The problem is that corporations are mainly concerned with making a profit, and they couldn’t care less if it means shutting down a popular media hosting service where hundreds of thousands of people store their personal photos and videos. Fortunately, we don’t need big corporations to create media galleries and share our memories with the whole world.
There are many self-hosted photo and video galleries that provide freedom-respectful software replacement to major media publishing services such as Flickr or Imgur. All you need is a web server and the ability to follow step-by-step instructions. If you think you have what it takes to install a self-hosted photo and video gallery, feel free to pick one from the list below so you can, once and for all, create a safe home for your memories and artistic creations.
Since 2005, hundreds of developers from around the world have been contributing to Zenphoto, trying to make this CMS for self-hosted, gallery-focused websites as good as it can be. Zenphoto supports all common image, video, and audio file formats, including .jpg, .gif, .png, .mp4, .m4a*, .flv, .mov, .3gp, .ogv, .webm, .mp3, .m4a, .fla, .webma, .oga, and several others.
With Zenphoto, you can upload files either using an easy-to-use admin interface or via FTP. You can search your media archive with Boolean expressions, and Zenphoto is able to dynamically create albums based on your searches.
What separates Zenphoto from other self-hosted media galleries is its support for blog pages. Instead of having to run a content management system such as WordPress in addition to a self-hosted media gallery, Zenphoto allows you to kill two birds with one stone and publish blog posts with embedded image galleries, comments, tags, and more.
Under the engine of Zenphoto is a highly customizable theme engine based on HTML5, CSS, and PHP. There are five themes included in the standard installation of Zenphoto, and dozens more are available from third-party developers. If you don’t like any existing Zenphoto theme, you can easily create one yourself or customize and an existing one.
Last but not least, Zenphoto can be extended with over 200 third-party extensions, which cover everything from media management to geotagging to language support. All of this makes Zenphoto our favorite self-hosted photo and video gallery, and, in the next section of this article, we describe how you can install it on your own server.
MediaGoblin is a decentralized alternative to Flickr, YouTube, SoundCloud, and other online media distribution platforms. Its life began in 2008 when a gathering was held at the Free Software Foundation in order to discuss the path that Internet communities should take. Since then, MediaGoblin matured into the feature-packed, extensible web platform for hosting and sharing many forms of digital media it is today.
MediaGoblin empowers content creators and artists with its open nature and nearly limitless extensibility. You can easily add a new media type or new authentication provider, write plugins, connect MediaGoblin to another platform’s API, and much more. If you like the idea of customization but don’t know where to start, MEdiaGoblin’s thriving community will welcome you in and help you get started.
Piwigo is an easily customizable photo gallery for the web that’s designed to be fast, free, and flexible. It’s designed to meet the needs of individuals and organizations alike, and its source code is available for anyone to study and modify.
At the core of Piwigo is a high-performance image processing engine that can classify thousands or even hundreds of thousands of photos in record time. Photos can be added to Piwigo from multiple sources, including a web form, FTP client software, Adobe Lightroom, Google Picasa, and mobile applications.
Piwigo can automatically add a watermark on all photos, describe photos with tags, create a photo calendar using extracted Exif metadata, and resize photos for improved compatibility with various screen resolutions. Piwigo can be easily extended with plugins, and there are various themes provided both by the project community and the developers.
Lychee is an elegant self-hosted photo gallery that can be installed in a matter of seconds and used to share photos and albums with one click. By default, Lychee presents your content on a single-color dark background, making it the start of the show. The same no-frills approach to photo management has also been applied to sharing, uploading, bulk editing, and searching.
Lychee is completely open source, and anyone can modify it or use it as the foundation for a new project. To run Lychee, everything you need is a web-server with PHP 5.5 or later and a MySQL database. The official installation instructions are so simple that even complete beginners with very limited experience with self-hosting should be able to install Lychee in just a few minutes.
Koken is a Japanese word for a black-clad person who enters the theater stage to rearrange the set. The word is very fitting for this content management and website publishing software for photographers because it helps you achieve your artistic vision and present it to the whole world without drawing attention to itself.
Koken has a full-featured management interface that looks and feels like a desktop application but resides completely on the web. Apart from pictures, Koken also supports text and video content, allowing you to tell compelling visual stories using an intuitive WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor.
How to Install and Configure Zenphoto
Many web hosting providers offer convenient install scripts for Zenphoto, making the installation process a matter of a single click. Of course, you can always install Zenphoto manually by completing the following steps:
- Obtain the latest version of Zenphoto from the official website.
- Extract the downloaded file and upload it to your server via FTP.
- Create a MySQL database for Zenphoto.
- Navigate to your gallery using a web browser. The setup.php page should load automatically. If it doesn’t, navigate directly to
- Complete the setup process.
If you’ve encountered any errors along the way, they most likely have something to do with the permissions for Zenphoto files and folders. Visit this page to learn more about the required permissions and how to change them.
With self-hosted photo and video galleries, you don’t have to rely on media hosting services and be at the mercy of their financial goals. Regardless of whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who likes to share his or her memories and artistic creations with others, you can set up a self-hosted media gallery on a server and customize it to fit your needs perfectly.