If you’re looking for the best photo gallery plugin for WordPress to help you display your images for maximum effect on your blog or website, the premium and free options below have you covered…
NextGEN is hands down the most widely used gallery plugin. With more than 16.5 million downloads and an average star rating of 3.3/5 it is a great choice for just about all use cases. The thing I really like about NextGEN is that it is under active development. Because the Pro version is so popular the developers are able to afford to invest in ongoing development so the free version also gets regular updates and new features like:
UPDATE: Nextgen now offers a range of Pro plugin pricing options, including gallery, lightbox and eCommerce extensions so photographers can easily sell their work directly from their WordPress powered site. This is a massive step forward for Nextgen, positioning them well out in front as the ultimate premium gallery plugin. Even if you don't want to sell your images right now, if you think you might want to in the future then the Nextgen Plus plugin would be an excellent option so you have the upgrade path later on should you decide you do want eCommerce.
The free version of Nextgen is available here.
Envira is a new premium gallery plugin which is fast gaining a following for it's good looks and really well thought out workflow which makes it super easy to manage and deploy galleries across your site. We've not seen anything ground breaking in terms of gallery layout or UX, but there is a lot to be said for modern, clean code which runs fast, is very compatible across browsers and devices (it is of course fully responsive). We also like their modular approach to ‘addon' features which extend the functions of the core plugin application. You can add PinIt! buttons, enable protection against downloaders, enable full screen mode and deep linking to specific images in the lightbox mode. Very clever. To get the most out of Envira we recommend the Silver license at a minimum which includes all the basic addon features.
If social sharing and community engagement is an important part of your promotional strategy, Social Gallery should go straight to the top of your plugin wishlist. With a focus on making it easy for visitors to like and comment on your photos – and share them across their social networks – this fast and responsive lightbox plugin offers a vast array of quality features, including:
- An easy-install wizard
- NextGen support and compatibility
- 40+ CSS 3 animations and transitions
- Custom URLs and descriptions for SEO
- Color, link, margin and image size customization
- Facebook and Disqus integration for comments
Social Gallery supports multiple browsers and works with 90% of WordPress themes. The plugin’s compressed jQuery and CSS ensures fast loading times, and is Google AdSense compatible for those looking to create additional revenue through their images. Social Gallery is available via CodeCanyon for $24 for a regular license.
Looking for a gallery plugin that offers thousands of layout and hover–effect variations, and tons of options for customization control? Fancy Gallery enables you to create your own image galley with ease via a user-friendly AJAX-driven admin system, or simple drag and drop interface. Create unlimited galleries and albums to display in posts, pages and widget areas, and save yourself time with the plugin’s auto-thumbnail feature.
Available for just $25 with a regular license, Fancy Gallery also offers:
- Multiple navigation and theme color options
- Compatibility with a range of media
- An HTML Generator to use galleries on external websites
- The ability to upload multiple images at a time
- A variety of hover effects, including fades, slides, scales and overlays
For a responsive and customizable gallery plugin that offers great value for money, check out Thumbnail Gallery, which is just $18 for a regular license via CodeCanyon. Compatible with all browsers and devices, this AJAX admin-powered plugin allows you to insert unlimited galleries to pages and posts with a simple-to-use, inbuilt short code generator.
Key feature include a responsive layout, social sharing integration, lightbox customization, HTML and Flash compatibility, and the option to add YouTube and Vimeo video embeds. Additional features include:
- Custom navigation button support
- Unlimited images
- Slideshow integration
- Background color, image and transparency customization
- Thumbnail and image size, border, spacing, and transparency options
- Drag and drop sorting
Justified Image Grid
Want to pull the images you have scattered throughout the web into sleek galleries on your own website or blog? Justified Image Grid enables you to create beautiful, responsive photo grids from sources you already use, while allowing you complete control over row height, appearance, special effects like desaturation, color overlay with magnifier icon, borders, multiple captions, mouse activated animation and more.
Designed to make your galleries eye-catching and tidy, this cleverly developed gallery plugin aligns your thumbnails into a justified grid using jQuery, while pulling images from Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, 500px, Pinterest, deviantART, Stumbleupon, Imgur, Tumblr and more. You can even include videos from YouTube and Vimeo, and use or use NextGEN as an image manager or source.
Justified Image Grid features include:
- Super-simple setup and installation
- Incredible customization with no coding required
- Automatic alignment, while retaining each image’s original aspect ratio
- Recent posts homepage banner support
- Tag cloud or button filtering
- Infinite scroll and load more paginations
- Special effects such as cross-browser desaturation, glow, blur, sepia, and edge detection effects
You’ll also have access to 87 pages of PDF documentation with full settings reference, troubleshooting guide and clickable bookmarks to guide you through every step of the process. As the number-one selling gallery plugins available via CodeCanyon, Justified Image Grid is a steal at just $29 for a regular license. It is regularly maintained, and was last updated in February 2017.
Final Tiles Grid Gallery
This is a relatively new plugin to me. The developer reached out to let me know about it and I'm really glad he did. The thing that grabbed my attention right away is the neat approach to more sophisticated masonry style galleries with support for different sized thumbnails. This allows for more variety in your layouts…plus they look really cool. Definitely worth checking out. Available from Codecanyon for $22.
Essential Grid is Codecanyon's top selling grid gallery plugin, featuring more than 30 example skins, and limitless opportunities for customized skins, to display images, YouTube and Vimeo videos, HTML5 self-hosted video, and iFrame content.
