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What is Zenphoto Hosting?

Zenphoto is a standalone Content Management System that focuses on beautifully displaying images and other media, such videos and audio. Zenphoto is written in PHP and is Open Source software. In addition to its wide range of built in features, it is highly extensible through an ecosystem of third-party plugins. Additionally, the look and feel of a Zenphoto powered website can be customized by the theming system.

Most content management systems (CMS) have a focus primarily on text and blogging. In these text-centric CMSes, visual media is a secondary concern. But Zenphoto is focused first on providing an easy to use and professional looking website for displaying visual content. At the same time, blogging and other text-focused content features have not been left out.

Key Zenphoto Features

File-based, not database
You can use the logged-in user interface in order to upload files, but you can also add them directly to the file storage system through FTP or other means. You can even upload .zip archives, and Zenphoto will unpack the images and media files into the proper media directories. Zenphoto provides an easy to use, drag-and-drop user interface for uploading and managing files.

Full-featured Search
Zenphoto lets you find and organize your photos through a set of robust search engine features that matche titles, descriptions, meta-data, and tags. You can also save searches and turn them into the criteria for dynamic albums.

Scheduled publishing
Uploaded photos and albums can be schedule to appear at a certain time in the future.

RSS
Allow visitors to subscribe to your media updates through the Really Simple Syndication protocol, which lets them view your posts in the RSS reader of their choice.

Watermarks
Add your personal branding, website or email address, or copyright notice to all of your photos with automatic watermarking.

Easy image sorting Zenphoto provides an easy to use, drag-and-drop interface for organizing photos, creating albums, and publishing image sets.

Wide range of file formats and extension supported
Images: .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png

Video: .mp4, .m4a, .flv, .mov, .3gp, .ogv, .webm

Audio: .mp3, .m4a, .fla, .webma, .oga

Other: .txt, .html, .pdf, .pps

Slideshows
Display albums and photo sets in dynamic slide shows with custom timing and transitions.

Comments
Engage with your site visitors by letting them comment and discuss your photos and other media.

Blogging and Content Management
Add blog posts and custom pages to turn your Zenphoto site into a full-fledged, media-focused Content Management System.

User Management
Grant management access to multiple users, with fine grained control of user permission and page-level access.

Internationalization and Localization
The backend interface is fully translatable, and is already available in eleven languages.

Subdomain support for multi-language site-wide translation.

Theme system
Zenphoto's theme system is highly customizable, allowing users and developers to control every aspect of the way the site displays. Zenphoto comes with five standard themes included, which each have their own customizable options and color schemes. Additionally, there are over 50 custom themes already developed and ready for use. You can also code your own Zenphoto theme in HTML, CSS, and PHP.

Zenphoto's Plugin System

Zenphoto has a sophisticated hook-and-filter system that makes it easy to develop powerful plugins that extend and improve the functionality of the software.

Over a hundred plugins are officially supported and included in the Zenphoto release package. These plugins provide essential functions, like embedding Google Analytics code, managing ads, and helping to fight spam.

Plugins are also used to manage integrations to other services, such as automatically posting to FaceBook whenever a new photo is published, or allowing users to log in with their Google account.

If you can't find what you are looking for in an existing plugin, you can even build your own.

Zenphoto Hosting

Zenphoto Requirements

  • PHP 5.2 or later
  • MySQL 5.x or later
  • At least 25 mb for code
  • The following PHP extensions
    • GD graphics library or Imagick
    • gettext
    • mbstring
  • The following PHP settings
    • safe mode off (recommended)
    • magic_quotes off (recommended)
    • register globals off (required)

You'll also need plenty of space to hold all of your files. (And don't forget to back them up.)

Webhosting Zenphoto

Most web hosting providers support the features required for Zenphoto, though there might be issues such as specific PHP settings, or version differences. Be sure to check.

Some hosts explicitly support Zenphoto, and some even provide simple, one-click installation of Zenphoto through their admin control panel.

Zenphoto Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Zenphoto? How is it different to other content management systems?

    Zenphoto is a standalone, open source content management system (CMS) written in PHP and designed to display images and media. Zenphoto focuses on providing a professional and good looking website for the display of visual content and other forms of media while still providing the usual text-based content features.

  • What are the technologies Zenphoto relies on? Are there any special hosting requirements?

    Zenphoto requires Apache / Nginx, PHP 5.2 or later, MySQL 5.x or later, at least 25 MB for installation (consider that you will also need plenty of space for storing images and other media you wish to host). The following PHP extensions are also required: GD graphics library or Imagick, gettext and mbstring. Also, Zenphoto needs the following PHP settings: safe mode off, magic_quotes off, register_globals off.

