Best Website Host for Photographers

personal recommendations from Shotkit

If you’re a photographer who’s looking for the best WordPress host here in 2020, you’re doing yourself a huge favour.

Whether you make a living via your photos or not, having a secure, fast, and easy to manage WordPress website is essential.

shk-fs-table__imageWPX Hosting Lightning fast performance for your photography website with 'over-and-above' 24/7 live chat support.View Price

Having a a great hosting provider allows you to just concentrate on taking great photos, safe in the knowledge that your online ‘store front’ is taken care of.

One thing’s for sure – while we may know our camera gear inside out, most of us don’t know anything about hosting providers, and all the confusion that comes with choosing the right hosting options for your photography website.

It’s with this in mind that we put this guide together!

You can check out the criteria we used to select the top hosting companies below, but if you’re in a rush, here are the best WordPress hosting providers for photographers this year.

Best Website Hosting for Photographers in 2020

Image Product Features
shk2-table__imageWPX HostingOUR #1 CHOICE
  • Fastest Wordpress host
  • Spectacular performance
  • 37 second support
  • Unlimited free SSL certificates
View Price →
shk2-table__imageKinstaPOPULAR CHOICE
  • Ultimate speed
  • Secure
  • Free migrations
  • Daily backups
View Price →
shk2-table__imageSiteGround
  • Reliable
  • WooCommence hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Free website transfer
View Price →
shk2-table__imageLiquid Web
  • 24hr support
  • Automatic daily backups
  • Amazing speed
  • Automatic SSL
View Price →
shk2-table__imageBluehostBUDGET
  • Free Domain Name for 1st year
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 1-click WordPress Install
  • 24/7 support
View Price →

 

WPX HostingOUR #1 CHOICE

wpx better than shared hosting - managed wordpress host like wp engine

Click here for the latest pricing >>

Previous to WPX Hosting, I had my websites on shared hosting with Bluehost, Liquid Web, WP Engine, SiteGround and Kinsta.

I’ve paid for everything from cheap-ass all the way up to managed WordPress hosting and even cloud hosting.

With each host up until now, there’s been various things that annoyed me…

With the cheap hosts it was sub-standard performance (i.e. poor loading speeds), but as I paid more for each plan, the lack of really good support became more of an issue.

As I tend to work on my websites every day, from uploading new content, to new plugins and various other tweaks, things inevitably break. Or I should say, I break things a lot with WordPress!

If I’m paying for premium hosting, I expect premium support to help me out.

I hate to sound like a cheesy TV commercial, but when I switched over to WPX Hosting at the end of 2019, it was like a huge weight taken off my back.

I wasn’t dissatisfied with the loading speeds of my host prior to WPX (Liquid Web), but after setting up an identical test site on WPX for comparison, I noticed a not-insignificant speed boost.

from shared hosting to a managed wordpress host

My website gained a boost in page load speed when migrated to WPX. See comparison links below.

You can see the actual before:after comparison for yourself with these Pingdom speed test reports: Before moving to WPX, vs. after moving to WPX.

(I also made screenshots here and here if those links no longer work.)

The results from swapping from a reputably fast host (Liquid Web) to WPX Hosting were staggering – I immediately shaved over half a second from my website load time, all without touching a thing!

In fact, with their ‘world’s fastest WP CDN‘, you can expect a 3x improvement to your site speed.

This, combined with their custom W3 Total Cache installation (they set everything up for you for peak performance), means you literally have to do nothing after switching to WPX – you just end up with a much faster site!

As an added bonus, if you’re based in the USA, Australia or the UK, you can benefit from localized hosting, which can lead to further speed benefits.

Cost wise, WPX Hosting isn’t the cheapest option out there, but they still beat several other big names (Hostgator, Kinsta, Liquid Web, WP Engine, etc) for their basic monthly plan – remember this is managed WordPress hosting, i.e. a premium service.

At around $24.99 (see latest discounted price here), for everything that’s included, it’s actually really good value for money.

For comparison, other managed hosts such as WP Engine and Liquid Web both charge around $100/month, and don’t even offer many of the same features as WPX.

Totally unrelated, but still cool – CEO of WPX Terry Kyle is an animal lover who’s created a project to transform the lives of homeless shelter dogs and cats in Eastern Europe.

