For aspiring artists, outreach is one of the most important keys to success.
In the past, outreach was obtained by knowing which curator to befriend to get a place in a popular exhibition, or how to get your music picked up by a radio network.
But today, it also means having a solid website to showcase your work. And of course, you can't have a solid website without reliable web hosting.
So in this article, I've tested dozens of providers looking for the best web hosts for artists, and here are the five that came out on top:
- Wix (Easy setup, stunning website builder)
- Hostinger (Amazing affordability)
- Bluehost (Straightforward WordPress based sites)
- InMotion Hosting (Great for artists with popular work)
- Squarespace (Tons of ready to go portfolio sites)
Recommended for: Lightning-fast setup and attractive portfolio templates
Whether you're a designer, musician or any other kind of artist, if you don't want to spend hours and hours building your site but still want a high-quality finish, Wix is a fantastic hosting choice.
This is because its key selling point is its famed drag-and-drop web builder that comes included with your Wix hosting plan. By hosting and building your site with Wix, you keep everything in one place - a key benefit.
And with hundreds of templates, many of which are catered to creative arts, you're spoilt for choice.
Each artistic theme is named after the type of work it suits too, so further time is saved yet again.
I found this organization super helpful while selecting a theme for a photography site.
But watch out: you'll have to pay for some of the necessities
While free plans are on offer, three things that are of fundamental importance to any artist's website are not included.
- No unique domain
- Builder's own branding is not removed from your site
- Small storage capacity for all the media
For the bare minimum (3 GB storage, 2 GB bandwidth) you can go with Wix's combo plan for $11/month. But if you have a significant digital following, that bandwidth will disappear faster than a needle in a haystack. So I highly recommend the unlimited plan at $14 /month which will provide you with unlimited bandwidth and 10 GB storage.
- Free plan
- Easy-to-use site creator
- Great time saver
- Limited storage and bandwidth
- Support is not 24/7
Recommended for: The budget-conscious artist
Hostinger is living proof of that fact, as it provides reliable hosting for dirt-cheap prices that start from as little as $1.45/month.
And like Wix, Hostinger provides a website builder in an attempt to make life easier.
It isn't as flexible or easy-to-use to use.
However, while the website builder that Hostinger provides may not be the best idea, there is still another option that they enable that is recommended...
That's the 1-click WordPress setup. By using this feature, you can set up a WordPress site that's hosted through Hostinger in a single click of a button.
All of this is included from the cheapest plan upwards. What's more, you will also be treated to crazy-fast speeds (as low as 77ms) and if you'll need any extra help, customer support is 24/7 - and very helpful.
Storage limits are, well, limiting
Hostinger's cheapest plan includes 10 GB storage. If you want to upload a fair amount of high-definition videos and/or high-res photos to display your work in all its glory consider upgrading - and for videos, use a platform such as Vimeo or YouTube,
Fortunately, though, the next plan up is priced at just $2.95/month and lands you unlimited bandwidth and storage. This is a great deal, and it's not going anywhere. Additionally, Hostinger often has limited time offers, too, that might save you even more money. So, take a look at Hostinger every once in a while - you might catch an even better deal than displayed here!
- Incredible Affordability
- Reliable Hosting (near 100% uptime)
- 300 Tutorials Included
- 24/7 Live Support
- 1-Click WP Installation
- Not the greatest site-building tools
Recommended for: Straightforward WordPress hosting
Like Hostinger, Bluehost also offers a 1-click WordPress installation.
In fact, Bluehost's WordPress integration is so good that it's recommended by WordPress themselves!
That's super reassuring in terms of minimalizing installation and general integration problems.
But even if you do experience a technical issue, Bluehost's 24/7 support is offered by both live chat and toll-free phone service.
If you're a new site creator and run into a problem you don't understand, chatting to a real human over the phone is often the best way to solve it.
And domain registration fees are another thing you won't have to worry about from the outset: a free domain will be thrown in for the first year of your subscription.
As for prices, they begin at $3.95/month (for the first month, $7.99/month after) which includes 50 GB of storage. But if you intend to use your site to sell your art I recommend the WordPress Pro package at $19.95/month (for the first month, $29.99/month after) which includes powerful marketing feedback tools, allowing you to find the Mona Lisa of your portfolio.
- 1-click WordPress integration
- Recommended by WordPress
- FREE domain and SSL certificate
- 24/7 Live-chat and phone support
- Price increases after the first month
- Not the cheapest WordPress compatible host
Recommended for: Artists with a large followingInMotion's starter WordPress plan (the WP-1000s) is available from $7.26/month.
It's worth a look for artists who've already built up a decent digital following and are outgrowing their current hosting service.
That's thanks to a generous combination of unlimited bandwidth and 40 GB of SSD storage, you will be able to upload a significant amount of pictures, videos or other data that showcases your artistic talents.
By InMotion's own estimates that capacity should comfortably serve around 20,000 visitors a month.
But shouldn't unlimited bandwidth support an unlimited number of visitors?
Well, not necessarily...
Unlimited bandwidth means you can transfer an unlimited amount of data, but it's not the same as unmetered bandwidth which lets you transfer that data at the fastest speed available.
If you already know your art will attract hundreds of thousands of fans a month, the WP-3000s is also on offer at $15.50/month (normally $16.99) which InMotion says is suitable for approximately 125,000 visitors and includes 3 websites alongside 120 GB of SSD storage.
But beware: you can't pay monthly!
To get the aforementioned monthly prices for InMotion's WP packages, you'll need to sign a 3-year contract.
Still, there's no need to be too wary of being locked into a hosting plan you don't like as every InMotion plan includes a 90-day money back guarantee.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Fast SSD based storage
- FREE domain and SSL certificate
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- No monthly payment option
- Storage limited for all WP plans (highest available cap is 240 GB)
Recommended for: A quick route to a beautiful portfolio
Its thousands of user-created templates are fully editable.
So, if you have the technical know-how, you can customize them completely.
And as if that wasn't enough to set Squarespace apart...
...unlimited storage and bandwidth come standard with all Squarespace plans.
Good for images - but not videos
Squarespace's lovely minimalist themes are geared toward still images. Videos can't be uploaded directly, though they can be embedded from external sites. Filmmakers are therefore unlikely to get the most out of that otherwise-appetizing unlimited storage.
Also, prices start from a hefty $12/month (billed annually) or $16/month (billed monthly) meaning that Squarespace represents one of the more expensive art hosting options on the market.
- Unlimited storage and bandwidth
- Great for still art and photography
- 2 sites included
- Cheapest plan limited to 2 contributors
- Can't upload videos
- Expensive starter plan
Best Website Hosting for Artists: How Do I Choose?
When deciding on the which of the above best web hosting for portfolios options is for you, consider your individual needs:
- Wix is ideal if you want an all-inclusive host that provides stunning templates for you to build off
- Hostinger is the best for artists on tight budgets
- Bluehost is a good choice if you want headache-free WordPress hosting
- InMotion is perfect if you've already got an audience for your work or want to share your creations on different sites
- Squarespace is great for still artists and photographers who don't mind committing to long-term a plan
If you fit into more than one category, try narrowing down the choices by considering whether your predominant art format leads you to prioritize a particular feature. For example, if you wish to upload high-resolution art for download, you should probably opt for unlimited storage and bandwidth plans.
Let your art needs point out what's important for your website. Happy creating!