October 26, 2014, 03:26:08 AM

Author Topic: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?  (Read 4346 times)

HyperFocus Photography

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Hey fellow picture-takers,

Longtime forum creeper, first time post.
I'm trying to get my photo business started and am looking to setup a website.
I've no prior experience with such, and am not sure which companies provide the best options for a budding photographer.

I do have an idea of what features I'd like incorporated in my website:
1.) Multiple Image Galleries/ Categorized Galleries
2.) Online Store/ Paypal option for print sales/ link to amazon store
3.) Complete customization
4.) Ability to be viewed from any desktop or mobile device (I've been told Adobe Flash and Apple products do not play nice)

To be honest, I don't know if I'm asking too much with that feature set, or if it's too simple. Any critique and input is appreciated.

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HyperFocus Photography

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 04:59:18 PM »
Bump? I'm hoping there's someone who can give advice. Thanks

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 05:18:39 PM »
There are members from all over the world here, and you don't give enough information to allow a good answer.  This is a Canadian based website, so are we to assume you are in Canada?
 
Smugmug is a excellent choice in the USA, but Canadians will have some issues.

HyperFocus Photography

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 04:37:18 AM »
My apologies! I am in California, USA. Sorry, I didn't know websites could be affected by geographical location. Is there any other information I should include that may help steer me towards other helpful incite?

jps721

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 06:34:57 AM »
As far as the site goes, doesn't matter what the country is or where it's hosted. But when selling and collecting taxes comes into the issue, that's when it's good to use a site that's set up to properly deal with this in accordance with the laws of one's own country. That said, it's kinda hard to beat SmugMug for citizens of the US.

DARSON

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 09:33:35 AM »
Hey fellow picture-takers,

Longtime forum creeper, first time post.
I'm trying to get my photo business started and am looking to setup a website.
I've no prior experience with such, and am not sure which companies provide the best options for a budding photographer.

I do have an idea of what features I'd like incorporated in my website:
1.) Multiple Image Galleries/ Categorized Galleries
2.) Online Store/ Paypal option for print sales/ link to amazon store
3.) Complete customization
4.) Ability to be viewed from any desktop or mobile device (I've been told Adobe Flash and Apple products do not play nice)

To be honest, I don't know if I'm asking too much with that feature set, or if it's too simple. Any critique and input is appreciated.


Hi
I'm not an expert and not a pro photo shooter making money of photography but I can give you few suggestions which worked for me
The best customization platform for websites is Wordpress http://wordpress.org/
Wordpress is free to download for both MAC OS and Windows.
 You have multiple themes website templates available for free also you have bunch of widgets and plug ins to fully customize your website including check out options credit card, paypal, social networks and all.
Moderating website using Wordpress is easy as piece of cake thanks to very easy interface.

Although I can suggest you look for website template here http://themeforest.net/ I bought one of these it cost me 45$.  Pros with these templates is that your galleries will look more professionally, especially If you intend to make money out of it.
Some themes are fully automatic adjustable meaning you can view them from any device; PC , tablet ,smart phone and they will adjust to screen resolution without being distorted. I suggest use one of those.
Adobe Flash is not supported by Apple products. Website build in flash ( pics galleries) will not be fully functional on apple devices and you can loose lot of potential clientele.
Wordpress is built in HTML and will be fully functional on any devices ( if you choose proper theme  :))

My website was initially hosted in my home country but eventually I moved to U.S  http://www.hostgator.com Better service and much cheaper then in my country

I've built my website from scratch without using any IT specialist. Wordpress is very simple and I'll put this in capitals YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HTML LANGUAGE TO USE IT, BUILT IT , CUSTOMIZE etc.
There is one guy which has youtube channel and shows how to built website from scratch in 90 minutes using Wordpress
Hope this help you
Create a Photography Website & Make Money!! this guy is actually using one themeforest themes

You can check  how looks self learner amateur website here www.dariuszphotography.com
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 10:46:18 AM by DARSON »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 11:19:02 AM »
My apologies! I am in California, USA. Sorry, I didn't know websites could be affected by geographical location. Is there any other information I should include that may help steer me towards other helpful incite?
Since you want to have clients order prints among other things, if you are in Europe or Africa or India, you may not be able to make that option work from another country.  Smugmug is great for US users who can order prints in US dollars and get prints delivered to them, but, if you are in India, its not great, and requires your customers to read English or you have to do a lot of setup and translating.
 
