Lightbox is a trend that grew a lot in the last couple of years as more and more people have started to use it on their sites. And it’s really easy to understand why that’s the case. Presenting your media files inside a lightbox can be a great way to make the content more engaging. However, to do that, you need some WordPress lightbox plugins … or rather just one of them. But, since there is a lot of possibilities, this is where our post comes into play!
This is our curated list of the best WordPress lightbox plugins available in the market. Both free and paid:
Top WordPress lightbox plugins to try in 2017
1. Nivo Slider
Don’t let the “slider” part in the plugin’s name fool you. This is a plugin that creates beautiful Nivo lightbox slideshows and galleries for your posts and pages. It’s great for photographers (or for creatives, in general) because it lets you build and display your media files more elegantly. The slideshows appear in a lightbox form, and the style and transitions can be customized via the plugin’s settings.
To make it work, you need to create a slider/gallery, choose your preferences, and publish it. Then, copy and paste the new slider’s shortcode in the page/post where you want it to show up. Transitions, size, the number of slides, speed, slider’s theme… they’re all up to you. And if you like it enough, you can also turn on the lightbox for all the images available on your site.
- You can create as many sliders as you want and display them anywhere on your site.
- The sliders come in various styles/themes. You choose how they look.
- You can use the sliders as widgets.
- All the images are automatically cropped so they can fit your lightbox’s size.
- Works with shortcodes, which you can insert anywhere on the site.
2. Responsive Lightbox by dFactory
Responsive Lightbox is the most rated of the free WordPress lightbox plugins out there. It lets users see a better/larger variant of your photos in a stylish separate window. It was made to fit any mobile screen and comes with various lightbox designs.
This plugin is very user-friendly, providing a few awesome settings that allow you to use lightbox display for all your images, videos, product galleries from your online store, plus custom galleries such as those provided by Jetpack. If you want more, the plugin comes packed with eight premium add-ons/extensions so you can have even more flexibility when you customize the lightbox.
Besides the general options, you can also customize other important aspects such as in/out scrolling, opacity, transitions, overlay color etc.
- Seven responsive lightbox scripts (SwipeBox, prettyPhoto, FancyBox, Nivo Lightbox, Image Lightbox, Featherlight, and TosRUs).
- Option to display single post images as a gallery.
- Option to modify native WordPress gallery links image size.
- You can use the image’s title, description, caption, alternative text or description in the lightbox.
- The lightbox is available for images, galleries, links, and videos.
3. Simple Lightbox
Another free plugin that’s pretty well rated on WordPress.org, offering a quick and simple lightbox for your pages and posts. It’s true that it doesn’t come with the same friendly appearance and wide range of settings as the aforementioned plugins, but if you’re looking for a minimalist way of opening your images in a lightbox style, you’ll love this one.
Simple Lightbox allows you to enable the lightbox on almost everything: pages, posts, widgets, menus, categories & tags, homepage, etc. You can display an image separately or in a slideshow, and you can also set the transitions, animations, slideshows’ speed, overlay opacity, etc.
This is a one-shot plugin for those of you who need a simple lightbox, no fancy styles or tons of custom things. It’s lightweight, easy, and really quick.
- Light and dark designs.
- Premium add-ons included.
- Comes with mobile-optimized themes.
- Displays media metadata (description, caption etc).
- Offers keyboard navigation.
- Supports links in widgets.
A stylish premium WordPress lightbox plugin from FooPlugins, with a modern interface and a social-friendly display of your media files. What do they mean by social-friendly? Each lightbox comes with social icons attached, so your images can get shared easily.
If you’re using a WordPress media gallery plugin on your site, you can apply the lightbox to those galleries too because FooBox was created to be compatible with the most popular of them, such as Envira Gallery, NextGEN Gallery, Jetpack etc. What I personally like about FooBox is that it has interactive and playful lightboxes that definitely have the chance to drive the engagement of the visitors.
- Responsive lightbox. Images, videos, and HTML files automatically resize to match your screen size.
