10 Best Web Hosting Services for Photographers
As a professional photographer, you have to get online to get in touch with new clients. However, not all photography website hosting services give you the right tools to create a vibrant website that stands out from the crowd. It’s important to find an easy way to showcase your images, but you don’t want to get stuck with a rigid template that doesn’t actually reflect your brand.
I may not be able to create beautiful pictures with a camera, but I know everything there is to know about the web hosting industry and its top contenders. Having extensively researched and tested the best website hosting for photographers, I’m here to make your decision easier.
In what follows, I go over some of the best website builders and hosting providers for photographers, but not all of these services are made the same. Some are super easy to use, but have fewer customization options. Others give you free creative reign, but might take a bit longer to get used to if you have no previous experience with building websites.
The key to choosing the best service is understanding what each host does best. With that in mind, let’s jump right in.
Top Web Hosting for Photographers
You don’t have to be an expert web developer to build a professional, stylish photography website. It’s all about the tools you have at your disposal. A website builder with beautiful templates is a good place to start, but you might run into a couple of other issues along the way.
For one, you’ll need plenty of storage space to upload your pictures. Secondly, you’ll need a hosting platform that is already optimized for your website. You don’t have time to tweak with dozens of settings, plugins, and performance-enhancing tools, nor should you have to. Some photography website hosting providers offer out-of-the-box solutions so that you can simply log into your account and get started.
These are the types of services that I’ve prioritized in my list. In case you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick overview:
- Wix – The best web hosting for photographers overall. Powerful, but easy-to-use website builder, domain registration, and email, all in one place.
- Squarespace – Premium website builder with beautiful photography templates and advanced customization features.
- Weebly – One of the most popular website builders and the easiest to use on this list. Built-in image editing and seamless mobile app.
- A2 Hosting – Blazing fast web hosting with Turbo servers and a generous anytime money-back guarantee.
- Bluehost – Affordable, long-term shared hosting plans and good-value managed WordPress options with a site building wizard.
- Flywheel – Premium managed WordPress hosting built on GCP for super-fast photography websites.
- HostGator – Very cheap shared hosting plans with unlimited storage space and a basic website builder.
- Pixpa – The all-in-one hosting solution designed specifically for photographers. Great web hosting, gorgeous templates, and interactive client galleries.
- Format – Specialized themes to showcase different types of photography, built-in editing and proofing, and a free website for annual plans.
- 500px – The easiest way to showcase, license, and sell your work in a community of over 9 million photographers and customers.
Remember, just because a web hosts is lower on the list doesn’t make it a worse option. All of these services are quite different, and they all excel in specific areas. But don’t worry: we’ll take a closer look at each host, their strongest qualities, and any hidden drawbacks. Meanwhile, you decide which provider is the best fit for your photography portfolio.
Wix is, without a doubt, the most popular website builder right now. There is virtually nothing it can’t do, and the best part is that web hosting is included for free with all of its plans. In fact, Wix gives you everything you need as a photographer: a drag-and-drop site builder, web hosting, a domain, and a professional email address, all in one place. It doesn’t get more convenient than this.
To help you quickly build your website, Wix offers dozens of templates created specifically for photographers. These are not your run-of-the-mill, free WordPress templates, either. They are beautifully designed, clean and professional, with plenty of white spaces to let your pictures do the talking.
And if you need additional functionality for your website, you can turn to the Wix App Market, which includes over 300 apps (some free, some paid) that you can easily integrate into your site. Think contact forms, social media, image galleries, search functions, and much more.
Start for Free
Wix is one of the very few website builders that you can actually use for free. While there are some limitations – I’ll get to them in a moment – the free version of Wix includes all the features you need to test the waters before you commit to a paid plan.
You have full access to the drag-and-drop site builder, and you can choose between 40 professional templates to boot. Even on the free plan, you can count on Wix to do right by your photographs. You won’t have to deal with washed out colors, which is a real problem with other free site builders, and all of your images will be automatically optimized for quality and speed.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks to using Wix for free, and these will eventually determine you to upgrade to paid photography website hosting. For instance, you only get 500MB of storage and bandwidth, and you can’t connect your own, professional domain name.
As you get more visitors per month and you upload more pictures to your website, you’ll likely need to switch to a premium plan. Rest assured, though: you can get a good plan for under $10 a month; even less if you’re willing to pay up-front for at least one year.
Fully Customizable Templates
Here’s the thing with website builders: they are very easy to use, but they don’t usually give you the freedom to design your site exactly as you’d want to. Normally, I’d say that the trade-off is worth it, especially if it means that you can take your photos online quickly and at an affordable cost. But with versatile site builders like Wix out there, why would you ever settle for less?
