WordPress has always supported media well — individual media files, such as images, can be inserted directly into posts and pages at the click of a button, or, alternatively, they can be grouped together into a gallery.
Galleries are a practical way of presenting multiple images and videos to website visitors. I recommend using galleries where you can, because it saves your readers from having to scroll down the page to see everything. Instead, they can view a summary of your media through image thumbnails, and then click on the item they want.
The WordPress gallery block is useful if you want to add a few images or videos to a post or page. However, its functionality is extremely limited — there are only a few options, and you can’t modify the design of your gallery.
That’s why I recommend using a dedicated WordPress gallery solution instead.
In this article, I’ll be sharing what we at WinningWP consider to be the seven best image gallery plugins for WordPress.
While their main focus is on supporting image galleries, most of these solutions do also support video.
Modula — FREE/$29-Plus
The free version of the WordPress plugin is called Modula Image Gallery.
Adding a new gallery is easy: You enter the name of your gallery at the top of the page, and underneath you either upload your media or select it from your WordPress media library.
Below the media area is the settings box. As you can see from the screenshot below, some features, such as filters, videos, password protection and watermarking, aren’t available in this version. However, you can change the size of your gallery, how thumbnails look and how captions are displayed. The style of your gallery can be customised too, and there’s support for lazy loading.
It’s worth noting that there’s no dedicated settings page for the plugin, which means all settings have to be configured on a gallery-by-gallery basis. I’d like to see a dedicated settings page added, so default values can be defined.
The lite version of Modula limits you to 20 images per gallery. It’s a useful plugin if you just want to display a few images, but I recommend upgrading to Modula Pro, as it unlocks all features and has no restrictions on how many items you can add to a gallery.
A basic license for Modula Pro gives you support and updates for one website for one year. Retailing at $29, this version allows you to add videos to galleries, and will automatically optimise images when they’re uploaded. Filters and sorting functionality are made available too.
The $69 trio license increases usage to three websites and adds the ability to link to specific galleries without creating dedicated pages for them. It also lets you password protect galleries and prevent visitors from right-clicking on images and downloading them.
The business license at $99 increases usage to 25 websites. This version supports watermarking of each image and lets you link to each image or video directly. An unlimited license is also available for $249.
Modula is a great-looking gallery solution for WordPress, and from only $29 you can add support for video, filtering options and image optimisation.
If you’re looking for a free WordPress image gallery plugin, I’d recommend testing some other solutions first, as the restriction of 20 images per gallery will frustrate you.
Envira Gallery — FREE/$29-Plus
Envira is a beautiful, responsive gallery plugin that lets you organise your galleries using drag and drop. Galleries can be inserted into your website using shortcodes, or directly through the WordPress editor.
The plugin lets you organise galleries into albums, add watermarks to images and display items in slideshows. It also works with WooCommerce, and there’s support for importing images into your gallery from Instagram, Dropbox and the NextGen Gallery WordPress plugin.
The free version of the plugin is called Envira Photo Gallery. Like Modula, all gallery settings are kept within the gallery page itself, which means you can’t define default values for all galleries.
From the settings area, you can define the number of columns for your gallery, configure lightbox settings and enable lazy loading for images.
A basic license for the full version of Envira costs $29 and gives support and updates for one website for one year. This version unlocks standalone galleries, importing from Dropbox and NextGen Gallery, slideshows, right-click image protection, CSS styling, and printing.
The plus license, at $69, increases usage to three websites. This license adds many other features, such as pagination, password protection, Instagram importing, tags and watermarking.
At $99, the pro license unlocks all features and grants usage for up to 25 websites. You need to upgrade to this license to get support for videos, image proofing for your clients, albums, social media, deep-linking and fullscreen galleries.
The usage restriction can be removed if you upgrade to the agency license at $299.
The basic license of Envira does let you import images from NextGen Gallery and Dropbox, but if you want to import media from Instagram or upload videos you’re going to have to upgrade to the pro license at $99.
FooGallery — FREE/$59-Plus
FooGallery is a versatile gallery solution that supports lazy loading and uses a drag-and-drop user-interface for ordering galleries.
The free version supports six gallery templates: Responsive image, image viewer, masonry, simple portfolio, justified and single thumbnail. Polaroid, grid and slider gallery templates are available in the pro version.
