Gallery 3 Project migration


As you know by now Gallery 3 Photo engine is hibernating. I decided to explore alternatives. Please note that unless I comfortable, I will be keeping my main gallery live while building up pieces using my new engine of choice.

As a long time G2/G3 user and seasoned plugin and theme developer for Gallery for past many years, while have a sad feeling, I have wisdom of knowing how things work and what to expect.

In this series, I will be posting my short notes on my experience migrating my photo site to new engine.


  • Ideally 1:1 replacement – which means…
  • Keep it private, private … Ability to host locally, i.e. gallery engine is not linked to any particular host or OS. LAMP or WAMP stack.
  • Ability to create custom themes (everyone wants to be unique or at least have variety of choices how gallery looks like)
  • Ability to create plugins. I would expect gallery engine to have number of plugins already available, but I do want to have ability to customize/extend it further nevertheless
  • Ability to move my content with as little effort as possible (local import, self organizing of the files)
  • Light resource requirement. Ability to import large photos.
  • and ability to use shared hosing which
  • Not as important for me, but should allow multilingual support
  • Image and Video upload support
  • User, User groups and permission setup

“Shared” Solutions

there are plenty of “shared” photo storages on the market and “public” storage is ok for you take a look at the following:

  • off course, you can always use FB for the whole world to see and for FB to monetize 🙂
  • Or Google flavored – Picasa

“Local” Choices

There are many around, but I would consider

Making personal choice

In the end it all comes to personal choice, so take it with the grain of salt and evaluate if solution works for you…


For few years now WP has Photo Gallery support. It is blog integrated and is very simple to use and customize. However if you have large number of photos to post this option may not work for you.
Being familiar with WP and using it as a blog engine but as  I am not planning to merge my blog and my photo gallery, I am going to skip on reviewing it here.


I was keeping eye on the project for some time and I do like it. Project is well established and have plenty of plugins and themes.

Install was  easy and I was able to import most of my photos… until large files were to be processed… and it failed… Turns out ImageMagic with my shared hosting just did not have enough juice to be able process images even on basic level to extract metadata.

Please note that it could be a that there are some tweaks required (I did some changes in G3 for it to work in the same scenario, but this is exactly what I am trying to avoid in my review process).

Bummer… so I would still recommend to take a look at ZenPhoto and consider it as a possible solution for you… but for me, I am moving on…


Well established, but too “old-looking”. This project is still going strong and active, but to my taste it is “legacy” solution. While it still have a lot of nice features, way it is organized is just not for me.


If you do not mind French here and there, take a close look at this little beauty. 🙂

Let’s look at my checklist above:

  • It is not 1:1 replacement, but close enough
  • I can host locally on the LAMP stack without changing hosting
  • I can inherit or create custom themes. In fact, it is somewhat easier with Piwigo
  • I can create plugins and there is plenty of existing one.
  • Local import and self organizing of the files is supported
  • Light resource requirement. Ability to import large photos.
  • I can keep my shared hosting
  • Multilingual support
  • Image and Video upload support (additional plugins may be required)
  • User, User groups and permission setup

Now the experience:

  • Deployment was a breeze – you can do full code deployment or use “pull” method and all components would be downloaded for you, you just need to deploy one file and setup your database. Rest will be done during setup.
  • I have uploaded my var folder from G3 and run Sync. All photos (2000+) was imported into gallery tree and appear in the gallery. No hiccups, no resource issues.
  • There is G2 import plugin you can install and try. It may even take G3 photos, but I did not try it. If G3 is the issue, someone may try to adjust G2 version to take G3 content especially if you have a good amount of metadata you need to bring across. I opted out to import images only.
  • Aside from few default themes installed by default, you can pull number of other themes from repository along with various plugins. There might be some things missing which I am used to with G3, but I do not consider it an issue as I can migrate missing parts myself.
  • If you are looking for GreyDragon Theme – I started process of migrating it over Piwigo and will make it available in next month or so. If you’d like to help testing it, please let me know. Just do not expect full port immediately.
  • If you are looking for any of my plugins which do not have equivalent at Piwigo already, please let me know and I will consider the port.


  • There is a code repository if you like to have access to raw stuff
  • Along with bug tracking system
  • Looking for ideas for your new gallery look, visit showcase section.

Americans beware, or not 🙂

Piwigo is started by Pierrick Le Gall, French and you would find some number of posts or plugin’s descriptions in French.

