Every website uses images to one degree or another. They add interest. They add colour and texture to a page and they break up what would otherwise be a wall of text. The default image handler in WordPress is okay for basic images but the minute you want something more, you’re going to need a WordPress gallery plugin.
Like most WordPress plugins, a gallery adds features, design opportunities, display options and a range of other elements to a website. A WordPress gallery plugin allows you to better integrate images into your brand or web design and allow you to showcase images in precisely the way you want.
Perform a search for ‘gallery’ within WordPress and you will see just over 3,000 plugins. Nobody has the time or energy to check all of them so we have done the hard work for you.
We have tried and tested what we think are the 15 best WordPress gallery plugins in 2021. Whatever type of website you’re building, there will be a gallery plugin here to suit.
What Is a WordPress Gallery Plugin?
A WordPress gallery plugin replaces the default image handler within the CMS. A good WordPress photo gallery plugin will offer a range of gallery formats, support video as well as images, provide options to protect your images, include drag and drop page builders, Lightbox viewing options and perhaps opportunities to share images.
This collection of plugins offers some or all of these features.
Each of these plugins also works flawlessly within WordPress, delivers superb performance, doesn’t slow your page load times and gives you a lot of freedom to integrate galleries into your website design with the minimum of effort.
Why Use a WordPress Gallery Plugin?
Imagery is a powerful part of running a website. Strong images can set the tone for the website, for your brand and help promote your products or services. If you’re in a creative industry, images can also help showcase your work and show the world just how good you are.
The default image handler in WordPress is okay for a blog or basic website but as soon as you want something more, you’re going to need a WordPress gallery plugin.
If you have images you want to share on your website, they deserve to be displayed at their best. That’s where a WordPress gallery plugin comes in.
Summary of WordPress Gallery Plugins
|Plugin name||Free version?||Price|
|Modula||Yes||$39 up to $199|
|FooGallery||Yes||$59 per year or $6.99 per month|
|NextGEN Gallery||Yes||$79 per year up to $299 per year|
|Envira Gallery||Yes||$29 per year up to $299 per year|
|GT3 Photo and Video Gallery||Yes||$39 per year|
|Gmedia Photo Gallery||Yes||$23.99 per year|
|Photo Gallery by 10Web||Yes||$30 per year up to $100 per year|
|Flagallery Photo Portfolio||Yes||$29 per licence|
|Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery||Yes||–|
|Robo Gallery||Yes||$30, $65 and $95 as one-off fees|
|Meow Gallery||Yes||$19 per year or $299 for lifetime|
|Portfolio Gallery||Yes||$29 for a lifetime licence|
|Responsive Lightbox & Gallery||Yes||Optional extensions $19 to $49|
|Photo Gallery by Supsystic||Yes||$39 up to $149 per year|
|WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin||Yes||€29.99 up to €99.99 per year|
The Best WordPress Gallery Plugins Available
Modula is a very popular WordPress gallery plugin that has a free and a premium version. It’s strength is in the ease of use and the ability to create genuinely custom designs with its unique builder. Tools are powerful, navigation is clear and everything about Modula seems designed around ease of use.
The free version has basic gallery features that are still better than the default WordPress.
Pay for premium and you unleash the full potential of Modula. That includes the ability to generate random galleries from defined settings, social sharing, filters, drag and drop page builder and other tools.
Pros of Modula:
- Built-in gallery designer
- Effective preview tool to make designing galleries easier
- Drag and drop gallery builder
- Social sharing tools
- Ability to add features with optional extensions
Cons of Modula:
- Cheapest premium option not the most generous with its features
Modula has a free version and four premium versions starting at $39 up to $199
Opinion of Modula
Spend five minutes with Modula and you will quickly see why it is so popular. If your website is going to be image-heavy, this is definitely a photo gallery plugin to try.
FooGallery is another top performer. It is powerful, delivers Retina-ready galleries by default, allows multiple album types, supports video galleries and contains a wide range of performance tools to ensure the gallery doesn’t slow page loading speeds.
