In the past, most people stored photos in boxes hidden away in attics or basements. Unfortunately, now that most photos are digital, that is no longer the case. Most of the photos that your family takes are probably stored on computers or phones.

The bad news? 1 in 3 people have lost digital memories (and many of them don’t even realize it). Which means, there is a good chance that some of your photo files might be corrupt, broken and lost forever.

If you want to keep your digital photos safe, you may want to consider one of these options:

External Hard Drive

If your computer memory is full, you should consider getting an external hard drive. A standard hard drive typically costs anywhere between $50 – $100. (You can also get 96 TB worth of storage for $31K, if you’re feeling really ambitious.)

Seagate, SanDisk, Samsung and Toshiba all offer reliable external hard drive products on Amazon at affordable prices.

Some computers allow you to automatically back up all of your data when the external hard drive is plugged in and deletes the oldest backup when it runs out of space. Hard drives typically stay good for about 1-5 years, so you will need to plan on getting regular replacements.

Photo Books

There are plenty of great websites out there that make it easy to create beautiful picture books: MixbookShutterfly, and Blurb (to name a few). Simply upload your photos and use their templates to design your book. There are also services like ChatBooks that allow you to make a simple photo book straight from your Instagram feed – making your job easy.

The cost depends on the type (hard cover, soft cover, leather bound), size (10×10, 8.5×11), and the number of pages in the book. Prices start at around $8, but quickly move up to $100+ per book. If you’re worried about cost, most photo book companies offer coupon codes (especially around holidays) that knock 50% off your purchase.

Even if you print your pictures, you should still keep digital copies – just in case. Print photos are easily damaged and can fade over time.

Cloud Storage

If you want access to your photos from any device, you may want to use cloud storage. Some of the most popular cloud drive services include AmazonDropBox and Box. Plans typically cost anywhere from $5 – $100 per year (depending on how much space you need).

Before you select a cloud service provider, read carefully through their privacy, service and security policies. Some providers don’t protect their users from data loss. If their site shuts down, you’re out of luck, and you can say goodbye to all your photos. (A similar situation happened to Magaupload users back in 2012.)

Make sure you select a secure password and change it often. If you are planning on storing sensitive information, you may want to encrypt your files before you upload them. Cloud storage is much more vulnerable to hackers.

Archiving

The safest way to store your digital photos is by archiving them using services like Yours.co. When you sign up for a subscription, your files are automatically archived each month on a disc that is guaranteed to stay good up to 1,000 years.

Unlike CDs, external hard drives, and computers, these disks (also known as MDISCs) are made up of a stone-like, carbon compound that makes them fairly indestructible. Archiving is one of the most reliable ways to store your photos and ensures that they will not get corrupted or lost for many years to come.

To save you from the pain of having to archive your files yourself, Yours.co makes it simple. The service syncs with all of the most popular cloud drive services, backs up your files each month, and sends you the disc for safe keeping. That way you never have to worry about whether or not you are up-to-date on your data storage.

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