Unlike most services of its kind, Wix lets you fully customize all of its templates. And when I say fully customize, I mean it. From fonts to colors, buttons, animations, and basically anything else you might want to change, you can get your website to look just perfect.
As a photographer, you have to stand out in an industry that is exclusively visual, and your unique brand plays an essential role. With Wix, you can easily build your brand and let it shine through your website. That’s what I love most about this site builder.
The only downside is that you can’t switch templates once you’ve published your website. You can opt for a different template if needed, but you have to redesign your site from scratch if you do. So long as you carefully consider your options before your site goes live, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The Wix SEO Wiz
SEO (search engine optimization) is a great way to connect with more potential clients. Of course, you could hire an expert consultant to optimize your website for you, but if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can do it yourself using the Wix SEO Wiz.
You might not have any idea what you’re doing when it comes to SEO, but that won’t be a problem. To begin with, the SEO Wiz will ask you a few questions about your website and your target audience. Then, it’ll come up with a personalized SEO plan for you that includes all the steps you need to take in order to optimize your site.
Just by using the SEO Wiz dashboard, you can find the best keywords for your website and track your success with search engines. If you upgrade to either the Unlimited or the VIP plan, you can even integrate Google Analytics into your dashboard and get detailed information about your visitors and the time they spend on your website.
Squarespace is my go-to website builder for professional-looking, premium templates with advanced functionality. It’s not as cheap as Wix, nor does it have a free plan, but if you can afford it, it has a lot to offer to photographers like yourself. The templates, in particular, are absolutely stunning, and you can always switch between them to give your website a fresh look.
To be fair, Squarespace takes a bit more time to get used to compared to simpler web hosting for photographers like Wix. The platform is clean and easy enough to work with, but some design elements can be difficult to find if you don’t know exactly where to look. For the quickest way to get your portfolio online, Wix is a better option.
If, on the other hand, you want a website builder that keeps up with your work, Squarespace is the right answer. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you know where everything is, you won’t have any trouble building, changing, or expanding your site. Plus, there are several features that can make it easier for you to monetize your work, which is always a good thing.
Minimalist Design, Advanced Functionality
Before you get started with Squarespace, you’ll be asked a few questions about the goals you hope to achieve with your photography website. Based on your answers, Squarespace suggests a few starter templates that you can use to quickly build a portfolio. If you don’t want to make any significant changes, you can publish your website – with your own text and images – in under two hours.
At the same time, you can customize each template to your heart’s content if you’re willing to learn the ropes. Unlike with Wix, all of the sites created with Squarespace are mobile responsive, which means that they’ll look just as good on a smartphone as they do in your browser. You don’t have to do anything yourself.
In addition, there are a few great features that can help professional photographers showcase and sell their work. To give you just one example, you can create password protected pages to share photographs with specific clients.
Plenty of Tutorials to Get You Started
I’ve already mentioned that Squarespace is a bit more difficult to work with than Wix, but if you’re willing to learn, there are plenty of resources to turn to. For one, tutorials and tips are built straight into the drag-and-drop interface once you actually start editing your site. These can make it much easier to find the right tools and features at any given time.
Then there’s the Squarespace blog and knowledge base, where you’ll find hundreds of guides that describe pretty much every aspect of this photography website hosting service. There’s even an active discussion forum where you can ask questions and wait for other users to reply.
If you can’t find the answer anywhere (or you simply don’t have the time to look for it), you can always contact Squarespace’s customer support for a quick resolution. Live chat is only available between 5 AM and 8 PM Eastern Time, but if this doesn’t suit your schedule, you can just as easily get in touch through tickets.
Hire an Expert for Advanced Design
Squarespace can be used to build gorgeous photography websites with thousands of high-resolution pictures neatly organized into relevant collections, but if you don’t have the time to do this yourself, you might want to consider a Squarespace expert. It’s also pretty easy to find one: you’ll be asked a few questions and then matched with several professional designers who have the right experience to create your site.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to keep working with the expert once the website is finished. Since Squarespace is relatively easy to use, the designer can teach you how to keep your website updated, how to create new collections, and how to upload new photographs.
Of course, the service comes at a pretty considerable cost. If you don’t intend to monetize your work, the asking price of an expert, and that of Squarespace in general, might be too high to be worth it.
