While WordPress (using the numerous portfolio themes and plugins) has become a very popular choice for creating photo blogs or online portfolios, sometimes you may just need a dedicated CMS in order to create a web gallery. In this article, we shall take a look at some photo gallery CMSes. While this list clearly is not exhaustive, and there are several other CMS options available, following CMSes have a decent user base and continue to be in active development.
Alkaline is a CMS that boasts of premium features such as support for SVG and PDF files and the option to geotag your images (from a default database of 90,000 cities). You can also run a blog using it as it comes with editors for both posts and pages. On the downside, Alkaline is not a free CMS. A licence for one website costs $79 each, while a multi-user version for one website costs $249 (the price-per-site drops as the number of sites increases).
Pros: Very easy to use, nice set of features, wonderful themes and extensions, inbuilt blogging tools.
Cons: Slightly over-priced.
Coppermine is a very popular PHP gallery CMS. It is highly customizable using the many plugins that are available and it surely seems to be an ideal choice for creating a photo gallery or portfolio. However, the quality of templates or themes is comparatively poorer than that of other CMSes.
Pros: Widely used, good documentation, many plugins and extensions available.
Cons: A little bit over-bloated and can be confusing to beginners.
Gallery CMS is an open source CMS for web galleries. It comes with a modest set of features (and an extremely easy to use administrative back end). Gallery CMS can operate either as a standalone CMS or as an integrated component of your website.
Pros: Easy to use, nimble and light weight.
Cons: Not suited for larger galleries, average update frequency.
LinPHA is a multi-lingual photo gallery management software. It comes with an easy to use HTML based installer. LinPHA also comes with an integrated guest book option and allows you to specify privacy settings for albums.
Furthermore, you can also let your users upload entire albums in ZIP format. And finally, LinPHA has built-in analytics capabilities allowing you to track the popularity of each image.
Pros: Offers stats, multiple languages, guestbooks, privacy options.
Cons: Very few themes and templates and limited documentation.
phpAlbum is a CMS that does not require a database. The installation procedure is simple, and once installed, you simply need to upload your images and create albums. phpAlbum is fairly basic in terms of looks and appearance and its templates look out-dated when compared with those of others CMSes.
Pros: No database required.
Cons: Poor quality of templates.
Piwigo is an extremely popular open-source CMS that comes packed with many features, including multilingual support. Piwigo does comes with numerous beautiful themes and templates. Piwigo
Pros: Multiple themes, easy to use, feature packed
If you have basic understanding of HTML, Pixelpost should definitely be on your list of CMSes to try when building a photo gallery. It offers support for EXIF and other image meta data as well. Pixelpost also supports Akismet and Defensio as SPAM control measures.
Pros: Ideal for photographers and artists, good set of templates and documentation.
Cons: Requires knowledge of basic coding (even for editing the ‘About’ page).
If you are looking for a minimal photo gallery management system that comes with almost all the basic features, Plogger might suit your needs. While Plogger’s set of features looks weak compared to the likes of Coppermine or Pixelpost, it surely can handle a personal photo blog or portfolio. It offers native support for clean URLs and several other SEO-friendly practices.
Pros: Ideal for beginners, swift in operation.
Cons: Support for themes/templates has been recently introduced and thus, there aren’t many choices available, lacks many features.
Tiny Web Gallery, just like phpAlbum, does not require a database to operate on. Instead, it makes use of XML files. Tiny Web Gallery offers AJAX and Flash based navigation and also lets you specify the privacy options for each gallery as required.
Don’t be fooled by its name ‘tiny’. The CMS also offers support for video and (with full-screen support). The front end has been localized in 29 languages (while the back end is available in 5 languages).
Pros: Good localization, nice interface, easy to use.
Cons: Poor update frequency.
Zenphoto is perhaps the most popular free CMS for web galleries. Its goal is simple: Web gallery management, and nothing else! The interface is sleek, but requires a little ‘getting-used-to’. There are separate tabs for configuring the different components of your web gallery. Also, Zenphoto comes with numerous templates and plugins (including ones that allow you to integrate it with a WordPress blog).
Pros: Very popular, good community base, large number of plugins and templates.
Cons: Not the ideal choice for beginners, documentation isn’t updated very often, needs better localization (in comparison to the rest)