The free version includes a range of gallery layouts, lazy loading, thumbnail support, Retina support, albums, media library, drag and drop builder and the ability to use CSS to fully customize.
The premium version has a wider range of gallery layouts, video galleries, tilers, infinite scroll, advanced hover effects, Lightbox options, captions and more sliders.
Pros of FooGallery:
- Drag and drop gallery builder
- Free version is still very usable
- Lots of display options for images and galleries
- Supports video galleries (premium)
- Custom CSS support
Cons of FooGallery:
- Relatively expensive
FooGallery has a free version with a surprising amount of features. There are also three premium plans priced from $59 per year or $6.99 per month.
Opinion of FooGallery
There is very little not to like about FooGallery. It’s a feature-rich plugin that works well, includes lots of tools to ensure fast page loading, a whole raft of display options and a drag and drop page builder. All the tools you need to build a photo gallery worthy of your work.
NextGEN Gallery is another immensely popular WordPress gallery plugin worthy of its place in this list. It’s a highly customizable gallery plugin with high quality default options to cover all bases. Tools are plentiful and easy to find, the dashboard makes gallery creation very simple and even the free version has a lot to offer.
The free version of NextGEN Gallery has two gallery styles and two album styles. You can still customize the look and feel of each of those and use Lightbox which is unusual for a free plugin.
The premium versions add many more gallery and album styles, support for retina images, open graph support, social sharing, payment options for selling your work, backups, image proofing, Lightroom and the option to enable digital downloads.
Pros of NextGEN Gallery:
- You can build multiple galleries, each with a different design or intent
- Supports video and slideshows
- Premium version supports ecommerce for monetization
- Option to watermark and protect images
- Social sharing and commenting elements
Cons of NextGEN Gallery:
- NextGEN Gallery is not cheap
- Free version limited to two styles for galleries and albums
NextGEN Gallery Pricing
NextGEN Gallery has a free version and three premium plans starting at $79 per year up to $299 per year. You will need to buy the $139 option for ecommerce.
Opinion of NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery is a superb WordPress gallery plugin. The free version is not the most feature-rich you will find but the premium version offers all the tools you need for even the most ambitious photo gallery.
Envira Gallery has been designed from the ground up to be as accessible as possible while still delivering powerful features. It’s one of the reasons this WordPress gallery plugin is so successful. With a great drag and drop gallery builder, lots of display options, logical navigation and WooCommerce support, there is certainly a lot to like!
The free version of Envira Gallery has a few display and gallery options, Lightbox functionality, lazy loading and some other basic tools to get you started.
The premium version of Envira Gallery ramps it up with lots more gallery and album display options, WooCommerce integration, social media support, video galleries, deep linking, image protection tools, Lightroom and CSS styling if you know what you’re doing.
Pros of Envira Gallery:
- Powerful range of display options
- Straightforward gallery dashboard with tabbed controls
- Social media sharing and commenting option
- WooCommerce integration for monetization
- Image protection with watermarking and password protection
Cons of Envira Gallery:
- Free version isn’t exactly feature rich
- Cheapest premium version doesn’t give a lot either
Envira Gallery Pricing
Envira Gallery has a free version called Envira Gallery Lite and four premium plans. Those premium plans start at $29 per year for Basic up to $299 per year for Agency.
Opinion of Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery is very good at what it does. It makes it very easy to create a gallery and customize it to your needs. It also makes it simple to protect your work or sell it from within your website. You do pay for the privilege though.
GT3 Photo and Video Gallery is a WordPress gallery plugin that does things slightly differently. Rather than adding its own dashboard to manage images, it integrates into the WordPress Gutenberg editor to add tools to the areas you’re already familiar with. You still get the same range of features but within the CMS elements you already know.
The free version of GT3 Photo and Video Gallery is compatible with Elementor and offers masonry and grid layouts. It also offers some creation and customization tools.
The premium versions of GT3 Photo and Video Gallery add image optimization, WPBakery and Elementor builder widgets, slider options, filtering, video gallery support, Lightbox options, lazy loading, custom CSS support and downloads.
