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Choosing a hosting platform is never an easy cakewalk.

While you do a lot of research to figure out which is the best hosting platform in the market, have you ever realized it’s equally important to also consider other factors such as your area of business.

Yes, you heard it right.

Area of business is equally important to choose the right hosting platform. Let me give you an example to illustrate this further.

Imagine you have a website that majorly deals with photography.

Now let us consider you choose a hosting platform, which provides restrictions on image uploads or size constraint or even worse if it has a very complex website builder.

Well, now things are getting clearer right. Now you would realize why considering your area of business is important. Or rather extremely important.

Here through this review, I will provide you with 7 best photography website builders to choose from.

Photography does require a huge amount of creativity to attract customers.

Let me provide a walkthrough on what I found best in each of these platforms.

Before I get into more details about my review, let me briefly explain to you how is a website builder different from hiring a web developer.

Website Builders vs. Hiring a Web Developer:

Hiring a professional web developer is never cheap. This requires experts in the field and gets more expensive if you are looking for an experienced web developer.

However, each of this is suitable for specific website development. A fact is, hiring a web developer is not a suitable option for all.

Website builders make your web designing simpler and easy. Also, there are several affordable website builder options available in the market.

Most website builders are flexible and allow users to simply drag and drop to provide customizations. So though you don’t have knowledge about CSS or HTML, you can still develop an intuitive web page.

website builder vs developer

If you are a start-up or have revenue constraints, then website builder is a great choice. It allows customizations, is flexible and easy to use.

However, if it is a large organization, with no such budget constraint then you can take a look to hire a web developer. This is provided you get the right skills.

Most large organizations choose to hire a web developer so that the web development is handled by a separate group of professionals.

This is to ensure that time is utilized by other individuals to work towards developing the core architecture.

However, in most small and medium tier organizations or rather websites, you can use a website builder.

Moreover, learning a website builder does not have a steep curve, which makes it a suitable choice in several cases.

Now that I have given a walkthrough on how website builder is different from hiring a web designer, let me go further and explore each of the hosting platform’s website builder for a photography website.

1&1 IONOS: “Value for Money” Website Builder

1&1ionos website builder1&1 IONOS is one of the world’s largest web hosting company. It is headquartered in Montabaur, Germany.

When it comes to Website builder, 1&1 IONOS gives you three options-

  • Website Builder – MyWebsite
  • Online Store Builder
  • One-page website – The easy start

The website builder has 3 plans-

  • Personal
  • Basic
  • Plus

Each of this plan supports an Unlimited number of pages, unlimited web space, an optimized website for mobiles, access to the inbuilt image library, SEO support, backup and restoration of the website.

All of this makes it a great choice to create a photography website.

Additionally, each of this provides quick launch where you can be online within 5 minutes. You can add your business card, company logo, contact information easily.

The pricing and other features are as provided below-

1&1 IONOS Website Builder Plans:
Features
Essential
Business
Pro
Drag and Drop editor
Domain & email address
Social media widgets
Business widgets
Price $3/month $1/month $10/month

In case you are looking for a cheaper option and require just one page, then you can choose their One-page website option. This would cost $1/month.

This is a great option to start with and exploring their website builder. While you create a single page, this also has the option to add your contact information.

Hence this is a perfect choice when you are just starting your photography website.

1&1 IONOS website builder: Pros

  • Versatile plans and pricing options available.
  • Support for e-commerce as well as blog building with live chat, customer review, and other features
  • Unlimited web space and access to its image library makes it a great choice for a photography website
  • Easy drag and drop option with feature customization
  • Zero coding efforts
  • Mobile optimized templates
  • Multilingual support for Basic and Plus plan

1&1 IONOS website builder:: Cons

  • Renewals are higher
  • Template access is limited in the personal plan
  • No live chat support

Create your website with 1&1 IONOS

Just $1/mo.

2. Wix: Popular Website Builder

wix website builderWix is a cloud-based web development platform. It was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel.

One of the best parts about Wix is the fact that it allows you to explore their website builder for free. While you explore the website builder, you also get loads of template options.

When you start building a website, photography is one of the options that you can select. Based on this, Wix shows you relevant templates.

Here you also get access to Wix marketplace and can use apps relevant to a photography website. Few of these include – Facebook like a popup, Instagram feed, Slideshow and many more.

With the free version, you get access to over 100 apps. Wix has easy to use drag and drop features in its website builder.

But that’s not all. It also has code support which makes a great choice for beginners as well as advanced users.

So why exactly would you choose to upgrade?

Well in case you need more storage, unlimited bandwidth, Google analytics support, and most importantly remove Wix Ads.

