Cloudinary Image and Video Platform – Review

What is Cloudinary

Cloudinary is a pretty feature rich image and video platform for web site developers. Its not just a cloud storage for your images and videos, but much more than that. You can manipulate the images or videos(transformations) during upload or during download. Now this is where it shines. Even though I have started using it, I would say that I am only using 1% (maybe even less) of its features.

Cloudinary

I will be reviewing or talking only about the features provided by the free package (since I will be using the free one only).

From Flickr to Cloudinary

I was using Flickr for hosting my traveogue images here for around 2 years. In those 2 years, I didn’t think of moving anywhere else – they were giving me 1TB space and I was hardly using less than 1GB. But Flickr was sold from Verizon/Yahoo to SmugMug. Then came the drastic change. Free accounts can host only upto 1000 photos. I was using a free acoount. My number of photos were going up in a big way and soon I would cross the 1000 limit threshold. I wasn’t using much space, but the 1000 photo limit was a big problem for me. This is when I started thinking about other possibilities.

What made me come to Cloudinary

So I was looking through everything on the net. One day, in one of the forums in which I am a member of, one user mentioned about Cloudinary. I didn’t pay much attention at first, but people who have used it were saying good things about it in various forums.

So I decided to try it out. You will find 3 pricing packages in their site. (Actually there are more, there is a some plans like small, advanced extra.. which is found in the console when you check the upgrade option.) At first I wasn’t sure if the free package they offered was enough for me. Anyways I signed up for the free plan to check out the cloudinary platform.

Cloudinary Plans

The free plan provides you with 25 credits by default. The other plans are as follows.
Small ($29/month) – 60 credits
Plus ($99/month) – 225 credits
Advanced ($249/month) – 600 credits
Advanced Extra ($549/month) – 1350 credits

Now 1 Credit = 1,000 Transformations OR 1 GB Storage OR 1 GB Bandwidth.
That means for the free plan with 25 credits – I can have
a. 1 GB storage, 2000 Transformations and 22GB bandwidth per month
or
b. 2 GB storage, 4000 transformations and 19GB bandwidth per month etc..
Hope you got some picture of usage of credits…

Flickr vs Cloudinary

I had written almost the same thing above on Flickr forums (mainly about the free package only) and one pro user just thought that I was spamming the forum with referral link and asked the post to be removed. There are many free users who are getting their photos deleted because of the 1000 photo limit.

Cloudinary could have been helpful to atleast some of them. (They say that only 3% of the users in Flickr will be affected by the limit. But there are around 87 million registered users – so 2.61 million users would be affected. So they are forcing those 2.61 million users to either upgrade or go out or lose their pictures..) Anyways I wasn’t given the chance to edit my post and it was removed from the forum.

I have nothing personal against Flickr – they are already showing ads to free users. So they must be getting some revenue from ads. Most free users are not using anywhere near the 1TB offered by them. So space wasn’t the issue. Most users (including the pro ones) are not happy with the current concept of Flickr. This in fact is reverse of what Cloudinary is doing. Cloudinary has upgraded their free plan at least twice.
a. Blog Post 1
b. Blog Post 2

I hope that Cloudinary continue upgrading the plans as cost of hosting goes down and I pray that Flickr would let go of their mad new ideas and go back being a reliable photographers community.

Cloudinary may not be a photographer centric platform like Flickr

I this this is the only con of Cloudinary when you compare it to Flickr. Flickr has gallery options, other users can comment on each photo and so on which is missing in Cloudinary. So not a direct alternative. But as far I can see, Cloudinary have some awesome developers who might bring some changes in the future.

Overcoming the default free plan limits of Cloudinary

As I told earlier I wasn’t sure that the free plan would suite me. But after I started using and studying it more, I found that you can increase the free limit of 25 credits by various methods. You can get upto 16 credits extra by liking their facebook page, following them on twitter, tweeting about them, joining their facebook community etc. This can be done in a few minutes. So this will bring your credits to 41 per month. Now I hope you people have caught up.

You can further increase the free plan with an additional 60 credits to upto 101 credits – you heard it right – 101 credits minimum.. You just need to use your referral link and for each free sign up you will get 3 monthly credits (if its a paid signup its 7 credits – but I am not going for that). Now this referral can only be upto 20 registrations – that if 20 people register for free using your ref link you will get 60 credits.

Now 101 credits is much more than the 60 credits offered by the $29 “Small” plan and is almost half of the $99 “Plus” plan.

Now this should have been the upgrade path that Flickr should have choose instead of forcing free users.. (Oh I did say the same exact words in Flickr forum, so they must have been a little angry even though they say I spammed with referral link)..

Cloudinary and WordPress

Now I am using wordpress on this site and I was using Photonic plugin to get images hosted in Flickr to the galleries in this site. There are two wordpress plugins for Cloudinary which I recommend.
1. Cloudinary plugin – this is made by the Cloudinary team. It has every option available to you for use.
2. Auto Cloudinary – this is made by Junaid Bhura. This is a simple, light weight plugin. Suitable for most users.

Besides the wordpress platform there are extensions/plugins for Magento, SalesForce Commerce Cloud, Zapier etc. Of course there is API available if you want to customize for your purpose.

Currently I am not using any plugins, just direct html to show the pics in gallery. But for newbies, the above plugins are highly recommended.

Sign up for Cloudinary

I will be updating this post to include more features and tips about the cloudinary platform. So if you are interested please sign up for Cloudinary (using my referral link for my benifit..lol)..

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