WPX also provides free SSL certificates, and can ‘migrate’ your existing website (and unlimited email accounts) over for free – some hosts charge up to $100 for this service alone!

Then there’s the free Cloud CDN, which usually involves a separate monthly payment when using other hosts, and even a free staging area – you can actually merge your staging site with the live version (a really useful feature other hosting companies don’t provide).

You can also store up to 5 websites under the one account, which is a huge cost saving in itself – the majority of other companies only allow a single website per plan, which can quickly become costly if you own a few sites.

As for reliability/security, it’s hard to test this effectively, but judging by WPX’s #1 position on G2 and Trustpilot review sites, all that’s taken care of:

much better than shared hosting - Managed WordPress Hosting

Independent review sites vouch for WPX Hosting‘s excellent reliability.

As for backups, these happen automatically every day, or you can do them manually yourself at any time.

If you accidentally break something on your site, you can do a full restore yourself via the simple WPX dashboard, or ask support to do it – they keep backups in a separate server for 28 days.

Speaking of support, I’ve left the best feature until last…

WPX Hosting is literally the best support I’ve ever experienced from any digital service provider. Their ‘fixed for you’ guarantee goes over and above what you expect to receive at this price point, and is a HUGE benefit to photographers who don’t want to get their hands dirty with website issues.

You can test out the legendary WPX Live Chat ‘under 37 second guarantee’ right here on their homepage, but to suffice to say, there’s a dedicated WordPress expert ready to help you within seconds, at any time of the day.

As I’m based in Australia, most so-called ‘Live Chats’ from other hosts are useless – even if they’re manned 24/7, the ‘best’ staff are usually only available during US working hours, meaning I need to wait at least 12 hours for a helpful reply.

With WPX Hosting, there’s a trained WordPress technician who can actually fix your issues for free, at any time of the day.

If I have a question, I simply start typing into Live Chat – it’s like having your own personal concierge who’s always available.

The video above is a series of testimonials from real users of WPX Hosting – it’s the kind of thing you assume has been paid for, until you actually experience it for yourself. Trust me – these guys are worth your money, many times over.

In the few instances the Live Chat agent hasn’t been able to provide an instant answer, they create a support ticket for their hardcore geeks to do some more investigation – on average, email response times for me have been no more than an hour!

I finally feel that my precious websites are in good hands. Shotkit needs to welcome over 15,000 visitors per day, and my wedding photography site needs to be fast to rank well in Google – all this is taken care of by WPX.

Yes, I receive a commission if you sign up with one of these links, but that’s the same as with any of the other hosts – I have no reason to be biased one over the other.

I’m just telling you the host I consider to be the best for us photographers, after my years of experience using all the other top option. It’s also the option I’ve chosen for my own businesses.

Summary

WPX Hosting offers extremely fast and reliable WordPress hosting (especially for photography websites with tons of images); has the best support you’ll ever experience, and is amazing value for money.

If you’re a professional photographer who relies on a lightning-fast-loading website to keep both your clients and Google happy, don’t even give it a second thought – migrate for free today.

If you don’t earn a living via your photography, but still display your images on your own website, you should seriously consider using a managed host like WPX, just for your own sanity.

Check the latest discounted pricing here >>

(If you don’t have a website yet, check out how to start a photography blog.)

How We Selected the Best WordPress Host for Photography Websites

Since WordPress is open-source, it is easily hosted by any provider with a basic LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack.

This means that there are tens of thousands of potential website hosts out there to select from. However, as you might’ve guessed, there are only a few we’d recommend.

There are many different types of website hosting available. For simplicity, they’re traditionally categorized as follows:

  • Shared: All websites on a server draw from a pool of shared resources.
  • VPS: Websites share a server but are each allocated their own subset of resources.
  • Dedicated: Website is the sole tenant of an entire server and enjoys access to all resources.

In reality, the lines are usually blurred – there are many hybrid offerings, and configuration (both hardware and software) is often the most influential factor.

For the average photographer here in 2020, there’s certain criteria which we deem most important when choosing a web hosting provider.

Here are the factors you should consider:

1. Speed

How fast your photography website loads is of paramount importance when choosing WordPress hosting.

Faster photography websites are simply more enjoyable for your visitors to use, and various studies also suggest they convert better.

