Flickr had the potential to be what Facebook is now, unfortunately Yahoo squandered multiple opportunities to make something of Flickr, now Yahoo has decided to offload Flickr to Verizon which is just one of many reasons I have decided to discontinue using Flickr.
It’s a shame to be leaving Flickr because I like the way Flickr works and the way it presents my images but functionality and looks aren’t enough to keep me as a user. All good things come to an end sooner or later. Since I have a fair amount of experience designing, building, implementing, and maintaining web sites I have chosen to self host my images over moving to another hosted service.
When I started looking for self hosted Flickr alternatives I never thought I’d find as many excellent alternatives as I found. Of course there are more alternatives than I’m presenting here but I have chosen these alternatives because they are well designed and use responsive web design techniques or mobile first design principals, are easy to use, are well documented and supported, and are free or offer excellent value.
WordPress has been around for thirteen years and is the most widely used content management system (CMS) with a market share of59.4% WordPress powers 26.6% of all web sites on the web. DIY Photography uses WordPress as does some of the worlds most highly regarded publications such as National Geographic and The New York Times, even Lily Allen, a-ha, LL Cool J, Snoop Dog or Snoop Lion or Snoopzilla (or what ever Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr. is calling himself) use WordPress. WordPress is free and easy to use, it’s well documented and supported by a large community, there are thousands of themes and plugins that are both free and paid for. If you choose to build a web site with WordPress I would suggest you self host it because self hosting your WordPress blog will afford you a lot more freedom and flexibility. Using a WordPress.com hosted site limits the themes and plugins that you can use. A lot of web hosting services even offer an easy one click installation option to install WordPress, not that it’s hard to manually install WordPress, in fact I think it’s easier to manually install WordPress than it is to install it any other way but I digress. Once WordPress is installed you can easily install themes and plugins from the dashboard with a single click. WordPress is by far the best CMS. You really can’t go wrong if you choose WordPress. Seriously, you really can’t go wrong if you choose WordPress. I’m not even sure I can say anything bad about WordPress it’s that good.
Until recently I had never heard of Koken despite it being publicly available for about four years. Where WordPress is a relatively complex CMS that can be used for anything, including photography, Koken is a CMS built specifically for photographers to help them get a web site up and running quickly and easily. Everything I read and saw on the Koken site impressed me enough that I decided to give it a go on myown site for a short time and I am quite impressed with it. In fact I’m so impressed with it that I’m going to keep using Koken.
One of the things that impressed me about Koken is the support. Koken’s documentation it is pretty good, it doesn’t cover absolutely everything you might want to know which means you may have to send off an email request for support. Should you need to send an email request for support you will most likely get a pretty quick response. I had to send a request for support via email and was pleasantly surprised to get a response within hours. Further more that single email that solved my problem. I even received a follow-up email with some extra information that was relevant and useful. As impressed as I am with Koken it isn’t perfect, the back end administration interface is still a little bit buggy but that will improve with time. Koken hasn’t even hit version one yet but a look at the history of Koken’s release notes show that it’s under steady development. The CMS software itself is free as are some of the themes and plugins for Koken while other themes and plugins cost money. Alternatively you can build your own Koken theme. Even if you decide to not use Koken it’s a solution worth keeping an eye on because it has huge potential and is only going to get better with time as it matures.
If you are looking for something like Koken then LaraGallery might be what you are looking for it isn’t free but it is cheap.
Chevereto is a powerful and impressive image hosting solution that you can use to host your own image gallery or start your own image hosting site. Be sure to take a look at the live demo. Chevereto isn’t free like WordPress and Koken are but from what I have seen it seems to provide excellent value. A look at Chevereto’s change log shows that it’s under steady development. Chevereto also has solid documentation and support. I Haven’t tried Chevereto but if Koken didn’t exist or it wasn’t so great I’d purchase a Chevereto license in a second, in fact I’m thinking about using Chevereto for another project I’m working on. There area a lot worse ways to spend your money like a Flickr Pro subscription.
ArtVenue is a slightly cheaper alternative to Chevereto. ArtVenue is well designed and has a lot of good features but is somewhat let down by it’s documentation and support which is quite scant.
Piwigo is a mature and completely free self hosted image gallery solution with a great set of features including theme and plugin support, privacy options, statistics, management tools and more. The documentation and support for Piwigo is pretty good for a free solution.
Lychee is a free photo-management tool that is good looking and easy to use. I haven’t tried Lychee on my own site but there is a live demo available that I have checked out which was quite nice. Lychee is great if you just want a simple standalone photo album type site to display and share your photos.
I don’t think that any one single solution is the best, these solutions are simply suggestions. I use a combination of Koken and WordPress and it works well for me. I haven’t used any of the other solutions but if WordPress and Koken didn’t exist then I would defiantly choose one of the other solutions. At the end of the day only you can decide which solution is best for you depending on your needs and circumstances.
Do you know of any other excellent self hosted Flickr alternatives?
About the Author
James Ingles, AKA Jingles, is a male human biped who lives in Melbourne, Australia and has a passion for street photography. Hit up Jingles’ web site and checkout his photos or point your browser at his blog for some inspiration. If you are feeling generous you can also support Jingles on Patreon.