Weebly focuses on ease-of-use above anything else. Even if you have absolutely no experience with photography hosting websites, you can create a beautiful portfolio in a matter of hours. The Weebly wizard walks you through the entire process, from logging into your account and connecting a domain to choosing a suitable template and personalizing your site.
So what’s the catch? Why is Weebly only third on my list if it’s so awesome to work with? Well, the main reason is that, while it is very simple to use, it’s also quite limited compared to the other photography website hosting services on my list. For example, Weebly has significantly fewer templates for you to choose from, and it doesn’t give you as many customization options as Wix or Squarespace.
Since the number of templates is fairly small, you won’t find any that are specifically designed for photography. That said, some of the available templates could be customized just right in order to suit a photographer’s portfolio, so if you’re not looking for something exclusive, Weebly is definitely a great place to start.
Free and Super Easy to Use
Like Wix, Weebly has a free plan that includes photography web hosting in addition to the drag-and-drop site builder. There are a few limitations – such as the fact that you can’t remove ads or connect your own domain – but if you’re just testing the waters, this plan gives you a good idea of what it means to work with Weebly. As a professional photographer, you’ll want to upgrade to the Pro plan sooner or later, but the good news is that the latter is pretty cheap, and it comes with unlimited storage space.
As for the website editor itself, it really doesn’t get any simpler than this. A step-by-step guide is built into your drag-and-drop interface so that you always know what to do next. All tools and features are very easy to find, and the dashboard is clean and well organized. Whether you want to change your theme, rearrange pages, integrate an app, or tweak with SEO, the dashboard can help you get it done.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about clunky designs or out-of-place pictures and text. The Weebly site builder snaps all elements of your site into place as soon as you drag them in. You don’t have as much creative freedom as with Wix, but if you’re a newbie, this isn’t a bad trade-off.
Built-In Image Editing
With Weebly, you don’t have to use a separate image editing tool before you upload new pictures. The site builder has advanced image editing capabilities, so you can add text and filters, as well as adjust contrast, saturation, and brightness straight from the drag-and-drop interface.
As a professional photographer, you probably like to use your own software to touch up pictures before they go live. But if you’re just starting out, you might prefer the convenience of Weebly’s photo editing. It doesn’t have all the options you’ll ever need, but it covers quite a bit of ground and it eliminates the need to pay for additional software.
Plus, if you’re taking pictures on the go, you don’t have to wait until you get to your PC to edit and post them. Which brings me to my next point.
Upload New Snapshots on the Go
Ever get a shot so amazing that you wanted to share it right away? Weebly lets you do this through its sleek mobile app for photography hosting sites. Not only can you upload photos using your smartphone, but you can also build your website, edit it, and reply to comments. In fact, if you want to avoid the PC altogether while building your online portfolio, you can do that.
Like Squarespace, Weebly creates responsive websites that look great across all platforms. Even if you work on your site using your smartphone, you can rest assured that the final result will be just as impressive on a PC. No extra effort is required on your part.
The Weebly App Center is also accessible on the go in case you need to add new functions to your website. Here, you’ll find more than 350 apps from Weebly and third-party providers, which you can install with a single click.
4. A2 Hosting
If you have a bit of experience with web design (or you’re willing to learn the basics), you might want to look a little further than popular website builders to find the best website hosting for photographers. Why? Because while site builders are very convenient, they almost never offer the same performance you can get with a proper host.
A2 Hosting is the perfect example here. Its proprietary website builder is not as versatile as Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly, and there is a limit to how many pages you can design for free. That said, the hosting infrastructure provided by A2 is far superior to that of Wix or other, similar services.
Don’t get me wrong: it won’t be as easy to build your photography website, but if you have enough time to get the hang of WordPress or another popular CMS (content management system), your portfolio will load faster for potential clients, and you won’t have to worry about it ever going offline. Plus, you can always use free WordPress site builders like Elementor to make things easier.
Blazing Fast Photography Web Hosting
A2 Hosting is all about performance, and it shows. If you opt for either the Turbo Boost or the Turbo Max plans – which are just about as expensive as Squarespace’s entry-level subscriptions – your website will be hosted on A2’s best servers. The “Turbo” boost refers to better web server technology, which can help your website load 20 times faster according to A2.
You also get several performance enhancing tools with your photographer website hosting. Without going too far into the boring details, the first thing you’ll notice when you explore your dashboard is the A2 Optimized Site Accelerator. This includes several caching options such as Turbo Cache or Memcached, which might sound like gibberish, but are actually very important for a website that is rich in high-resolution images.
The best part? You don’t have to worry about installing or configuring any of these features. The Site Accelerator is an out-of-the-box solution that you simply turn on from the dashboard. That simple.
