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WordPress has a simple gallery tool built-in.
Just in case you didn’t know that, check out this tutorial on using galleries in WordPress.
Otherwise, you probably need some more advanced functionality, or perhaps you want a better-looking gallery. The plugins included in this collection take things much further.
You’ll find awesome new features for your galleries like built-in social sharing buttons, albums & tags, eCommerce functionality, and more.
Image gallery WordPress plugins
Below are the best plugins to consider when adding a photo gallery into a post or page on your WordPress site. There’s a mixture of free, premium, and freemium solutions included, so pick whatever matches your needs and budget best.
If you’re okay with a premium plugin, it’s hard to beat the Envira Gallery plugin. In my opinion, it’s the most full-featured and professionally designed solution on the market today for creating galleries.
Let’s start with the basics.
Every gallery you create with Envira Gallery is responsive, so they will look awesome on laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. They have pre-made gallery templates to select from, plus you can use the drag-and-drop editor to design your own. You can also enable popup lightboxes for larger versions of every image and include other media like Vimeo and Youtube videos.
Envira Gallery also includes integrations with tons of popular third-party sites and plugins. For instance, you can import images from Instagram, add Pinterest Pin It buttons to your images, and even link photos to sales pages via the WooCommerce integration. Believe it or not, there’s quite a bit more functionality in this gallery plugin I haven’t mentioned yet, so make sure to check it out if you want to see more.
I can’t make a list of gallery plugins without including NextGEN.
This plugin has been around for years and has been the most popular solution for adding galleries to WordPress for nearly as long. While I have never found the interface to be particularly user-friendly, it is a feature-packed and time-tested plugin for creating and managing galleries in WordPress.
NextGEN Gallery gives you an entirely new interface for managing galleries, albums, and tags. Galleries are added like a custom post type which lets you create them similar to how you would with a post. The difference is the galleries aren’t published like posts. Instead, a finished gallery will supply a shortcode which you can then use to include it in any post or page you want.
The NextGEN Gallery plugin is free and always will be, but the creators now offer premium add-ons as well for additional options.
If you want a simpler gallery plugin, check out Modula. It’s really light and well-designed for quickly creating and adding galleries to your site.
If you’re not so interested in having tons of features and settings available for your galleries, Modula will stand out as a superior choice. There’s even a short Youtube video on the plugin page showing how simple Modula is to use.
Just pick a size to use for the images, pick the images you want to use, and create the gallery. You’ll get a shortcode that can be added into any post/page. If you decide you want more functionality for your galleries like lightboxes, social sharing, and hover effects, there’s a premium version available as well.
Photo Gallery is a great option for adding beautiful galleries to WordPress. This freemium plugin has paid add-ons for more functionality, but the free version itself is quite advanced.
Some of the great features that come with this plugin include:
- Customizable layouts
- A well-organized back-end
- Widgets for gallery output
- Meta data for SEO
Photo Gallery enjoys mostly five-star reviews from its users, although it has attracted some 1-star reviews along the way. These are largely due to users being unhappy with the limited feature set while more options are available as add-ons. As long as you know in advance that this is a freemium choice, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Gallery Factory is an awesome option for anyone who wants more advanced galleries. This premium gallery plugin stands out because of its ability to handle large numbers of images.
If you have hundreds or thousands of images to showcase, this may be the best choice. For example, if you plan on making a website designed like a stock photography site, you’ll have hundreds of image results to list and you’ll need a powerful solution to showcase them all. Gallery Factory is designed effectively to handle circumstances like this.
Gallery Factory includes a new media manager that is quite advanced and has a great material design like an app made by Google. The layout builder is simple and intuitive which makes creating custom designs very easy and quick. And speaking of quick, the photo galleries are well-optimized for performance so visitors will be able to speedily scroll through all images that show up.
Which gallery plugin is best for you?
I have to give Envira Gallery my top recommendation because of its amazing balance of great features and design. The usability, in particular, sets it above and beyond the other options listed here. It’s incredibly easy to use to create gorgeous galleries.
That said, if you’d prefer a free option then NextGEN gallery (more features) or Modula (simpler interface) might be best for your site. Photo Gallery is another freemium option and has a good number of features included in the free version.
Lastly, Gallery Factory is a solid premium image gallery plugin and might be the best option here if you want to create gallery displays with hundreds or even thousands of images.