For thousands of sites across the Internet, gallery plugins are the cornerstone of multimedia presentation. By allowing you to showcase beautiful high-rise images of screenshots, full-length videos, and other illustrations, a gallery plugin can help add a touch of professionalism and style to any site in only a few minutes.
But it’s not all about appearances. Gallery plugins are also designed to make the management of your multimedia files as easy as possible, even allowing you to upload and publish in bulk. Many of the latest plugins also offer a variety of extras including animated effects, social network integration, and more.
Although there’s hundreds of WordPress plugins to choose from, only a handful have stood the test of time and proven to be worthwhile. Below we’ll look at the top five, chosen for their unique features, ease-of-use, and overall value.
With well over 10 million downloads, NextGEN is the single most popular gallery plugin on all of WordPress, as well as one of the most popular plugins in existence. Like you’d expect from such a popular plugin, you’ll find everything you need to batch upload and sort through entire albums of content. You’ll also find multiple display styles, and a wide degree of control over everything from lightbox effects to transitions.
NextGEN also has some of the most advanced gallery management to find in any plugin. For example, you can edit images directly through NextGEN, cropping thumbnails, adding watermarks, and even editing metadata. Unfortunately, there is one drawback. Because NextGEN is moderately difficult to use, at one point or another, you’ll probably find yourself digging through the support section of WordPress for a little help, but that should be only a minor problem considering all the benefits.
Social sharing buttons have become a staple for nearly every type of website. The Social Gallery plugin aims to kill two birds with one stone by offering those social sharing features alongside a highly functional social media optimized image gallery. You can like, pin, and tweet directly from the gallery, making it easy to drive traffic where you want it. As far as the gallery itself, it’s been efficiently designed to allow users to scroll through content by tapping their arrow keys, similar to browsing images on Facebook. Although customization options are somewhat limited compared to many of the other entries on this list, you’ll still find a healthy 40+ animations and transitions that can help you style this plugin perfectly.
Justified Image Grid
Justified is a fully responsive plugin allows you to sort and align your thumbnails with the use of jQuery, similar to how Google image search and Flickr work. Compared to standard WordPress galleries, this can help make your content far more accessible. That accessibility extends further due to the fact that you can load content directly from Instagram, Facebook, or a variety of other social media image sources. And if you want to scrape feeds from the Internet, you can draw images from RSS feeds, videos from YouTube, images from deviant art, posts from Tumblr, and much more.
This plugin also allows you to control virtually every aspect of your image gallery, from the magnification icon to the border around your images. This includes over 300 settings you can use to set up your gallery just the way you want. So if you’re looking for a gallery plugin that will comfortably squeeze into just about any space on your site, Justified may be just what you need.
If you’re looking for straightforward, no-nonsense photo plugin, you can’t go wrong with PhotoMosaic. Installation is as easy as opening the WordPressdefault gallery creation, and then selecting PhotoMosaic as your default gallery. There’s no further set up required, and your page will be instantly transformed into a striking and fresh layout that allows you to easily navigate through a huge body of images. Of course, you can still fully customize the columns, image links, and loading animations, but the real strength of this plugin is how hands off and simple it is to use.
If you want to incorporate videos with your gallery, TubePress is the right place to begin. This simple to use plugin gives you more than a half a dozen controls over embedding video content from YouTube or Vimeo. All you have to do is adjust presentation settings to your liking and a gallery will be automatically created for you and placed anywhere that you insert the short codes it provides. This plugin also allows for you to display videos that are based on a specific user, a playlist, the user’s favorites, popular videos on YouTube, or even related videos to those you select. If you want to play videos in your gallery, you can’t go wrong with TubePress.