Useful Plugins Installed with a Single Click
A2 Hosting might not be as easy to use as Wix or Weebly, but it doesn’t leave you all on your own, either. For example, there is a one-click installer with more than 400 apps that you can use to set up useful plugins for your photography portfolio.
Take Piwigo, for example. This is a free photo gallery tool that can help you quickly create beautiful pages for your site. You can include thousands of photos in your portfolio and Piwigo will sort them for you, as well as make them easier to find for later use. You can even download entire themes or templates for your site to get started.
Normally, you’d have to know your way around the backend of a server to install Piwigo or any other software, for that matter. With A2’s one-click installer, however, the entire process is simplified. You just press a few buttons and you’re ready to go. No code needed.
Generous Anytime Money-Back Guarantee
A2 Hosting has some great deals for long-term plans, but most users are not very comfortable with the idea of paying up-front for one or more years. Generally speaking, I agree. As a website owner, your needs could change on a daily basis, so you shouldn’t let yourself be talked into a year-long commitment.
That said, I’d make an exception for A2 Hosting. With A2, you get an anytime money-back guarantee for your photography website hosting, no questions asked. In other words, no matter when you decide to cut your contract short, you can apply for a prorated refund for the remaining duration of your term.
This makes all of A2 Hosting’s plans basically risk-free. If you don’t like the platform or if you decide to give up on your website later on, you don’t have to worry that you’ve paid extra for hosting that you won’t ultimately use.
Bluehost is a seasoned web host with almost two decades’ worth of experience in the industry. Its shared hosting plans are incredibly cheap for the initial term, so you won’t have to break the bank if you’re a photographer working on your first website. You also get plenty of storage space, even on the entry-level plan.
That said, I believe that Bluehost’s managed WordPress plans have far more value than its shared hosting packages. Yes, they’re more expensive, but the features you get are well worth the extra cost. I’ll get into that in just a few moments.
If you’re wondering why Bluehost is only no. 5 on my list, the main reason is pricing. Wait, didn’t I just say that this is an affordable host? I sure did, but the most attractive offers are only available for initial terms. Once that’s done, Bluehost will sneak up on you with pretty steep renewal fees, and you might end up paying more than with other best website hosting for photographers in the long run.
Even so, Bluehost remains an excellent option for beginners due to its user-friendly interface and tools. Let’s take a closer look.
Easy-to-Follow Site Building Checklist
Bluehost doesn’t offer a drag-and-drop website builder like Wix or Squarespace, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be on your own while you build your photography portfolio. In fact, this host makes it a point to gradually introduce new features to users and to provide plenty of help when needed.
As soon as you log into your account, you’ll be greeted by a neat website checklist that guides you through everything you need to do, step-by-step. From connecting your domain to installing WordPress, selecting a theme, and even optimizing your site for SEO, Bluehost has it all covered. You still have to do most of the work yourself, but at least you know exactly where you are at all times.
You’ll also notice that you get plenty of themes to choose from once WordPress is installed. If you also download a free WP site builder like Elementor or BoldGrid, you’ll be able to quickly edit most aspects of the available templates to best suit your brand.
Great Value for Managed WordPress Plans
I had mentioned earlier that you get the most value with Bluehost’s WP Pro managed WordPress plans. Don’t get me wrong: you can definitely get by with a shared hosting package, but if you can afford a WP Pro plan, it can make your life much easier.
For one, you’ll no longer have to take care of WordPress core and plugin updates yourself. In addition, Bluehost will create backups of your site on a daily basis, so you’ll be able to easily restore a previous version in case your website is compromised. You also get additional security tools, so you don’t ever have to worry about your portfolio being hacked.
With the Grow plan, a Jetpack Premium license is included for free, which is no small feat. Among other things, you get expert caching for images to help your website load quickly, and you can easily integrate PayPal into your site in case you’re looking to sell your work.
One-Hour Concierge Call
If you opt for any of the WP Pro plans, you get an hour-long, one-on-one call with a Bluehost expert to help you settle in. The tech support agent runs you through all the important aspects of both the Bluehost and the WordPress dashboard, so you know where everything is before you start working on your photography hosting websites.
They’ll also recommend the right theme for your photography portfolio, and they’ll make pertinent suggestions regarding the best plugins for your site. If you’re new to WordPress, you’ll also get a brief tutorial into how you can easily create and edit your website.
And if you ever need help after the call is over, specialized support is available 24/7. With the Grow and Scale plans, you also have access to the Blue Sky team, which can help you with WordPress-specific issues and debugging.
