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I've spent a large of portion of this fine day searching for economical ways of hosting 253,000 images. Does anyone have any recommendations?

There is a little bit of legal adult content amidst the images. I'm not about to go through a quarter million images and find which ones have boobies.

I am a poor college student and I am doing this simply for the fun of it, but I would like to stay cheap. I heard fantastic stories of Amazon S3 and the wonders of it's hosting capabilities. Has anyone used it for large-scale media hosting? If not, where else could I host these files?

Thanks for the read!

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Amazon S3 isn't bad, and if you really just want to fire-and-forget, it could be a winner, although you'll pay more than if you did it right yourself.

Plenty of web hosts, though, especially in the virtual and dedicated servers line, will give you 150GB of storage. If you're not serving too many of them real quickly, that will probably suffice. If you want to wrap a large website around it and do all sorts of other interesting things you might need to think harder about how you go about the hosting.

If you give more details about what you're looking to do with the images beyond just "host them", you'll get more detailed answers about what would be appropriate.

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Yup, I've used S3 for 'large scale media hosting'--nearly a terabyte of videos. No real complaints.

(We no longer use S3 like this, though. Our bandwidth usage was great enough to justify going with a CDR (Constant Data Rate) line to our servers.)

You'll get effectively unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth for your content, which is nice. Amazon's capacity in both those metrics is mind boggling. If your content gets popular then you'll start to notice the costs. S3 is down right cheap regarding storage space, unlike many more 'traditional' CDNs (Content Delivery Network). It amazes me to this day that companies can get away with charging > $1/GB of traffic for static content, when S3 is in the game.

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I have to say that i find amazon S3 expensive compared to the usual dedicated webservers. So if the OP does not have a huge service eating up CPU speed like crazy then a simple dedicated would be best. – Lothar Sep 28 '09 at 12:53
Expensive? 150GB is $22.50/mo + traffic (to which the OP has not quantified.) CPU? The OP is not talking about hosting an application, just media. Maybe you are confused and thinking of EC2? – Stu Thompson Sep 30 '09 at 6:58

Dreamhost offers "unlimited" hosting space for about $10 a month. I can't see anything in their T&C that would disallow your images, provided you have the right to use said images.

(No affiliation other than as a currently-satisfied customer)

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I work there, so obviously I'm biased, but Rackspace offers Cloud Files: linky Rackspace and Amazon are basically the two biggest cloud providers right now. Something like 15cents/GB/mo storage, 22cents/GB/mo bandwidth, or something like that.

I don't think DreamHost's "unlimited hosting" would be allowed for a photo distribution site, because of this:

What's not allowed in "Unlimited"? Basically, sites whose essential purpose is to use disk or bandwidth.

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