The best WordPress gallery plugins make it possible to showcase images or even videos on your website in a more dynamic way. Apart from the built-in WordPress gallery block, WordPress gallery plugins allow you to create customizable galleries for your website.
If you’re looking for the best WordPress gallery plugin, sifting through all the options to find a plugin that suits your needs can be overwhelming. You may also need help to understand what you should be looking for when trying to decide on a WordPress gallery plugin.
In this post, we’ll break down the best WordPress gallery plugins and help you work out what features you should be considering when picking a gallery plugin for your site. Let’s dive in!
What is a WordPress Gallery Plugin?A WordPress gallery plugin allows you to create dynamic photo or video galleries for your WordPress website.
While website design trends are always changing, galleries can still provide a great way to showcase images and videos for your website’s visitors.
Users can view graphics, images and videos in a more interactive way, with a design that you can customize. For example, if you are a photographer or want to show off your products in their best light, a WordPress gallery plugin can make your work shine.
Most WordPress gallery plugins work by allowing you to upload photos, images, or videos to your WordPress media library, or you can use externally-hosted media, to build a gallery.
While it’s hard to find a website that doesn’t use images, not every website needs a gallery plugin. WordPress does include a built-in gallery block as one of the many WordPress blocks available within the new Gutenberg WordPress editor to help you create basic galleries without a separate plugin.
5 Features to Look for in a WordPress Gallery Plugin
With the overwhelming number of WordPress gallery plugins on the market, it can be a tough job figuring out the decent ones from the ones that aren’t as helpful. Here are some features to look for when selecting a WordPress gallery plugin.
You may not know what a lightbox is, but you’ve almost certainly used one. A lightbox is when you click on an image and it opens in a box that is centered on your screen with no background (a lightbox).
Photo and Video Support
As video becomes ever more popular, there’s a good chance that as a content creator you could also be dabbling in mixed media.
That’s why it’s important to find a WordPress gallery plugin that supports both photos and videos to ensure you’re future-proofed and don’t need to change solutions further down the line.
Animation & Effects
Pictures are meant to be captivating and as your users scroll over the stunning gallery you put together grab their attention with some subtle but slick animations and effects. This can help make your gallery stand out, turning a boring page into an interesting page.
With smartphones becoming ever more popular and traffic numbers for mobile going through the roof, it’s absolutely crucial that website galleries work as well on mobile devices as on desktop. Horizontal scrolling on a smaller device isn’t fun and will quickly turn a visitor off from interacting with your gallery.
Demos & Templates
Get started with putting a gallery together can be difficult, so look for WordPress gallery plugins that include inspiration in the form of importable demos and templates. These jumping-off points for your galleries can be useful to help you overcome a steep learning curve and, ultimately, save you time.
Just note you’ll still want to make sure to customize any default galleries so you don’t end up with a cookie-cutter website that potential customers may have already seen before.
The Best WordPress Gallery Plugins
To help you choose the best WordPress gallery plugin, we tested multiple WordPress gallery plugins to highlight the features that each plugin provides, from simple to complex.
We’ve included both free and premium plugin options, so you can also decide your level of investment. Each plugin includes information on features, pros, cons, pricing, and our final verdict. Let’s dive in.
About Envira Gallery
Originally a product from the AwesomeMotive team (the company behind products such as WPForms, OptinMonster, and more), Envira Gallery was acquired by Nathan Singh in 2018.
Envira Gallery is a feature-rich gallery plugin for WordPress. Although rather interestingly it doesn’t seem to have kept the same popularity since the AwesomeMotive team sold it and it’s actually been in negative growth based on the WordPress.org charts.
Today, Einvira Gallery boasts more than 100,000+ active installs on WordPress.org with an average rating of 4.8 stars of which more than 1,200 are 5-stars.
Envira Gallery Pros
Envira Gallery has everything you need in a gallery plugin and has in our opinion one of the best gallery builders in the WordPress space, with an intuitive and easy-to-use builder that makes creating the gallery of your dreams simple.
Apart from that as you’d expect Envira Gallery is fully responsive and works great across both desktops, tablets, and mobiles, and is SEO optimized to help boost your gallery and images in search results.
Envira Gallery Cons
Envira Gallery, like many plugins, is a freemium plugin which means there’s a free version available with limited features, and then there’s a paid version.
Of course, everyone has to make money and it’s understandable, but in our opinion, one critical feature is held back from the plugin and forces you into purchasing Envira Gallery. That feature is pagination.
But worse than that, the pagination isn’t even available in the basic plan for the paid plan, so you have to get to the next plan up.
Pagination is pretty vital to a gallery plugin most people don’t want to endlessly scroll hundreds of images unless they’re using Instagram.
Envira Gallery Pricing
As we mentioned above, Envira Gallery is available as a free plugin from WordPress.org, and then there’s the premium version available from the Envira Gallery website.
The plugin has an add-on model but rather than the add-ons being available to buy individually, the add-ons come as part of the pricing tiers which are as follows:
- Basic ($29/yr) — A single site license with one years worth of support and updates.
- Plus ($69/yr) — A three-site license with one years worth of support, and updates which also includes 17 pro add-ons.
- Pro ($99/yr — A five-site license with one years worth of support, and updates which also includes 32 pro add-ons.
- Lifetime ($299) — An unlimited site license that includes lifetime support and updates, WordPress multisite support, and includes 32 Pro add-ons.
We feel it’s confusing having the add-ons labeled as Pro when there is a Pro plan and some plans include more Pro add-ons than others. This makes it a little unclear and muddy about what is/isn’t included.
