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Best Web Hosting for Photographers: 6 Platforms to Use in 2020

Whether you want to set up a stock photo website, sell digital photographs, or just want to showcase your portfolio, you should look into what the world of best web hosting for photographers has to offer.

There are a couple of alternative paths you can take with web hosting for photographers.

  • First, you can create a website using a content management system like WordPress and be in full control of that website.
  • Alternatively, you can opt for a more all-in-one setup with solutions like Wix.
  • Lastly, if you want to keep things entirely hands-free, a photography-dedicated platform like SmugMug might be the best choice.

Still, when it comes to web hosting providers, there are many factors to consider and features that you should have access to. In this guide, we go through them all and show you what to pay attention to most of all.

This is a guide made specifically for photographers and photo enthusiasts who want to build a photo website.

Let’s get going!

Best web hosting for photographers compared

(In no particular order)

1. Wix

wix
  • Recommended plan from: $22 / month
  • Available storage space: 20GB (learn more)
  • Bandwidth/number of visits: Unlimited
  • Free CDN: (uses interconnected cache servers)
  • Free domain:
  • Custom domain use:
  • Free plan:
 

Wix is one of the most popular website builders in the market and can also be considered among the best web hosting for photographers – thanks to their high-performance servers. Wix offers a drag-and-drop builder that makes it easy to build your website page by page. What sets it apart in our list is the multitude of pre-designed templates – a whopping 40+ unique photography templates to showcase your imagery.

The next thing I like about Wix is that some features are specifically geared towards photographers. For instance, there are 30+ media galleries to display images and videos. Plus, there’s an image securing function to protect your data. You can also use the image quality tools to give a final touch to your photographs before hitting the publish button.

2. Hostinger

Best web hosting for photographers: hostinger
  • Recommended plan from: $2.89 / month
  • Available storage space: 20GB
  • Bandwidth/number of visits: unlimited
  • Free CDN:
  • Free domain:
  • Custom domain use:
  • Free plan:
 

Hostinger is an excellent platform, especially to create a professional portfolio site for displaying photographs, or just starting up a photography career online.

If you know the basics of how to build a website with WordPress, then Hostinger will be the appropriate choice. It will not only provide the flexibility to control your server, but also give you access to various site building tools and scripts – including WordPress. Plus, WordPress photography themes will let you create a fully customizable photography website in a few clicks.

You can even go for the $0.99 plan for a single website if you’re on a super tight budget, but this will give you only limited bandwidth and 10GB of storage space, which might not be enough.

3. SmugMug

smugmug
  • Recommended plan from: $5.99 / month
  • Available storage space: unlimited
  • Bandwidth/number of visits: unlimited
  • Free CDN:
  • Free domain:
  • Custom domain use:
  • Free plan:
 

SmugMug is a bit different from the platforms that came before it. It is an image sharing and hosting service – it is a solution tailor-made just for photographers.

Both amateur as well as professional photographers can showcase or sell images very quickly there. Decide whether you want a full-screen layout, a grid-style design, or anything else, all thanks to the customizable design templates. SmugMug allows you to upload multiple photos at once and also integrates with Lightroom to make your workflow even more streamlined.

4. A2 Hosting

Best web hosting for photographers: a2 hosting
  • Recommended plan from: $3.92 / month
  • Available storage space: unlimited
  • Bandwidth/number of visits: unlimited
  • Free CDN:
  • Free domain:
  • Custom domain use:
  • Free plan:
 

A2 Hosting is a web host that offers a handful of different hosting packages, with hosting for photographers being one of the options. It is jam-packed with advanced security options, excellent image hosting tools and some amazing features. Plus, the sturdy infrastructure can easily handle large media files. You will even get to choose the location of your data center.

What makes A2 Hosting distinctive is the built-in gallery of software. For instance, you can use Piwigo to set up a gallery backed with an active community, or use Coppermine to build a PHP-based image gallery. There are over 16 unique software tools to help you make better use of your images / photos.

This being a cPanel-based server means that you can set up a website on your own using quick installer scripts (including WordPress). Later on, you also get access to various tools for managing the site.

If you require more server resources, you can opt for the slightly more expensive plan at $4.90 / month.

5. Zenfolio

zenfolio
  • Recommended plan from: $20 / month
  • Available storage space: unlimited
  • Bandwidth/number of visits: unlimited
  • Free CDN:
  • Free domain:
  • Custom domain use:
  • Free plan:
 

Zenfolio, better known as the go-to-place for selling photographs, is both a website builder as well as an eCommerce platform.

