What Is A Good Hosting Service For A Real Estate Photography Website?

July 27th, 2015

WebsitesBill asks:

I’m about to set up a website for my photography projects. I’ll be building the site with the URL “ResortHomePhotography.com”, which I just bought through Google Domains. I use WordPress for my (still-under-construction) real estate web site but noted Google partners with several web hosting services: Blogger, Squarespace, Shopify, Weebly, & Wix. Do you or PFRE readers have a preference for any particular one as a startup business?

There are tons of hosting services the table/link to the right is one of the many review sites. I’ve used several hosting services over the last 10 years and I’m inclined to only recommend hosting  services that I have direct experience with. Here are my recommendations:

  1. The PFRE blog is a self-hosted WordPress site and I have several blogger.com sites. While you can get free sites at WordPress.com and blogger.com I recommend that you stay away from these unless you are pretty technically savvy. These sites are free and oriented towards blogging but take a fair amount of technical know how to operate.
  2.  There are many template sites like Squarespace.com, smugmug.com, zenfolio.com, weebly.com, wix.com etc. They all have templates that you can use to setup photographic portfolio sites. These are all very easy to use and take no technical skill to setup.
  3. I have to say that of all the web hosting services I’ve used (Smugmug, Squarespace, WordPress.com, Blogger.com, bluehost.com and verio.com) I’m happyest with Squarespace.com. That is where I have my lohrman.com site hosted. It took about 30 minutes to setup, it is super reliable and has great performance ( I monitor it and the PFRE blog 24 x 7 for response time and reliability with monitis.com). And it has great customer support.
  4. Be very careful to check out and hosting service you use to make sure what the site looks like on smartphones and tablets since 50% of your traffic is liable to come from mobile devices these days and not all sites look good on mobile devices.

What favorites to others have?

Share this

11 Responses to “What Is A Good Hosting Service For A Real Estate Photography Website?”

  • I used for years two different companies: GoDaddy.com and Hostgator.com

  • I just converted from using WordPress through GoDaddy – I now use SmugMug Pro and love the ability to save as many high resolution photos on your site as you can upload. It took me a long time (I’m talking a few months of spare time) to move all the photos and create the website I wanted, but I hope now it is the last time I ever have to do it.

    If you are just starting out you will find it very easy to set up and use right away.

  • If it looks to good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for low introductory pricing that might suck you into going with a company only to find that they are not competitive after the offer expires. I had a web site on a service that seemed very inexpensive and after the first year, the new price was triple. They also only had one tier of service. It can be daunting to move a web site built with WordPress, Drupal or Joomla to a new service. If you are using a host’s proprietary tools to build your web site, you are stuck with them unless you are willing to completely start over from scratch and they know it. While they may have had steady hosting prices for several years, they could be bought out tomorrow and the new company may leverage the advantage they have on you. You are trading ease of use for lack of portability.

    Register your domain name through a registrar separate from your web host. Some major hosts offer packages that look great until you find out that they own your domain name (RTFM). Nothing is worse than finding out that your domain name doesn’t belong to you after you might have spent years building up your web presence. It isn’t just greedy fly by night operations that do this, a well-known major host already mentioned in comments does this regularly. READ THE FINE PRINT. namecheap.com, networksolutions.com are a couple. There are many and prices do vary.

    Most hosts make it easy to set up email and other services. Verify that they have a good help system that will walk you through setting up different services such as email and FTP access. Also be sure that the host includes a couple of dozen email accounts with the service so you will never run out and can make addresses such as: payments@yoursite.com and “throwaway”@yoursite.com. It’s great to have a temp account that you can use to sign up for one time stuff and at times when you think the person you are giving the address to might be a bit dodgy. If the account starts attracting a bunch of spam, you can delete the account and make a new one while keeping your main addresses clean.

    Make sure you will have a sufficient amount of space. 20gb or more is not too much given the size of hard drives today. Not only will you have more than enough room to store all of the content of your website, you can create a folder to place files for delivery to your customers. Why use Dropbox or pay for another service when you already have a paid-for file space? Once you upload the files to your FTP (File Transfer Protocol) space, you email the customer a link something like: http://www.yoursite.com/customerfiles/123mainstMLS.zip. All they have to do is click the link to download the file. No downloading and installing software or signing up for an account. As simple as DropBox is, some agents are still going to find it overly complicated.