In the gallery settings box, you can switch to any template, and the options will change according to the template you select.
The developers have been quite generous with the lite version of their plugin. From the settings area, you can easily modify your gallery size, thumbnails, appearance, lightbox, hover effects, pagination and more.
You can also import galleries from NextGen Gallery, and use CSS to style photo albums and galleries.
Further settings are available on the main plugin settings page. From here, you can enable HTML caching, set your preferred gallery template and specify default image settings, such as the JPEG quality you want all images to be optimised to.
In addition to three new gallery templates, FooGallery Pro offers support for video galleries. You can display videos from your media library or from video services such as YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia. Tags and categories are made available too, together with infinite scrolling and many filtering options.
You’ll be pleased to hear that all versions of FooGallery Pro offer the same features. The personal license costs $59, and offers support and updates for one website for one year; the business license costs $109 and increases usage to five websites; the agency license, at $199, increases usage to 25 websites.
There’s a lot to love about FooGallery.
The free version is easy to use, has many gallery templates and lets you customise them in a variety of ways. While there are cheaper alternatives to FooGallery Pro, those who pay $59 to upgrade will unlock all of the premium features. This is in contrast to other solutions that only give you access to all of the features if you upgrade to one of their higher-tier plans.
Essential Grid — $34
The plugin is packed full of features, and lets you import images and videos from your WordPress media library, NextGen Gallery, WP Gallery, WooCommerce, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Flikr and even Twitter.
Several template styles are available, including full-width, masonry, variable columns, pagination and more. All of these templates can be modified using a visual skin editor.
Essential Grid isn’t just a gallery plugin, it can do everything — including creating grid layouts for categories, related posts, latest posts, events, custom post types, and WooCommerce shopping layouts and pricing tables.
You can also create professional video playlist templates from many different sources, while Instagram and Facebook galleries are possible too.
Essential Grid may not fit into everyone’s idea of what a WordPress image gallery plugin should be, but I encourage you all to check it out.
The plugin is extremely flexible, it looks great and it sells for only $34.
NextGen Gallery — FREE/$99-Plus
All of the WordPress gallery plugins I’ve referenced so far allow you to import images from NextGen Gallery. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
With more than a million downloads per year, NextGen Gallery, launched in 2007, is by far the most popular WordPress gallery solution available.
It helps you to organise images using tags, albums and galleries. Images can be displayed using many different gallery styles, including thumbnail, slideshow and list.
Many processes can be done in bulk. For example, when you select multiple images, you can add watermarks to them, resize their thumbnails, recover images from backups, import image metadata and more.
The plugin has two settings areas. In the gallery settings area, you can modify default values for thumbnails and for each type of gallery template.
The other settings area is aptly called ‘Other Options’. In this area, you can define image resizing rules, select one of six lightbox effects to be used, create a unique watermark for images and enable custom CSS. Roles and capabilities can also be set for standard WordPress user roles.
The premium version of NextGen Gallery, the plus license, retails from $99. It grants access to all Imagely themes and adds several new gallery types, such as filmstrip, masonry, and blogstyle. Image sharing, image protection and deep linking are also included.
The pro license, at $149, increases usage from one website to three, and adds eCommerce and download functionality, payment support, image proofing and the lightroom plugin. Enterprise and lifetime licenses are available at $249 and $499, and offer the same features as the pro license but increase the number of websites that are supported.
It’s easy to see why NextGen Gallery is so popular. The free version of the plugin contains advanced features, such as watermarking, that are normally reserved for those who upgrade. Its tagging and album system works great too.
While there’s no support for video, pro users may want to upgrade to get access to additional gallery types, and support for digital downloads and payments.
Photo Gallery — FREE/$40-Plus
Photo Gallery is a popular WordPress gallery solution that can be used to sell digital content online. It features lazy loading, image pre-loading, a drag-and-drop user-interface, ten gallery templates, and 15 lightbox effects.
Unlike most other WordPress gallery solutions, the free version of Photo Gallery supports video, and you can display videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, Instagram, Flikr and more.
Galleries can be grouped together to help you to organise your media, and tags can be used too.