I don't do my own website, because in the past, too many have been hacked.  It requires not only a really good host (expensive), but continual upgrading to prevent hacks and defacing.  I find it better and cheaper to pay a few dollars a year for someone like smugmug.  However, if you are willing and able to setup your own site, that's good.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 11:24:16 AM by Mt Spokane Photography »

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 11:19:02 AM »

mlbaker74

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 11:56:23 AM »
I was in the same boat not so long ago. For a few years now, I have been using a standard Smugmug account to host all of my pictures. When I decided I would try to make a little extra money to support my photography needs, I evaluated a number of different mechanisms to setup and maintain a website for a small photography side business. After looking at all the alternatives, I decided that a Smugmug Pro account would be the easiest and most cost-efficient way. Still working on getting everything perfect (a newborn can really slow you down), but the new Smugmug templates are really nice and fairly easy to customize.
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Velo Steve

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 02:22:06 PM »
I think that the existing replies are good advice - both Wordpress and Smugmug are tops (or close) in their areas.

If you want to spend 1 to 20 hours setting up your site and then consider it done, something like Smugmug or an out-of-the box Wordpress site is probably the way to go.

If you want to truly customize the site (not just choose templates and options) you will probably spend much more time than that.  A host which allows manual editing and full login access to the server will allow you to change anything.  For example, you might use Wordpress as the starting point, but add custom code for special features.

If that last paragraph sounds awful, stop reading now.  I actually enjoy the challenge of a little software work.  I'm also cheap about hosting - I'll pay for basic access and add my own features.  It's not the only approach.  The other extreme is to call up a web site development business and have them do the whole job for $2k, $200k, or however much you have.

I only have direct experience with two hosting companies, GoDaddy and BlueHost.  Both (and many others as well) offer many free software packages such as Wordpress at reasonable prices.  Both have reasonable prices and reliable servers.  I left GoDaddy for BlueHost because GoDaddy's constant attempts to get me to spend more money were getting in the way of my work.

Good luck!

HyperFocus Photography

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 07:45:10 PM »
Thanks for everyone's suggestions!

dgatwood

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2013, 06:26:00 PM »
I don't do my own website, because in the past, too many have been hacked.  It requires not only a really good host (expensive), but continual upgrading to prevent hacks and defacing.

Not at all.  A properly designed website is fairly robust against hacking.  The last major security hole in Apache, for example, was 3.5 years ago.

The problem is that a lot of sites use popular software like PHPBB and WordPress.  When the number of sites that use a particular software system exceeds a certain number, it becomes worthwhile for people to try to crack into it; if they can find a single flaw, they can potentially use it to compromise tens of thousands of websites.

And WordPress is even worse because it is not only popular, but also relatively poorly written.  WordPress last released a fix for what I would consider a serious security hole (privilege escalation) on August 13, just a couple of weeks ago.  WordPress is constantly releasing fixes for significant security holes.  If you're having to update the software every couple of weeks to stay ahead of security attackers, that's an indication that the code quality borders on excrement.

IMO, the best thing you can do, assuming you aren't a programmer, is to find the most obscure (but still supported) web content platform that you can find.  The fewer people who use it, the less likely it is that hackers will bother trying to attack it.

If you are a programmer, shout, and I'd be happy to talk you through the process I use when performing a security audit on other people's PHP code.  :)

MrFotoFool

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2013, 08:36:13 PM »
There are two options for doing a photo website.

Option one is using a company with templates (which can be customized), which will charge you a monthly or annual fee.  From reading photo magazines and forums, two of the most popular seem to be SmugMug Pro and Zenfolio, but there are others.

Option two is to buy web design software and build your own.  Adobe Dreamweaver is the one that a lot of professional web designers use, but I think it has a fairly high learning curve.  The one I used to build my site is Serif Web PlusX (current version is PlusX 6, the one I got was PlusX 5).  I chose it because it was highly rated on review sites and Serif also provides a reasonably priced hosting package that includes domain name registration (with your own name if you do the Gold Package, which I did).  What I mean is it does not say Serif in the domain before your name - it just has your name.  They are based in England and I am in the United States but have had no issues at all.  They also have great phone support whenever I call them.

You can use and customize their templates or build a site entirely from scratch.  I chose the latter.  If you have a PayPal account, it lets you set up sales fairly easily.  The advantage to building your own is that you can offer exactly the prints you want and have them printed at your favorite lab (hopefully a local lab to support your local economy).  If you use SmugMug Pro, the orders go through one of their four chosen labs.  They are also shipped directly to the client, which is convenient but it prevents you from checking the prints or signing them, as I like to do.

Here is Serif's site if you are interested: http://www.serif.com/

Here is my site if you want to see the kind of thing you can do: http://www.hoodfineart.com/
« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 08:37:44 PM by MrFotoFool »

bchernicoff

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2013, 10:28:40 PM »
I don't know if it meets all your needs, but Square Space is worth checking out. They give you a free 14 day trial to check it out and have some really good easy to use templates under their "Portfolio" section. I am about 6 days into my trial and am impressed so far.
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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2013, 10:28:40 PM »

steyiven

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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 11:39:03 PM »
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Re: Review/ comparison of web hosting services, site builders, etc?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2014, 11:39:03 PM »