How TinyPic Works

TinyPic lets you upload video and images to the Web without registering for an account. See more pictures of popular web sites.
Screenshot by Nathan Chandler

One of the best things about the Web is its ability to help you share media like pictures and videos with friends all over the world. Traditionally, however, you had to pay a hosting fee or register for a user account before you could upload and distribute your pictures from the beach. But a little site called is changing that standard.

TinyPic is a side project from the creators of, another image-hosting site. But while Photobucket is a full-featured media-sharing site with subscription options, TinyPic has fewer capabilities and is totally free. With TinyPic, you can access the site and immediately upload a photo or video, without even entering your e-mail address and password. If you aren't ready to upload your own pictures, you can browse and search images and videos uploaded by other visitors.


After you complete your file transfer, TinyPic displays unique codes that let you distribute your images through e-mail or popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. Those codes are also useful for eBay, Orkut scrapbooks, message boards, blogs, e-mail, instant messaging or simply for posting your materials to another Web site.

Although the site is always free, you can register for a user account that grants you access to additional features. You registration lets you organize media into albums, organize and edit your collections, keep a list of favorite pictures created by other users, and upload multiple files simultaneously.

Some of TinyPic's features are extremely popular. In fact, the site is visited by more than 12 million people from around the world every month [source: Quantcast]. Keep reading to see how you can put TinyPic to work with your own image archive.


Using TinyPic

TinyPic tag screen
After you upload content, TinyPic presents link codes so you can share images or video with friends via numerous Web-based tools and popular Web sites such as Facebook.
Screenshot by Nathan Chandler

Because you don't have to register to use TinyPic, you can jump right in and get to work. The site's layout is simple, with four main options (Upload, Images, Videos, Categories) listed across the top of your screen.

If you want to immediately upload a file, click Upload, then Browse and then locate the desired file on your computer. Indicate whether the file is an image or video and then add keyword tags that describe the content. For images, choose resizing options, so that the site automatically changes your picture into a variety of sizes. Those sizes range from the tiny avatars that many people use to show their portraits on online communities to images large enough to fill a 17-inch screen. For video, you can select the standard or high-definition setting.


There are, however, a few restrictions on the file types you upload. Still images can't be larger than 1,600 pixels in width or height. TinyPic will actually automatically reduce your picture's size if it exceeds that limit. You can upload picture formats such as JPG, PNG, GIF, base-64 encoded or BMP files.

Videos face similar restrictions. Your files must be smaller than 100MB and shorter than 5 minutes. Again, TinyPic will automatically reduce the file's size if it's too large, meaning the surprise ending of an overly-long video won't make the cut. Supported video formats include popular formats such as AVI, MP4, MPEG4, FLV, DV, WMV and a whole slate of others.

After you upload your file, TinyPic displays various codes that help you use that file in numerous social networking or messaging functions. You receive HTML code for Web sites, IMG code for forums and message boards, or a URL you can share via e-mail or instant messaging. There are also icons that let you quickly embed your media into popular social networking sites such Facebook and MySpace. Just click the corresponding icon, enter your login information, and TinyPic posts your media to that account. Or you can enter e-mail addresses and TinyPic will send images or clips directly to your friends' inboxes.

Unlike a lot of online galleries that feature private areas, TinyPic is totally public, so other users can view everything you post. And nothing is permanent. TinyPic deletes your files if they're not viewed for 90 days, or if views exceed 10,000.

TinyPic offers a lot of ways to share your files through the Internet. There are so many options, in fact, that it would be easy to upload all of your pictures and images without a second thought. Do remember, however, that every file is public, and that other users can share links to your files as easily as you can.


Benefits of TinyPic

Browsing photos on TinyPic
Every file is public on TinyPic. You can browse or search through the site to see videos and images uploaded by others users.
Screenshot by Nathan Chandler

TinyPic's simplicity and extensive list of capabilities make it a powerful tool if you love online social networking. It's also great if you just need an easy, quick way to share pictures and video in a variety of Internet formats.

The site creates concise URL links for sharing through e-mail and instant messaging. That short length makes the URL easier to copy and paste and makes it less likely that the recipient will see a truncated version of the link that results in an annoying error message.


Other than some minor file size and format rules, there are no real restrictions on what you can upload to TinyPic. This is a great benefit, but there is of course the possibility that some people will (and do) abuse this system.

A handful of users occasionally upload pornographic materials or other inappropriate files. However, these cases are uncommon and other users can flag these files so that site administrators will quickly remove them. If you do encounter a distasteful file, click Report Offensive Material on the bottom-left side of your screen. This will alert TinyPic's moderators to the problem.

Some benefits work only for visitors who sign up for an account. Mobile TinyPic lets you use your phone to upload media through your phone's e-mail capabilities. To do so, you select the file on your phone and then e-mail it to the appropriate address. Then, when you check the My Stuff area of your TinyPic account, you'll see your new files listed first in the list of uploaded material.

So whether you're sitting in front of your computer or traveling with an Internet-enabled phone, TinyPic will help you share images and videos in a broad range of online outlets. To learn more about TinyPic and similar media-sharing and social networking services, be sure to follow links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • About "Tinypic."
  • "Mom Stunned by Sex Assault Pic on Teen Website." Feb. 6, 2007.
  • CrunchBase. "Tinypic."
  • Lowensohn, Josh. "TinyPic Now Does Great-Looking HD Video." CNET. Feb. 26, 2009.
  • Quantcast. "Tinypic .com."
  • TinyPic. "Frequently Asked Questions."
  • TinyPic. "Help."
  • TinyPic. "The Official Blog for TinyPic.com