How to: Get access to old/broken images

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Feb 9, 2022
As I've been digging through old topics I find that there are a lot of missing images which can happen for a number of reasons. Some of them are recoverable and you can get access to them in various ways. As I run across them, I will update this thread with a few different ways. It depends on how they were hosted in the beginning, and some may just not be accessible any longer.


You may see images like this, or with a Photobucket watermark over the top of an actual photo.
Screen Shot 2022-02-13 at 2.58.53 PM.png

Photobucket basically screwed everyone who was using it and held a lot of people hostage. On another forum I work on, we built a script to automatically download the image and replace them, and it worked pretty well so we fixed it forum-wide for the most part. (Admin, feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss. I'd have to find out where the code is but I can basically tell you how we did it from a theory perspective. Speaking of, if this is in the wrong forum please feel free to move - I wasn't sure where to post it)

Anyway, for this particular post that had Photobucket take the image hostage, if you right click the top image you can either get the URL or open it in a new tab, depending on what your browser of choice is. That will give you a URL something like this:


What you want to do is copy the part after "image=" which in this case is

And then do what's called URL decoding on it. Basically in web/server stuff URL encoding (opposite of decoding) replaces special characters with %20 and things like that.

To do this decoding take the part after image= that is URL encoded" and head on over to a web based decoder of your choice, like URL Decode and Encode - Online - - Paste it into the box and click "Decode" and you will end up with the decoded URL. In this case, that URL becomes:


That doesn't quite work yet, because of the hash. So strip out everything after the .jpg starting with the & symbol and you'll get the image URL which is

Then you put that into a blank tab, and you'll see the image:


Yeah, it's a bit of a pain especially if there re lots of images, but if it's something you want to see, this should work for Photobucket in most cases.

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