Whether you're an amateur shutterbug or a professional photographer - the right photography website building and hosting service is the single most important thing you can do to help your work stand out online.
A decent hosting service can be the difference between a beautiful modern gallery and a clunky mess that looks like it was designed in 2004.
Fortunately, thanks to recent software advances, great photography websites don't cost a fortune, and there are even some great free websites for photographers.
I've made some research, signed here and there to test features useful for photographers and made a list.
Here are the 5 best websites for photographers that I've found:
- Wix (Free websites for photographers)
- GoCentral (Excellent customer support and reliability)
- Bluehost (Ideal for WordPress photograph sites)
- SiteGround (Great customer service)
- Format (Bespoke photography websites)
Recommended for: Stunning templates and powerful site building tools
If you want the freedom to design a site as original as your photos, Wix is a great choice. It's a powerful website builder that will also host your photography website once you're finished creating it.
The Wix site builder is based on a drag-and-drop design and includes 100s of pre-made templates, making it extremely easy to use. I even counted 40 templates designed specifically for photography sites!
But the key draw of the Wix site builder is that it allows you to inject your own personality into the look and feel of your pages. It's a blank canvas editor so you can drop content wherever you like, and fiddle with the smallest details to your heart's content.
As for pricing, Wix does offer free websites for photographers. However, it's not much use for professionals with just 500MB storage and 1GB bandwidth. Wix also places ads on free websites, which can definitely mess up the look of your work and your branding.
Therefore, I recommend you pick either the $11/month combo plan or the $14/month unlimited plan. Both remove ads from your site and include a free domain. But while the combo package is limited to 2GB storage and 3GB bandwidth (enough to share a small selection of your work), the unlimited plan offers 10GB storage and, you guessed it, unlimited bandwidth.
Essentially, if you only expect a small digital following, the Combo plan will be suitable. But if you want to deal with high levels of web traffic, the Unlimited plan will be more appropriate.
- Free plan available
- Easy-to-use site builder gives you plenty of freedom
- 40 ready-to-go photography site templates
- Storage and bandwidth really limited with free and cheap plans
- No 24/7 customer support
Recommended for: Reliable photography hosting and great customer support
There are some big advantages to picking a host with such a household name. You can rest assured GoDaddy didn't grow to its current size without offering a reliable hosting experience and some excellent customer support. A 99.9% uptime rate is guaranteed and a global support team is available 24/7 through live chat or over the phone.
The GoCentral site builder is an excellent way to create a great looking photography site quickly. It's designed with the goal of letting users build fully functional sites in under an hour. The downside to such speed is that you get less creative control, but photographers in a hurry will find few faster options.
You'll also save time by using GoCentral's Photography templates. They come set up with all the key elements of a photography site you'll need, like a gallery and pricing pages. You can even add an interactive map to help customers find your studio.
GoCentral sites are well-optimized for mobile browsers, and thanks to GoDaddy's impressive hosting infrastructure (it operates 60,000+ servers), your photography site will load fast. In my tests, I found that global response times averaged at just 200ms.
Prices begin with the $5.99/month Personal plan which includes unlimited storage and bandwidth. The Personal plan is suitable for hobby photographers, but if you want to sell your work through your site, consider the Business plan instead. It includes a Paypal 'Buy It Now' button and search engine optimization (SEO) tools.
- Reliable 99.9% uptime rate
- Super fast page load times
- 24/7 customer support available over live chat or phone
- Domain not included
- Site builder more restrictive than others
Recommended for: WordPress-based photography sites
With 75+ million users and hundreds of photography themes, WordPress is one of the best content management systems (CMS) for photographers. And there's no better host for WordPress sites than Bluehost.
Although plenty of other web hosts do support WordPress, Bluehost is a level above the competition with integration so good it's actually recommended by the WordPress team itself. WordPress can be installed on your Bluehost site in a single click.
