The fact that the WordPress plugin repository has grown to over 55,000 is great for the WordPress ecosystem. It can easily be extended to basically do anything you can imagine. But that also means there are thousands of plugins to choose from, even if what you’re trying to do is add a photo gallery to your WordPress website.
There definitely isn’t a shortage of WordPress gallery plugins that will help you do just that, but how do you choose the right one?
But that’s a bit of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? See, when you’re spoiled for choice…it can actually be surprisingly difficult to narrow down to a single selection. I mean – if you’re staring at one of those massive lists of 20 different responsive photo gallery plugins – how do you pick just one?
Well, that’s what I’m here to help with. I’m going to go hands-on with 5 popular WordPress gallery plugins. For each plugin, I’ll:
- Share its core features.
- Show you a real example gallery using the exact same set of images with each plugin.
- Take you through the process of creating a gallery, complete with lots of interface screenshots from my test site.
- Run through some pros and cons.
- Share its pricing.
Ready to get a hands-on look at five of the best WordPress gallery plugins out there? Let’s get going!
The 5 WordPress Gallery Plugins That I’ll Compare
Below, I’m going to dig into each responsive gallery plugin in detail. But not everyone has time to wade through 2,500 words on the ins and outs of each plugin’s feature list. So if you just want a quick snapshot of your options, check out the table below.
Then, if one or more of the WordPress gallery plugins pique your interest, keep reading for a much more in-depth look at each plugin:
|Modula Gallery||NextGEN Gallery||FooGallery||Envira Gallery||Photo Gallery by Supsystic|
|Starting price for Pro||$29||$79||$49||$29||$29|
|Social sharing?||Yes, free||Yes, paid||NO||Yes, paid||NO*|
|Filterable galleries?||Yes, paid||Yes, paid||Yes, paid||Yes, paid||Yes, paid|
*You can get social sharing for Supsystic’s photo gallery via Supsystic’s social share buttons plugin. This is a completely separate plugin, though, not just an add-on for the photo gallery, so I’m still counting this as a “NO” because some people might not want to install an entire plugin just for the social sharing.
How I’ll Create The Example Galleries
As I mentioned above, I’ll create an example gallery with each one of these WordPress gallery plugins so that you can get a good feel for how it works on a site.
Because most of these plugins give you different gallery layouts, though, it’s hard to come up with a 100% objective comparison.
So here’s how I’m going to do it:
I’m just going to leave all the settings as the defaults. Yes, I will not change a single setting for my test gallery.
I think this is the fairest way to compare. And it also helps you see what the default experience is like, which is helpful if you’re looking for a solution that doesn’t require you to tinker with a bunch of settings to make something that looks good.
As for the images themselves, I sourced them all from Pexels so they look pretty rad!
Modula Gallery is an easy-to-use responsive gallery plugin that makes it simple to get up and running with a great-looking gallery in just a few minutes. That’s actually it’s biggest unique differentiator – while it does offer plenty of deeper features, you’ll be able to create something that looks great in under a minute.
Modula Gallery Core Features
- Complex grid styles with custom margins
- 6 different lightbox galleries
- 12 different hover effects
- Filters to let visitors filter your gallery by tags
- Custom captions for individual images
An Example Of What You Can Create With Modula
How To Create A Gallery With Modula
Modula is one of the simplest WordPress gallery plugins to use. To create a responsive gallery with Modula, you go to Modula –> Add Gallery in your WordPress dashboard.
From there, you can give it a name and choose the maximum:
Then, you can choose whether to automatically insert information for image Titles and Captions. If you choose one of these options, Modula will automatically pull information from the default WordPress fields. Or, you can opt to not use titles/captions:
Once you’ve done that, you just need to upload your images and choose the minimum height/width for individual images. You can also use drag-and-drop to rearrange images if needed:
And once you do that, you have your gallery! It looks like the example above. If you want to further customize your gallery, you can go into the optional detailed settings area to control:
- Image loading animations
- Hover effects
- Social share buttons
- Category filters
- Lots more
Modula Gallery Pros
- Easy gallery creation wizard – create a beautiful gallery in just a couple minutes
- You have a ton of flexibility over how your photo grids display – you’re not limited to the same old boring layouts
- Gives you a variety of hover effects and lightbox galleries
- Includes built-in social sharing
- Lets you create a filterable photo gallery, which is great for portfolios, among other uses.
Modula Gallery Cons
- The free version has a max of 20 images for each individual gallery.