Pros of GT3 Photo and Video Gallery:
- Works with Gutenberg blocks for ease of use and maximum compatibility
- Works with existing page builders
- Wide range of display and album options
- Video gallery support
- Image protection and watermarking options
Cons of GT3 Photo and Video Gallery:
- Image optimization is premium only
GT3 Photo and Video Gallery Pricing
GT3 Photo and Video Gallery has a free Lite version and a Pro version priced at $39 per year. Pro adds more gallery and album display options, sliders, social sharing, video controls, advanced image display options, image protection and full support. Image optimization is a $10 optional extra though, which is a shame.
Opinion of GT3 Photo and Video Gallery
GT3 Photo and Video Gallery Lite is free and comes with a decent range of tools. It’s only when you invest in premium that this plugin shows real potential. The real strength of this WordPress photo gallery plugin is in the Gutenberg integration. This makes it accessible to anyone with the minimum of effort.
Gmedia Photo Gallery deserves its place in this list of best WordPress photo gallery plugins for its mobile app alone. Add powerful display features, a range of image options, integration with Gutenberg blocks, related gallery posts option, a widget, comments and support for music within galleries and you have every reason to try this plugin.
The free version of Gmedia Photo Gallery allows you to create galleries, upload unlimited numbers of images, play audio within the gallery, create multiple albums and galleries and use tags to manage them all.
The premium version adds many more gallery and album options, a WaveForm music player, GMediaCloud tool, a mobile app where you can upload and manage galleries, use Google Maps for geolocation, protect images, allow commenting and a whole lot more.
Pros of Gmedia Photo Gallery:
- Lots of image tools available
- Multiple gallery and album display options
- Gmedia mobile app
- Works with Gutenberg blocks
- Includes widget support for ease of use
Cons of Gmedia Photo Gallery:
- Learning curve is steeper in Gmedia Photo Gallery than in some others
- No eCommerce option
Gmedia Photo Gallery Pricing
Gmedia Photo Gallery is free or costs $23.99 per year for premium per licence. That price reduces the more licences you buy. That’s a competitive price given the sheer number of tools on offer.
Opinion of Gmedia Photo Gallery
Gmedia Photo Gallery is a feature rich WordPress gallery plugin that makes short work of creating and managing images. It isn’t as easy to get to grips with as some of these others but the inclusion of a mobile app and widget support are definite plus points.
Photo Gallery by 10Web is a compelling WordPress gallery plugin in both free and premium guises. The plugin includes support for video galleries, watermarking, multiple album and gallery display options, social sharing options, ecommerce integration and a whole raft of other powerful features.
The free version of Photo Gallery by 10Web includes some basic gallery and album options, support for YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flickr and others. There is also support for widgets, right click protection and two demo themes.
The premium version of Photo Gallery by 10Web adds watermarking and right click protection, ecommerce options, social sharing, Lightbox tools, extra audio and video tools, extra gallery and album views, Instagram integration and access to gallery addons.
Pros of Photo Gallery by 10Web:
- Very beginner friendly with usable default settings
- Mixed video and image galleries
- Ecommerce tools
- Image protection tools with watermarking and right click protection
- Wide range of social sharing options
Cons of Photo Gallery by 10Web:
- Better gallery and album options locked behind premium
- Cheapest premium option only offers 6 months’ support
Photo Gallery by 10Web Pricing
The free version of Photo Gallery by 10Web offers similar display options and features to the others in our best WordPress gallery plugin list. The premium versions start at $30 per year up to $100 per year and include a broad selection of galleries and albums and effects.
Opinion of Photo Gallery by 10Web
Photo Gallery by 10Web is easy to work with, has a ton of features and even the basic default galleries are pleasing to the eye. The plugin offers all the tools you could need within reasonably priced packages and accessible controls. What more could you need?
Flagallery Photo Portfolio is another competitive WordPress gallery plugin with an added twist. It also includes the ability to create audio playlists. This may not be relevant to every type of website but is an added bonus to an already feature-rich offering.
The free version of Flagallery Photo Portfolio includes the Album Navigator tool which is used to create albums and galleries, a few gallery display options and pagination tools.
