No, my post is not about the Imageshack frog August 26, 2008 6:40 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to link to a large image on Mefi?

I'm planning a post which will have as one of its links a single large image (about 500 x 6500 pixels). I'm afraid that if I link straight to the image the server might tank or that the image will be simply removed. I could use an image hosting site like Imageshack or Photobucket, but those have their pitfalls, too.

So is there any reliable site that could handle the load of serving a huge image to the Mefi crowd? Or should I maybe slice and dice the image into more manageable chunks and host those (which I can also do)?
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter-Related at 6:40 PM (15 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Generally speaking, uploading something to link to it on a MeFi post is a no-no. I'm not sure what you have in mind here but if you're linking to something where you don't think the site will be able to cover the bandwidth, re-uploading it elsewhere isn't a grand idea. I think there's coral cache, the google cache and I'm not sure what else to do this legitimately.

So, to repeat: if you uploaded the image, don't use it as the main part of a MeFi post, even if you're doing so with all good intentions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:44 PM on August 26, 2008

Assuming it's already located somewhere (like jessamyn said, you're not uploading it yourself), just add to the URL. Coral cache takes care of the rest. For example:
posted by carsonb at 6:49 PM on August 26, 2008

Thanks for the heads up. I just tested the image on the various caches. Google and don't have it, but Coral does. I'll go ahead and use that if there's no chance of them taking the image down.

Just out of curiosity, is uploading images to hosting sites not allowed because it might exceed bandwidth caps and get removed? Or does it fall under a broad interpretation of the self-linking ban?
posted by Rhaomi at 6:51 PM on August 26, 2008

I don't pretend to answer authoritatively (at least not in public...and no, I don't have a webcam), but I'm pretty sure the answer is 'the latter'. And just to clarify, you can add anything to the Coral Cache simply by modifying the URL as shown. It doesn't have to previously exist in their cache; they add whatever you want on the fly. Cool.
posted by carsonb at 6:57 PM on August 26, 2008

Q: What's the best way to link to a large image on Mefi?
A: hyper
posted by blue_beetle at 6:58 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Or does it fall under a broad interpretation of the self-linking ban?

That. It's sort of a two-parter

1. a good link needs to be something on the web, so if you're putting it there, it doesn't count
2. in this specific type of instance, we don't want to have to second guess why you've linked to something you've uploaded so we just have a broad "don't do this" approach to it. Coral Cache is a decent way around it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:11 PM on August 26, 2008

At the bottom right of the home page there is an image hosting option.
After you upload your image, it gets resized. Click on the image and it will send you to the original size. Use that URL.
posted by dirty lies at 7:13 PM on August 26, 2008

Q: What's the best way to link to a large image on Mefi?
A: there are no large images on mefi
posted by quonsar at 7:23 PM on August 26, 2008

Imageshack and some other sites have a transloading tool. This is A GREY AREA.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:42 PM on August 26, 2008

The best way is to convince Matt to bring back the image tag and use that. That is what I do.
posted by LarryC at 7:54 PM on August 26, 2008

Seconding Coral Cache - IE the Coral Content Distribution Network (CDN).

I generally try to use CDN on any posts I make where the servers might fall over under MeFi's clickthrough load. People who use free hosted services with limits like Wordpress, Geocities, Yahoo, etc do well with a CDN backup link, as well as private/small endeavours. Basically anything that isn't a large, well known host.

One of the benefits to using CDN is that often times the link in question has already been cached. In these cases it's preloaded with the content in question. Anyone can submit and access the cache just like the regular web document. All you have to do is append that domain to the original domain as carsonb indicated above. (IE, as so: "" Note how "" is appended to the domain name, but before the directory path - which in this case is simply /index.html, but could easily be "" instead.)

If the cache hasn't been linked and loaded previously, the CDN system starts caching the links as soon as they're first loaded. It automatically tries to keep caching new content as people load the cached URL, and then distrubuting it to a network of servers within the system.

It's pretty slick and useful stuff. The only things I see break on cached pages are the cross-site scripting bits that are usually mostly crap - blogrolls, embedded linked content like Youtube videos, java or flash widgets. But all text and properly linked graphics should transport through the system effortlessly with perhaps zero load on the originating server.
posted by loquacious at 8:05 PM on August 26, 2008

Also, good luck getting the cached content to 404 or overload. That's the whole point of CDN - content distribution. The more active a resource or link is, the more it is re-cached on different servers to better serve the demand. I've yet to see a successfully cached link fail to respond even under Digg or Reddit loads.
posted by loquacious at 8:09 PM on August 26, 2008

(Self-link: Coralize Metafilter greasemonkey script)
posted by hattifattener at 8:22 PM on August 26, 2008

It's kind of frowned on because of the self-linking rules; you could run ads around the content, or even replace the content with something to your benefit later, which would be Bad.

I haven't done this, but one thought is to link to the original source in the main FPP, and then link to a personal mirror of that content in a comment. As long as you're clear that the hosting is yours, I don't think self-linking in comments is much of an issue. (well, unless you do a lot of it; if you're spammy, they'll get mad at you.) I've definitely linked to things in my limited webspace in comments, and nobody has said boo about it. Mirroring part or all of the main FPP would seem okay, as long as it's not something you do a lot of.

As far as what can handle it -- the traffic on MeFi isn't that bad. Particularly if you're linking in a comment, I think most decent webhosting should handle it fine. You probably won't serve the image more than a few hundred, maybe a thousand times, unless it's something really unusual. I'm on Dreamhost, which is overburdened and rather slow, but very cheap, and they'll easily keep up. You probably would want a real webhost, as opposed to the image-host sites, because you can put the original file up and serve it untouched. The freebie places tend to recompress your image, and have sharp limits on file size and bandwidth used, so they'd probably be a bad choice for hosting a high-res image like that.

A final note of warning: if you generated the image yourself, that'll almost certainly fall under the self-link rules anyway, and could result in the banhammer.
posted by Malor at 9:44 PM on August 26, 2008

MetaTalk: This is A GREY AREA
posted by Plutor at 9:15 AM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

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