Modula Gallery Pricing
Modula Photo Gallery offers a free version with some restrictions on the number of images per gallery and basic functionality. After that, a single site license costs just $29/year and an unlimited site license costs $249/year.
The $29/year price tag makes Modula Gallery the most affordable premium option on this list.
2. NextGEN Gallery – WordPress Gallery Plugin
With over a million active installs, NextGEN Gallery is one of the most popular photo gallery plugins out there.
While the core NextGEN Gallery plugin is free, there are a number of paid add-ons that you can purchase to extend its functionality. These add-ons are available in two different bundles and give you many more gallery types, as well as advanced functionality like the ability to sell gallery photos (eCommerce).
These deeper features are why NextGEN Gallery is a popular option for people who work with images for a living (like photographers).
NextGEN Gallery Core Features
- Two main display styles – slideshows and thumbnail galleries
- Two album styles – compact and extended
- Plenty of timing and transition effects
- Lightbox galleries
- eCommerce functionality (paid)
An Example Of What You Can Create With NextGEN Gallery
How To Create A Gallery With NextGEN Gallery
When you go to create a new gallery with NextGEN Gallery, you’ll get three different options for where to source your images. You can:
- Upload images
- Import already-uploaded images from the WordPress Media Library
- Import a folder from your server (e.g. if you uploaded your images via FTP)
From there, you can manage your gallery, which lets you:
- Edit meta information
- Rotate images
- Add tags
And you can also edit your basic gallery settings:
Once you’re done, you can insert it in a post or page using a new NextGEN Gallery button. And then you get a gallery like the example that you saw above!
NextGEN Gallery Pros
- Overall, the free version has a strong feature list
- Detailed control over timing and transition effects
- Support for bulk uploading via FTP
- Paid versions support more advanced functionality, like eCommerce
NextGEN Gallery Cons
- Limited gallery layouts in the free version. You almost need to pay if you want your galleries to look good.
- Some people complain that the process of creating a simple gallery is overly complicated.
- No social sharing in the free version
NextGEN Gallery Pricing
NextGEN Gallery’s free version is listed at WordPress.org. After that, you’ll need to wade through the descriptions of the NextGEN Plus ($79) and NextGEN Pro ($99) plans, as well as all of their associated extensions.
FooGallery is another freemium responsive WordPress gallery plugin that does a good job making it pretty easy to get up and running with galleries.
The free version is a fine option for basic image galleries, and the Pro version adds support for video galleries, infinite scroll, and a lot more template styles.
FooGallery Core Features
- Easy gallery creation
- Built-in albums support
- Multiple gallery templates
- Lazy loading for faster performance
- Image hover presets (Pro)
- Infinite scroll (Pro)
An Example Of What You Can Create With FooGallery
How To Create A Gallery With
When you go to create a gallery, you can add all of your images at the top. And the bottom gives you a variety of options for controlling how your gallery looks and functions, divided into tabs:
Once you add your images, you can rearrange their order using simple drag-and-drop:
Then, you just publish your gallery, insert the shortcode, and you get an example like you saw above!
- The interface is fairly simple
- Supports video galleries with the Pro version
- The Pro version gives you lots of different gallery templates
- No option for social sharing
- Not a ton of lightbox options (only 2 in the free version)
- No unlimited license for the Pro version
The free version of FooGallery is available at WordPress.org. If you want the paid version, plans start at $49 for a single site license and range up to $199 for a 25 site license.
4. Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery offers a limited free version, with most of the cool features locked behind the pro versions. Additionally, even some of the premium features are locked behind higher tiers, so you need to be careful that all of the features you need are actually included in the plan that you’re paying for.
But while that warning might sound a little ominous, Envira Gallery has plenty of features that, depending on your needs, might make it worth its hefty price tag.
Of the WordPress gallery plugins that offer advanced functionality – like eCommerce – it’s definitely the most user-friendly. So if you’re willing to pay for deep functionality and ease of use, Envira Gallery might be the right gallery plugin for you.
Envira Gallery Core Features
Again, some of these features require more expensive plans to get access to. So don’t expect to get every single feature in the Basic pro plan.
