Best WordPress Gallery Plugins

In this article, we will compare the best WordPress gallery plugins so you can choose the best one for your site and your photography needs

Updated on January 4, 2023
Best WordPress Gallery Plugins

Do you want to create a photo gallery on your website? Are you looking for the perfect WordPress gallery plugin that fits your needs? If so, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will compare the best WordPress gallery plugins on the market so that you can choose the right one for your website or your photography needs.

Although WordPress has basic image gallery functionality, you’ll need to install a plugin if you want more creative options for displaying images on your website. However, with so many options available for WordPress, which one should you choose?

This article compares three of the most popular image gallery plugins to help you find the best one for your website. We’ll be pitting the free versions of Envira GalleryFooGallery, and NextGEN Gallery against each other, so you’ll be able to see what each can do quickly and discover which one’s right for you. We’ll also briefly cover some of the best features of the premium versions of these WordPress photography plugins.

In short, image gallery plugins allow you to create collections of images and insert them into your WordPress posts, pages, and other content. The best WordPress photography gallery plugins include a selection of different layout formats, gallery styles, and display settings.

By the end of this NextGEN Gallery, FooGallery, and Envira Gallery comparison, you’ll understand what these mobile-friendly image gallery plugins can do and which one you should choose.

Details

Envira Gallery, NextGEN Gallery, and FooGallery are undoubtedly three of the most popular free WordPress image gallery plugins available today. However, even though these plugins have a large user base, not everyone has had a positive experience with them. Here are the main details from the WordPress Plugin Directory:

  • Envira Gallery: 80,000-plus active installs, 4.7-star rating out of 5 (based on 376 reviews).
  • FooGallery: 80,000-plus active installs, 4.8-star rating out of 5 (based on 101 reviews).
  • NextGEN Gallery: 1 million-plus active installs, 3.3-star rating out of 5 (based on 1,261 reviews).

NextGEN is the most widely used free WordPress image gallery plugin. However, its rating score is a mixed bag, with almost as many one-star ratings are five-star ones. FooGallery and Envira appear to be as popular as each other, with a much more positive average user rating.

Based on this information, there’s no obvious frontrunner in the best WordPress image gallery plugin category, so which one should you choose? Let’s find out in our hands-on comparison.

At their most basic, Envira Gallery, NextGEN Gallery, and FooGallery allow you to insert a selection of small thumbnail images into your WordPress posts and pages.

While displaying small thumbnail images with the ability to view larger versions may be enough for some users. The best WordPress photo gallery plugins can do much more.

Using the slideshow format is another popular way to display your images. Of the free versions of these three plugins, NextGEN Gallery has a built-in slideshow mode. It scrolls through the images at set intervals or each time it has a click. FooGallery has a free carousel addon that can be enabled inside your WordPress dashboard.

FooGallery and NextGEN also have image view and browser modes that give you another way to display your images in a slideshow-style format. To create image slideshows with Envira, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the premium plans to use the slideshow addon.

Masonry

The masonry layout is ideal for displaying images of different aspect ratios without cropping them. Therefore, it’s great to see that FooGallery includes a masonry template as a standard. For Envira and NextGEN, upgrading to the premium versions is the only way to use masonry layouts on your image galleries.

Each of these free plugins gives you control over how your image galleries work and look. NextGEN has more settings and options than the other two, but, as we’ll see in the user experience section, this can lead to confusion. NextGEN isn’t short on options and settings, but this may be too much for some users.

The Envira Gallery lite plugin keeps things simple in the customization departments. That’s with most settings and options reserved for the premium version. The free version of Envira Gallery may not provide enough settings for those with anything more than the most basic requirements.

FooGallery sits in the middle, offering enough controls to satisfy most users without being overwhelming. The FooGallery settings are a good compromise between ease of use and creative freedom.

In this WordPress photography gallery plugins comparison, we’re focusing on the free versions of FooGallery, NextGEN, and Envira. However, by upgrading to the premium versions of these plugins or purchasing the premium add-ons, you can do much more with your image galleries.

