gb is not enough, you can purchase more storage.
With recently updated pricing, you can purchase 20 GB ($5.00 USD per year), 80 GB ($20.00 USD per year), 200 GB ($50.00 USD per year), 400 GB ($100.00 USD per year), and 1 TB ($256.00 USD per year) and, if you need even more, 2 TB ($512.00 USD per year), 4 TB ($1,024.00 USD per year), 8 TB ($2,048.00 USD per year), and 16 TB ($4,096.00 USD per year). Because of this recently updated pricing, I have purchased storage (80 gb) and am happy with the purchase.
(Included in purchase of computer, Mac only)
I include iPhoto, software to manage and organize your photos on your Mac, for one simple reason. It does a fabulous job providing easy to upload spots for your photos. In fact, in two clicks, you can upload to your Flickr, Facebook, MobileMe or send photos in an email. But Picasa has a trick iPhoto doesn’t: upload to Blogspot, a tool that may be helpful for bloggers. Be careful not to delete albums from the Flickr list, doing so will delete it from Flickr as well. If you are nervous about this, you can always use the Flickr Uploadr.
(Free (100 mb monthly), Web)
Previously mentioned, and one of my current choices, Flickr is one of the leading photo storage sites. It boasts an impressive community of highly dedicated users who jump at the slightest change of their beloved service, guest passes to let friends and family take a look at a specific album (something that Picasa Web Albums similarly does as well), and a slightly different type of storage limit.
While Picasa Web Albums puts a cap at 1 gb for free for life, Flickr allows you to upload 100 mb each month, making a growing total. The catch- you can only see the past 200 photos you have uploaded.
(Free, hosting account necessary, Web)
This one is a recently discovered favorite of mine. While I had to forgo the one-click install in favor of an easy clean install, I was able to set up uploading photos through FTP. In a couple of clicks, I had my entire photo library going up to my domain. If you have a hosting account with unlimited storage, and don’t think that your host will get upset with you, go for it. Just be warned, some will not like this.
(Free (2 gb), Mac, Windows, Linux)
Mozy backs up your entire computer, and any hard drives connected to it. It is amazing for backing up large amounts of data, although be forewarned, it takes a long time for the initial backup. For free, you get 2 gb, but soon you will find yourself wanting unlimited storage, a moderate $54.99 a year.
(Free (2 gb), Mac, Windows, Linux)
Dropbox is a nice touch for those with small photo collections, many computers and an urge for being on the safe side. Dropbox, not exclusively for your photos, syncs your files to other computers and to the cloud, for backups. In addition, Dropbox allows you to share a folder, potentially of your photos, with others. A handy feature. Dropbox is free for 2 gb and if you find you need more, you can get 50 gb for $9.99 per month, or 100 gb for $19.99 per month.
What I Use
Every single one of these services. My photos are backed up in several places, letting me rest easy. For others that want in addition to backup onsite, I suggest looking into a Drobo, which I have not used, but heard great things about. I have also recently made the switch from Flickr to Picasa Web Albums, mainly because of the price ($5 cheaper in my case), syncing of facial recognition, and the sanctity of having everything in one place.