You need a host that uses at a minimum PHP 7.x (PHP 7.x is significantly faster and more secure than PHP 5.x), and an SSD (solid state drives are faster than old-school platter drives).

2. Ease of Setup/Ease of Use

We are photographers, not web developers. Our websites just need to work.

WordPress by its nature involves a lot of customization, as does configuring things like CDNs and caching plugins – you need a hosting provider which takes care of all of this for you.

Ideally, your chosen host will take the reins completely – all the way from initial set up, or migration from another host, down to the nitty-gritty of making your website run as fast and efficiently as possible.

Many hosting companies take your payment, then throw you in to the deep end. Don’t be forced to hire a developer to get your website online and running smoothly – a good host like WPX should do all this for you for free.

3. Cost

If you’re a professional photographer, the cost of website hosting for your work should be considered an investment. Paying for the best WordPress hosting is vital.

Even if you don’t earn money from your photography, having a hassle-free, fast loading website is still a huge plus for your digital life.

We all obviously want to spend less money where possible. However, we recommend you steer clear of the famously ‘cheap’ hosts – GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost, etc. unless you have a very small budget.

Personally, I’ve had most success with Bluehost, who I’d still recommend if you want to spend as little as possible when you start your own website.

Additional bonuses include a Free SSL (the green padlock in your browser’s address bar), free migrations, free unlimited e-mail addresses, and the ability to host multiple websites under the one plan (WPX offers 5, vs its competitors who only offer 1).

4. Support

Things go wrong – it’s inevitable. You’ll need advice for website improvements too…

There’s regular support… and then there’s uber-support. As a photographer with no time to waste, you need the latter!

There are many smaller providers who offer great email support, or even Live Chat, but it’s usually during regular US work hours. If you’re in a non-native time zone, the term ‘live’ chat no longer applies…

If you’re anything like me, you need an answer to your question in minutes, not days.

24/7 Live Chat is a luxury you deserve as a time-poor photographer!

5. Reliability / Security

Things like managed updates, automated daily backups, 2+ weeks of stored backups, 24/7 uptime monitoring, and other security/reliability measures, are things we, as photographers, don’t need to know about.

All we need to know is that our website is safe from hackers and will stay online, no matter how badly we botch things up!

In the event of an unforeseen incident, you need to know that your website host can get you back up and running within minutes.

Why Do Photographers Choose Other Website Hosts?

shared hosting, google cloud, etc needs to be fast

Cheaping out on your host can compromise site speeds.

Earlier this month we conducted a Facebook poll to see what hosting providers photographers were currently using – the result was a spread of almost 20 different names! Why the huge variance?

Sometimes photography themes recommend a particular hosting provider (e.g. Flothemes recommends SiteGround).

In some cases, photographers ask for hosting recommendations in forums, and simply copy other photographers, who may not actually be knowledgeable about which hosting plan is actually best.

Most often, photographers are simply choosing the cheapest web hosting providers, perhaps overwhelmed at the options available, or maybe since they are unable to see the benefit of a more expensive managed WordPress hosting solution.

This usually means they end up with poor shared hosting plans, which is obviously a huge shame.

To make matters worse, once photographers choose a web hosting plan, it’s unlikely that they’ll change to another provider.

Website ‘Migrations’ can seem complicated, and often incur a fee (thankfully, this isn’t the case with WPX Hosting or Liquid Web).

It’s my hope that with this guide, photographers of all standards will feel confident to choose between the top hosting companies, safe in the knowledge that their photography will be shown to visitors as fast as possible, on secure, well-managed websites, all backed up by world-class support :-)

Choose WPX Hosting which offers all this >>

Why Choose WordPress over other Website Platforms?

shared hosting or other web hosting options vs Squarespace

A website can look great with WordPress or other platforms.

All-in-one website platforms such as Squarespace, Wix and Pixpa have become popular for photographers in recent years, promising a streamlined approach to building and managing a website.

While there are certain advantages to this ‘enclosed ecosystem’, such as a polished, easy-to-use interface with free technical support (see our Squarespace review), we still recommend WordPress above everything else here in 2020.

Do you want to own your website or rent it? When you build your website with popular platforms like Squarespace or ShowIt, these providers retain ownership of the underlying source code.

When you outgrow their feature sets, your only option is to do without, or to start over somewhere else.