  • Are there any special browser-side requirements for Zenphoto?

    Not really, since Zenphoto uses the JavaScript framework jQuery as the standard library. The recommended browsers are Internet Explorer 7 or newer, Safari 5.1 or newer, Google Chrome (any current version will do) and Opera 12.1/Opera 19 or newer. Of course, using the latest browser version is recommended.

  • Which image and media formats can be displayed by Zenphoto?

    Zenphoto supports the following image formats: .jpg, .gif, .png, and generally all image formats that your server’s graphics library can handle. Supported video formats are: .mp4, .m4a, .flv, .mov, .3gp, .ogv, .webm. As for audio files, .mp3, .m4a, .fla, .webma, .oga are also supported. Audio and video files are either handled by your browser, or by official plugins and jPlayer. Basic support is also provided for displaying .txt, .html, .pdf and .pps files.

  • Why should I use Zenphoto, what is it best suited for?

    Zenphoto is designed for gallery focused websites, while still providing integrated news or blog sections, comments and custom pages. With its support for images, video, and audio, Zenphoto is best suited for designers, artists, photographers, filmmakers and musicians – basically all media-focused websites.

  • What about content storage and publishing in Zenphoto?

    Zenphoto content storage is file system based, so you can upload files and folders via FTP or through the administration panel. Keep in mind that all content is stored on the server file system, so you will need lots of space for media, and you should backup your media regularly. Zenphoto can handle multifile uploads and scheduled publishing. You can upload .zip archives and Zenphoto will unpack the contents to the media directories.

  • What other features are available in Zenphoto?

    Zenphoto also supports full-featured searches (titles, meta-data, tags), RSS updates, automatic watermarking of photos, image sorting, slideshows, automatically generated sized images, a highly customizable theme and plugin system, user management and user permission control.

  • Is Zenphoto free? Under which license was it published?

    Zenphoto is free to use. Zenphoto content management system was published under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2.

  • In which languages is Zenphoto available? What about multilingual websites?

    Zenphoto was originally developed in English, however, there are language packs (translations) available in ten languages. Translations are handled by community members, so if your language is not listed, you can consider volunteering to produce a translation. Translation tutorials are available online. Zenphoto can run multilingual sites, so you can provide your content in different languages.

  • Does this mean Zenphoto will not add to my hosting bill?

    Installing and using Zenphoto should be straightforward and free. Since there are no exotic hardware or software requirements, it shouldn’t cost you anything and will not add to your hosting bill. Do keep in mind that running websites with lots of media content will require lots of storage space from your hosting company.

  • How do I install Zenphoto?

    Automated one-click installation of Zenphoto is available on some hosting packages. SimpleScripts version 3 can also execute the installation of Zenphoto. You can also manually install Zenphoto, there are detailed tutorials available online. Be sure to check for issues like specific PHP settings or version differences.

  • What about Zenphoto performance on shared servers?

    There are a few issues to consider when running Zenphoto on a shared server. If your server has Imagick enabled, you should also activate it in Zenphoto (Settings -> Image), as it uses only a small amount of memory compared to GD graphics library. This can especially influence the speed of the gallery on shared servers. Also, you should not use large image sizes – a 20 MB sized image is usually not necessary. Furthermore, Zenphoto has some plugins to optimize performance: Cache Manager, Static HTML Cache and Preload Image are recommended.

  • I have an unlimited shared hosting plan, is there anything to worry about, will I violate the terms and conditions if I host a big Zenphoto library?

    Yes, there are a few things to worry about. Before you decide to create a Zenphoto site with lots of images, audio, or video content, you need to carefully read your host’s terms of service (TOS) and service level agreement (SLA). Most “unlimited” plans are not really unlimited and your account could be disabled without warning if you proceed to upload a big image library or a few gigabytes of video on your shared server.

  • What about support for Zenphoto?

    Zenphoto is still actively developed, so you can expect new updates and bug fixes. You can get free support from the community, and commercial support is also available through a few official team members. You have to contact and negotiate directly with these developers and eventually hire their services.

  • Can Zenphoto be integrated with WordPress?

    Zenphoto is a standalone CMS, so this is not an easy task. You can find tutorials on integrating Zenphoto with WordPress online. You can also use Zenphoto as a plugin and simply use Zenphoto features and content in your main web pages. It all depends on your skills and needs.

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