What service to host photos?

MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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At some point in the new future I am intending to really get more serious in my photography.

At the moment I have an account at 500px where I post a select few photos I consider worthy. I also have a free Flickr account. But those freebees will be going away. My goal is to start a website, but where is the best place to host it? I'm considering Smugmug, are there any other options? I do get unlimited uploads with 500px and can go the website route through them. What service is best for website creation/hosting.
 

mollyc

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Aug 18, 2016
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I use Zenfolio and have for the past ten years. However, I am up for renewal this month and am 98% certain I am switching to SmugMug (in fact today I just signed up for a 2 week trial at SM to make sure I like their interface and controls). Zenfolio does not resize properly for Retina/HD displays, and my images look substantially softer on Zenfolio than SM or Flickr. If you aren't aware, SM recently purchased Flickr, and I would imagine long term there might be some integration, but so far they remain separate. Of course, I am only speculating about a combination of services and have no knowledge of anything in the works. The people I know who use SM have been very happy with them, but they are not in business and just it for personal hosting (as do I).

One thing to consider is if you plan to sell images, and if so, do you want your host to fulfill those orders. Different hosts use different print vendors. You will also want to look at the pricing structures, as most of the hosts have different levels for adding in a custom domain name, removing the host's badging, allowing watermarks, etc.
 

MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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CT
I use Zenfolio and have for the past ten years. However, I am up for renewal this month and am 98% certain I am switching to SmugMug (in fact today I just signed up for a 2 week trial at SM to make sure I like their interface and controls). Zenfolio does not resize properly for Retina/HD displays, and my images look substantially softer on Zenfolio than SM or Flickr. If you aren't aware, SM recently purchased Flickr, and I would imagine long term there might be some integration, but so far they remain separate. Of course, I am only speculating about a combination of services and have no knowledge of anything in the works. The people I know who use SM have been very happy with them, but they are not in business and just it for personal hosting (as do I).

One thing to consider is if you plan to sell images, and if so, do you want your host to fulfill those orders. Different hosts use different print vendors. You will also want to look at the pricing structures, as most of the hosts have different levels for adding in a custom domain name, removing the host's badging, allowing watermarks, etc.
At the moment I don't think SM has any plans to integrate Flickr, I'm just glad they are dropping the Yahoo email requirement. I might look into Smugmug more closely.

Next question, I want to start my own domain, what is the best place to go about making one.
 

mollyc

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Yeah. I guess. I've never had trouble, though. I pay yearly a couple of days before renewal and have never had a lack of service. I pay like $28/year, half for the domain name and half for the privacy settings. Which is probably kind of dumb since my domain is firstnamelastname.com and we have an uncommon last name. Anyone could google it and find where I live.

I for sure never like their ads, but I don't need anything fancy so I just stick with it.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Original poster
Jan 4, 2002
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CT
Yeah. I guess. I've never had trouble, though. I pay yearly a couple of days before renewal and have never had a lack of service. I pay like $28/year, half for the domain name and half for the privacy settings. Which is probably kind of dumb since my domain is firstnamelastname.com and we have an uncommon last name. Anyone could google it and find where I live.

I for sure never like their ads, but I don't need anything fancy so I just stick with it.
I see smugmug has their own domain creation.
 
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akash.nu

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May 26, 2016
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If you need bare minimum then any readymade website building service should do actually. Seeing you’re just starting off I’d recommend one of them and then you can build up more if you need to.
 

Darmok N Jalad

macrumors 68000
Sep 26, 2017
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Doesn’t Adobe offer something like that with its CC service? I know you get cloud storage, but I believe you can also build a website and expose your portfolio to the public.
 

iTurbo

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2008
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..At Tanagra? LOL

Anyways I use Dropbox. My brother just scanned a bunch of old family photos to share and it seems to be perfect for hosting privately to family members. I use it to sell car parts.
 

mofunk

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Aug 26, 2009
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I've been looking at just getting a website posted and also using Smugmug for clients. Occasionally I will do an event and people want to buy those images. Smugmug looks like the easy way. But still I want to look professional so I'm going to with a website. I'm not going with Godaddy because its limited on coding. Simple stuff that you could do in Word for a website, they don't offer or allow.