Key features include:
- Boxed, full-width, and full-screen layouts
- Adjustable row, column and spacings options
- Various animation types and preloaders
- WooCommerce integration
Essential Grid has been purchased by more than 23,000 users and has an average user rating of 4.76/5 stars. It is available to purchase for just $26 for a regular license from Codecanyon and was last updated in August 2016.
Want to create a 100 percent responsive photo gallery in minutes? Gallery is an advanced free plugin that’s optimized for responsive viewing on different devices. Featuring unlimited galleries and albums, a simple lightbox, five different views, and social media embed and more, it supports a range of photo types and allows for tons of customization.
Gallery has 300,000+ active installs, an average user rating of 4.6/5 stars, and is regularly maintained, having been updated this month.
WP Photo Album Plus
Designed to easily manage and display your photo albums and slideshows, WP Photo Album Plus offers a wide array of features, including unlimited photos and albums, sub albums, order specification and display customisation, and much more.
This plugin has an average user rating of 4.6/5 stars, has 40,000+ active installs, and was last updated this month.
Gallery Bank is designed to assist WordPress users in creating visually striking grid albums, list albums, masonry layouts, thumbnail layouts and more. Available in 36 languages and designed to be responsive, it offers unlimited images in each album, bulk photo uploading, special effects and animations, social sharing and much more.
Gallery Bank has 30,000+ active installs, an average user rating of 4.5/5 stars, and is regularly maintained, having last been updated this month.
Simplest Gallery Plugin
Simple by name and nature this is a very popular free option with excellent reviews on the plugin directory. The beauty of the Simplest Gallery Plugin is in the way it works so seamlessly with the regular core gallery functionality. Just install and activate and you will see the benefits with a really nice jQuery fancy box effect on your existing galleries. The plugin also offers a range of other gallery styles such as lightboxes, coverflow style (as above) and side scrolling thumbnails. Definitely worth a look.
Simplest Gallery has 6000+ active installs, an average user rating of 4.1/5 stars, and is reasonably well maintained having been last updated in December 2016.
Designed to be the ultimate responsive photo-managing tool, Gmedia Gallery offers loads of features and flexible options for creating slideshow galleries, including drag and drop sorting, tag and category sorting, and image editing and filters.
Gmedia Gallery has 20,000+ active installs, an average user rating of 4.6/5 stars, and is regularly maintained, having last been updated this month.
Awesome Flickr Gallery
This Flickr-focused gallery tool is a simple, fast and effective plugin to create a gallery using your Flickr photos, providing a simple yet customisable way to create clean and professional looking Flickr galleries. Featuring support for both public and private photos, multiple sorting options, intuitive menus, SEO capabilities and more.
Awesome Flickr Gallery has an average user rating of 4/5 stars, and has 10,000+ active installs. It was last updated in June 2016.
Responsive Photo Gallery
Based on a bootstrap framework and designed to allow you to add unlimited images to photo galleries optimized for responsive viewing, Responsive Photo Gallery features fade animations, light box previews, shortcode integrations, and more.
Responsive Photo Gallery has 10,000+ active installs, an average user rating of 4.1/5 stars, and is regularly maintained, having last been updated this month.
WP Easy Gallery
WP Easy Gallery is an easy to use gallery plugin, allowing users to create and manage multiple image galleries through a simple admin interface. Features include enhanced social sharing capabilities for images, WordPress ShortCodes for easy content integration and more.
WP Easy Gallery has an average user rating of 3.6/5 stars, has 10,000+ active installs, and was last updated in December 2016.
Unite Gallery Lite
Unite Gallery Lite is a responsive, all in one image and video gallery for WordPress, based on the Unite Gallery javscript version. Choose from columns, justified, nested and grid tile displays, or a range of slider and carousel views.
Unite Gallery Lite has 10,000+ active installs and an average user rating of 4.6/5 stars. It is regularly maintained, having been last updated in January. Check out the Unite Gallery Lite live demos to get a feel for this free plugin for yourself.
Create a beautiful gallery in minutes with Huge-IT Gallery – a fully responsive and mobile-friendly plugin that even allows your visitors to rate and ‘like' your images with a built in heart button. Simply copy and paste the shortcode of the gallery directly into any WordPress post or page.
Huge-IT Gallery is compatible with YouTube and Vimeo, has more than 80,000 active installs, and an average user rating of 4.4/5. It was updated this month.
Gallery Grand Flagallery
Looking for a powerful media and image gallery plugin to handle everything from photos to audio and video? With Gallery Grand Flagallery, you'll not only be able to create attractive image galleries – you'll also have the power to add music and video playlists that will display perfectly on any device.
One of Gallery Grand Flagaller's key points of difference is its own iOS app – allowing you to upload and manager your photos from anywhere. This plugin has 30,000+ active installs and an average user rating of 4.1/5 stars. It was last updated in November 2016.
Do you use Instagram as much as your fancy DSLR? Want to encourage your website visitors to follow and engage with you on the world's biggest photo-sharing social platform?
Instagram Feed is a user-friendly tool for displaying user or hashtag-based feeds and galleries on your website in only few clicks. The plugin has 60,000 active installs, an average user rating of 4.8/5 stars, and is regularly maintained, with a recent update in January 2017. View the live demo to see if Instagram Feed is right for you.
*This post was updated February 2017. Ratings, active install stats and last update information correct at the time of publishing.