How To Build a Private Photo Library For Your Family Online That Is Protected From Being Hacked

Facebook has grown in popularity due to its photo sharing capabilities, but the publicity of private moments is not for everyone. You can take advantage of the ease and accessibility of digital sharing with your family moments and still preserve privacy.


Prepare Your Physical Photographs

Collect your family photographs from all your family members. It is possible for each family member to transfer their files at home if you only have printed photos. If you have negatives or 8mm film, it is often much cheaper to use a digital transfer service as a group, from 35mm to 8mm, to digital files. Walgreens and online services offer bulk discounts for transferring photographs and videos.


If your family members are sending photos, create a shared photo collection point. AirDropper is an application that allows designated users to email files to a shared Dropbox folder. This is particularly helpful for those reluctant to open new accounts or find new applications confusing. Open a new account and add everyone’s email address to give them access. Each person added will receive a link to a simplified form for photo uploads.


Dropbox is a file library system running on the company’s cloud system. It is a secure system that is comparable to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Even if you only use Dropbox during your collection process and then secure your photos on a website, it offers a high level of security.

An advantage of Dropbox over VPN is each user has offline access and editing capabilities. This is perfect for families who live in separate cities. Dropbox also has native applications across devices making uploads simpler. Most likely your family members have photos stored on devices. It is much easier to be able to upload phone photos with the phone app and desktop photos with the desktop app. As opposed to VPN, Dropbox also keeps a history of your files. If someone deletes your file, you can go through the history and retrieve it. Having backups when many users have access is essential since human errors tend to add up.

Once you create a shared folder in Dropbox, you can share it with all your family members. There are many share options, including adding their email address to the particular file or sending everyone the direct link. Depending on your archive size, you can decide if you want to sign-up for a standalone account everyone has the username and password for. Make a shared folder so people with a Dropbox account can just add the folder to their account.


Dropbox Security

Dropbox uses encryption to transfer and store your files so they are safe from hacking. You can also install two-step verification for each user to stand against brunt force hacking attempts. If someone loses a phone, tablet, or computer with Dropbox installed on it, any approved user can delete the files from the device. Also, log out of the application.

VPS Web Hosting

Once your photos are prepared, you can begin setting-up your website. Creating a website for your private photo library is ideal to give you full control of the security and access. As you research web hosting options, look for a company that offers more than shared hosting. Shared hosting’s security is out of your hands and will fight for resources with the other websites on the server.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS) web hosting gives you a dedicated and private space in a company’s server. Most hosting companies provide an easy to use interface for you to connect the hosting to your website’s platform. VPS will also preserve your website’s speed as it is not competing with other websites on your shared server. If your family photo album grows over time, you can upgrade the account to maintain its speed and capabilities


You can set-up WordPress on your VPS web hosting. This is the most popular publishing platform and will most likely be the most familiar to your family. You can choose to make the entire website private, which will include pages and images. If you are using one of your family member’s private website, you can also create a private page for the photo album. This will place password protection on the page.


iThemes Security Plugin

Install iThemes Security Plugin on the WordPress website. Its strongest feature is fighting against brute force attacks, which are very common and hard to detect without software. You can adjust the settings to lockout anyone after several password attempts and to send an email notification. The email will indict where and when the login attempt came from. If it is a family member, you can restore their access and remind them of their password. If it is not a family member, you know just how necessary it is to keep your files and images private.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox Plugin

Once your WordPress website is setup, install the WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin. This will save your database in your Dropbox account. It is not necessary to keep this in your shared folder. When installed, go to the plugin’s settings and set how often the database will save. You can set the time several times a day or week while you are editing the site. Once the website is up and running, switch the settings to save once a week or so. The plugin does not store your Dropbox login information preventing potential security issues.

Living Archive

You can continue building a living archive of your family photos. Encourage your family members to regularly upload to their shared Dropbox folder and keep the photo album current. Even if you don’t extend the project, keeping the website current will prevent the need to large uploads again. Now that you have reviewed your options, you can begin research in which particular VPS web hosting service works for you and your family.

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