Our Opinion on Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery is a great gallery plugin that offers everything you could want, although it comes with the caveat that you’ll likely need the Pro plan. Some users may be able to make do with the basic free plugin available from WordPress.org. All and all, a slightly confusing pricing structure with add-ons isn’t enough to detract from what is one of the easiest to use WordPress gallery plugins available.
About NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery is a freemium WordPress gallery plugin that was developed by the team at Imagely. It’s one of the oldest WordPress gallery plugins, originally launching in 2007, and has grown in popularity ever since.
Today NextGEN Gallery boasts more than 800,000+ active installs and has more than 2,700+ 5-star ratings. However, not everything is rosy in NextGEN Gallery, with more than 450+ 1-star reviews which we’ll explore in more detail later in the article.
NextGEN Gallery Pros
The primary pro of NextGEN Gallery is that it’s incredibly performant for a WordPress gallery plugin. Thanks to its use of transients, which help cache data in the WordPress database, the plugin speeds up loading times.
Apart from that, out of the box, NextGen has three main gallery types including Thumbnail, Slideshow, and an Image browser.
The pro version of NextGEN Gallery even has eCommerce support for selling images which is easy-to-use and a great way to earn extra money from your hobby or increase your revenue as a professional photographer.
NextGEN Gallery Cons
The main con of NextGEN Gallery is that it doesn’t support WebP images. Online WebP images are quickly becoming the industry standard and as NextGEN Gallery doesn’t support them, you’ll need to make sure you instead use PNG or JPG image file type.
Apart from that, there is the elephant in the room of all those 1-star reviews on WordPress.org, with concerns surrounding support, plugin functionality, and ease of use.
Just note that it’s well-known, especially in the WordPress world, if someone doesn’t get the response they want, they’ll blame support even if it isn’t their fault.
NextGEN isn’t as slick as Envira Gallery in our opinion but it’s still reasonably easy to use.
NextGEN Gallery Pricing
As we mentioned earlier, NextGEN gallery is a freemium plugin which means there’s the free version available on WordPress.org and then the premium version available from their website.
The pricing is based on functionality with some plans having more functionality than others. Honestly, this isn’t our favorite pricing model and we prefer those plugins where the pricing varies based on the number of sites you need and not the functionality.
There are three plans which are:
- Plus ($99) — A single site license that includes plugin updates, and support for one year.
- Pro ($139 — A three-site license that includes plugin updates, and support for one year. Along with eCommerce support and theme designs.
- Lifetime ($349) — An unlimited site license that includes plugin updates, and support for life along with everything in the Pro plan, plus WordPress multisite support.
Overall, the pricing of NextGEN Gallery is a good value for the money with its feature set and offers everything you’d need to build awesome website galleries.
Our Opinion on NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery is a great WordPress gallery plugin that has a strong history in the WordPress plugin space with a team that pushes out consistent updates. This means it won’t be abandoned anytime soon.
While the 1-star ratings may put some people off, overall, there are more positives than negatives.
FooGallery is an easy-to-use WordPress gallery plugin created by the team at FooPlugins. The name FooPlugins might sound familiar and that’s because Adam Warner who now works at GoDaddy was the co-founder of FooPlugins.
FooGallery has gained ever more popularity and now has more than 200,000+ active installs and in excess of 500+ 5-star ratings on WordPress.org.
FooGallery has a beautiful minimalist look to its galleries with simple pagination and the bonus of lazy-loading to ensure that your galleries load like lightning.
And yet that’s not even the best feature. That honor belongs to the video support which makes it easy to show videos in your gallery. It supports pagination, but if you want that Instagram type effect, then infinite scrolling is also available.
Out of the box, there are 6 gallery templates as well which makes getting started quick, and easy. Those templates are:
- Responsive Image Gallery
- Image Viewer Gallery
- Masonry Gallery
- Simple Portfolio
- Justified Gallery
- Single Thumbnail Gallery
There’s nothing we don’t like about FooGallery. It’s a fantastic, feature-rich plugin that does everything you need.
Like the other plugins mentioned in this article, FooGallery is a freemium WordPress plugin that has a free version available on WordPress.org and the premium version is available from their website.
The free plugin is much more generous in its feature-set than both Envira Gallery and NextGEN Gallery.
FooGallery has three pricing tiers and all features are included across all tiers.
- Personal ($59/yr) — A single site license that includes plugin updates, and support for one year.
- Pro ($109/yr) — A five-site license that includes plugin updates, and support for one year.
- Business ($199/yr) — A 25-site license that includes plugin updates, and support for one year.
In addition, all FooGallery plans are also available as a monthly subscription or a single payment in the shape of a lifetime plan.
Plus, there are bundles available if you want to pick up all FooPlugins offerings for a reduced price.
Note: One neat trick for purchasing is that if you start the checkout and go to exit you’ll be offered an additional 10% off.
Our Opinion on FooGallery
FooGallery has a generous free plugin that can’t be matched by rivals with how much it offers for absolutely no cost at all, and the premium plugin just further extends what is already an excellent gallery plugin for WordPress.
Fair pricing and an easy-to-use plugin makes this a great option for your WordPress gallery plugin.
Wrapping Up: The Best Gallery Plugins for WordPress
As you can see, there are a lot of WordPress gallery plugins on the market. To help you save time selecting the best WordPress gallery plugin, we’ve shown you what we believe are the best three WordPress gallery plugins, so whatever plugin you choose, you’ll be making a great choice.
If you’re on a tight budget or have no budget, FooGallery is perfect for you and will help you get your WordPress gallery running before you know it.
Do you use a WordPress gallery plugin? Have you used any of the plugins we’ve mentioned here? And What’s your favorite WordPress gallery plugin? Let us know in the comments below!
Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. You can usually find her working on new articles for the iThemes blog or developing resources for #WPprosper. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys journaling (she’s written two books!), hiking and camping, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.