WordPress Gallery Plugins

On the hunt for the best WordPress gallery plugins to display great-looking galleries on your site? There are a ton of popular and well-rated gallery plugins at WordPress.org and other marketplaces, so sifting through all your options is a bit like that needle in a haystack people are always talking about.

To help, I’m going to go hands-on with five of your best options. For each of the WordPress gallery plugins on this list, I’ll:

  • Share its free features.
  • Show you what a sample gallery looks like using the exact same set of images for easy comparison (yes – I actually used all of these on my own site).
  • Tell you some of the cool things that you can do with the Pro version.

Here’s a quick summary of the five responsive gallery plugins that I’ll be looking at:

PluginFree Version?Starting Price For ProEase Of Use
Modula GalleryYes$195/5
NextGEN GalleryYes$793/5
Envira GalleryYes$295/5
Photo Gallery by 10webYes$303/5
FooGalleryYes$494/5

The five best WordPress gallery plugins in 2018

To give you an idea of how all of these WordPress gallery plugins function, I’ll create a gallery using the exact same set of images with each plugin.

To make this as fair as possible, I’m going to use the default settings for each plugin.

This isn’t a perfect representation of what a plugin can do because many WordPress gallery plugins let you choose from multiple gallery layouts, but it will give you a good idea of the default experience and what you can create without any learning curve.

1. Modula

Best for…people who want galleries that look great without requiring any tinkering (though it does let you tinker, if you want).

Modula’s unique selling point is that it lets you create beautiful responsive grid galleries with very little configuration. It does this by splitting its gallery builder into two parts:

  • Basic – you choose a few minor settings, upload your images, and Modula puts it together into a neat grid gallery. If you want, you can stop here and still have a great-looking end product.
  • Advanced – this optional settings area lets you go back and refine how your gallery looks and functions.

Some other things you can do with the free version of Modula are:

  • Pull captions/titles from image metadata
  • Add social share buttons to gallery images, and choose which networks to include
  • Add animation effects when images load
  • Use a Lightbox gallery
  • Add hover effects on mouseover
  • Shuffle images on each page load to create a different arrangement each time

Modula gallery settings

Example gallery using Modula default settings

Modula gallery example

Most notable reasons to consider the premium version

  • Filterable galleries, where users can click a category tag to only filter out gallery items with that tag (this is especially helpful for portfolios, though you can use it for anything)_
  • More lightboxes, animation effects, etc.
  • Remove the 20 image per gallery limit in the free version

The Pro version starts at $19.

2. NextGEN Gallery

Best for…people who work with images for a living (e.g. photographers) and need deep functionality beyond just showcasing images in a stylish gallery. If you just want a simple gallery plugin, it’s overkill.

NextGEN Gallery is the most popular gallery plugin at WordPress.org. While the default galleries in the free version don’t look that snazzy, it’s highly customizable and has very deep functionality. For that reason, it’s especially popular with photographers and other people who work with images for a living.

The free version gives you a few different gallery/album styles, but most of the unique functionality comes in the various premium versions (more on those in a second).

Beyond the album styles, you also get image management features like:

  • Automatic watermarks
  • Easy image resizing
  • Album support

NextGEN gallery settings

Example gallery using NextGEN Gallery default settings

NextGen Gallery is one of the deepest WordPress gallery plugins

Most notable reasons to consider the premium version

  • Many more gallery style options (these let you create much nicer-looking galleries than the default example above)
  • Image comments
  • Social sharing
  • Image deep links
  • Sell images via payment gateways or WooCommerce/Easy Digital Downloads integrations

The cheapest Pro bundle starts at $79.

3. Envira Gallery

Best for…both casual users and power users. Envira Gallery does a good job of keeping its interface beginner-friendly, while still giving you access to more advanced features, like the ability to sell photos via WooCommerce.

Envira Gallery is a popular option that comes in both a free Lite version, as well as a more full-featured premium version.

The Lite version gives you basic controls for things like:

envira gallery settings

Many of the more advanced features are only available in the premium version, though.

Example gallery using Envira Gallery default settings

Envira Gallery example

Most notable reasons to consider the premium version

  • Social media integration, including an option to import images from Instagram
  • eCommerce support via WooCommerce
  • Video galleries
  • Deep linking and pagination for large galleries
  • Automatic watermark and image protection
  • Lightroom add-on to automatically sync photo galleries with your Adobe Lightroom collections.

The Pro version starts at $29, though that plan does not include all features.

4. Photo Gallery by 10web

Best for…like NextGEN Gallery, Photo Gallery by 10web skews more towards power users who need support for lots of images. It’s overkill if you’re just looking for a simple solution to display a few galleries.

Photo Gallery by 10web is another popular option with deep functionality, including an option to sell images with the premium eCommerce extension.

The free version comes with a few basic gallery layouts, but many of the better-looking layouts, like the masonry option, are only available in the paid version.

Other neat free features include:

photo gallery by 10web settings

Example gallery using Photo Gallery by 10web default settings

photo gallery by 10web example

Most notable reasons to consider the premium version

Honestly, much of the plugin’s unique functionality is locked away behind the premium version, including:

  • eCommerce functionality
  • More gallery layouts
  • Social sharing
  • Slideshow effects

The Pro version starts at $30.

5. FooGallery

Best for…casual or power users who want customizable galleries, but do not need eCommerce functionality (FooGallery doesn’t have it).

Like Modula and Envira, FooGallery is one of the simpler WordPress gallery plugins to use. The free version lets you set up your own:

  • Hover effects
  • Lightbox
  • Automatic captions/titles
  • Pagination
  • Retina support
  • Gallery template (you get 6 options in the free version)

FooGallery settings

Example gallery using FooGallery default settings

FooGallery example

Most notable reasons to consider the premium version

  • Support for videos in galleries
  • More gallery templates
  • Infinite scroll for image loading
  • More loading and hover effects
  • Categories and tags for images
  • Real-time gallery filtering

The Pro version starts at $49.

Picking the best WordPress gallery plugin for your needs

You certainly don’t need five WordPress photo gallery plugins on your site, so which is the best solution for you?

If you’re looking for the options that let you create a great-looking image gallery in as little time as possible, you’ll probably be happiest with Modula. Envira Gallery is also a viable option, though the free version of Envira is a little more limited.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a gallery plugin to help you manage tons of images/albums and maybe even sell the images in your galleries, you’ll likely be better off with NextGEN Gallery, Envira Gallery Pro, or Photo Gallery by 10web.

FooGallery is also a solid option that fits in somewhere between those two extremes.

And no matter which plugin you end up choosing, make sure to optimize your images and maybe even consider an image optimization plugin.

Have you used any of these WordPress gallery plugins? Which one is your favorite and why?
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