Seven self hosted alternatives to Flickr (and every other hosted image service)

Sep 21, 2016

James Ingles

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Seven self hosted alternatives to Flickr (and every other hosted image service)

Sep 21, 2016

James Ingles

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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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 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.

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We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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22 responses to “Seven self hosted alternatives to Flickr (and every other hosted image service)”

  1. doge Avatar

    it’s spelled DEFINITELY. There is no other spelling for definitely. it’s definitely spelled definitely.

    1. Jingles Avatar

      You are DEFINITELY right about how to spell DEFINITELY. I should DEFINITELY learn how to spell DEFINITELY. I should DEFINITELY read what I write more carefully. That DEFINITELY shouldn’t have slipped past me. I will DEFINITELY be more careful in the future.

      1. Rick Scheibner Avatar
        Rick Scheibner

        Supposably, you could of spelled it differently.

        1. FieldWolf Avatar

          You COULD HAVE use COULD HAVE properly.

          1. Rick Scheibner Avatar
            Rick Scheibner


  2. Sam Dickinson Avatar
    Sam Dickinson

    I’ve been using Koken since it’s first public release. Totally happy with it. Does everything I want it to, and yes, there have been plenty of bugs here and there, but to be honest, they RARELY show themselves and are easily worked around (usually just clicking whatever you just clicked again).

    1. Jingles Avatar

      I see you too use the same theme as I do on my site. Great work.

      I haven’t been so fortunate with the bugs I experience showing themselves more often than rarely. However it’s only in the back end/admin interface and like you say it’s easily worked around. Ultimately the bugs aren’t a show stopper and are to be expected for something that isn’t that mature yet. Koken is still an awesome solution.

      1. Juan Carlos Heredia Mayer Avatar
        Juan Carlos Heredia Mayer

        Which theme is that? I’ll like the way your sites look.

        1. Jingles Avatar

          Thanks Juan, I’m using the Regale 2 theme:

  3. Bogdan Avatar

    I know it’s not technically a website tool but it’s free and great for showcasing a certain gallery and a dream for wedding photographers and others that need to devilver images to clients, complete with download counts and PIN protection. I’m talking about Pixieset. Have a look at it .

  4. Scott Wyden Kivowitz Avatar
    Scott Wyden Kivowitz

    WordPress all the way :-) . For photographers looking for the ultimate solution with minimal fuss, check out It’s ideal for any photographer wanting to go the WordPress route. Own your content. Don’t let other platforms have control.

  5. Kay O. Sweaver Avatar
    Kay O. Sweaver

    I’d love to hear what you think the advantages of the above systems are compared to something like Smugmug or Zenfolio.

    1. Jingles Avatar

      For me hosted solutions in general (including Smugmug, Zenfolio, Flickr etc…) don’t suit me for many reasons that I have already written about here:

  6. godlike Avatar

    What about Chevereto Free?

  7. Juan Carlos Heredia Mayer Avatar
    Juan Carlos Heredia Mayer

    Thanks for the article, after reading and testing I decided to use Koken. I’ll migrate my portfolio from smugmug to a self hosting with Koken,

  8. Rob Gipman Avatar
    Rob Gipman

    No word on Drupal here?

    1. udi tirosh Avatar
      udi tirosh

      interestingly, DIYP was hosted on Drupal for 5 years. I hated everything about it :)

      1. Rob Gipman Avatar
        Rob Gipman

        Hoi, can imagine that, but if you have the time to dive into it with some tutorials on the internet and a friend who has build several dupal sites that are still running and the superb flickr integration it has. Iḿ setting one up @ home now on an old laptop

  9. Phil Boyd Avatar
    Phil Boyd

    Out of those is Chevereto the only one that offers multiple user accounts?

  10. Mike Monden Avatar
    Mike Monden

    Well, Koken is dead….
    What is about ? Nice and easy…



  11. Fabian Gonzalez Avatar
    Fabian Gonzalez

    Hi, I had been looking for koken for long time. Its is possible that you send me the zip of koken so I can add it to my host? I tried to get it from koken website but I could not reach it. If you can I will be reeeeeally thanked you. Thank you very much for your time. Fabian (

  12. Michael Avatar

    Another self-hosted alternative is The system also offers automatic migration for Koken installations.