- Built-in social sharing (social icons) for each file. Also, each media has its own unique URL so it can be accessed easier.
- Supports YouTube and Vimeo video formats for lightbox.
- HTML content can open up in a lightbox – tables, bullet lists, numbered lists etc.
- WooCommerce product images can be set to display in a lightbox too.
Lightbox by Huge-IT is a nice plugin that comes with a friendly and modern dashboard interface and lots of interesting settings, but only a few are available in the free version. Actually, in the free version, you can only activate the lightbox, select its style, speed, how to close the overlay, and the loop for the slideshows. The rest of the settings (and there’s a lot) come only with the paid plans.
This plugin was made to add lightbox to images, but it also works on videos from YouTube and Vimeo. With Lightbox by Huge-IT, you can customize and design your popups very nicely so they can fit your website’s design and purpose.
- Five lightbox views in old type and seven in new type. It comes with twelve different types of popups for your images.
- YouTube and Vimeo links.
- It lets you use a watermark on the images when they open in a lightbox.
- Three image frames in free version and eight in pro version.
- Provides social share buttons in the lightbox.
- Full screen option. This allows you to enlarge the images on the entire screen when clicking on the icon.
- It has download buttons. Lightbox by Huge-IT allows you to show your visitors a download button so they can save your media files quicker.
- Statistics for image clicks defined in the last 24 hours, last month, and past year.
6. WP Featherlight
This is the simplest (yet great) plugin I’ve seen. It’s a jQuery plugin and it’s super lightweight (like it’s not there). All you have to do for it to work is to install it. That’s all. Your images and videos will then start to open in a simple, minimalist lightbox that can’t be customized in any way. But the point is that this plugin works so easily.
There’s one more thing you need to do, though, but it’s a matter of seconds: link to Media File option every time you’re uploading an image or a gallery. That’s the only requirement to have the lightbox activated. And actually, it displays a nice, large lightbox and your images will look great on it. Apart from images, you can lightbox videos, iframes, and Ajax content.
So, no settings, no anything. Just install the plugin and select to link to a media file when you upload something.
- Extremely lightweight.
- No settings, it automatically adds lightbox to your media elements after the installation.
- Comes with a single lightbox style, simple and beautiful.
- ‘Disable lightbox’ option. If you don’t need lightbox on all the pages, there’s an option in each page/post that allows you to disable it locally.
7. Easy FancyBox
Last but not least, Easy FancyBox is somewhat similar to WP Featherlight (from the minimalist WordPress lightbox plugins category), it’s just that they use different types of lightboxes. This one uses the FancyBox style. So, install it, link your images and photo galleries to their media files when you upload/create them and the lightbox will automatically engage.
The lightbox applies to image formats.
- Links inside Gravity Forms in Ajax mode.
- Supports YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, and flash movies.
- Uses lightbox for all common image formats such as webP, image maps, SVG etc.
- It’s compatible with WordPress media plugins (e.g. NextGEN).
With all that being said, this is what’s best in terms of WordPress lightbox plugins for your site at the moment (or, at least, this is what we think is best).
So, for those of you who want to make your images look cool with lightbox display, here’s a summary of which plugin fits you best:
- Nivo Slider: If you want to put your galleries in professional lightbox slideshows on your site.
- Responsive Lightbox by dFactory: If you’re interested in a rich pack of features, but your budget is limited.
- Simple Lightbox: If you’re looking for an in-between solution (something slightly customizable, but nothing advanced).
- FooBox: If you want something to help you boost your social media engagement and focus on promotion.
- Lightbox by Huge-IT: If you are a professional photographer (or artist of any kind), this one might fit you. It has advanced options, watermarks, and download buttons for your photos.
- WP Featherlight: If you just want a simple lightbox and don’t care much about the finest details or getting busy with too many settings.
- Easy FancyBox: If your favorite lightbox style is FancyBox, just install this one and you’re done in a few seconds.
Do you agree with my list? If you know any other great WordPress lightbox plugins, feel free to share them with us through the comments section below.