Experiences with semi "image heavy" forums? DB Size/Cost, Upload Ease, User Galleries?, etc.


New member
Considering XenForo for new forum based site and would like feedback from current users who have dealt with forums that have a significant amount of images posted.

It wouldn't be image centric like a photography site, but definitely will have users often wanting to share images.

1. DB Size/Cost

Fifteen years ago I helped run a forum and users posting images en masse quickly exploded the database and the hosting costs. Storage is far cheaper now, but is it still a major issue to plan for? Would really like to avoid requiring users to upload to photobucket/etc and link to that image. If thousands of images are posted, are your hosting costs still "reasonable"?

Is there a point at which too many images in the database will bog down XenForo or is that not an issue as stored separately?

2. Upload Ease

Any add-ons or aspects to consider for making it as easy as possible for users to share images quickly?

3. User Galleries

Any feature/add-on that allows a user to have a personal gallery and when uploading an image gets to select if image should be added to that gallery?

4. Etc.

Anything else I'm not thinking of that need to consider now? Thanks!


Well-known member
honestly, cloud object storage is pretty cheap these days. Backblaze b2 offers 10GB free and costs after that are also quite low. Digital Oceans Spaces offers 250GB for USD 5. Wasabi offers 1TB for USD 6. StackPath is 1 cent per GB! (B2 has some additional charges wrt usage. Rest seems to be all inclusive.)


Active member
My forum is fairly image heavy, 173505 images, 41GB. Xenforo handles image attachments pretty well, it was one of the major reasons for me to choose it to migrate to from SMF forum. Its easy to upload images, users have no problems generally, and many of my users are older/less tech savvy.

I've looked at S3 but its an additional cost. Will probably go down that path when I run out of space on my VPS.
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Well-known member
41GB seems like a lot. But on object storage like DO Spaces (250GB) or Wasabi (1TB), you are looking at a monthly cost of USD 5-6 dollars. S3 would probably cost a bit more.


Well-known member
what i was trying to say is that it might seem a like a lot but it's not much when it comes to object storage :D

xf guides provide values for S3 and DO Spaces but they work with any compatible services. i am currently using backblaze b2 for example. because my usage is under 10GB right now which is under their free tier. i do pay for api usage but it's still cheaper than other options for now.

there is another option called block storage on do spaces. this can come handy if you are paying for a higher plan just to get additional storage. and 41GB on it would cost around 4.1 dollars. this is good option for people who have limited cpu/ram requirement but need a lot of storage.



Well-known member
IMO the bandwidth cost would be my biggest concern, not the space.
you need to leverage a CDN service and cache alongside with it.
I set a 1 year header, use s3, cloudfront and cloudflare to save on hits.

The purple is a different geo zone (west) that i offload my backups too, so ignore that purple bar which is basically half my bill (cpanel nightly's go there) my server is east coast so that gives me some DR.

if you compare peach to cyan, storage vs bandwidth respectively, you can see that the core cost is of course the bandwidth charge.