The premium version of Flagallery Photo Portfolio adds a much wider range of extra album and gallery display options, WoowSlider, an MP3 player, video player, Nivo Slider and fullscreen galleries.
Pros of Flagallery Photo Portfolio:
- Batch upload option for easy image management
- Attractive basic display options in the free version
- Wide range of extra display options in premium
- Easy to use with low barrier to entry
- Well-known sliders included in premium
Cons of Flagallery Photo Portfolio:
- Occasional issues getting the gallery working
Flagallery Photo Portfolio Pricing
The premium version of Flagallery Photo Portfolio costs $29 per licence which is good for a single website. This is decent value compared to the others in this list and includes a wide range of display tools.
Opinion of Flagallery Photo Portfolio
Flagallery Photo Portfolio is easy to use, has a collection of decent gallery and album options and includes extra sliders, batch uploads and excellent ease of use. Well worth experimenting with regardless of the type of website you’re creating.
Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery is a WordPress gallery plugin with a definite leaning towards social. It contains most of the display and image management tools you’ll need but also comes with a selection of social tools including commenting. If you’re planning to build a website around your audience, this might work for you.
Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery is a free plugin with no premium option. We included it in our list of the best WordPress gallery plugins because of its bias towards sharing and social. It still has the display options you need, just with a couple of extra features.
The three main gallery options include the default gallery available in WordPress plus a tiled and a grid gallery. Not as many as some premium plugins but it is free…
Pros of Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery:
- Three strong gallery options
- Easy to install and use
- Social media features
- CSS customization options
Cons of Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery:
- It is a little lean on features compared to premium WordPress gallery plugins
Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery Pricing
Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery is free.
Opinion of Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery
Lightbox – EverlightBox Gallery is a free plugin that does a lot right. It’s easy to use and to work with and implements seamlessly into a website. It may not have the same breadth of gallery options as some of these others but this is a free plugin. If you’re building a social website, this is definitely a plugin to try.
10. Robo Gallery
Robo Gallery is another strong showing in our roundup of the best WordPress gallery plugins. Like GT3 Photo and Video Gallery, Robo Gallery integrates into Gutenberg blocks to offer the option of using WordPress tools to create your galleries.
The free version of the plugin includes three galleries and albums, image effects, responsive design, auto-resizing tool, hover effects, social tools and lazy loading.
The premium version of Robo Gallery adds unlimited galleries, Lightbox integration, advanced styling tools, unlimited category sorting, customizable effects and support.
Pros of Robo Gallery:
- Attractive galleries included in the free version
- Lots of image effects to add impact
- Very customizable if you have basic CSS skills
- Lots of default styling options for those without CSS skills
Cons of Robo Gallery:
- Number of features can be initially overwhelming
Robo Gallery Pricing
There is a free version and premium versions of Robo Gallery. Premium versions cost $30, $65 and $95 as one-off fees. Premium versions add all features but vary in the number of websites it can be used on.
Opinion of Robo Gallery
Robo Gallery is well worth trying. Gutenberg integration means you can be up and running with the minimum of configuration and even the default gallery views work well. With more work, you can deliver truly unique galleries and that’s something worth paying for.
11. Meow Gallery
Meow Gallery is known for being very easy to use and for being fast. It offers a very streamlined image upload and ordering process and takes seconds to create a gallery. You can customize it, add filters and effects, use retina display, Lightroom features and use the included Gutenberg editor to create a wide range of galleries.
The free version of Meow Gallery offers five gallery types, the Gutenberg editor, some Lightbox effects, Lightroom tools and the ability to add audio to an image.
The premium version adds lazy loading, infinite scroll, carousel slider, map layouts, animations and other tools.
Pros of Meow Gallery:
- Meow Gallery is very fast to load images
- Easy to use with Gutenberg editor
- Five attractive layouts in the free version
- Compatibility with other WordPress plugins
Cons of Meow Gallery:
- Not as feature rich as other photo gallery WordPress plugins
- Limited gallery options in premium version
Meow Gallery Pricing
Meow Gallery has a free version and a Pro. The Pro version costs from $19 per year for a single website up to $299 for a lifetime licence for unlimited websites.