Do not be discouraged by this 🙂 people in Europe can speak 2-3 languages fluently and usually English is one of them. So have question or two, visit forum and ask.

PS/Edit: Read above with smile. How Pierrick highlighted in his comment below, Piwigo is international project and anyone will feel right at home regardless what language they speak.


I have moved my gallery to Piwigo.

You can follow visit this blog for more details as I will be posting updates and in some near future will be making GreyDragon available for testing and then official download.


Subscribe for Twitter feed at @greydragon_th to be informed about Theme development.

This entry was posted in Gallery 3 Development, Piwigo, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

96 thoughts on “Gallery 3 Project migration”

  1. Hi, I’ve read your article and comments, and thank you for summing it up so well.
    I don’t see a mention of NextGen:
    What is your take on this?
    I’m not very technical and not good at “server stuff” I run a gallery with 400 artists and their work.

    1. I would consider NextGen as obsolete at this time as WordPress itself provides decent support for small to medium size galleries.
      I did not used it in large scale so I do not have strong opinion, but implementations I have seen are not very complex and presentation is somewhat rudimental.
      You can go and heavy mod it to give gallery more modern look, but it would require some work.

      1. Tobi says:

        Hi there, thank you very much for your detailed report and rating of galleries. I would need a gallery which would serve as a download portal for a group of parents. Its a rather large number of pictures and videos. For now we startet to use Gallery3, and i am sad it kinda stopped allready. Also i am missing something like a preselect feature. You know, you select or checkmark the thumbnails and then hit a download button to get it all at once.
        Do you have any hints for us?

  2. Hello,
    You are all so very clever and tekkie! 🙂
    Can someone please advice me on which gallery to use for a low-tekkie person? I’ve read this thread and several others, and below is my take on “what is out there”… bear in mind i’m a “low-tekkie” and know nothing about servers and stuff like that.
    I have a website with 2 purposes. Information (about alternative photographic processes) and galleries. There are over 450 artists showing their work and they each have a gallery and most have sub galleries. So, a LOT of images.
    I have been using Gallery3, which is now going into hibernation, so I have to find a new solution.

    Does anyone have experience of a gallery with LOADS of images, this is how I understand it (but i may be wrong):

    WP gallery: Good, but gets messy when there are a lot of images i.e. not suitable. There seem to be an unsupported plugin that pulls in images here, but will it just add them to the media library? That will be a mess…

    ZenPhoto: Does not process large photos well (?)
    and the short codes plugin with WordPress is not longer maintained:

    Coppermine: Seems to be able to do anything, but a non-tekkie like me who doesn’t know her way around a server is lost. And also no way of getting the gallery into wordpress that i can figure out.

    Piwigo: Does look pretty smooth and does seems to integrate with wordpress (any experience on this?):

    Smugmug: Pay version and I don’t have a budget…

    Zenfolio : Also a pay version

    EnviraGallery: Paid

    NextGen Gallery: Seems easy, but I have a feeling it will be crazy with a huge number of albums and images? Going to be obsolete soon?

    Google drive: Will it work using Google drive to make galleries and then import them, or will that be 100 hours of manual work?

    Flickr: flickr is messy i think… but may well work?

    FooGallery: will it work with a huge number of images?

    Anyone has anything to add to this? What would you do if you were me? I obviously want one that will be around for a while too… Any thoughts?
    Thanks a lot.

  3. ddtddt says:

    Piwigo have a plugin Menalto2Piwigo -> for migrate 😉

  4. Jens Andersson says:

    Thanks Serge for your effort. I was just in the process of migrating from Gallery2 to Gallery3 while migrating to a new server when I found out the Gallery project state.

    So my obvious question is if you see any problems in migrating from Gallery2 to Piwigo?


    1. There is G2-to-PWG migration plugin which would allow you to move content across with metadata
      This should be enough in most cases

      1. Jens Andersson says:

        I had to re-install piwigo from scratch and thus have move the meta-data from gallery2 to piwigo once more. I copy the gallery2 albums and photos to piwiog/galleries and synkronise. Butt is best practice, apply the Menalto2Piwigo plug-in after each synch, or wait with the plug-in until all gallery2 albums have been synchronised in piwigo?

        1. it is question best asked on the support forum for the plugin
          I have not done any such migration myself and it would be hard for me to tell you if it would work or not, Sorry

  5. windracer says:

    So I’m trying Piwigo again and for the most part, the migration plugin from G3 to PWG seems to work. However, it only migrates photos, not videos. Has anyone figured out a good way to move all the movies from G3 into Piwigo?

