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Smugmug Sucks. Where to host a photography website?

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Shutterbugs! What are the best options for photo hosting right now?

Common Question by Photographers:

I was with Smugmug. SmugMug sucks! They increased their prices by 100%! I am looking for alternatives for my photo storage and presentation needs. I was wondering what would you recommend so far.

I absolutely need the hosting to have: decent storage capacity, but not enormous (I care more about using this service as an archive and occasional presentation/display/sale vehicle).

In short, this SumgMug alternative should have clean, stylish and fully customizable designs so that photographers like me is able to upload, present and sell photography.

Our Answer:

You have two (2) options when it comes to photo hosting. You can either get a solution-as-a-service photo hosting, such as Smugmug, Zenfolio etc; or you can get your own website on a full-fledged web hosting service. You will have full control of your website and profits with the later.

Option 1:

If you do not want to go near a whole new playing field of website development, then a solution-as-a-service such as Zenfolio is what you want.

I prefer Zen Folio over other alternatives such as Smugmug. Zenfolio is very easy, very managable, much faster than smugmug. Heck I do not even like looking at smugmug galleries because they are too slow.

You can use this link for FREE TRIAL. No credit card required. Click here to get your own website up and running today.

Why Zenfolio? What I like most is even the Basic level subscription provides 2GB of storage to start with and another 1GB for every year plus everything needed to upload, organize and present photos.

This particular option will save hours of education that it takes to become a web developer, while allowing you an impressive degree of freedom and customization on an ongoing basis. If you are just looking for a fast way to share photos online with your potential customers after a shoot, and allow them to purchase photos online, go for this option. If you are just a leisurely shutterbug who just want a basic website to send clients to, then this is surely your best solution.

Option 2:

This is the option where you first get a web hosting account from a website hosting company such as Hostgator. Then you install a content-management system such as WordPress. Lastly, you configure your website which includes getting a professional photography theme.

This may sound complicated but actually it is quite straightforward. Only a bare minimum of programming knowledge is needed to get started and if you get stuck help is available from either the WordPress forums or the web hosting live chat (HG). It is useful (but not essential) to know HTML and CSS to be able to modify the layout.

There are a wide choices of website hosting services these days but you want the best hosting company at the right price. We have used Hostgator for almost 9 years and we are still very happy with their fast customer support and unbelievable uptime. We have tried some other 8 hosting services but HG is simply amazing. If you are unsure if this option can meet your requirements, or you have specific question, try the Live Chat at HG. They are available for sales, billing or even technical support for 24/7 at no extra charge. You can also try Hostgator for almost free.

What are the benefits of having your own hosting account, you may ask?. Here are four (4) reason that sets it apart from the former:

  • At Zenfolio, you have to pay 12% fee when you sell products from partner labs, pay 4% fee when you self-fulfill your own orders, and pay 8% fee when you sell digital products. If you host your own website, you pay nothing from your sale (as oppose to the first option above)
  • Unlimited storage space not only for your photos, but everything else related to your business (including PDFs, presentations, videos, raw images, designs, digital products)
  • You can host more domain names (even for your wife)
  • The all-in-one photo hosting service from the first option above can hike up the fees and percentages as much as they want and at any time they wish (just like what Smugmug did). However, with a website on your own hosting account, your cost is minimal, i.e you pay only for the web hosting cost which is only about $10/month.

Decided on hosting your own photography website? You can save some dollars using the coupon below.

More than 6 million customers choose HG. Why?
So many website owners trust HG. Find out why.

p.s: If you need more WordPress photography themes, check out this 17 Best WP Photography Themes.

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