Plus, your server will be heavily optimized to deal with WordPress content, resulting in extremely quick load times.
Bluehost sites also load quickly thanks to Bluehost's use of SSD servers which are faster than typical hard drives. I found my test Bluehost site responded as fast as 27ms.
While it is user-friendly, WordPress does have a steeper learning curve than the site builders of other hosts on this list. Fortunately, you'll be able to make use of Bluehost's technical team if you run into trouble. Reps are standing by 24/7 to help you out over the phone or through live chat.
Plans begin at $2.95/month for the first term, after which prices jump to $7.99/month. The starter package includes 50GB storage and unmetered bandwidth. 50GB should be plenty of room for still photographers. But if you work with video too, consider the unlimited storage $5.95/month package.
A year of domain registration is included free with every Bluehost plan, making its WordPress plans a decent choice if you want to save on costs.
- WordPress integration so good it's recommended by WordPress itself
- Fast SSD storage
- Unmetered bandwidth with every plan
- Free domain and SSL certificate
- Price jumps after the first term
Recommended for: Photography hosting with excellent customer support
That's exactly what SiteGround provides. Support reps are available 24/7 via pretty much any contact method you can think of – phone, live chat, tickets or email. And SiteGround's service further stands out thanks to a no wait-time phone support policy.
Its support staff will happily walk you through the steps needed to install a photo gallery site on your server using Softaculous installer software. Softaculous comes with every SiteGround plan and gives you access to 400+ web hosting scripts you can use to enhance your photography site.
And if you're concerned about reliability or keeping your photos secure, SiteGround is also an excellent choice.
It has a guaranteed uptime rate of 99.9%. I actually found that over the past year, my site hit an average of 99.99% uptime. What's more, if your site does ever experience a technical failure, you'll immediately be able to recover any lost images thanks to free daily backups.
Watch out for storage limits!
SiteGround's base $3.95/month plan includes just 10GB of SSD storage, and the most expensive $11.95/month plan comes with 30GB. Those limits aren't incredibly restrictive, but if you want to upload an enormous body of work or video footage, you may find yourself bumping up against them. Either consider upgrading, or use alternatives, such as external media storage services!
- Fantastic customer support with no phone wait time
- Completely unmetered traffic
- Gallery website package
- Softaculous installer software included
- Free automated daily backups
- Storage caps with every plan
Recommended for: Bespoke photography hosting
It's a custom service entirely geared toward serving the needs of photographers.
That means Format has many unique photography features you won't find with other hosts.
You can upload images directly from Adobe Lightroom, for example
Even a print store, with color accurate proofing pages, can be added to your added to your Format site, letting customers purchase your work directly.
Instead of storage limits, different Format plans are differentiated by the number of images they can handle. The starter $6/month plan can host up to 100 images and 3 store products, while the $12/month plan can host 1,000 images and 20 store products.
All plans are bundled with a large selection of themes designed for different styles of photography. So whether you're a wedding photographer or a National Geographic correspondent, you'll be able to find a theme that matches your style. Here are some of my favorite, best websites for photographers, using Format.
- Entire hosting experience tailored to photography
- Print store and proofing pages included
- Syncs photos with Adobe Lightroom
- Starter plan can only display 100 photos
- Starter plan can only display 100 photos
Which Website Hosting Option Photographers Should Use?
Photography is an extremely subjective art, and so is picking choosing the correct photography site to use. Make sure you consider your personal requirements when picking one of these hosts:
- Wix offers free website hosting for photographers and a powerful site builder
- GoCentral is extremely reliable and lets you get your site running super fast
- Bluehost is the best for WordPress sites
- SiteGround offers unmatched customer service
- Format's entire package is designed for photography
Every host offers a wide range of templates for you to base your photography site on. Most photographers are looking for a very particular aesthetic, so make sure you experiment until you find one that fits your tastes.
But what do you think? If I missed your favorite photography website hosting service, tell me about them by commenting below!