With WordPress and its 50,000+ plugins, you’re able to customise your photography site in virtually any way.

Want an online booking form? Easy. How about an availability calendar? Simple. Want your photography SEO taken care of? There’s a plugin for that too. Fancy photography galleries, password protected downloads, pricing templates, watermarking… the options with WordPress are endless.

Then there’s the myriad of WordPress Photography themes to choose from to make your website look pretty – you can see our favourite in the FloThemes Review, but suffice to say, you can customise how your site looks to your heart’s content.

Aside from themes, plugins and a domain name, the most important thing you need to choose when building a WordPress website is the web hosting.

One caveat with WordPress is that it does have a learning curve. There’s a lot that can be achieved by a novice, but there’s also a lot of ‘damage’ that can be done in the process… and it’s not immediately evident you’ve done something wrong.

For example, stuff up your WordPress SEO, and you’ll be unaware that your rankings are suffering because of it…

Also, it’s very easy to ‘break’ things with WordPress. That’s why having web hosting plans with first-class support is essential.

Whilst WPX Hosting is fast, reliable and great value for money, it’s their support that makes them the #1 choice for best WordPress hosting, especially for busy photographers.

The other web hosting plans shortlisted above do offer good support, but we feel that WPX Hosting go over and above – as well as suggesting changes/fixes to your site, they actually go in and make them for you! This saves the cost and anxiety of hiring a web developer, for one thing.

Live chat is also a huge benefit to WPX Hosting – while other hosting companies may offer it, WPX’s support team respond in seconds – literally, less than 10 seconds in my experience.

That’s like having an immediate answer to any question you might have about your WordPress photography site… and that’s priceless :-)

Why is Good Web Hosting SO Important for Photographers?

missing - google cloud

WordPress hosting speed test results | © Matthew Woodward

Think of web hosting as the foundation of your digital gallery. If you’re a professional photographer who relies on clients hiring you for your photography services, it’s extremely important.

You need the absolute best performance (i.e. fastest web page loading speed), rock-solid reliability (so your website stays online), and first class support (to get help quickly from experts when you’re stuck… and trust me, you will be!)

With so many other competing photographers, first impressions are extremely important – a photography website that is slow to load will cause potential clients to get impatient and leave.

Photographers typically show lots of images on their websites, making page loading speeds of paramount importance.

If you’re a wedding photographer like me, it’s typical to have blog posts comprising 100+ images, each averaging around 400 KB (assuming you’re using image compression like JPEG Mini).

That’s a lot of data to be transferring. No matter what caching plugins, CDNs and image compression you’re using, it’s your choice of website hosting that will determine your overall page speed.

There’s no point investing hundreds or thousands of dollars into a professional website, as well as countless hours of your time spent blogging your sessions or making other updates, just to stick it to a discount host to save some pennies each month.

How fast your site loads is also considered a very important ‘ranking factor’ for Search Engine Optimization. This is known as Google’s Mobile-First Index, and can have a big impact on your rankings in 2020.

Most photography websites are ‘image heavy’, so it’s even more important to have a fast loading site, both for user-experience as well as for better search engine rankings.

Invest in the absolute fastest managed WordPress hosting you can afford, with support that has your back when things go wrong, or if you need advice when making changes.

I highly recommend WPX Hosting:

Whether you’re just building your first blog or want to migrate from an existing host, you’ll benefit immediately from:

  • noticeable speed improvements on your WordPress photography website
  • the fastest/most comprehensive 24/7 Live Chat support you’ll ever experience
  • better value for money (particularly if you plan on creating more than 1 site)

Check the latest discounted pricing here >>

Final Words

As photographers, finding the best WordPress hosting for our precious photos isn’t a particularly enjoyable task!

We want to be out taking pictures – not researching shared hosting vs cloud hosting, or the pros/cons of a managed WordPress host…

However, investing in the fastest, most stable and best supported hosting for your WordPress website is of paramount importance to us photographers, no matter your level.

Similarly, having a beautiful website theme and all the fancy plugins under the sun isn’t going to help if it doesn’t load lightning fast – both for the experience of your potential clients, and for your performance in the search engine results pages.

The bottom line is this:

Great WordPress hosting needs to be your priority – everything else can come after.

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Mark Condon

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer based in Australia and the founder of Shotkit.

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