I hated coding photo galleries when I used to code static HTML websites because they were so time consuming. I had to copy and paste the HTML code for each photo in a gallery. In addition to that, I had to create a new HTML file for each photo gallery. This changed when I switched to developing websites with WordPress. I could create galleries and upload several images at a time in the WordPress admin section. For WordPress photo galleries, I use either the NextGen Gallery Plugin or the Envira Gallery Plugin.
This photo gallery plugin has been downloaded over 13 million times (see plugin’s website). I found out about this plugin by doing a Google search and using my method of choosing a WordPress plugin. Currently, this plugin has a 4.1-star rating. I’ve never had a problem with this plugin that wasn’t solved through the plugin’s support forum. The NextGen photo gallery plugin has a free and paid version. In order to have responsive photo galleries, you’ll need to buy either NextGen Plus or NextGen Pro.
With the free version, you can bulk upload images to a gallery, move or copy images to another gallery, rotate images, resize image thumbnails, and much more. SEO makes up a large part of our business here in Atlanta, GA, so it’s important that we can optimize the images in the gallery. It’s pretty easy for me to do this with NextGen.
In the Manage Galleries section, I can specify the alt text and add an image description. If you don’t know, search engines can’t identify images, so they have to depend on their alt text to let them know what the images are.
The premium versions of NextGen Gallery require the free version to run. I took the plunge at the end of 2017 and bought a lifetime license for NextGen Pro and NextGen Plus, and it was well worth it. I’ve had almost zero issues with the NextGen gallery. The support team responds within a business day if not within a couple of hours.
Here’s what a NextGen Gallery Plus lightbox image looks like on one of our client’s websites, treatyourfeetbuckhead.com on a desktop computer:
Here’s what a screenshot of the same gallery on an iPhone in landscape view:
And here’s a screenshot of the gallery on an iPhone in landscape view:
I heard about this plugin at the 2014 Atlanta WordCamp Conference. I was told that it was much better than the NextGen photo gallery. Wanting to see this for myself, I purchased the Gold Plan which allowed me to use this on an unlimited number of websites (clients included). I was impressed with the look and responsiveness of the photo galleries. I thought that they looked much better than the NextGen photo galleries, so I upgraded to the Platinum Plan which allowed me to receive lifetime support and updates.
The Envira Gallery plugin has 25 add-ons including a NextGen Importer Addon to make it easy to switch photo gallery plugin solutions. I haven’t used all of the add-ons, but I have used the Pinterest and Standalone Add-ons. The Pinterest Addon adds a button to each lightbox image in a gallery. The Standalone Addon allows a gallery to have its own page.
I was planning on making the Envira Gallery my WordPress photo gallery of choice until I found out that I can’t move (much less bulk move) images to another gallery. To do this, I have to remove the image from the current gallery, then manually add the image to the new gallery by selecting it from the WordPress Media Library.
I like NextGen Gallery (free or paid) better than Envira Gallery. Both of these plugins offer lifetime licenses now. If you’ve tried NextGen and Envira, I’d love to hear your thoughts.