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Recommended Host for Gallery
What is Gallery?
Gallery is an open-source, Linux-based photo organization application that enables you to create and host interactive photo galleries on your website. You’ve probably seen many sites that implement photo hosting, but Gallery is one of the originals and this web based photo album organizer has been installed on countless pages around the world over the years. The Gallery platform gives users a feature-filled and intuitive way to integrate photo management seamlessly into their own websites, regardless of what kind of site they happen to be running. It’s been used on small, personal websites all the way up to a large community type of sites.
Think for a second about a site like Facebook. Yes, it’s a social site, but it is mainly a photo sharing site. Gallery has inspired many sites and projects of their own. In a world where every family vacation is instantly uploaded to Facebook and every meal seems to be on Instagram before it’s had time to cool, it’s clear that images are one of the most powerful tools people use to share and connect with one another. Hosting a photo gallery on your website might not seem like an automatic win, but if you are looking to encourage customer interaction, social media sharing and build relationships, it might be one of the smartest moves you’ll make.
If you’re considering using Gallery for business purposes, you’re on the right track. Statistics show that nearly half of visitors actually vest the credibility of a site based on elements of a site’s design, including the visual elements that galleries can provide. It’s a bit of a natural instinct and you should integrate a product like Gallery wherever possible. When publishers implement graphics, it has been proven that traffic responds favorably, engagement goes up and visual content is the focus of that increase.
Gallery is Smart
That move looks like this – an easy, quick install of a powerful and flexible tool that delivers lots of features. Adding Gallery can practically any site the ability to host galleries. While it’s focused on pictures, there are a number of great user experience tools that you can selectively add to the experience like slideshows, zoom features, comment sections, interactive galleries, the ability to post and share their own photos and much more.
Some of Gallery’s feature-rich propositions are the support for social media sharing, slideshow viewing, user account management, indexed search by tag and keyword, active image tagging, and security features like watermarking and captcha (the image-verification technology used by many sites to prove visitors are human when they fill out a form or access a file. If you’ve ever had to type two random words or character sets like “Bol0gnA Hedg3hog” into a little red box to register an account or access a file, you’ve used a captcha).
Editors and administrators (i.e., you!) can set a theme for the gallery, create, modify and delete user accounts, and set up Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds to send your image stream to other sites and applications. Gallery does not, as yet, have an ecommerce module, so if part of your business plan for your site involves selling images as well as sharing them, you may need to look elsewhere.
The folks over at Gallery announced that after fourteen years of running the project, it was going ‘dormant’ for a while. However the community is still active and developments continue to get made on the platform altogether. You can also find lots of support there.
Gallery is freeware and to run it, be aware that it is Linux-based. That means a Gallery system has to be installed on a web server based on that powerful operating system. You also need to be sure that both the PHP Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) framework and MySQL (Structured Query Language) database management application tools are available on the web server. Again, these are rather common tools in hosting and on Linux systems.
As always, if you are working with a host, always check in with your host team’s support for details. It might be possible that you need to adjust your hosting plan if it turns out you require additional SQL databases or bandwidth to support the increased traffic brought by your new gallery.
Gallery Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any specific browser requirements for running Gallery?
Any modern browser should work fine; however, some file upload functions require Flash to work successfully.
Is it possible to run Gallery on a Windows Server?
Yes, but this is not officially supported. Gallery is only designed and tested to work on Linux or Unix systems. However, community builds have been created for Windows Server 2008 and Apache servers. The Windows source code is also available on GitHub for developers wishing to make modifications or compile it for a different system.
What type of permissions can I set for users?
You can create group permissions and have them apply at the gallery level. In other words, if you want certain users to have access to everything, some users to only have access to your latest galleries, and other folks who can only view their personal galleries, you can manage all that from your admin panel.
Can I add Gallery to my existing website?
Yes. Gallery was designed to be embedded seamlessly into your website. It can be customized to match the look and feel of your current site. There are also integration tools available for a number of popular content management systems, including Joomla!, Drupal, and WordPress.
Is Gallery still being actively maintained?
Not at the time of this writing. In June of 2014, the development team decided to take a break from regular updates and active maintenance of the project. When or if the team will return to active development is yet unknown. In the meantime, the website is transitioning to read-only, and the support communities have been moved to a yahoo group. If you’re considering Gallery for your site, it would be a good idea to check their website first to see if there are any updates. Any software that is not actively maintained may pose a security risk, so use caution.
Does Gallery offer mobile upload functionality?
Mobile implementation is possible using a 3rd party app call iGallery. iGallery is available for iOS devices and allows you to upload local photos and videos to your Gallery site, create new albums, and manage albums and photos directly from your phone.
Can I secure photos so they are only visible and accessible to registered users (or just to me)?
Yes. You can mark any folder as hidden to guests. When you do, Gallery creates a special .htaccess file to lock access to just registered users. If this is a personal website, that would mean just you and whatever family members you’ve given access to. You can set separate permissions for original images, resized images, and thumbnails. Or if you want to share a photo with the world, just keep it in a public folder.
How hard is it to relocate a Gallery installation to a new server?
Moving your installation should not be difficult. All of the important files, namely your photos, are stored in the “var” folder, which is the database. You can use a database manager like PHPMyAdmin or mysqldump to export your entire database to your local hard drive, set up a new Gallery database on your new server, and import the old database files. If you installed additional modules for Gallery, you may need to add those in separately or copy them from your original server.
Are all the features included, or will I need to install additional modules?
While many features are included with the core module, there are also over 200 community-developed modules to increase functionality. These provide everything from auto-rotate functionality to Facebook export tools.
How many themes are available?
At the time of this writing, there were 28 supported themes available on their website. If you can’t find a theme to suit your needs, there are also tools available to develop your own Gallery theme.
Does Gallery support multiple languages?
Yes. While Gallery is developed in English, many languages have been made available through their worldwide network of community developers. If your language is not currently available, there is also an easy guide for creating your own translation pack.
What type of support is available?
As an open-source project, support is largely community-based. The Gallery website contains a large library of documentation, including user guides, installation guides, and FAQs. There is also a community forum, an IRC channel, and mailing list available. If you are interested in more hands-on support, they also offer a paid support option. At the time of this writing, the Gallery team was taking a break from active development, so support may be limited.
How can I contribute to Gallery?
At the moment, Gallery development is taking a break. However, when the Gallery team decides to restart work on the project, they welcome community participation. You can contribute through various methods, including identifying bugs, developing modules, joining the mailing list, and contributing documentation to the wiki library. And they welcome donations.