Opinion of Meow Gallery
What Meow Gallery does, it does very well indeed. It’s easy to use, simple to configure and loads impressively quickly. It may not be as in-depth as some of these other WordPress gallery plugins but that is as much a strength as a compromise.
Portfolio Gallery is a well-designed WordPress photo gallery plugin. It’s simple, easy to get to grips with, has its own dashboard and offers a range of display options and filters. The dashboard makes it easy for anyone to begin building a gallery while also offering advanced tools for those who need them.
The free version of Portfolio Gallery includes multiple layouts, filters, Bootstrap Lightbox, labelling and caption tools.
The premium version of Portfolio Gallery adds more galleries and albums, hover effects, image effects, custom CSS options, filters and linking tools.
Pros of Portfolio Gallery:
- Very easy to use with simple controls
- Advanced CSS customization options
- Good looking default galleries
- Many filtering and labelling options
- Lots of image effects
Cons of Portfolio Gallery:
- Dashboard may seem cluttered until you get used to it
- Not as many galleries as some other plugins
Portfolio Gallery Pricing
Portfolio Gallery is available as a free plugin or a premium one. The premium option costs $29 for a lifetime licence and includes updates forever. This makes it a very competitive plugin.
Opinion of Portfolio Gallery
Portfolio Gallery sits in the middle ground of WordPress gallery plugins. It offers more features than some but not as many as others. Where it shines is in its simplicity. It is easy to use, has lots of features in the free version and a very low barrier to entry.
Responsive Lightbox & Gallery is a WordPress gallery plugin that works well as a standalone install but can really come into its own with the optional extensions. It has its own gallery builder with drag and drop, lots of customization options, social sharing options and a range of galleries and albums.
The free version includes all the core tools including the drag and drop builder, Lightbox compatibility, lots of freedom in the look and feel of your gallery and some image effects.
Premium extensions add image effects, Fancybox and a series of extra gallery options including inline, expander, Lightbox, sliders and others.
Pros of Responsive Lightbox & Gallery:
- Core plugin is free
- Option to expand utility with premium extensions
- Plugin is very easy to use and set up
- Includes decent default display options
Cons of Responsive Lightbox & Gallery:
- The basic plugin is just that, very basic
Responsive Lightbox & Gallery Pricing
The core plugin is completely free. Optional extensions are available priced from $19 to $49 each. This works for some as you can just buy what you need. It leaves little room for experimentation though.
Opinion of Responsive Lightbox & Gallery
Responsive Lightbox & Gallery is a solid entry into the best WordPress gallery plugins list. What it does, it does well but the core plugin is very limited as it has just a single gallery option. Extensions are good value though and means you could get a superb looking gallery for very little money.
Photo Gallery by Supsystic is a fully featured WordPress gallery plugin that delivers a lot of features for not a lot of money. It’s easy to get to grips with, includes a range of gallery layouts, social sharing tools, bulk import and FTP import tools, image protection options, customizations and the opportunity to utilize a CDN for faster loading.
The free version of Photo Gallery comes with some good looking galleries, animated effects, linking options, fullscreen image viewing, social sharing tools and shadow effects.
The premium version adds video gallery support, watermarking, custom buttons and layouts, pagination, image linking, social media import tools and the FTP uploader.
Pros of Photo Gallery by Supsystic:
- Great range of gallery options
- Image effects and shadows
- Social media sharing
- Further customization possible
Cons of Photo Gallery by Supsystic:
- It’s a shame video support is premium-only
Photo Gallery by Supsystic Pricing
Photo Gallery has a free and a premium version. Premium costs from $39 for a single licence up to $149 for an unlimited licence.
Opinion of Photo Gallery by Supsystic
Photo Gallery has some great looking galleries both in the free version and premium. It is easy to use, makes short work of uploading and sorting images and doesn’t slow the page down noticeably. Well worth checking out.
WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin by Gallery Bank is one of the most popular WordPress gallery plugins around. It has a lot of features, a wide range of gallery and album options, Ajax compatibility, shortcode editing options, unlimited images and galleries and the ability to use image metadata to build out the gallery.
