The one thing I wasn’t too sure about concerning Blogger’s “Hello” service was the fact that each photo would be its own post. While this is fine if I only wanted to share one photo a day or a week or whatever, it makes it difficult to set up nice photo galleries for trips and things. I have plenty of photos I want to share, and I’d like to have a nice place to do it.
I can’t install software on this site because my hosting plan doesn’t allow over 1500 database accesses an hour. I don’t know why anyone would think that 1500 database accesses an hour would be even remotely useful on a website. If you have a database driven site, the database is accessed every time someone loads a page. I had been testing the new Macross 2051 website on this server, and I continually hit the limit and had to wait for it to reset. The only way to get past this is to pay my host more money, something that I’m not willing to do at this point. (I have been thinking of shifting to a new host, but that has to wait until my current contract runs out.)
In any event, even if I was able to install software, I was worried about the storage cap. Most good webhosts have them. I wanted to be able to share as much as I wanted, without worrying about whether or not I was at my limit, or having to delete things to make room.
Smugmug is a photo gallery service with a beautiful interface, plenty of customization options, and unlimited photo storage. With the two more advanced plans you can host unlimited videos and change the design to match your website, too. It does cost money…but it’s very reasonable money: a standard account is $29.95 per year, and a Power User account is $49.95 per year. Some webhosts charge $49.95 per month for the features you would need to run your own gallery! The next step up, Professional, is a very reasonable $99.95 per year, and comes with Guest passwords for adding (but not deleting) photos, use of your own domain, automated watermarks, and print sales.
So I’m going to be thinking about setting one up, with either the Power User or Professional account. I like the idea of being able to sell my photos (although I’m not sure who would buy them). The main draws for me, though, are the ease of use, the customization options, and the unlimited space.