For this article, I have gathered the best web hosting services and solutions you can get for artists of all kinds. Whether you build an art portfolio or a small business website to sell your art, there’s a hosting service for every need. Keep on reading to find the best hosting service for your needs!
- If you serve high-resolution images (300 PPI, 4000px + in resolution) from your site, then you need to get a high-end server (through the hosting service of your choosing).
- SSD drives (server side), the latest PHP version (server side), and premium CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a must for serving high-resolution images.
- TTFB (time to first byte) is one of the key metrics defining your website’s speed.
- A fast website is a must when creating an online business of any kind. Customers or visitors don’t want to wait a long time to get access to your site.
- You can optimize (speed, design, functions, etc.) your website in many ways regardless of which hosting service you choose.
- You can get excellent hosting for an affordable price.
Table of Contents
Best Web Hosting Service For Artists
I see no need to list 20+ different hosting services when the situation is that the best hosting can be chosen from a few. There are more than 30 different hosting services offered globally, but there’s no point listing them all here.
I’ll focus on price and performance. Many say you can’t get good performance at a cheap price (I disagree and prove this to be false below) or that you have to pay a lot of money for high-end performance (yet again, wrong). Below are the only two services I can recommend.
As I’m running an art website, I’ve had to study and research all this by myself, and below are the research results.
You have probably heard of Bluehost before, and plenty of websites say it’s one of the worst when it comes to performance. The fact is that the below numbers are proof that it’s not always about the hosting but more about optimizing the site:
Bluehost is one of the most affordable hosting services, offering 24/7 customer support and an easy-to-use user interface to manage your website, cache, plugins, themes, etc. I paid roughly $70 for a year of hosting, and the website (you are now visiting) is performing fantastically.
The website you are now visiting is hosted on Bluehost and designed/built with Elementor Pro (which is a resource hog), yet still, the site speed is good enough for Google.
Bluehost is chosen to be the best hosting for artists for two reasons: price-value and performance-price.
With a low price, you get excellent customer service, easy WordPress management, and good enough performance for the price (which ain’t a lot).
As this article concentrates only on the best hosting services. I can’t leave Rocket.net out of this list. Rocket.net offers one of the world’s fastest hosting services ever. TTFB values are roughly in the range of 40ms and 200ms, compared to Bluehost, which tends to hover somewhere between 700-1000ms.
The TTFB is a metric that tells how fast the server is responding and how fast the content is delivered (or starts to be delivered) to the viewer. So if you have heavy (in MB) images, and you want the images to load fast, you need a fast server with the latest bells and whistles.
Rocket.net’s most affordable solution is roughly $300/year or $25/month, which I think is a bargain when thinking about the performance you can get with them. I tried their service and was pleasantly surprised by the performance, however, what I noticed was that I could get good enough results with Bluehost, so I switched back to Bluehost after trying out Rocket.net.
However, the way I see it is that when and if that time comes that I would need more performance for my website, I would choose Rocket.net. However, now I’m good with Bluehost.
Best Website Builder for Artists
When you are building your art website, art portfolio, or a small business for your artistic endeavors, you might also want to consider website builders which are hosting + WordPress combined (simplified). If you are hesitant about the technicalities of managing your own website, then a website builder might be a better option for you.
With a website builder, you don’t have to worry about updating plugins, website hacks, updating themes, taking backups, or managing the backend of your website.
However, I do have to say the biggest downside to a website builder is that you don’t own the content or the website. And when this is the case, you can’t do anything you want with your website, whereas, with a WordPress-based solution, you can do whatever you want.
Squarespace is a premium website builder for us visual artists. Squarespace has beautiful themes, and that’s what we like as artists. We want our website to function well, and we want them to be visually pleasing all the way.
Squarespace costs roughly $150/year, and for that price, you get the basic functions (which are more than enough for many) to create your website and small online business.
In Squarespace, you can use a drag-and-drop builder to build your website and from that perspective, it’s extremely easy to get started building your art website or art portfolio.
Hosting Service or a Website Builder
There are currently two options in the market for creating a website:
- Website hosting
- Website builders
Today, WordPress is the most popular platform/system for creating art websites (or websites of any kind) with traditional web hosting.
WordPress is a powerful website-building software (CMS) that you can use to do anything you think of; the best part is that it’s also free!
Using WordPress might scare you at first if you are new to all of this, but having used it for years already, I can say that it’s easy to use and get used to.
Now, you also have website builders, which are online tools that come with a drag & drop-type interface that allows you to create websites visually and easily.
So, what is best for you?
WordPress vs. Squarespace
|Pros of using WordPress
|Pros of using Squarespace
|#1 You own the content and the website
|#1 Ease of use
|Pricing and value for money
|Help and support are available
|Amount of features available
|Tailored for blogging
|On-going maintenance is very little
|Apps and plugins available
|Security and updates are managed for you
#1 If you have the time to learn how to use WordPress and you want the absolute freedom to do whatever you want with your website, then choosing WordPress is the way to go. The site you are visiting is made with WordPress (with zero coding).
#2 Now, if you don’t have a lot of time available and you don’t want to complicate yourself with technical issues, you can pay for the service of a website builder, which already offers you an all-in-one solution: web hosting, domain name and a visual tool to create your website easily and quickly – but with less freedom and options to scale your business.
Art Portfolio Specific Solution
Now there’s even a third option out there that doesn’t require a domain name or hosting but an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (which is around $60/month). Ilustrata is one website example that uses Adobe’s portfolio to run its online art business.
I would say this is an excellent option for artists and small online business owners that already pay for the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and don’t want anything else than showcase their art, receive commission requests, and run an online business through different marketplaces like Etsy, Redbubble, Teepublic, Discord, etc.
There’s little to no freedom to modify your site, how it looks, or what functions to have on it. It’s specifically meant to showcase your art portfolio (which you can maintain through Behance), and for that purpose, Adobe portfolio is a fantastic option.