Flywheel is a premium managed WordPress hosting service primarily aimed at web developers, but it has much to offer for beginners too. If you want to keep costs low, I recommend that you take a closer look at the Tiny plan.
The Tiny plan is pretty affordable compared to other best website hosting for photographers on my list, and it includes absolutely all the features you get with more expensive plans. The only difference is that you have less storage space and bandwidth, but this shouldn’t be a problem to begin with.
Since this is a managed WordPress service, you can’t install any other CMS on your account. That said, all Flywheel plans come with the Genesis Framework, which includes more than 30 premium themes for WordPress, as well as a drag-and-drop site builder. In other words, building your photography portfolio will be just as easy as if you were using Wix.
Built on Google Cloud
Flywheel doesn’t have its own hosting infrastructure. Instead, it uses servers from Google Cloud Platform, one of the fastest cloud infrastructures in the world. The price is a little higher than what you would pay for shared hosting, but the additional stability, speed, and security that you get with Google are well worth the difference.
Now, if you were to provision a server from Google yourself, you’d have to go through a lengthy configuration process before you could start building your photography website. If you go with Flywheel, this is already taken care of. You get a neat dashboard to control all aspects of your account, and WordPress is automatically installed.
In addition, you have access to several out-of-the-box optimization tools designed by Flywheel. For example, the FlyCache plugin and the Fastly CDN are integrated straight into your dashboard. To improve your website loading speeds, you can activate both of these features with just a couple of clicks.
Free, Managed Security
Instead of asking you to install your own security plugins, Flywheel makes sure that your website is safe by securing your server. This is especially advantageous for newbies who don’t want to spend hours finding the right plugins. You can focus on your photography portfolio, while Flywheel takes care of the rest.
In case your website is compromised, Flywheel cleans it up right away, no questions asked. Plus, backups of your data are created on a daily basis, so you can easily restore your site to a previous, functional version in case disaster strikes.
Outdated software is another risk that you’d have to contain on your own, even with some of the best photography website hosting services. With Flywheel, however, your WordPress installation is automatically upgraded when a new version is released. Your website stays safe, and you don’t have to do a thing.
Great Collaboration Tools
If you’re building a website on your own, you might not have much use for collaborative tools. If, on the other hand, you want to work with an expert web developer, these features will come in handy. To begin with, you can create a separate account for your web developer, and give them limited access to your website for as long as you work together.
If, later on, you decide to include multiple photographers on your team, you can give each of them their own login details without having to memorize them or write them down yourself. And if you want to share certain parts of your website only with paying customers, you can do that too.
Everything can be done straight from the Flywheel dashboard. It might take a little time to get used to it at first, but once you’re familiar with all the options, you’ll fall in love with its clean simplicity.
HostGator is one of the most popular names in the web hosting industry. Why? For one, it has unbeatable prices. Compared to the other best web hosting for photographers on my list, HostGator offers some of the cheapest, most generous plans. You don’t get any advanced features like managed security or collaborative tools, but if these are not a priority for you, HostGator can help you save a lot of money in the long run.
Although HostGator does have managed WordPress options, the shared hosting plans are, by far, the most advantageous. This doesn’t mean that you have to configure WordPress on your own. If this is the CMS you want to work with, you can set it up it with just a couple of clicks using HostGator’s installer. The latter is included for free on all plans.
Just one word of warning: beware the steep renewal fees. HostGator has some outstanding deals for two-year plans on shared hosting, but once your initial term is over, you can expect prices to double. That said, HostGator is still cheaper than many other photography hosting sites even after renewal.
The Gator Website Builder
If you’re not a fan of WordPress, you can use HostGator’s proprietary website builder to create a beautiful photography portfolio. With its neat drag-and-drop interface, the builder is easier to use than WordPress and it comes with more than 100 professional themes to boot.
Now, you shouldn’t expect to have as many customization options as you would with a builder like Wix, but even so, the Gator Website Builder has more than enough features to get you started. All themes are mobile responsive, so you can rest assured that your website will look just as good across all platforms.
Perhaps the best part about the Gator Website Builder is that it’s so incredibly cheap. Unlike Wix and Weebly, it doesn’t have a free plan, but the premium plans are more affordable. How much more affordable? About half the price, with web hosting from HostGator included. Not bad.
Unlimited Storage, Bandwidth, and Email
Here’s the thing with HostGator: it’s not only affordable, but also pretty generous with its resources. Most of the best sites for photographers on this list give you limited storage space and bandwidth, but with HostGator, both of these are unmetered. There are some restrictions in place to prevent abusive practices, but so long as you don’t try to turn your website into a file sharing platform, you won’t have to worry about resource usage.