  6. windracer says:

    Please disregard my previous comment … I figured out how to get my videos to import in.

    1. plg says:

      Hi windracer,

      Can you give me more details about your solution?

      1. I added the VideoJS plugin before synchronizing.

  7. igirisjin says:

    I have been using Piwigo for a year as a replacement for Gallery 3 but disappointed. As a personal gallery its ok but I would not recommend it as a user gallery as many functions are for Admin only (selecting album cover for 1).
    On the same server and set up as G3, Piwigo shuts down the whole site for several 1 hour time outs as it exceeds script limits every time new photos are uploaded that are over 3MB. When new photo thumbnails are clicked it takes too much of the processor.
    G 3 didnt do this.
    It is not as easy to use as G3 and when making a new album the default location is inside the previous album and not the gallery main page. Other editing functions are poorly implemented.

    G3 was great….

    Zen gallery is better I think but many options when making an album (not ideal for basic users). They can’t be easily hidden.

    I might try wordpress though.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. I still have not migrated, as i desperately hope for a user friendly alternative to magically appear. (Or the G3 people to change their minds and come back and keep G3 going…)

      1. igirisjin says:

        True, G3 is still the best but it is not being updated and will eventually become a security risk.

        I am now using Zenphoto gallery and for me it is better than Piwigo. Users reported problems uploading to Piwigo.
        So far Zenphoto performs better for a multi-user gallery (club group).

  8. Martyd says:

    Have been through all the suggestions several times. Bottomline – I want a self-hosted Gallery which can easily provide upload from phone and smart devices. More importantly, a working Adroid | IOS App to view the gallery. Have not found a workable version of anything regardless of what the app developer thinks

    Suggestions? I currently have gone from several Gallery installs to nothing. Some Gallery installs are still in place while I find a workable replacement. Very surprising there has been no one stepping up.

  9. I’ve been holding out from moving my G3 of 8+K photos somewhere, but I am getting more and more concerned about remaining on a dormant app, so I think the time has come. I will be looking at all the options above and at all your comments and feedback… keep it coming.

  10. Speedyk says:

    Serge, thank you for the article and for Grey Dragon, which I use on G3. I am looking for a way forward, one useful item is private galleries as mentioned in a comment above. For those who want something that works with WordPress, there is also NextCellent Gallery, which is based on the old Next_Gen Gallery. I much prefer it to the new one and to the WordPress media pane. WordPress, for some reason, only allows either a hidden or a password protected page, not both, got a ????? reaction when I asked.

    With NextCellent Gallery I can go in to the server and change folder names and then change them in the GUI and NextCellent Gallery will adapt. This was helpful when I discovered several websites built around my images and hotlinking them as well. I simply changed the photo directory name by one letter and their pages went blank, while mine did not.

    I run Zenphoto for a non-tech relative, it is perfect for them, very easy and smooth. Now that I know Grey Dragon is available on Piwigo I’ll give it a try for my G3 orphans.

    1. malinfabbri says:

      Thats a great looking theme!
      I’m wondering if any of you have experience of creating albums with many users?
      I have a website with a gallery displaying 500 photographers and their work:
      As you can see it desperately needs updating and Gallery3 is not being maintained. 🙁
      Ideally I would like
      1. Photographers have their own login (without accessing the rest of the wordpress site)
      2. Storing images on a server/dropbox, i.e. not using the WordPress media library, because it is such a mess?
      3. Can images be filed into different folders (or it will be a mess!)? 🙂

      I looked at both ZenPhoto (which seems really dated) and Piwigo (but can’t figure out how to integrate to WordPress). Other options I’ve looked at is Envira (but this stores in WP media library).
      Perhaps NextGEN is a good option, but it seems to messy! Any thoughts?
      Happy new year!

      1. igirisjin says:

        I did not go along the integration route so I have a page visible only to members. That has shared login IDs for them to use for the zenphoto gallery. Its worked very well so far for 50-180 people. Never had trouble with people sharing accounts.
        Photos are uploaded to a decent filing structure.
        I did not like a lot of things in Piwigo and apart from using a gallery plugin for wordpress, Zenphoto is so far the best for group/club use. Since G3 has gone its a case of making the best of a bad situation.

    2. igirisjin says:

      I’m still using zenphoto and its been working well. Not G3 but its doing the job failry well.

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