SmugMug Basic vs Power: What’s the Difference?

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If you don’t have time to read the article, then comparing SmugMug Basic vs Power plans, SmugMug Basic (15% off with this link!) is perfect for photo storage for hobby users, while SmugMug Power (15% off with this link!) is better for those who want to share their photography or who want access to drag-and-drop templates and page builders.

When you are building a photo website, it’s important that it has all of the features that you need, but you don’t want to pay over the odds for something that is irrelevant to you.

I have found that SmugMug is one of the best, if not the best, photo website builder, with unlimited photo storage and intuitive tools and customization options.

This article gives you a quick overview of the different features and functionality of the two cheapest SmugMug plans: Basic and Power.

SmugMug Basic vs Power

Key Differences Between SmugMug Basic vs Power

The SmugMug Power plan contains everything in the SmugMug Basic plan, plus some extra features. Therefore, SmugMug Basic does not have anything extra over the Power plan, so I will concentrate on only the extras that Power gives you.

Note: During the 14-day free trial period, you have access to all customization features, but once you convert to a Basic plan following this, you will lose all of the Power features listed below. This gives you a risk-free way to try-out the Power plan without having to commit.


SmugMug Basic is the cheapest plan that you can subscribe to, at around $65 per year, while SmugMug Power is available for around $100 a year, when paying annually, (and you can get another 15% off these prices by following this link).

The annual price gives you around a 35% discount, irrespective of any extra discount that you get, when compared to the monthly price. As you will almost certainly be keeping your website for many years, it makes much more sense to pay the cheaper annual price.

Access to Design Templates & Tools

SmugMug Power offers you more than 20 premade design templates, plus drag-and-drop tools, which you do not get access to with the Basic plan.

These make customization far easier, and make it possible to create a unique site with little effort on your part. You can see some fully testable example sites made using these templates here.

SmugMug Power plan templates
Some of the templates available on the SmugMug Power plan

Each template gives you control over the content you display, the theme for each page or gallery, the background and the layout.

The content is both your photos / videos and anything else you want on your site, such as social media icons and your logo.

The theme lets you change the color scheme and fonts, which is built into each template, but can be easily modified to better suit your preference.

The background lets you set a photo or video in the background of your site.

The layout panel lets you change the spacing of your photos on the page, as well as adding sidebars, pinning content, and more.

Any one of these options can be tweaked and changed as you see fit, giving you a very wide range of possibilities in your site which are largely not present in the SmugMug Basic plan.

Full Customization

If you are more technically minded, then the SmugMug Power plan lets you modify the HTML and CSS of your site. Although this is not necessary in order to create a well-designed site, it is a large benefit if you know how to use it.

Custom Domain Name

On the Basic plan, you will be limited to a domain name that ends in “”, such as This is fine if you are simply using your site for photo storage, or for sharing with a few friends, but it looks less professional if you intend to share your photos more widely.

SmugMug custom domain name

The Power plan and above gives you the ability to use a custom domain, such as, although you will have to buy the domain name separately for a few dollars per year.

Extra Privacy and Security Tools

Although all SmugMug plans offer very secure websites, with you able to upload full resolution images but then limit users to only seeing lower res versions, the Power plan includes some extra security features, like custom right-click protection, to make it harder for users to download your images.

What’s the Same Between Basic and Power?

It might seem like the Power plan is substantially better than the Basic plan, but actually there are quite a number of similarities, with both plans sharing some excellent features that really make SmugMug standout from the competition.

For me, the most important shared features are:

  • You can easily create a professional photo site in under an hour, or minutes for a simple site
  • Every plan comes with unlimited photo storage
  • RAW photo storage is available as an add-on
  • SmugMug has an app for basic photo editing and uploading from your desktop or phone
  • Zero image compression – upload high res images, but limit users to only viewing low res to avoid image theft
  • Easy image management and organization
  • Password protection for individual photos, galleries and pages

Which SmugMug Plan is Best for You?

Overall, SmugMug remains my favorite photo website builder regardless of the plan that you choose.

SmugMug Basic and Power Plan Prices
SmugMug Basic and Power Plan Prices

The Basic plan is ideal for unlimited photo storage, as it is much more reliable than a hard drive, with the RAW add-on a particular bonus, allowing you to store your RAW files for a few extra dollars. You can also use the Basic plan for image sharing among friends and family, although the lack of customization makes it less suitable for sharing outside your immediate circle, or for professional use.

The Power plan is the cheapest plan that is suitable for professional photographers, or those who want to share their images more widely. You get access to more templates and powerful customization options, plus you can use a custom domain, as well as all of the benefits of the Basic plan. The Power plan is therefore my recommended choice.

Read More:

Compare SmugMug Power vs Portfolio Plans

And SmugMug Portfolio vs Pro Plan

Compare SmugMug vs 500px

Compare SmugMug vs Flickr

Follow Tim Daniels:

Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

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