This provider is for people who want to scale their photography business by adding a good-looking website to it. Zenfolio’s template collection has unique categories that will help you build a photo website in any niche.

Talking about the eCommerce features, Zenfolio includes an integrated shopping cart, a complete suite of marketing tools, and a printing lab partnership. As for privacy, you can create password-protected galleries and custom watermarks. Overall, it’s a good platform to sell images like a pro.

The pricing page also provides buttons up top to help you decide the right pricing plan for you. For instance, if you select the button for selling photos and free shipping, it will recommend the PRO plan. But if you only want to create a beautiful website with private client galleries, it’s okay to go with the STARTER plan.

6. 500px

500px
  • Recommended plan from: $4.99 / month
  • Available storage space: unlimited
  • Bandwidth/number of visits: unlimited
  • Free CDN:  (Edgecast)
  • Free domain:
  • Custom domain use:
  • Free plan:
 

The last entry on our list of the best web hosting for photographers is 500px. This platform is about building a community most of all. It is home to over 15 million creatives sharing their work to get global exposure.

500px’s brand has been known for a long time and it’s probably the most recognizable one among the platforms featured here.

As a member, you get your own profile on the platform – so not exactly a website – and you can follow other users and like their photos. You also get access to advanced analytics, and a full like history.

If you want to offer your services or workshops, you’ll need to upgrade to the $9.99 / month plan.

What to look for in your best web hosting for photographers

From a technical point of view, a hosting setup for a photo website can be quite similar to a normal web server, but it can also be very different depending on what your needs are and what sort of website you want to build.

Consider the following things when selecting a host:

A hands-free setup
Some photographers – if not most of them – don’t want to have to deal with various technical aspects of the setup when building their photo website. For that reason, working with a fully hosted online platform might be a better solution than looking for open-source software and then attempting to build a website the DIY way. If you’re this kind of user, look for a service that handles as much of the technical heavy lifting for you as possible.
Available disk space
The trouble is that an image file consumes more disk space than a text document. For instance, a web page with 2000 characters consumes only about 2KB of space. However, a very small image that’s only 300 x 400 pixels might require 60KB of disk space. A big photo that’s actually nicely produced and sharp? Now we’re talking in the range of 500KB to 1MB. This is simple; you want your host to be able to handle a big volume, thus, it has to offer you a lot of disk space.
Bandwidth and traffic allowance
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred in a given amount of time. Make sure the hosting you select has high bandwidth capability. Think about those image files again. So one good photo can be 500KB. If you want 10 people to see it, it will consume around 5MB of bandwidth. This adds up quickly the more photos you have on the site. If you want to build a photo website and actually hope for it to get popular, you need good bandwidth included with your hosting package.
Local servers
Hosting your website on a local server – a server nearby – will make your site load quicker for the visitors. Always.
A CDN
A content delivery network, aka. content distribution network, is a group of servers and data centers distributed across the globe to make delivering your website’s content quicker. A CDN takes your website files and distributes them across multiple servers instead of serving them from just one server. This makes everything load faster for your visitors. 👉 A possible workaround that works with all standard web hosts is to install Optimole. It’s our image optimization solution that reduces the disk size of your images without impacting the quality, and also then serves those images via its own CDN.

Now that you know what to pay attention to when searching for your ideal photographer’s web host, let’s summarize what we learned about the best offers in the market:

Best web hosting for photographers: which to choose?

All of these photo-sharing and hosting platforms target different types of users. Based on what your needs are, you’ll still be able to find an awesome solution here. Here’s what I’d say:

  • If you want to build a photography website on your own, and you want to have full control over your creation, go with A2 Hosting and then build the site on WordPress. Alternatively, if you want something cheaper, you can opt for Hostinger.
  • If you still want to build a website yourself, but you prefer to go the “easiest to follow” path possible – you don’t want to play with website software or servers, etc. – then pick Wix.
  • If selling your photos quickly is your main goal, Zenfolio will probably be your best choice.
  • If you want to join a community of like-minded photographers, then you’re going to be right at home with 500px.

I hope this has been helpful and that you’ve managed to make your pick!

If you did decide to go the WordPress route then check out the guide we have written to help out with this very process. Here’s how to build a photography website with WordPress step by step.

Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

 

Layout, presentation and editing by Karol K.

Or start the conversation in our Facebook group for WordPress professionals. Find answers, share tips, and get help from other WordPress experts. Join now (it’s free)!

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