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03-08-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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Website Hosting Options - Hosting Domaind AND Email

I could use some Photography/Hosting information. I have had my own domain and host (1and1) since the dawn of time, but I would like to be able develop a way to more reliably sell some of my photography.

I was a developer for years when younger; but while I have the technical skill to develop something from scratch, I have absolutely no time to mess with this.

- Setup is extremely quick (I have no free time)
- Maintenance / uploading is extremely quick (I have no free time)
- Must automatically generate gallery's (I have no free time)
- Must be able to link each picture to a transaction / shopping cart page.

Host Requirements
- I have looked at Zenfolio, Smugmug, and the other photography hosts but they all seem to lack the ability to fully host my domain AND email. I want to have one-single-host for the whole shebang. Conversely, a simple hosting plan has limited options for the gallery and shopping cart hookup in a very quick package.
- Price - This is a hobby first and I would expect to sell under 20-30 shots per year, so any $200/month hosting plan is out of the question.

- Find a photo-hosting type site that can host domain and email as well as link my pictures to a shopping cart (preferred)

- Find some super-fast WYSIWYG for my own host that very quickly integrates a shopping cart link to each picture. The only thing I lose from this option is a way to automatically handle printing, which is a significant con.

Edit: Forgot to add that I have read and reviewed these other threads but came away without the answer:

Last edited by user440; 03-08-2010 at 11:57 AM.
03-08-2010, 02:05 PM   #2
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for what it's worth, i own several domains and i got sick and tired of keeping up with email servers, MX dns records and so on.

so for my new photography domain i created a (premium) zenfolio account, set up dns per their instructions, and created a gmail email account. problem solved.

a couple of my geeky friends gave me a hard time about using gmail, rather than my own @mydomain email account, but otherwise people couldn't care less.

good luck!
03-08-2010, 02:58 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pb_red Quote
a couple of my geeky friends gave me a hard time about using gmail, rather than my own @mydomain email account, but otherwise people couldn't care less.
Bah, I went with gmail too when I got sick of dealing with email accounts from an endless list of domains. Even though I do all my emailing from a single gmail account, anyone communicating with me via email thinks he's dealing with a person from a specific company. For example, anyone who emails me at will get a reply from, and anyone emailing me at gets a reply from (usually a comical reply written in bassetese, because people email my dog for some reason). Gmail is the only email service that allows me to do all of that automatically and seamlessly, and without any added costs. It's been the best email arrangement I've ever had.

As far as image hosting, I find it's infinitely easier to use a picture sharing service (like Picasa) and just add those pictures to my own site. It saves me tons of bandwidth and runs much faster. I've been with the same hosting company for 8+ years, all my domains are hosted there. And each one only has 1GB of monthly bandwidth and 200MB of storage. That's more than enough for all my needs since I don't need to host pictures locally. All my server is providing is text, a few icons and a database. For $6.50 a month, it's hard to complain.

Lots of hosting companies offer a merchant software option that can be added to your site. For example, my hosting company offers Miva Merchant for $249 (one-time license cost) and they do all the setup work. All I then need to do is skin it, add products, and voila, an online store. Unfortunately, I hate Miva Merchant so I don't touch it. But maybe other hosting companies have better options.
04-19-2010, 03:50 PM   #4
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There are many answers to your question but I'll toss my 2cents in since I'm actively in the business.

2). Gmail is a great way to handle your email. Google bought Postini (a professional spam scanning company) and integrated their technology with their own anti-spam filters to make what I believe is the industry's best anti-spam technology. Gmail's that is. And to that, you can also use your personal domain via gmail. So you get all the benefits of redundancy and spam filtering for FREE with no hassle of management and maintenance!

1). There is a free gallery software you can run on any cheap webhost that allows you to showcase your photos as well as sell them. It has an integrated shopping cart and a nice layout. I used it because it decodes the exif information from the photos and lets me categorize and critique by the specifics of how I made the shot. I'm sorry I don't know the name off the top of my head but if you google around you'll find it.

And if you want cheap and reliable web hosting with a personal touch feel free to shoot me an email

04-20-2010, 07:10 AM   #5
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Original Poster
FYI, I purchased but have not yet used this:

FotoPlayer - Flash photo Gallery Software

It allows me to keep my host and email yet will build my galleries and also link to a shopping cart. Pretty much exactly what I wanted.
04-20-2010, 09:30 PM   #6
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Hosting your own website/domain is a one time setup deal. Once you set it up you should not have to mess with it unless you want to make changes to your domain name or setup. The reason why many people frown upon using gmail, hotmail, or yahoo email accounts for business use has nothing to do with being geek or l33t but perceived professionalism (where applicable). Most people's idea of a professional email address is simply baffling. As someone who has done customer service training, I've been floored by what some people have used on their business cards ( really isn't all that appropriate, much less on a business card).

Unless you purchase a very expensive hosted solution, you will not find an all-in-one photography-geared hosted solution for cheap.

Your best bet is to purchase your domain name and basic hosting with email from a domain name registrar such as GoDaddy and have the DNS record point to your zenfolio/smugmug/other gallery account. You might have to go with the pro account to be able to customize it.

Last edited by George Lama; 04-20-2010 at 09:38 PM.

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