Do you research and find what best fits for you.
 

Alexander.Of.Oz

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Oct 29, 2013
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I'm not going with Godaddy because its limited on coding. Simple stuff that you could do in Word for a website, they don't offer or allow.
I find that very surprising. I have GoDaddy for everything nowadays & I can do whatever I want with my sites; including creating them using Wordpress, HTML or use their designer. I have a mix of Economy, Deluxe, & Ultimate packages for the various sites I am hosting.
 

mofunk

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Aug 26, 2009
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I find that very surprising. I have GoDaddy for everything nowadays & I can do whatever I want with my sites; including creating them using Wordpress, HTML or use their designer. I have a mix of Economy, Deluxe, & Ultimate packages for the various sites I am hosting.

Maybe its some function that you never thought of? or don't use.
 
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Alexander.Of.Oz

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Maybe its some function that you never thought of? or don't use.
That's always a possibility, but, I honestly would be surprised if you couldn't do it. I have added all manner of custom code to some of the sites I host for community groups, so they could have all manner of things they needed. So far, I've added woo-commerce, Wordpress plugins, Ajax, html5, php, css & more for the various groups I have helped out.
 

Cheese&Apple

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Jun 5, 2012
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Toronto
At some point in the new future I am intending to really get more serious in my photography.

At the moment I have an account at 500px where I post a select few photos I consider worthy. I also have a free Flickr account. But those freebees will be going away. My goal is to start a website, but where is the best place to host it? I'm considering Smugmug, are there any other options? I do get unlimited uploads with 500px and can go the website route through them. What service is best for website creation/hosting.
I prefer to stay away from social media hosts and platforms so I’ve been with SmugMug for about 5 years. It works well. No complaints or concerns but I don’t sell images or use any print services. I use it for unlimited storage and anywhere access by anyone - mostly family and friends. And, it gives me control over over the design, layout and display that I don’t get with free/social media services.

I’m on the “Power” plan at $6/month when paid annually.

I see smugmug has their own domain creation.
When I originally signed-up with SmugMug I registered a domain name from a link within SmugMug that simply sent me to GoDaddy. No problems there either. I think it was $20/year when paid in advance for 10 years.
 
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mollyc

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Aug 18, 2016
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I've been looking at just getting a website posted and also using Smugmug for clients. Occasionally I will do an event and people want to buy those images. Smugmug looks like the easy way. But still I want to look professional so I'm going to with a website. I'm not going with Godaddy because its limited on coding. Simple stuff that you could do in Word for a website, they don't offer or allow.

Do you research and find what best fits for you.
I use godaddy solely for the domain name. Not for any hosting. Maybe they have that option as well but I currently use Zenfolio to host and just point my site to the godaddy name. I think that is how a lot of other people use them as well.

ETA: Maybe that is why @mofunk found them limited - perhaps they are limited on their hosting abilities, but you can port the name anywhere. This could also account for the "bad reviews." But I think the domain name service itself is fine.
 
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stillcrazyman

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Oct 10, 2014
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I've been on SmugMug for several years. Almost 20k photos hosted in my galleries. I can order prints. I have all the control over who has access to my images. Great service and worth the $72 per year.
 
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0970373

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Mar 15, 2008
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Next question, I want to start my own domain, what is the best place to go about making one.
There are a couple of components to this and ways you can go. I think it's very hard to find 1 place that serves every need, depending on what you want to do. GoDaddy is an easy place to register your domain but you can definitely use a multitude of services to actually build/host your site once it's registered. And then your domain email can also be hosted elsewhere. Depending on your volume, it's a good idea to keep your domain email in a separate place than where your site is registered or hosted. Just in case one thing goes down, it doesn't mean everything does. It also makes leaving a registrar easy if you aren't happy with them since you wouldn't have to rebuild everything from scratch, just update some settings in a few places and you're good.

My setup:

Domain registration: Hover - they link to a bunch of different services, which is what I like about them. Setting it up to work with wherever you decide to build your site is easy if it's one supported by them.

