Ever wanted to add a lightbox gallery to your WordPress website? In this post, we’ll take a look at the best plugins you can use to easily and quickly add a photo, video or animated GIF gallery to your website.
These are some of the best WordPress gallery plugins available, so let’s jump right in, kicking it off with our favorite WordPress photo gallery plugin, Modula.
Modula is a powerful, easy-to-use WordPress gallery plugin. It gives you a wide range of flexible customization options so you can easily tweak your gallery to your liking while makes it easier than ever to add a lightbox gallery to your WordPress website. Unlike other available gallery plugins, with Modula’s custom grid functionality, you can freely resize images within your gallery’s container, controlling their heights, widths and aspect ratio. All you need to do is switch a gallery from ‘creative gallery’ to ‘custom grid’ and start resizing and changing the dimensions of your images by clicking and dragging from the bottom right-hand corners of the images in your gallery.
Modula has a wonderful user experience overall. If you want more details, take a look at Woorkup’s review of Modula, where Brian goes into quite a bit of detail about it and who it’s great. People clearly love Modula. We’re pretty impressed by it ourselves and have enjoyed using it on some of our members sites.
Modula is very advanced when it comes to customization and power. It offers advanced flexibility in a polished interface that we haven’t found to be available in other gallery plugins.
Any and all new and existing Modula Pro users also get access to the Modula Speed Up extension which makes it easier than ever to optimize your galleries to load as fast as possible. When enabled, the extension provides on-the-fly image optimization powered by ShortPixel at no extra cost.
- Ability to design custom girds – freely resize images within the gallery container so you get to choose which images stand out
- A choice of 6 different stunning lightbox effects
- 12 stunning and creative hover effects built-in. Using an effect is a great, simple way to engage your audience. The effects are designed to be cross-browser compatible and with the use of modern techniques like CSS3 animations, the effects work perfectly on mobile devices too.
- Premium Modula video extension available so you can easily add videos to your gallery.
There are some things we’d like to see improved, but overall we like Modula a lot. We include it and all premium features in our Boxcar and Dining Car plans. So if you’re a wpXPRESS member (or become one), you can use Modula and our WordPress support, to get awesome image and video galleries on your website.
If you’re looking to sell your work using your gallery plugin, it might be worth taking a look at Envira Gallery. Made by the people who brought you the Soliloquy slider plugin, Envira Gallery is a full featured gallery with many modern features.
Just as with Modula, any gallery created with Envira will be responsive and look just as good on mobile devices. There’s a free “lite” version on WordPress.org, or you can buy premium features starting at $29. There are some additional up-sold add-ons available, including:
- Gallery Themes – includes three stylish skins for your galleries.
- Tags – allows you to add tags to images in your galleries.
- Pinterest – adds a “Pin It” button to your images.
- Pagination – improve speed by splitting your galleries across multiple pages.
- Password Protection – password protect images.
- EXIF Data – add EXIF metadata to your images.
The price for all features is $99.
FooGallery is a great alternative for for developers, and those who don’t want to spend any money on creating galleries. The plugin was created to be easily extensible for developers. You can code custom extensions using the available hooks and filters. Basically, it’s possible for you to create plugins for this plugin that can then be made available to other FooGallery users. As a result, there is a lot of functionality available if you’re willing to create your own extensions or pay for their premium upgrades.
Because the plugin is modular and extendable, this keeps the core plugin lightweight — this is good news for site speed. If you want extra functionality, just install the add-ons you need. This modular approach means that you won’t be carrying any excess baggage.
Here are some of the most notable extensions available for FooGallery:
- Add affiliate links to your gallery images.
- Use the FooBox lightbox plugin with FooGallery.
- Add a zoom effect to your galleries.
- Custom Branding.
The NextGEN Gallery plugin the grandaddy of all WordPress gallery plugins. It’s also one of the first to start offering a freemium model. It’s been massively overhauled since the early days when I first started using it, but still retains much of the same ability to organize your image or photos into galleries, albums, and then tag them for additional organization.
NextGEN Gallery is very focused on photographers. It provides advanced organization, proofing, and even the ability to sell your showcased photos. Though it’s the most installed gallery plugin on WordPress.org, it’s complexity has led to some mixed experiences. The average rating on the official repository is 3 out of 5 stars.
Back when I used it on one of our members’ sites, I remember having to review the documentation each time I went in to update and reorganize the photos on the site. The interaction between Galleries, Albums, and how they’re displayed on the front-end is not intuitive. Once you’ve passed the learning curve by using it enough, it’s a very powerful plugin.
If you’re a photographer, with a photo-focused site, NextGEN is probably the plugin for you. It allows you to create beautiful photo galleries and albums with the ability to upload photos in bulk, import metadata, rearrange photos, and much more, based on which plan level you purchase.
- Batch uploading of images
- Importing metadata from your photos
- Grouping galleries into albums
- Full screen lightbox
- Image commenting
- Photo deep-linking
- Sell image with Stripe, Paypal, & coupons
- Advanced Lightroom extension to connect your site with Adobe Lightroom
- Premium themes
Choosing a gallery plugin can be an involved process since there are so many great options available. These are the ones we recommend you start your search with. Ultimately some of the decision will depend on the functionality that you need or want most.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful and have made it easy to put an end to your search for the perfect WordPress gallery plugin with all of the information provided in the post above!
If you have any questions or want to share what plugin you chose after reading this post, feel free to leave a comment below!