All plans support 14-day money back guarantee. It has 5 different plans. The basic plan starts at $3/month; however, this has Wix Ads included.

The pricing and other features are-

Wix Website Builder Plans:
Features
Connect Domain
Combo
Unlimited
eCommerce
VIP
Bandwidth 1 Gb 2 Gb Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Storage 500 MB 3 Gb 10 Gb 20 Gb 20 Gb
Remove Wix Ads
Pricing $3/month $6/month $8.50/month $11/month $16/month

You can choose each of these plans for monthly or 1 year or 2 years or 3 years’ subscription.

Except for the monthly subscription, with all other subscription starting from the Unlimited plan, you get Site Booster, Form Builder, free domain and ad vouchers.

For these plans, you do not have any setup fee. Also, this has support for Google Analytics.

Wix: Pros

  • Large support for Apps relevant to a photography website. Access to Wix marketplace
  • Intuitive website builder with easy to use drag and drop as well as coding support
  • Good support for templates related to a photography website
  • Provides a free website builder for basic website building
  • Large knowledge base support
  • Supports automatic backup

Wix: Cons

  • No live chat support
  • Wix Ads are removed only in premium plans
  • Becomes expensive if you choose a premium plan

3. SquareSpace: Powerful and Flexible Editor

squarspace website builderSquareSpace provided website building and hosting capabilities. It is headquartered in New York, USA. It was first launched in 2003.

To Start with, SquareSpace provides you a free trial of 14 days. Here you can choose photography related templates.

SquareSpace has a website builder which is suitable for blogs, websites and e-commerce stores. In most cases, it has an easy to use drag and drop feature. Not only this, it has good customization features.

In case you want to add your own CSS, then this is possible using SquareSpace. Other features such as SEO and Online marketing is also included in premium plans.

SquareSpace provides 2 website plans and 2 Commercial plans.

The 2 website plans are-

SquareSpace Website Builder Plans:
Features
Personal
Business
Bandwidth and Storage Unlimited Unlimited
SSL
Mobile optimization
Fully Integrated E-commerce
Pricing $12/month $18/month

With the Personal plan, you get unlimited pages, galleries, and blogs. This also has basic website metrics and free custom domain included with the annual plan.

With the Business plan, you get unlimited pages, galleries, and blogs with unlimited contributors. Other supported features are advance website metrics, $100 Google Ads Credit, sell unlimited products, supports customization using CSS and JavaScript and announcement bar.

This also includes a 3% transaction fee.

If this does not suffice then you can check the commercial plans which start at $26/month. This does not have transaction fees and includes advanced e-commerce capabilities.

SquareSpace: Pros

  • Code customization using JavaScript and CSS is supported
  • Easy to use Drag and Drop feature in the website builder
  • Offers a trial period
  • Good knowledge base available
  • Good support for blog as well as professional e-commerce store building
  • Provides good help on Analytics

SquareSpace: Cons

  • High starting price
  • More suitable for advanced users
  • No live chat support

4. SmugMug: Best-known Site Builder

smugmug webstie builderSmugMug, unlike the others which we have seen so far, this is a purely image hosting service. This means this has been dedicated for photography websites. This was first launched in 2002 and is headquartered in California, USA.

The good news here is; this has a free trial of 14-days. It allows you to upload photos from multiple locations such as Amazon Drive, Flickr, and others.

It allows you to choose templates from the wide range of options it has. Not only this, you can also customize the security setting of folders.

This has customization which allows you to add CSS or HTML code. SmugMug also has other add-ons such as Share buttons, comments and several others which are relevant to a photography website.

Along with this, from the website builder, you can also create a new theme.

SmugMug: Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • Each plan is feature rich
  • No restrictions on the number of photo uploads or video uploads
  • Good blog, website and e-commerce support
  • A large number of video tutorials are available
  • Good App support

SmugMug: Cons

  • The website builder has a different layout than a conventional one. As compared to novice users is more suitable for advanced users.
  • No live chat option
  • In terms of security such as SSL, nothing much is said.
SmugMug Website Builder Plans:
Features
Basic
Power
Portfolio
Business
Unlimited Photos
Responsive Design
E-commerce support
SEO support
Advance Marketing options
Pricing $3.99/month $5.99/month $14.99/month $29.99/month

5. Zenfolio:

zenfolio website builderZenfolio is again dedicated to photographers. This provides photo and video hosting capabilities. It was first launched in 2004 and is headquartered in California, USA.

It has a 14-day free trial. Zenfolio allows you to choose templates based on your requirement of photography. It supports almost all formats of images and videos. Uploading a photo or a video is fast.