Website Builder/Hosting: Format - they have really nice looking templates for photography Portfolios and customizing them is easy. I took advantage of the discount from 500px when they decided to discontinue their service and ended up sticking around because I liked it so much. It has a Lightroom plugin so adding photos is super easy if you use that (I do and it was a factor for me).

Domain email: G-Suites - as much as I rail against Google's invasion of privacy, G Suites actually protects you from a lot of it. They don't scan your email, Drive etc because they don't insert ads (targeted or otherwise) into your services. And if you ever delete your account, all your emails and docs will actually also be deleted. It's also the most flexible (aliases, dynamic emails, forwarding, reply-as and send-as, etc). And if you set up the company to be HIPPA & GDPR compliant, then there's that extra protection as well. They have good up-time also, because Google.
 
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Alexander.Of.Oz

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GoDaddy is an easy place to register your domain but you can definitely use a multitude of services to actually build/host your site once it's registered.
I actually cancelled my G-Suite's that I was using for all the email accounts. I only found out a couple of months ago that GoDaddy actually trick you into buying that as an extra service! There is the capability in all their hosting packages to create your own email addresses, I think it's limited to 1 actual account & unlimited psuedo's (that direct mail sent to them to the main account) for their Economy package. I was rather miffed actually, that I had been blowing good money (for community groups that have almost zero budgets in the first place) on the G-Suites, when I didn't have to.

The biggest thing is to get your servers (hosting, storage & email) secure with SSL, monitored for attacks & backed up regularly, then you won't lose emails or anything else that is stored on those servers. Surprisingly, we are able to have that for less than the cost of G-Suites! So everybody is happy in the community groups I am helping.

Sorry for possibly going off topic... :rolleyes:
 

0970373

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I actually cancelled my G-Suite's that I was using for all the email accounts. I only found out a couple of months ago that GoDaddy actually trick you into buying that as an extra service! There is the capability in all their hosting packages to create your own email addresses, I think it's limited to 1 actual account & unlimited psuedo's (that direct mail sent to them to the main account) for their Economy package. I was rather miffed actually, that I had been blowing good money (for community groups that have almost zero budgets in the first place) on the G-Suites, when I didn't have to.

The biggest thing is to get your servers (hosting, storage & email) secure with SSL, monitored for attacks & backed up regularly, then you won't lose emails or anything else that is stored on those servers. Surprisingly, we are able to have that for less than the cost of G-Suites! So everybody is happy in the community groups I am helping.

Sorry for possibly going off topic... :rolleyes:
Yeah, most registrars have some kind of email service but in my experience, they suck. Really bad and they usually still charge you for it, like $5/mo in most places. So I still recommend hosting email elsewhere like MS Office, Zoho or something else.

I signed up for G-Suites outside of my registrar and have been using it for many years, even under /a or Google Business or whatever it was called before it was G-Suites. I have pretty extensive email and Cloud storage needs/sharing needs so it works for me and totally worth it for my uses. It's literally the 1 thing from Google that I recommend to people. lol.
 
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Alexander.Of.Oz

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I think I am sold on Smugmug, I like the ability to really customize the site to my liking.
It's a good, easy option to choose. Their site builder is very simple to get to grips with & extremely flexible. Setting up your own domain & email using that domain suffix is easy too.

All the best with it & looking forward to it appearing in your signature here! :)
 

mollyc

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Aug 18, 2016
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I switched to smugmug today. I was doing a trial but switched my domain to it and paid for a year. Now I have to reload 10 years worth of galleries, but the LR plugin is really slick and should make quick work of it.
 

MacNut

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Original poster
Jan 4, 2002
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It's a good, easy option to choose. Their site builder is very simple to get to grips with & extremely flexible. Setting up your own domain & email using that domain suffix is easy too.

All the best with it & looking forward to it appearing in your signature here! :)
The camera I have is getting old in the tooth and I'm ready for a nice upgrade. I will have some spending money coming soon so I will be doing some upgrades and once that's done I will be sure to share. :)
 
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