For a photographer, that’s great news. Since your website is bound to be media-intensive, having a good deal of storage at your disposal ensures that you won’t be forced to upgrade to a more expensive plan down the line.
In addition, you get to create an unlimited number of professional email addresses @yourdomain. This is another big advantage with HostGator since other providers charge extra for email hosting. Some hosts, like Flywheel, don’t offer email hosting at all, which might force you to work with several providers at a time.
Plenty of Freebies
Every yearly HostGator plan, whether it’s shared hosting or managed WordPress, comes with a free domain for one year. If you’re trying to keep your costs low, make sure to take advantage of this free domain registration once you’ve signed up.
And that’s not everything you get for your photography website hosting. If you opt for one of the shared hosting plans, you can use the Gator Website Builder to design up to six pages for free. You can also ask the HostGator support team to transfer your website if you already have one.
Most importantly, all HostGator plans come with free SSL certificates, which ensure that your website is padlock protected. This keeps the payment information of your clients secure, and it helps your portfolio rank higher in search engines.
Unlike the web hosts we’ve looked into so far, Pixpa is a service designed specifically for photographers. Here, you’ll find everything you need to create beautiful photography hosting websites, get in touch with new and existing clients, proof and deliver work, set up your own blog, and even start an online store. All for a fair price.
You don’t need any previous knowledge of web development to build your website with Pixpa. You can choose between dozens of ready-made portfolio sites and personalize them with the drag-and-drop editor. Pixpa templates don’t offer as many customization options as Wix or Squarespace, but if you’re a beginner, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
As a newbie, your main goal is to get online. Pixpa gives you a simple and quick way to do this, while making sure that your website looks professional and sleek. But perhaps the greatest thing about this platform is that it can help you do much more than build your online portfolio. In fact, there’s very little that Pixpa won’t do for you.
The All-in-One Host for Photographers
Aside from the website builder, Pixpa includes web hosting and a free domain for one year on all plans. You don’t have to worry about your website being slow, either, because Pixpa’s platform is built on AWS (Amazon Web Services). Like GCP, AWS is a vast cloud infrastructure with excellent reliability and performance.
Unlike A2 or Flywheel, Pixpa doesn’t give you any caching tools that you can use to optimize your website. That said, all uploaded images are optimized by default, so you don’t have to manually reduce their size for the sake of faster loading speeds.
Most importantly, Pixpa has plenty of tools to help you sell your work. Even with the entry-level plan, you can set up an ecommerce gallery to make it easier for your clients to buy your photos. You can sell images as prints or downloads, and you collect your payments directly. Pixpa takes no commission for your sales.
If you want to set up a checkout page on your own domain, you’ll have to upgrade to the Biz or Ultimate plan. However, you can use a third-party provider like PayPal to collect payments even on an entry-level photography web hosting plan.
Interactive Client Galleries
Sold as a separate product, Pixpa Client Galleries make it easier to share your work with specific clients. You can choose between multiple design layouts for each gallery, and integrate several galleries into an album to make it easier for clients to find their favorite photos. Each gallery comes with its own landing page, which you can customize to reflect your own brand.
By default, galleries are built in English. However, if you or your clients speak a different language, you can change all system text to match it. In addition, all galleries are mobile friendly. You can send your clients a link to a personalized mobile app that they can download to view pictures on their smartphones.
You can invite as many clients to view your galleries as you want. Unlike other web hosting for photographers, Pixpa doesn’t cap your bandwidth. And if you ever need additional storage to upload more pictures, you can easily add it with just a few clicks. You don’t have to upgrade to a more expensive plan, and you only pay for the resources that you use. Plus, you can scale back down at any time.
Ecommerce Made Easy
If you opt for the Biz or Ultimate plan, Pixpa makes it super easy to create fully-personalized ecommerce galleries and sell your work. You can sell your images as digital downloads, prints, canvases, gallery wraps, or anything else you can think of. You have complete control over pricing and profit margins.
You don’t have to worry about the checkout page, either. Pixpa creates a seamless shopping experience for your clients, with branded checkout pages, an integrated shopping cart, and some of the most popular payment methods, including PayPal and Stripe. Selling your photographs online doesn’t get much easier than this.
The Automated Lab Fulfillment is another awesome feature with Pixpa. If you take print orders, you can use Pixpa’s partner lab, WHCC, to fulfill them. The entire process, from the moment your client places an order to the moment they receive their prints, is completely automated. You just keep taking stunning pictures, while Pixpa does the rest.
