I have 500Gb of family photos on a portable hard drive at home, I want to browse them online (website or app) and most importantly easily tag them as I view, so I can quickly find them again next time.

Sites like Flickr or Imgur are probably ideal for this, but I tried uploading some photos and it took me literally months for just 10% of the total images I have, with frequent timeouts and re-uploads required, including typing all the folder names and privacy settings for each batch.

What do I need to serve the images from where they are in directories on my home system via the web? I essentially need a locally installable clone of Flickr. Features like generating thumbnails or low-res images for fast access would be great.

Let's say I have a budget of GBP£300 for software/hardware. Does off-the-shelf ready-to-use software for this exist or could I commission some?

I would like it to easily installable, I prefer not to spend hours downloading dependencies and configuring a software stack, e.g. for a wordpress gallery. but this is not a dealbreaker.

UPDATE: I would consider buying custom hardware, e.g. a server running linux or some kind of smart NAS if there's a good solution for that and nothing suitable for Windows.

UPDATE: The machine will be kept always on and connected, to act as a webserver. It's just for private use so if it accidentally goes down it's not a big deal. User management for access would be nice but it's not critical.

UPDATE: Let's assume that my ISP's term & conditions, and bandwidth are suitable for this purpose.


1 Answer 1


well, as you are thinking about running your own server i assume you know how to set up a lamp-stack, a ddns, configure your network and so on... since you said this won't be a dealbreaker, further this would go beyond the scope of this site.

i haven't installed it locally but i use from time to time Piwigo on my webspace:

  • it is multilingual, foss and therefore gratis
  • requires php and mysql to run
  • adding photos local, via ftp, web-form and some photo-managers
  • auto-tagging or via web-interface
  • thumbnails, resizing, rotating, adding watermarks, etc. via ImageMagick
  • access control with groups
  • sorting via albums/folder and calendar (exif-metadata)
  • notifications via rss, e-mail, etc.
  • ratings and comments
  • and via hundreds of plugins the features can be extended (like playing videos, showing geo-tags,...)
  • also the look can be changed via lots of themes

maybe a word to the hardware:
i would definitely split this task from your home system and since you are only serving a hand full of people and your upload won't be the fastest i would think about using a SBC like a RaspberryPi... this won't add any security risks to your home system (if the network-config is done right), is cheap to purchase and operate (eats very low power <10 Watt) and you maybe just plug the portable hard drive in...

by the way: the easiest would be a ftp-/smb-/webdav-server via nas or portable hard drive and router, but that won't offer any other benefit than browsing/downloading files. - no thumbnails, so tags and so on...!

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