In the main plugin settings area, you’ll see additional features that are normally reserved for premium gallery plugins, such as watermarking, right-click image protection and dynamic URLs.
Thumbnails, slideshow and image browser gallery templates are available in the free version of Photo Gallery. If you upgrade to Photo Gallery Pro, you’ll unlock masonry, mosaic, blog style and carousel gallery templates.
You also gain access to fully customisable gallery themes, which can be modified using a theme editor.
The pro version starts from $40 for the basic license, which grants you six months of support and updates for one website. The standard license, at $60, extends support and updates to a year and increases usage to three websites, while the advanced license costs $80 and increases usage to 30 websites.
Four addons are available. The eCommerce addon lets you sell images on your website, while the Google Photos and NextGen Gallery addons can be used to import images. The last addon helps you to move Photo Gallery images and galleries to another website.
It’s a little frustrating that the functionality to transfer Photo Gallery to another website isn’t included in the basic, standard or advanced licenses. Instead, users have to upgrade to the 10Web plugin bundle, which costs $100, to gain access to these addons and to 50 other premium plugins.
The free version of Photo Gallery is excellent: It supports video and has a ton of useful options you normally have to pay for.
10Web’s exclusion of addons from their advanced license is a little bizarre, but there are enough extra features in Photo Gallery Pro to warrant upgrading.
Robo Gallery — Free/$30-Plus
Robo Gallery is a user-friendly WordPress gallery plugin that lets you display images in a grid layout, classic gallery layout or polaroid layout. Videos can be added to galleries too.
The free version of Robo Gallery has a simple plugin settings page that lets you clear the cache, add custom CSS and check compatibility settings, but the majority of settings are defined in the gallery itself.
Robo Gallery gives you full control over the size of images and thumbnails, as well as styling effects such as shadows. Lazy loading and lightbox settings can be configured here too.
Interestingly, new blog posts can be created directly from the gallery page that features your gallery. This speeds up the process of sharing your newly created gallery with your readers.
The free version of Robo Gallery, unfortunately, limits you to three galleries. To unlock unlimited galleries, you need to upgrade. This will also unlock lightbox settings, advanced styles for your interface, gallery menu styles, the polaroid gallery template and more.
A pro license costs $30 and comes with six months of support and updates. The extended license, at $65, increases usage from one website to three websites, and extends support and updates to 12 months. The extended plus license costs $95, and grants unlimited usage, as well as lifetime support and updates.
Three addons are available for Robo Gallery. Surprisingly, all of these addons can be installed free of charge.
The gallery widget can be used to display galleries in sidebars, while the backup addon will help you to back your galleries and settings up and restore them elsewhere. There’s also a statistics addon that shows you how many views, images and galleries you have. This addon is really basic, but it’s hard to complain when it’s free to download.
Robo Gallery is lacking some features found in other solutions, such as image importing, but the developers have got lots of things right.
The free version of the plugin has many styling options and offers video support too. Just remember that this version restricts you to three galleries.
With Robo Gallery Pro being priced competitively at $30, it’s easy to recommend upgrading if you like what it offers.
When it comes to inserting galleries into a website, WordPress users are spoiled for choice.
If you don’t want to install a dedicated WordPress gallery plugin, you may want to consider the gallery block that’s available in the WordPress Editor.
It is, however, a simple solution. You can change the number of columns that are displayed, whether images are cropped for alignment, and whether images link to the media file, attachment page or nothing at all. No other options are available, though.
A few other good WordPress gallery plugins deserve a mention.
Photo Gallery by Supsystic is a popular plugin that lets you display media in several ways, offering a full-width gallery, video gallery, post feed gallery, carousel gallery, masonry gallery and more.
GridKit is another one to consider. It has fantastic support for videos, and can be used to display logos, staff members, sponsors and more. Several traditional image layout gallery templates are available too.
Last but not least is Portfolio Gallery. This WordPress plugin lets you display images and videos in beautiful lightbox galleries.
Filters can be used to help visitors narrow down what media they want to see — which is particularly useful if your galleries contain lots of images and videos.
While the core WordPress gallery block is available to you, I strongly recommend checking out one of the dedicated gallery solutions referenced in this article. They look better, have more options and will let you customise how your media is presented to visitors.
Used/using any of these gallery plugins? Which do you think is the best?