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I work in a small advertising company and for our clients I need a reliable and simple image, or file, hosting service. We do a lot photography for our clients and the images are used in different media and ads, so they need to download the original file from time to time. At the moment we have to locate the file, and send it to them in an email, which is time consuming. This is not meant for client proofing, it's just for ease of access for the clients to download their already approved and bought images.

The requirements are:

  • Client login that leads only to their personal files
  • Unlimited downloads / uploads
  • Single file or group file upload and download
  • Searchable image tags

I have looked into different online solutions like Pixieset, but they have too many limitations or are just too complicated for my clients to use. And before anyone says "everybody can use this or that service", my clients are usually the kind that need to call IT-support to locate their mouse pointer, so I need something extremely straightforward.

This is the flow I'm looking for: the clients reaches the site URL, enters their username+password, their images are loaded as thumbnails where they can choose the files they need (search function is required), and once the images are selected there is a big button that packs the images to *.zip and downloads to their computer.

I've been researching about using WordPress, but I'm hoping there is something different and more specialized out there on the world wide web.

(I'm a web designer by trade, so I'm quite capable of setting up different services.)

  • You might get better answers over at Software Recommendations. – damned truths Aug 5 '15 at 14:08
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    Could you not make something? (although I note you say you are a web DESIGNER, not a web DEVELOPER) - I am both so would make something. – Digital Lightcraft Aug 5 '15 at 14:11
  • Agree with @DigitalLightcraft: 15 years ago I played around with a simple ASP server, and in one evening had per-client login with photos assigned squ numbers, thumbnail view, and download of full files. If it's not "slick" in a modern web app experience, but busiess-like and utilitarian, it is quick work in any modern web framework. – JDługosz Aug 8 '15 at 5:07
  • yes, I've been leaning more and more againts developing my own solution for this. But I'll have to admit my programming skills are not up to par on this. HTML and CSS is all good, but Javascripts and PHP is probarly where I will need to learn something. Any good resources or links to similar solutions I could study? – B.Kamfjord Aug 10 '15 at 8:41
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I have tested a couple of gallery solutions last year and there are a few options worth looking at in my opinion.

My favourite actually is (used to be) Menalto Gallery. The only reason I stopped using it was the discontinuation of development.

"Piwigo", ended up being my solution of choice with "Zenphoto" as a close runner up.

For both of these there are Lightroom plugins available, so that the online galleries can be maintaine from within Lightroom.

Last but not least there is "Coppermine". Quite powerful bit I find it cumbersome to use.

Thiu is by no means a comprehensive listing, just the stuff that I evaluated a little closer with an emphasis on management abilities through Lightroom.

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I believe SmugMug fits all of your requirements.

They have a download all option(or individually), search, unlimited uploads and downloads, albums can be password protected, and with a power user account or higher you can completely customize the design to simplify it for the less technically inclined if desired.

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  • I just went with smugmug and am disappointed. The in-browser software is all but unusable on mobile devices as they fight the browser zoom/scroll; everything is converted to sRGB; they don't take DNG etc. that you might want to provide. I don't know if they have client account access: just public or private. – JDługosz Aug 8 '15 at 5:01
  • I looked into smugmug, and it looks all good for a freelance photgrapher selling photos, but for my needs and clients I'm afraid it is to complicated. Since I'm not selling photos, I'm not interested in any beautiful interface or showcasing anything. I just need to direct my clients to their meida assets for them to download. – B.Kamfjord Aug 10 '15 at 8:46
  • As I said, if the design provided is too complicated you can customize it to your desire. You could literally have a single page requiring a password, and a single button appears to download images. It could be black and white, no text, and just a big button that says "download". But if it isn't what you want that is fine. – dpollitt Aug 10 '15 at 18:10

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