Format started out as a photography theme for WordPress, but thanks to its outstanding quality, it quickly developed into a standalone website builder. Today, Format offers complete photography website hosting for professionals looking to get online quickly. For a decent price, you get a convenient way to build your portfolio, plus web hosting, domain registration, email hosting, and plenty of ecommerce tools.
Compared to Pixpa, Format is slightly more expensive, but depending on what you’re trying to achieve, some of its features might be worth the extra cost. For example, Format allows you to fully customize your website through its HTML/CSS code editor. For beginners, this is not an essential tool. But if you’re familiar with HTML and you have specific ideas for your photography website, Format gives you more options.
It’s also worth noting that Format can help you protect your pictures from unauthorized distribution. You can set a warning for any user trying to copy your material via right click, as well as easily add a watermark to your images using Format’s built-in editing tool.
Specialized Photography Themes
Several of the photography web hosting providers on my list have unique templates that you can use to create your website. However, Format goes one step further. Unlike Wix, Squarespace, and even Pixpa, this provider gives you access to different themes for various types of photography.
For example, the Dusk theme – with its horizontal-scrolling galleries and full-bleed images – is perfect for wedding photography. For portrait photography, the Reel theme is a dark, minimalistic solution that lets your pictures shine. From editorial photography to commercial, family, and even video art, Format has you covered.
Of course, you don’t have to use one of Format’s predefined templates if it doesn’t suit your vision. As a newbie, however, you’ll have an easier time choosing the right theme thanks to this provider’s neat categories.
Proof and Deliver Work Straight from Your Website
Format makes it super easy to share your work with specific clients. Straight from your dashboard, you can create private, password-protected galleries and upload images. Using the login details that you provide, your client can share their impressions instantly. The galleries are fully responsive, so your clients don’t need a desktop to check out your work.
If needed, you can edit photos in the gallery based on your client’s feedback. Once the pictures are ready, you can enable full- or restricted-size downloads. You’ll also get a notification whenever your client downloads an image.
If you’re not sure about how it all works, that’s not a problem. You can request a 14-day, no credit card trial with Format in order to test out all of its most interesting features. If you like it, you can then upgrade to a paid plan.
Get a Free Website for Annual Plans
A website builder makes it significantly easier to design and publish a photography website, but it won’t work miracles. You still have to do everything yourself and, if you want your portfolio to feel exclusive, you have to customize your chosen theme extensively. You don’t need any previous experience with web development to get it done, but you do need a bit of time.
If you don’t have this time or you’d rather spend it by focusing on your photography, you can always hire a Format expert to help you with the website design. These people have a ton of experience working with Format, so you can count on them to deliver a flawless portfolio.
Best of all, an expert will build your website for free if you opt for either the Pro Plus or the Unlimited plan. The catch is that you have to pay for a whole year of service upfront, but if you know you like Format, this will ultimately be a worthwhile investment. You even get a discount to boot.
I’ve saved 500px for last because it’s not technically a web host like the other providers on this list. If you want to create your own photography website and sell your work for direct payments, 500px is not the right option for you. That said, if you’re only looking to get online quickly or to expand your client base, this is one of the easiest photography hosting websites to use.
With 500px, you create a profile, add a few details about yourself, and publish your photos. It’s that simple. You don’t have to install WordPress, use a website builder, maintain a website, or take care of your site’s security. You don’t have to design your storefront, either, because 500px does it for you.
In addition, you can take advantage of the massive community of photographers and customers that has formed around 500px over the years. When you publish a photo, other professionals can provide feedback right away, which is great for newbies who want to hone their craft.
The platform uses proprietary search algorithms to ensure that every new photographer has the chance to shine. Your images won’t get lost in a sea of thousands of others. Instead, they will show up for potential customers who might be interested in your work. If you don’t have the time to build your own website and connect with clients through SEO, social media, and other marketing strategies, this is the easiest way to get noticed.
The 500px Marketplace
Over 9 million photographers and customers connect with one another through the 500px Marketplace. So how does it work? To begin with, you submit your photos for licensing through the 500px platform. The editors either approve the images or send them back for revisions, while you easily track their progress on your profile.
Once the photos are approved, they become available for purchase on the 500px Marketplace. If someone buys one of your images, you get 60% of royalties. Granted, this is not as attractive as what you can do with Pixpa or Format, but bear in mind that 500px basically takes care of licensing and advertising for you. Plus, you don’t have to give up the copyright for your pictures.