Some examples of the premium features you can access by upgrading include:

  • Create video galleries (Envira and FooGallery)
  • Display social media content galleries (Envira and FooGallery)
  • Sell photos with e-commerce intege-commerce via NextGEN)
  • Galleries displaying WordPress posts, products, and other content (Envira and NextGEN).

You’ll need to visit the NextGEN, Envira, and FooGallery pro feature list pages on their websites to learn more about the premium versions of these plugins.

As we just saw, these plugins allow you to add more customized image galleries to your WordPress site. One way or another, but which is the easiest to use? Let’s find out.

First Steps

After installing and activating FooGallery or NextGEN Gallery on your website, a welcome screen is displayed inside your WordPress dashboard.

In the case of NextGEN, there’s even a series of helpful videos embedded in the welcome screen and a gallery wizard to help you get started. When used correctly, welcome screens can do a good job. They help users get started and understand how a plugin works. And then learn about upgrade options – NextGEN and FooGallery are great examples of how to use welcome screens. Unfortunately, Envira Gallery doesn’t include a welcome screen.

Creation

As mentioned, NextGEN Gallery includes a wizard that allows you to be led through creating a gallery, making it easier to start.

While Envira and FooGallery don’t have wizards, you shouldn’t have any problem creating an image gallery using either of these plugins. As FooGallery integrates seamlessly with WordPress, you should have no trouble creating an image gallery if you’re familiar with WordPress. And, even if you’re new to WordPress, you’ll only have one user interface to learn should you choose FooGallery.

With the gallery content, builder, and settings on the same page, everything you need to create and customize your gallery is easily accessible with FooGallery. Envira Gallery also harnesses the native WordPress user interface to deliver an intuitive user experience. The plugin integrates seamlessly with the WordPress Media Library, making it easy to upload and add images to your galleries.

As with FooGallery, Envira Gallery provides everything you need on one screen, making it easy to start and customize your galleries. However, most Envira Gallery features are found in the plugin’s premium version. Much of the user interface displays an upsell for the pro version.

Image Gallery Post

Envira Gallery, FooGallery, and NextGEN Gallery add a handy button to the WordPress Editor. With Envira Gallery and FooGallery, clicking this button lets you choose which of your galleries to insert into your content.

NextGEN takes things to the next level when inserting a gallery into your posts and pages. Instead of simply choosing which gallery to insert, you’re faced with many options.

From the NextGEN insert gallery screen, you can do much more than add a gallery to your content. Some NextGEN options include choosing which images from your library to display. And also how to display them or upload more images to your site from the insertion gallery window. However, while these additional options can be confusing initially, it only takes a bit longer to insert a gallery into a post than with FooGallery or Envira.

It is easy to insert a well-presented image gallery into a WordPress post or page with all three of these plugins. As we covered earlier, you can create a good range of image galleries with these plugins. Even when using the default settings, the results are respectable. This is with little difference between NextGEN, FooGallery, and Envira in terms of presentation.

By default, FooGallery adds a drop shadow border effect to each image. But this can easily be changed through the individual gallery settings. As you can see, using the default settings, the thumbnail images aren’t automatically resized to fill the entire content area width. Thankfully, the justified gallery template can take care of this.

By default, the Envira galleries are nicely justified to take up the full width of the content area. Hovering over an image displays the optional captions, and, as with the other two plugins, clicking on an image displays a larger version in a lightbox overlay window.

Like FooGallery, images created with NextGEN using the default settings add a border to the thumbnails. The layout isn’t justified either, leaving a gap between the last image and the edge of the content area. However, this can easily be changed in the gallery settings.

NextGEN is probably the best WordPress photography gallery plugins for power users. If you want full control over your galleries and many varied options for presenting your images differently, NextGEN could be for you. However, because of the detailed options and settings of NextGEN, it’s more complicated to use and less user-friendly than Envira and FooGalley.

FooGallery and Envira are similar in terms of usability. Both are easier to use than NextGEN Gallery, even for the basics. However, of the two, FooGallery edges ahead because of its stricter adherence to the WordPress way of doing things regarding interface design. It just feels like a part of your website rather than an add-on. We hope we helped you decide which is the best WordPress gallery plugin for your website or photography needs.