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Why You’re Safe with SmugMug

SmugMug for Safe and Secure Photo Hosting

There’s been some chatter about the slipshod practices of photo sites who lose precious content. Naturally, this makes photographers wary about their options while raising the all-important question: “Where can I park my pics?”

If you’ve never heard of SmugMug, are still seeking that perfect photo-mate or are just curious about our approach to the matter, know this: Your photos are safe with us. We promise.

Here’s why:

  • All SmugMug photos and videos are stored at Amazon S3 for their 99.999999999% durability. If you’ve uploaded 10,000 photos at Smug this means on average, Amazon will lose 1 pic every 10 million years. Think you’ll live that long to find out? We accept that challenge!
  • Deleted stuff falls into a queue, not a void. When you nuke photos, videos or galleries and then change your mind, we can undo it if you ask us quickly. Lots of Smuggers write to us after accidentally (or hotheadedly) deleting content and we love delivering good news.
  • We’ll hold your spot for a few months if you’re kidnapped by aliens, fall into a time warp or just forget to renew your account. After all, you might change your mind or reappear… and we’re always pleasantly surprised at how many people really do.
  • For everything else, there’s SmugVault. It’s our Amazon-backed, iron-clad archival service for the non-garden variety files that you want to keep. PSD, RAW, TIFF, DOC… You name it, we’ll take it. There’s even an option in your Vault preferences where you can set the number of days to hold your deleted files before they’re actually trashed.

And don’t think for a second that just because you’ve got a free trial account that you’re immune to these safeguards. Even after your trial is over, we keep your goods for several weeks so you can decide that yes, you do want to join us.

These are just our current practices and it may change one day, but we hope that you get our drift. After all, SmugMug is a paid service; We work our fingers sore so that you get stability, reliability and all the latest bells and whistles in return for that paltry $5/month. While it’s not possible for us (or anyone) to guarantee 100% safety and we will eventually close old, unused accounts, we go the extra mile to make sure your photographs aren’t lost.

If you’re unsure of how your existing photo service measures up, give us a try. SmuggLr quickly funnels your photos in to safety.

We’re photographers, too, and that kind of uncertainty would just kill us. Yikes.

Here’s to staying safe together,

The SmugMug Family

  1. rowena
    February 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Great stuff. I can always trust Smug!

  2. Juan Carlos Farias
    February 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    SmugMug rocks. Easy. Fast. Safe. Caring. Best investment a photographer could make.

  3. February 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    And years before this post, I’ve put SM through the most rigorous test I could. I uploaded 100gb of photos and then downloaded them and compared them with the originals bit-for-bit. The results? Exactly the same, bit-for-bit. That’s a real accomplishment considering the amount of data that is managed by the folks at SM.

    Now, it’s not wise to keep all your eggs (or photos) in one basket, so I have two other copies of my photos at two different geographic locations. But knowing that SM is a reliable place to keep my photos is a real sense of security. Today, SM houses over 700GB of my over 400,000 images. And serves out thousands of them every day to eager viewers. Bravo!

  4. February 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Love SmugSmugMug!

  5. H
    February 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Surely keeping peoples images/content on your system ‘for a few months’ if they dont renew is a data protection issue?

    Also how does smugs reliability stack up against Flickr? If Flickr is up and available more, at a fraction of the cost?

    Ultimately if you can live with Flickr then for the money there can be no complaints. However if you want something more there is Smug or Zen.

  6. February 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    You guys rock! I love SmugMug!!!

  7. Bob Abela
    February 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I feel very comfortable with Smug Mug’s services, policies and customer service. It’s been first rate, thanks.

  8. Lyvon
    February 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Snug on SmugMug !

  9. Jack
    February 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    SmuggLR plugin needs to be updated. It does not work on the latest version of firefox

  10. John
    February 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    In light of recent events, what would probably interest a lot of people is how SmugMug compares to others, say Flickr, in terms of account suspension/deletion policies.

    For example, if someone claims that photos available on some SmugMug account are stolen, what do the guys at SmugMug do? (Prior to the recent incident, see link in comment #6, Flickr would simply delete the account).