- Drag and drop gallery builder
- Pre-built gallery templates
- Standalone galleries that aren’t tied to posts or pages
- Social sharing
- Deep linking to specific images
- Built-in watermarking
- WooCommerce support
- Video gallery support
- Lightroom integration
An Example Of What You Can Create With Envira Gallery
How To Create A Gallery With
When you go to Envira Gallery, you’ll first need to select where to source your gallery images from. You can either:
- Upload new images
- Choose existing images from your WordPress Media Library
- Import images from Instagram (paid feature)
Once you insert your images, you can use drag and drop to rearrange their order:
And you can also use the various tabs to set up how your gallery functions (most of these tabs only work in the Pro version):
From there, you publish your gallery. Then, you can insert it by using the new Envira Gallery button in the WordPress editor and you’ll get a gallery like you saw in the example above.
Envira Gallery Pros
- Unique (and helpful) features like password protection, deeplinking, watermarking
- Gallery templates make it easy to quickly create a stylish gallery
- Supports video galleries (in the most expensive version)
Envira Gallery Cons
The best features are locked away behind the $99 Pro plan, which makes Envira Gallery pricey. And if you just need basic gallery functionality, other plugins are usually a bit more generous with the free functionality.
Envira Gallery Pricing
As I mentioned, you can find the free version of Envira Gallery at WordPress.org, but most of the cool stuff is part of the premium plans.
And beyond that, each premium tier offers a different feature set. The $29 Basic plan lets you create, well, basic galleries. But you won’t get any pagination, gallery themes, or watermarking. For those, you need the $69 Plus plan.
And if you want albums, social sharing, deeplinking, videos, and more, you’ll need to go with the $99 Pro plan.
And if you want to use the Pro plan on more than 25 sites, you’ll need the $299 Agency plan.
5. Photo Gallery By Supsystic
Photo Gallery by Supsystic is another popular WordPress.org-listed photo gallery plugin. In the free version, you can create unlimited responsive photo galleries complete with links, icons, and HTML captions. It also includes some nifty options to add watermarks and import gallery items from FTP or social networks.
If you go pro, you’ll also get the ability to create video galleries as well as galleries with pagination and different categories.
Photo Gallery By Supsystic Core Features
- Responsive design
- Can add HTML to your captions
- Pull in photo gallery items from Facebook, Instagram and others
- Full width galleries and Polaroid galleries, as well as a variety of different style effects
An Example Of What You Can Create With Photo Gallery By Supsystic
How To Create A Gallery With Photo Gallery By Supsystic
When you create a new gallery with Photo Gallery By Supsystic, your first step is to enter a name and choose your gallery template:
On the next screen, you can:
- Upload your images
- Configure basic gallery settings using the various tabs
Once you’ve configured everything, you just need to save your gallery. Then, you can insert it using either the shortcode or the PHP function. And once you do that, you’ll get something like the example above.
Photo Gallery By Supsystic Pros
- Easy to add watermarks even in the free version
- Can import images from Facebook and Instagram, as well as YouTube in the pro version
- Can add pagination and categories (filters) to your galleries if you go with the pro version
Photo Gallery By Supsystic Cons
- No built-in social sharing buttons unless you install the separate share buttons plugin
- It has the least pleasant interface of any of the WordPress gallery plugins I used. It’s functional enough..it’s just a lot of tabs and an ugly font.
Photo Gallery By Supsystic Pricing
Photo Gallery by Supsystic has a free version at WordPress.org. After that, you can get a single site license for $29 or an unlimited site license for $99.
Bonus – Jetpack
Bonus round time! While Jetpack wasn’t included in the WordPress gallery plugins table at the beginning, I think it’s still worth including on this list because so many WordPress sites are already running Jetpack.
So if you do have Jetpack installed, you already have a way to create some basic photo galleries on your WordPress site. While Jetpack doesn’t match the other photo gallery plugins on this list in terms of raw functionality, it does give you the option to create three basic galleries:
Final Thoughts On WordPress Gallery Plugins
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the WordPress gallery plugins out there. Not by a longshot. Even a simple search for “photo gallery” at WordPress.org brings up almost a thousand results.
But guess what? Most of those thousand plugins don’t stand up to the five photo gallery plugins on this list.
From these five plugins, I tried to illuminate the differences between each.
If you want the best overall value for your money, Modula Gallery offers all the necessary features in a photo gallery plugin for just $19. And if you’re a developer, you can get a ton of value for your clients by purchasing the $49 unlimited license
If money’s no object to you, Envira Gallery also has an impressive feature list in its premium tier, alongside a well-designed interface…but at 3-5x the price of the other options on this list.
And no matter what, make sure that you snag an image optimization plugin to make sure that your galleries load wicked fast!
What do you think? Do you have a favorite WordPress photo gallery plugin? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.