The best WordPress gallery plug-ins compared: image galleries for your website

Many websites include a nice image gallery. These can be used to convey a general image of the company, to present pictures of products in a visually appealing way or to sell photos. When creating a WordPress website, you will come across countless potentially useful WordPress gallery plug-ins in your search for a suitable tool. So, how do they differ and which functions are important? In the following, we will provide you with a comparison of the best-known plug-ins for photo galleries in WordPress.

Which functions should a WordPress gallery plug-in provide?

When searching for a suitable WordPress gallery plug-in, you should be clear on the functions you need. There are many different features available a good image gallery plug-in provides:

  • Different formats: Image galleries are not all the same. The layout of a website will determine how well different formats work. Whether it be tiled, masonry style or mosaic galleries, a good WordPress gallery plug-in will give you multiple styles to choose from.
  • Lightbox view: In WordPress photo galleries, images are displayed as small thumbnails, which vary depending on the layout. To give users a closer look at your images, you should have a lightbox view which opens to display the image in a large size when they click on it.
  • Animations and effects: Animations and effects attract the user’s attention when scrolling over images.
  • Optimization for mobile devices: The plug-in’s image gallery should be mobile friendly so that browsers can display the image gallery on all devices in an attractive and user-friendly format.
  • Image optimization: If a gallery contains many images, this can increase the website’s load time. Using functions like “lazy loading” and image size optimization, the load time can be reduced.
  • Individual customization: A good WordPress gallery plug-in will enable you to quickly and easily customize an image gallery to match your branding so that the image gallery can seamlessly fit into your website design.
  • Image protection: Some gallery plug-ins provide functions that prevent others from copying and using your images. You should ensure that a similar function is available when choosing a plug-in (e.g. watermarking, disabling right-click).
  • E-commerce links: E-commerce links enable you to quickly and easily sell images on your website.
  • Drag-and-drop editor: The easiest way to organize images individually in a gallery is with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor.
  • Image links: In terms of SEO and user experience design, deep links are important for guiding users to more detailed information about an image.
Note

Before publishing an image gallery, you should make sure you own the rights to the images. By doing so, you can avoid having legal action taken against you later for infringing on the rights of a third party.

Introduction to the four most popular WordPress gallery plug-ins

In addition to the functions listed above, many WordPress gallery plug-ins offer other useful features that may be of value depending on the use case. Before creating an image gallery, you should first compare and test the functions and usability of the plug-ins. We have already done this for you with four of the most popular WordPress extensions.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is one of the most popular WordPress gallery plug-ins with over 800,000 active installations. Even with the free version, you can choosebetween four gallery styles and two album styles, which can be extensively customized with the numerous options provided. The paid version offers additional styles for the gallery and an e-commerce function for photographers, watermarking or hotlink protection for images and many other useful features. You can choose from three different plans based on your needs.

Advantages Disadvantages
Free version available Relatively long load times
Many different styles for image galleries (e.g. slideshow, thumbnail, masonry, etc.) A bit bloated due to the large number of functions
Supports retina displays Does not support videos
Responsive image galleries  
Drag-and-drop image sorting  
E-commerce function for selling images  
The paid version offers a wide range of functions, such as image protection, linking images to specific pages, a comment function, linking to social networks and much more  
Lightbox in full-screen mode  
Lightroom interface for quickly editing and publishing images  

Envira Photo Gallery

Envira Photo Gallery is a lightweight WordPress gallery plug-in that contains all the important features. Using the free version, you can configure the general settings for the gallery’s basic theme. If you want something more substantial, the paid plans offer numerous features.

Advantages Disadvantages
Free version available Album sorting only available in the paid version
Drag-and-drop editor  
Responsive image galleries  
Supports videos in galleries  
Lean plug-in requiring little memory  
Linking via the e-commerce plug-in WooCommerce  
Lightroom interface for quickly editing and publishing images  
The paid plans offer additional features such as social sharing, linking images to specific pages and a filter function with tags  

Modula

Modula is a highly flexible and user-friendly WordPress gallery plug-in. With its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, you can create stunning image galleries in just minutes. You can do more than just sort images with this function. The drag-and-drop editor takes it a step further. When you select the custom grid gallery type, it allows you to customize the sizes of the images in the grid. All you need to do is place your cursor on the corner of an image and drag it until you reach the desired size.

Advantages Disadvantages
Free version available Slideshows only available in the paid version
Intuitive drag-and-drop editor  
Image sizes can be individually customized  
Supports GIFs and videos in galleries  
Responsive image galleries  
Social sharing icons are included in the free version  
Image-entry animations  
Many gallery styles (e.g. masonry, grid, and lightbox)  
Sorting in albums  
There are additional useful features in the pro version (e.g. watermarking, password-protected galleries, filtering, etc.)  

FooGallery

The WordPress gallery plug-in FooGallery offers both a paid and a free version which can be downloaded at wordpress.org. With six different gallery styles to choose from, the plug-in provides a lot of creative freedom as part of the free version. In the pro version, this WordPress gallery plug-in offers three additional gallery styles, video embedding, a lightbox function, filtering, and other important features.

Tip

If you use the Gutenberg editor, you can use a handy drag-and-drop block to add image galleries to individual pages or articles.

Advantages Disadvantages
Free version available Slider only available in the pro version
Intuitive drag-and-drop editor for image sorting  
Free lightbox view with FooBox Free  
Supports videos  
Responsive image galleries  
Many gallery styles available in the free version  
Filtering option for galleries containing lots of images  
Infinite scroll  
Sorting in albums  
Supports videos  

WordPress gallery plug-ins: a comparison of the four providers

All the WordPress gallery plug-ins we have covered can be used to create beautiful image galleries. Their differences only become apparent when you take a closer look at the details. To give you a clearer overview of the different tools, we have compared their features in the table below:

Function NextGEN Gallery Envira Photo Gallery Modula FooGallery
Different gallery styles Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slideshow in the free version Yes No No No
Intuitive drag-and-drop editor for image sorting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Customizable image sizes in the grid No No Yes No
Album sorting Yes Yes No Yes
Animations and effects Yes Yes Yes Yes
Individual image linking Yes Yes Yes No
Supports videos No Yes Yes Yes
Image protection (watermarking, etc.) Yes Yes Yes No
Social sharing Yes Yes Yes No
Image comments Yes No No No
E-commerce links Yes Yes No No
Password-protected galleries No Yes Yes No
Lightbox add-on Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pro version prices Starting at $139.00 Starting at $99.00 Starting at $99.00 Starting at $59.00
Tip

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