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Reddit ends reliance on image hosts, announces new in-house feature

Reddit has long been one of the biggest communities on the web, currently ranking as the ninth-most-visited website in the U.S., according to Alexa. And from the very beginning, users have had to post images to dedicated image hosts like Imgur in order to share. Well, the online community hub announced today that the requirement will soon be a thing of the past.

In a changelog update on the site, Andy from Reddit’s product team announced that starting Thursday, 16 subreddits, or topic-focused subcommunities for those of you unfamiliar with the site, will be gaining access to a new in-house image-hosting service.

“We’re super-excited to begin rolling out in-house image hosting on Reddit.com to select communities this week,” he said. “For a long time, other image-hosting services have been an integral part of how content is shared on Reddit — we’re grateful to those teams, but are looking forward to bringing you a more seamless experience with this new feature.” The announcement also noted that an additional 50 subreddits will be gaining access to the image-hosting service by next week.

This news could spell hard times for many image-hosting services that have thrived on the traffic that users sharing or viewing images on Reddit provided, with Imgur being one of, if not the largest. It’s not all bad for them, though, Users who still want to host their images elsewhere will be able to do so, and many may choose to go that route, either out of habit or necessity due to file or content limitations in Reddit’s new system.

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Users wanting to take advantage of the new integrated image hosting will be limited to files of up to 20MB for normal images and up to 100MB for GIFs. Imgur limits normal images to 20MB and GIFs to 200MB. So, for larger GIFs, it seems that Imgur and other hosts may still be the way to go.

The move is a long time coming but doesn’t come without new challenges for the online community hub. In the past when images that violated its content policies or ran afoul of the law were posted to the site, they were able to deflect blame to the third-party image hosts that were actually hosting the image files. Now that many images will be hosted from Reddit directly, the site will need to be more careful and diligent in regard to its content moderation to avoid harsher public scrutiny or even legal action.