The free version of the WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin is impressive, with Ajax compatibility, numerous album and gallery layouts, photo metadata tools, title and description options, custom CSS tools, image protection and a shortcode wizard.
The premium version adds a much wider range of gallery types, multiple uploader tools, video gallery support, image editor, watermarking, multiple filters and tagging tools, lazy loading and lots more besides.
Pros of WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin by Gallery Bank:
- More features than most other WordPress photo gallery plugins
- Impressive feature set in free version
- More impressive gallery options in premium
- Ease of use
- Social media tools
Cons of WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin by Gallery Bank:
- The number of features may take time to get your head around
WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin by Gallery Bank pricing
The WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin has the impressive free version or a premium version for €29.99 up to €99.99 for agency. Some features are locked behind each tier but most galleries available with the cheapest Pro edition.
Opinion of WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin by Gallery Bank
To be honest, there is little to criticize the WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin for. They give so much away with the free version that only a few users would want to upgrade. That said, prices are keen and feature plenty so it’s definitely an investment rather than cost.
Installing a WordPress Gallery Plugin
Installing a WordPress gallery plugin is very straightforward. All of these WordPress photo gallery plugins, free or otherwise install in exactly the same way. It’s just the method of delivery that might differ.
You can find most of these plugins from the Add Plugins window in WordPress.
- Log into WordPress.
- Select Plugins from the left menu of your WordPress dashboard.
- Select Add New.
- Type the name of the plugin into the search box at the top right.
- Select Install Now when you see the plugin appear.
- Select Activate once done to enable the plugin.
If you’re using the free version, you can now configure the plugin to your needs and begin building your gallery.
If you’re using a premium plugin, you will likely have to enter a confirmation code within the plugin’s menu to activate the premium features. Once complete, you can also begin building your gallery.
Best Practices for Formatting Images for the Web
To get the best out of your new WordPress gallery plugin, you need to provide great quality images to showcase. Images are vital to the engagement on a web page but a balance has to be struck between image size and image quality.
The highest quality images will be large, causing your page to load slowly. Low quality images may load quickly but won’t look as amazing as they could.
The trick is to balance the two requirements to best suit your needs.
- Choose your format – PNG are higher quality but larger. JPEG can be lossy or lossless but can become very large very quickly. GiFs are tiny but only support 256 colours.
- Experiment with compression – Investing time experimenting with image editors, image formats, lossy and lossless compression and the various software out there will return that investment many times over.
- Resize images before uploading – WordPress can resize your images but it is much more efficient to do it beforehand. Use a good quality image editor to save your images in the correct size with the right compression ratio for your needs. Your images should be sharper and smaller as a result.
- Use an image optimization plugin – WordPress has dozens of image optimizers available. Use one to help keep images manageable. Options include EWWWW Image Optimizer, WP Smush, TinyPNG, Imagify Image Optimizer and dozens of others.
- Use a CDN if appropriate – If you’re running an image-heavy website, you may want to invest in a Content Delivery Network. This can drastically reduce load times of pages and galleries.
Summary of WordPress Gallery Plugins
This list of the best WordPress gallery plugin is not exhaustive. Not by a long shot. Yet it does represent what we think are some of the best on the market right now. They balance powerful features with ease of use, image effects with fast loading and include the tools and features you need to build great quality galleries.
Which Gallery Plugin Should You Choose?
To be honest, any of the gallery plugins we have featured here would make an excellent addition to any website. The selection covers the widest range of plugins from the feature-rich to the easy to get to grips with, the detail oriented to the no-frills options.
However, were we to have to choose, we would recommend Envira Gallery because of its balance of ease of use and competitive price. Otherwise, Photo Gallery by Supsystic is a genuine highlight with great features, a fully functional free version and social sharing.
Whatever type of website you’re building, there is sure to be a WordPress photo gallery plugin in this list that suits!
Do you use a different gallery plugin? Think we missed a superior photo gallery option from our list? Tell us about it below if you do!