    • February 9, 2011 at 10:33 am

      Hi, happy to address. We get these from time to time. We do not “delete the account” – we work with both parties to try and resolve the situation amicably – if the offending party won’t reply, or won’t comply, we take more steps, like locking down the account but we don’t delete the account.

      • February 10, 2011 at 1:13 am

        Really Andy? So, you boot me off the customizers list because I locked out a site of someone who owed me money and refused to pay. I tried to resolve it amicably with the client, but they didn’t respond. The next step, according to your post was to lock down the account. I followed your own policy, and got in trouble.

        It sounds like there’s a bit of a double standard here. You told me that I should SUE the person. You on the other hand, seem to think my tactics were better (based on what you just wrote). So, which is it Andy? Was I right then? Or are you wrong now?

  11. February 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

    H :
    Also how does smugs reliability stack up against Flickr? If Flickr is up and available more, at a fraction of the cost?

    I can tell you in the about half-decade that I’ve been with SM, I’ve seen a lot of the outages and galleries not showing up and whatnot. But as far as data reliability, I’ve not seen a single image disappear, even the few times when it looked like an entire gallery went empty during a non-planned outage.

    Yes, the outages have been inconvenient, sometimes even painfully inconvenient. But knowing that the data is ultimately safe is solid piece of mind.

  12. H
    February 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Samir :

    H :Also how does smugs reliability stack up against Flickr? If Flickr is up and available more, at a fraction of the cost?

    I can tell you in the about half-decade that I’ve been with SM, I’ve seen a lot of the outages and galleries not showing up and whatnot. But as far as data reliability, I’ve not seen a single image disappear, even the few times when it looked like an entire gallery went empty during a non-planned outage.
    Yes, the outages have been inconvenient, sometimes even painfully inconvenient. But knowing that the data is ultimately safe is solid piece of mind.

    Couldnt agree more, about time that they got the reliability sorted though……

  13. cal
    February 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

    1) in your flickr-bashing tweet, you say you don’t delete photos. what about copyright violations? what about dcma takedown requests? what about child porn?

    2) flickr has not lost any data (that people didn’t ask it to delete) in the 7+ years it’s been online, aside from one well publicized account deletion which was undone in around 24 hours. how is smugmug safer exactly?

    3) why the competition bashing? i expected more from you

    • February 9, 2011 at 10:36 am

      Hi Cal, we work through DMCA takedowns of course, first trying for an amicable resolution between the parties (and such happens the majority of the time). Child Porn? We take it down right away as we would any photos that violate our TOS – but we do so in a manner that preserves things if need be. But we can hide things from public (and make it only visible to us as admins as need be). Does this help?

      • February 10, 2011 at 6:57 am

        Hi Andy, I’m still interested in the question about the trashing of competition that occurs here, it’s not new from Don or his company. Tell us about it, please, I am interested.

  14. February 9, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Jack :

    SmuggLR plugin needs to be updated. It does not work on the latest version of firefox

    Hi, it’s working in latest FF for us – please write our heroes, we’ll help you! http://smugmug.com/help/emailreal

  15. February 13, 2011 at 5:59 am

    I’ve been on SmugMug for 9 months now and the experience has been good! I am really impressed at just how customizable it is if you look hard enough!

    Brian Carey

  16. Barbara
    February 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Is there a maximum image size? Is an uploaded photo changed in any way? Another site to which I belong does make changes based on maximum image size, and I was wondering if SmugMug does the same. That would make it OK for image display and some photo sharing but not for a true backup. Thanks.

  17. February 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

    There is a maximum images size depending on which plan you have. The only two scenarios I know of under which the original photo cannot be retrieved bit-for-bit, is when the photo is automatically rotated upon upload because of the orientation sensor in most cameras (you can turn this off, but then you have to manually rotate the images), or when the original was shot in aRGB instead of sRGB. In this scenario, the aRGB original is converted to sRGB. (I haven’t tested this myself, but this is what I’ve been told repeatedly.)

    Besides these two scenarios, I have have uploaded well over 400,000 images and downloaded them to compare bit-for-bit perfect with the original files. It’s actually part of my uploading workflow and I’ve found it to be extremely reliable.

  1. February 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm
  2. February 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm
  3. February 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm

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