This post was updated on 3/2/16 to reflect my new recommendation, Imagely.
Over the years, I have changed hosting companies for my photography website quite often and recently the company I work for, Imagely, has come out with our own hosting for photography websites. So it makes sense for me to recommend the product from the company I work for.
But it goes way beyond that. There’s a really good reason to have your photography website hosted with Imagely the biggest reason is that Imagely employees are photographers building products for photographers. Imagely is a Managed WordPress Host and what that means is the servers are dedicated to WordPress websites, so you cannot host a website other than Word Press on the servers. There is a dedicated hosting team that will handle support around the clock for customers and will even manage tasks that are that customers request even if it’s not specific to hosting. For example, helping troubleshoot a plugin issue or a theme issue.
Imagely Hosting is a turnkey solution, which means if you have a brand new website you can go ahead and load a new WordPress instance and Imagely will pre-install it with one of our stunning photography themes and best-in-class plugins. Each of which that photographer are likely to use on their websites, Yoast SEO, a contact form plugin, NextGEN Gallery and NextGEN Pro.
All of this means photographers have access to the best WordPress gallery plugin to manage the photographs, display their photographs, sell their photographs and to proof their photographs.
Imagely Hosting is taking WordPress hosting way above and beyond what you normally see with hosting companies. Imagely plans are highly competitive with other managed WordPress hosting out there like WP Engine, Flywheel, Pagely, and Synthesis.
You will not find plans for hosting as good as in Imagely. However, it is not the least expensive hosting around as it is more expensive than your standard GoDaddy or Bluehost or any shared hosting platforms.
I know not every photographer can afford it, and that’s okay. If you need something less expensive, check out SiteGround, which is who I was hosting with before Imagely. You can find my original SiteGround recommendation below.
WordPress hosting for photographers, you’d think it would be as simple as WordPress itself, right? Unfortunately, there are so many options out there, that it’s a difficult decision for people without the knowledge of hosting services to fully understand. Or better yet, photographers who may not desire to learn about hosting because they have better things to learn… like their craft.
When it comes to WordPress hosting for photographers, I have tried them all. Ok, not literally – but a heck of a lot of them. I started out with Dreamhost, using their shared hosting platform and eventually their VPS. (virtual private server). My website outgrew Dreamhost completely, so I switched to Liquid Web, which is a trusted host that my previous employer was comfortable with. In fact, the customer service of Liquid Web is all the rave in the hosting space.
The downside to leaving Dreamhost for Liquid Web as my solution of WordPress hosting for photographers was the price. I went from $8 a month on Dreamhost’s shared hosting plan, to $20 a month on the VPS plan, to $60 a month on Liquid Web’s VPS. (since writing this, Liquid Web has released less expensive hosting options) The upside was the speed and reliability. While my website had some downtime from major traffic spikes, it was not nearly as much as Dreamhosts. Now, please note that Dreamhost would be suitable for most photographer’s websites. It wasn’t for me because my website gets unusually high traffic for a photography website. Mainly because I blog about things like this, WordPress hosting for photographers or WordPress plugins for photographers. You get the idea.
WordPress Hosting For Photographers
While I was happy with Liquid Web, I recently decided that I wanted to find a WordPress hosting company that had the following features:
- Equal, if not better, support to Liquid Web
- Guaranteed 100% uptime
- Top level security
- Built-in backups
- Trusted by the WordPress community
- Expertise in WordPress
- Managed WordPress Service
I searched, researched and emailed many hosting companies and found that suited my needs. I spent about two years with WP Engine, a company that provides hosting only for WordPress websites.
They’re utilizing private servers, cloud infrastructure, caching and customized hardware and software function for 100% uptime. That means a website hosted with WP Engine should never go down from traffic, which is essential to business. The employees at WP Engine are WordPress users, developers, and coders with years of experience and expertise. Not only do they run their security checks, but also outsource to a third-party WordPress security company (which I believe is Sucuri, but is not verified on the website) to provide extra protection for customers. Nightly backups are provided at no extra cost and have the ability to run like Time Machine for Mac computers. Not only are their a lot of WordPress experts driving the WP Engine machine, but Automattic, the company behind WordPress, invested a lot of money in the company. What that says to me is that the WordPress community believes in WP Engine, and WordPress believes in WP Engine. One feature well worth noting is the curated plugins list. Here, WP Engine provides a compilation of plugins that they tested and support, and those that they will not let be installed for security reasons.
All of this sounds so amazing, and it is. Don’t get me wrong. My problem with WP Engine came elsewhere. In their overages.
Each plan at WP Engine comes with a limited amount of bandwidth traffic your site can have. If you go over, they charge you extra. So my plan, which was $99 a month, wound up costing me well over $40 a month on top of it.
After a couple of years, I was no longer able to justify paying those overages, so I looked elsewhere.
I eventually came across SiteGround. They are a Managed WordPress host with added benefit, and they are affordable for any photographer running any size website. Oh, and they don’t charge overages.
Please note that while they don’t charge for overages, they have limitations for CPU usage and executions. Meaning that if someone is going over these limits, they will have to upgrade to a higher plan.
Regarding featuring a NextGen promo in UA, I’ll get someone from our tech team to review it this week. And will get back to you on that.
SiteGround offers many hosting plans including shared hosting and cloud hosting, as well as a more expensive dedicated hosting plan.
- The StartUp plan is perfect for photographers just starting out with a website and it starts $3.95 a month.
- The GrowBig plan is a great value for money offer, including the option for multiple websites and the SuperCacher that greatly improves a WordPress site speed improvements. This plan starts at $7.95 a month.
- The GoGeek plan is perfect for people with e-commerce and larger sites. This is ideal for photographers planning on selling their photos. This plan starts at $14.95 month.
Their cloud hosting plans start at $54 a month which is still extremely affordable for a busy website.
A huge advantage of SiteGround over the others goes way beyond their dedication for WordPress.
- Fast site speeds due to SuperCacher plugin
- 1 Click install for WordPress
- 99.9% uptime
- 24/7 amazingly fast support
- Free CDN
- Free SSL
- PCI compliant servers for e-commerce
- Managed WordPress host, which means their team is knowledgable in WordPress and helps you when you need it.
There are so many other reasons to love SiteGround, but those are just a few.
So after my time with the many other hosting companies, and my time at WP Engine, which I still recommend to those who want a host like that ONLY hosts WordPress, I made the switch SiteGround have been very happy since.