In case for your image you want to associate a raw file such as PDF or PSD, this is also supported. Well that’s not all, you can also upload a licensed music to your galleries which would be played while the photos are displayed.

Zenfolio also provides e-commerce features. Through this, you can also build an email list. Zenfolio provides good online marketing support.

Choosing themes, layouts and customizing is extremely simple from the Zenfolio website builder. You can use HTML and CSS customizations, which is also done using the website builder.

Zenfolio: Pros

  • Affordable pricing
  • A vast range of feature support
  • Additional features such as Soundtrack addition, detailed customization, raw file addition support
  • Good security features included in every plan
  • It has a live chat with customer support, where you can also get a 1 on 1 training session
  • Good and optimized template support
  • Good knowledge base with online video training
  • Multi-language support
  • Easy to use for beginners

Zenfolio: Cons

  • To be really honest, there isn’t anything specific that I can categorize as a drawback in Zenfolio.
Zenfolio Website Builder Plans:
Features
Starter
Pro
Advanced
Storage Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Max photo size 36 MB 64 MB 64 MB
Security and Protection
Social Media support and Sharing
E-commerce support
Advance e-commerce support
Price $5/month $20/month $30/month

6. Photoshelter:

photoshelter webstie builderPhotoshelter is dedicated to photographers. This again supports photo hosting. Photoshelter was first launched in 2005 and is headquartered in New York, USA.

Photoshelter provides a 14-day free trial. Something unique about Photoshelter’s website builder is the fact that, the moment you start using the website builder, it takes you on a tour around the different options which are available.

Photoshelter provides limited but essential customizations. It has support to over 100 features. This has a good support for e-commerce along with social sharing and marketing.

You get responsive templates and can customize CSS and HTML.

Photoshelter: Pros

  • Easy to use website builder. Suitable for beginners
  • Good template collection
  • Additional features such as Soundtrack addition, detailed customization, raw file addition support
  • A good inbuilt knowledge base
  • Provides support for SEO and online marketing

Photoshelter: Cons

  • Limited storage in low priced plans
  • Expensive pricing option
  • Low-security features
Photoshelter Website Builder Plans:
Features
Basic
Standard
Pro
Storage 4 Gb 100 Gb Unlimited
Site Traffic Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
SEO Support
Social sharing and marketing
Price $10/month $25/month $45/month

7. Format.com:

format website builderFormat provides website building capabilities. It is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. This is a portfolio platform.

Format provides a 14-day free trial. It has a good collection of themes. Format provides a 24/7 support. You can also message them and they reply back within a few hours.

Using Format, you can create a blog, website or even an online store. Here you can also create proofing galleries. This can be password protected.

Few other features included are watermarks, provide alerts when an image is downloaded, receive instant feedback from clients, integrate with Adobe Lightroom and many more.

The website builder provided by Format is simple and easy to use. You can easily upload images and video. The design editor provides numerous customization options.

Format.com: Pros

  • Good customization and template options
  • Affordable pricing
  • Supports Proofing Images
  • Basic plan also supports e-commerce capabilities
  • Good knowledge base and customer support
  • Easy to use website builder

Format.com: Cons

  • Not much security features
  • Low on advance e-commerce features such as SEO, online marketing
Format.com Website Builder Plans:
Features
Enthusiast
Pro
Unlimited
Number of Images 100 1000 Unlimited
Number of Store Products 3 20 Unlimited
Number of Pages 15 Unlimited Unlimited
Proofing Images 5000 Unlimited
Premium Themes Free
Price $6/month $12/month $25/month

CONCLUSION:

Creating a photography website requires a lot of creativity, innovation and definitel,y it should be eye-catching. You would get all of this right, only if you choose the right website builder.

Here I have provided you 7 options which can be used for your photography website. Needless to say, each of this has its own positive and negative side.

So if you consider 1&1 IONOS, Wix and SquareSpace, these are not purely image hosting platforms.

While they do provide a range of offering, you can still look at other options as well.

The remaining platforms, SmugMug, Zenfolio, Photshelter, and Format are dedicated for photographers.

SmugMug has good e-commerce support and is more suitable for advanced users.

Photoshelter is expensive as compared to others and has limited storage in its basic plan. However, this is a good choice for building an online store.

Format is good in case you want to build a portfolio and have requirement of online proofing images. While we speak about all other hosting platforms, all are good for certain reasons.

However, Zenfolio is a clear winner over here. It has unlimited storage and a host of feature offerings. Not only this, it is also an affordable option.

So get started building your photography website today!

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Chris Wagner

Chris Wagner has 7 years of experience as Network Administrator. His areas of interest includes Servers, Network Management and Cloud Computing.