    Hosts can offer low prices by locating a large number of web sites on one computer. Many times, this is just fine. However, if you are finding that your site is very slow to load it may be time to move to a higher tier service. Any host you choose should offer several tiers of service from very basic up to sites that have their own dedicated computer. It should also be possible to have them move your domain to a higher performance tier in-house. There are some budget hosts that only have a one-size-fits-all account. Moving a site from one host to another can be a chore and parts of your site could break in the process. I like to stay positive and believe that I WILL need to move up to a dedicated computer (or virtual) in the future.

  • I have used several hosts for my WordPress website larryfieldsphoto.com. Previously iPage and Hostgator. iPage is slow and they don’t provide any technical assistance for WordPress (unless you pay). This is why I left them and switched to Hostgator. Well, that lasted about a week. Two different sales people at Hostgator told me they would migrate my site from iPage for free. Five days later, after many calls, Hostgator told me it would cost $75.00 to migrate. That’s when I went to Inmotion Hosting. Inmotion has been very reliable and very good with customer service and tech support. They have many experienced tech people and really try to help with a problem. I would highly recommend Inmotion Hosting.

  • I use wordpress on dreamhost. http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?192341 Been with them for about 7 years.

  • (Jennifer – Dropping an affiliate link is bad form. Just make a suggestion.)

    If you are familiar with WordPress and comfortable using it, setting up themes, managing plugins for galleries, setting up eccommerce if needed, etc. then I would point you to Siteground. It has gotten a lot of press in the past year and many great reviews. Speed, security, and good tech support.

    I build and support WP sites, and have used Lunarpages, Bluehost and Siteground. All are good, but I’d give an edge to SG.

    As others mentioned, using Squarespace is a fantastic alternative. You don’t have to worry about the backend bit, security, keeping software updated, etc. You just build a site and go. Worth a look.

  • We have used godaddy for hosting for almost 12 years – first for a wall muraling business with a custom designed site and then for a template site from godaddy and then for wordpress for our customers who we create websites for. What I like is their 24/7-365 help via telephone. Yes, sometimes I have to hold for a while but with their new – we will call you back without losing your place in line – I get great service. We always buy our own domain name and load up our own wordpress templates and files into a regular utlimate host program – we buy 5 years for $4.99 per month and it is unlimited as to files and bandwidth. We just had to renew and we renewed at $6.99 per month for another 5 years. You do need to negotiate on the phone rather than using the online ordering in order to secure the “best pricing”.

    As to themes – I love the Elegant Themes new Divi theme because not only does it update itself (as does the godaddy wordpress app that I download into the host), but it acts almost as a total customization without having to create child themes or get into heavy programming. 99% of what you can do doesn’t require knowledge of programming – just good design skills. You can buy one theme for $69 for personal use, $89 per year for all themes and $249 for a lifetime of thems and supports. I own this type of license as it allows me the most flexibility and not having to make an annual outlay. They also have excelelnt support and great plug-ins that update themselves with the theme updates.
    Elegantthemes.com

  • I like “Bluehost” a lot. They’ll pick up the phone and talk – very helpful! I think WordPress is worth a little learning curve, there’s some super-simple templates that look stunning. If all you care about is being #1 on Google get a Google “sites” account/site via Domain.com and tie it into a Google+ page… simple, cheap, ugly… but you’ll hit that first page quick…

  • I like SiteGround. Very good support. 3 different ties (I think).

    I purchased my domain name with GoDaddy. I hope they don’t claim ownership.

  • I like SiteGround alot. Great support. 3 tiers (I think).

  • I recently ran into a weird snag with my website. I use a company called Jimdo. It is very similar to SquareSpace, Weebly, Wix, etc. Here’s the problem I ran into with Jimdo (that could potentially carry over to SquareSpace, etc.). Although my website is called via my domain name, all the guts of the website are called with the provider’s domain name. The webpage is assembled something like this:

    – Show some text
    – Show image images.jimdo.com/images/markgraves.com/header.jpg
    – Show some more text
    – Show image images.jimdo.com/images/markgraves.com/awesomephoto.jpg
    – Show some more text

    All the images and style sheets come from the host provider’s domain. The issue I ran into was that some unscrupulous individuals created phishing websites using jimdo.com. Security folks at a number of companies countered this issue by completely blacklisting *.jimdo.com. If any of my customers access my site within a corporate firewall where *.jimdo.com is blacklisted, they see all the text of the website with no images. Not good!

    So, beware of that possibility when using template sites. If your customers’ companies blacklist that provider’s domain, they might not be able to see your site in all its glory.

    I recommend sticking with a hosted WordPress site (or some other hosted solution) where the entire site contents come through your domain.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply