After neglecting it for a while, I decided to active my Flickr account (it is linked to your Yahoo! account, which I have since the 90s). I never actually did use it properly because I have my own hosting provider, where I can install anything, including Gallery so I can manage my own pictures.
One thing that Flickr shows all the time is that you can upgrade to a “pro” account, paying $49,50 per year. Not bad, for unlimited hosting and uploading. Now, one thing that makes such service attractive (well, besides have a place to post pictures) is that you can share things easily with your friends, if they are using the same service. This is not so easy when you use a self-hosting solution.
So, I decided to check if the U$ 190/2 year solution I’m paying for Dreamhost is worth it. So far, I need: Email, Blog, Picture hosting and Project hosting (including SCM).
Dreamhost includes it on the 200Gb you have available. Yup, you can have 200Gb of emails. The other solution would be Google Mail (which I have an account already). It can host 2Gb (right now, I’m using 35% of it), paying U$ 0/year. Of course, there is no sharing emails, so it is no issue.
Related to email, Dreamhost offers a maillist solution: you can create your own maillists and manage users. I use it only once for a short-lived list. The replacement would be Google Groups or Yahoo! Groups. Both would cost U$ 0/year.
You can easily install WordPress using the “One-Click Install” feature on Dreamhost panel. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t offer any social features, besides user comments and RSS, although this one may not be a social feature after all (but it provides an easy way to let your friends get updates). The thing probably next to it is LiveJournal, which you can share items with your friends. To have a pro-account in LiveJournal (no ads, more features), you need to pay U$ 20/year. Blogger and WordPress.Com are, so far, not options, as they don’t provide any social features. On the pro side of both services, the price is U$ 0/year.
As WordPress, installing and upgrading Gallery on Dreamhost can be done by the “One-Click Install” feature. As any other service, it will use your 200Gb. As I mentioned before, this could be done in Flickr, paying U$ 49,50/year. Paying LiveJournal gives you access to their Scrapbook, where you can upload images. The size is a problem, though, as you have only 2Gb and you need to pay if you want more.
Right now, I’m using WordPress sections to host my projects and their Subversion hosting (yes, you can have one, if you want). Another solution would be use Google Code hosting or SourceForge. Both would cost U$ 0/year, but they would host only open source projects (not a problem to me).
Not hosting things myself would mean U$ 139/2year while I pay U$ 190/2year. I could get nice features like discussion lists for my projects, sharing pictures with friends easily and social features. On the other hand, by paying U$ 50/2year more using a hosting service, I get hosting (duh), a free domain (usually around U$ 40/2year) and it is easy to make a backup. Also, keep in mind that you get this value when you compare the same level of features. You could use LIveJournal on a free account which doesn’t have some many features and don’t have the Scrapbook and a free Flickr account and that would bring the final price to just the domain (U$ 40/2year).
So, when you sum everything, you end up paying almost the same thing. The only difference is choosing between sharing and having full access to your own data.