As a Licensing Contributor, you are also considered for special partnerships with 500px. These are usually contracts with high-profile customers that 500px essentially mediates for you.
Pro Membership for Additional Customization Options
For a modest price, you can become a 500px Pro Member and unlock several advantages. For one, you’ll no longer have a cap on the number of images you can upload per month. Secondly, you get several tools to customize your profile and make it more unique.
You can add, hide, and rearrange tabs, as well as feature your favorite photography collections or images at the top of your page. You also get priority listing, which means that your name comes up higher in searches from potential customers in your area.
Finally, you can advertise your services directly on your profile to make it easier for new clients to get in touch. To track your progress on the platform, you’ll have access to specialized statistics about your visitors, their interests, and the pictures that they tend to like the most on your profile.
Cheap, Outstanding Add-Ons
As a Pro member, you get special offers on both Luminar 4 and Adobe Creative Cloud for photography. Both of these add-ons are well worth the extra cost, especially if you’re into creative photo editing.
Luminar 4, for example, includes features such as AI sky replacement for more dramatic backgrounds, AI skin enhancer, hyper-realistic sunrays, and smart contrast settings. You also get an erase tool that works well even on complex backgrounds, and a detail-boosting editor that doesn’t distort your pictures.
Luminar 4 is a one-time purchase, so your license never expires. Adobe, on the other hand, is paid on a yearly basis, but 500px won’t automatically renew your subscription.
How to Compare Different Web Hosts for Photography
Now that you have a better idea of what different photography website hosting services can offer, you might want to draw your own comparisons between the hosts on my list. In fact, you might even want to compare them to other, entirely new providers. This is a great way to narrow your options and ultimately find the host that is most suitable for your photography portfolio.
During your search, you could use some of the criteria below:
- Professional Templates. If you’re serious about photography, this should be reflected in your website. Using templates is an easy way to get started, but you don’t want to put days of work into a website that will end up looking amateurish. This is why it’s important to consider only those web hosts or website builders that offer professional-looking, fully customizable templates.
- Plenty of Storage Space. Since you’ll be uploading a lot of high-resolution photos to your website, you need a good amount of storage included in your photography web hosting plan. Don’t be fooled by cheap marketing spiels: some hosts claim to give you unlimited storage, but if you read the fine print of their Service Level Agreements, you’ll find that your space is actually very limited.
- Performance Enhancing Tools. All media-heavy websites must be properly optimized in order to load quickly. In the case of a photography portfolio, you need a good image caching solution to improve the site’s performance. That said, you don’t want to have to install or configure these plugins yourself. With some photography hosting websites, the tools are neatly integrated into your dashboard, and you can turn them on with a few clicks.
- Extra Features for Photographers. Some website builders have a bulk image uploader that can save you a ton of time when you first upload your portfolio. Others have in-built photo editors to help you quickly touch up images before publishing them on your site. These are just a couple of examples of extra features that you get for free with the best website hosting for photographers.
- Pricing. Most web hosts lure you in with incredibly low prices, but many of them ask for steep renewal fees once the initial term is over. Others have hidden fees that can increase your costs significantly later down the line. Keep an eye on the fine print to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Choose the Best Web Host to Display Your Stunning Photographs
Although not every web host has the tools that you need to create a beautiful photography website, there are plenty of great options out there. So how do you decide? It all comes down to your specific needs.
If you want to get online without paying an expert web developer for your website, your best bet is a website builder plan. You can’t go wrong with a service like Wix, which gives you plenty of gorgeous photography templates in addition to the drag-and-drop site editor.
If you feel that you can handle a more complex builder, Squarespace is a great alternative to Wix. If, on the contrary, you’re looking for the templates that are the easiest to use, Weebly should be your go-to provider.
Of course, you don’t need a website builder to create your photography portfolio. If you think you can manage without one (or you’re going to hire an expert to design the website for you), a proper web host like A2 Hosting, Bluehost, or HostGator might be more suitable. With A2, for example, you get a blazing fast website and excellent security features.
If you’re going to use WordPress for your photography portfolio, then Flywheel is my no. 1 recommendation. As a fully managed WordPress service that is specifically optimized for this CMS, Flywheel will take care of WP updates for you, as well as create backups for your website and ensure its safety from hackers.
Finally, if you’re looking for specialized photography website hosting that can help you showcase and monetize your work, Pixpa and Format are both outstanding options. With 500px, you don’t technically get your own website, but the platform is the easiest and fastest way to connect to other photographers and potential clients.