Are you in search of the best image gallery plugin for your WordPress website? And have no idea which plugin is worth the investment and fit your site? If yes, no need to worry now. We are here with a detailed review of the best WordPress gallery plugin available for photo content websites.
Introduction to NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery is the most popular image WordPress gallery plugin since its release in 2007. This plugin is perfect to manage and maintain photo websites. Whether you are a photographer or the blogger with large photo content on your site, this plugin is a go-to plugin. You can create a professional-looking and appealing site with less effort in no time.
NextGEN Gallery has both free and premium versions available. It has over nine hundred thousand active installations and over one million downloads per year. Also, this plugin has a 4.75+ average star rating in WordPress.org’s official site. This proves why the plugin is worth the hype.
No wonder, why this plugin is receiving so much popularity. It helps you to create simple photo galleries that are powerful enough for portraying the creativity of a photographer, artist, and professionals building image content website.
As this plugin also has some issues as stated by the customer, but the great support and higher dedications by the developers have overcome those complaints and queries.
Why do you need an Image Gallery Plugin?
WordPress is mainly designed as a blogging site but gradually it has extended its features that allow us to create a website from business, e-commerce, education, health, and photography to many more.
However, with the added features, there has been complexity and lagging in features while building more of an image content website. It makes our site slow and less attractive.
So, the best option for an image content site is to go for an additional plugin that allows you to make the site more versatile and extend the features of your site. For photo-based sites, the image gallery plugin lets you display a large number of images via the gallery in an organized and as professional-looking as possible.
The main reason for using an image gallery plugin is to make the site simple, easy to handle and fast loading.
NextGEN Gallery features:
NextGEN Gallery helps to manage and organize the images by letting you import images from the media library, folder and create a new gallery. Along with that, the selling of photos is possible with the premium plugins. This plugin lets you manage galleries in bulk actions, create thumbnails, set watermark, resize images, import metadata, and also recover the backups.
After the image is uploaded, you have the option of showcasing the gallery in thumbnails, image browser galleries or in the slideshow. Besides that, you can control each gallery size, style, transitions, lightbox effects and more.
The free version of NextGEN comes with 5 gallery display types including thumbnail and slideshow galleries whereas NextGEN has two premium extensions: NextGEN Plus and NextGEN Pro. The two premium extensions come with various extended add-ons such as automatic print lab fulfillment (WHCC), pro tiled gallery, pro mosaic gallery, masonry gallery, film gallery, grid album, social sharing, deep linking, open graph, image protection, proofing, and many more unique and attractive features. The most important feature you get with the pro version is e-commerce capabilities.
More specifically, The NextGEN Plus offers a dozen additional gallery display types, including Tiled, Mosaic, and Masonry galleries, as well as image protection and a full-screen pro lightbox with commenting and social sharing for individual images. NextGEN Pro includes everything from NextGEN Plus but adds a robust proofing and e-commerce system for serious photographers, including automated print fulfillment.
How to get started with NextGEN Gallery?
First of all, let’s get started by creating a Gallery.
There are two ways by which you can create a Gallery. One is by creating a gallery and inserting it into the post or the page and another is by uploading images then, when you create a page or posts add the gallery.
Here we will discuss how to create the gallery and insert it into the post as we believe you can easily add a gallery while editing the page on your own.
When you click on add Gallery/ Images, the options such as upload images, import from the media library, import folder appears on the screen. As we are uploading images from the computer, we will choose the options Upload Images for now.
After the images are uploaded successfully, the notification of Upload complete appears at the bottom. Now, you can go to manage the gallery and Best Gallery link if you require editing the images.
For now, we would like to demonstrate the step of inserting Gallery into a Page/Post
We have a gallery-ready to insert on the page. You can update the pages and post existing or add new in the same way. Click on Pages > Add New,
The next step is to add the title of the page. Now, click on plus sign to add NextGEN Gallery as shown in the image.
At choose display options, go for Galleries and Select Best Gallery (in the second place as our gallery name is “Best Gallery”). As of now, we are choosing (Pro Thumbnail Grid) as display options.
Finally, the wait is over. Our newly created Gallery looks stunning built on Zigcy Lite Theme.
We are really impressed with how the result has come up with less than five minutes of easy work.
Documentation and support
NextGEN Gallery has the best documentation and support for each feature included in the site. They provide detail of technical insights to make them familiar with options. Also, the interactive team is present in support to address your queries and solve problems. There are video tutorials to make your work much easier.
Moreover, the developer offers active support in the WordPress.org support forums. However, this plugin has received mixed responses regarding support from the customers.
Pricing for NextGEN Gallery plugin
The NextGEN Gallery is available for free on WordPress.org. You can use it by downloading it from there. Also, the plugin is much powerful with the pro extensions available. The main motive of pro extensions is to make the core plugin feature-rich with features like creating a lightbox, enabling e-commerce and social media connections.
If you are impressed with the free version of NextGEN Gallery and want to extend its features then, you better go for premium add-ons.
The first pricing is a lifetime one that costs $299. With this pricing, you can use the plugin in unlimited sites, has pro support, and access to all imagely themes. The best thing is you can enjoy features of NextGEN pro and NextGEN plus with lifetime update and support.
The second one is the Pro one that costs you $139. You can use three sites and have pro support, access to all imagely themes and NextGEN plus features along with NextGEN pro features. The only difference in lifetime pricing is you do not get updates forever and support lifelong.
The third and last one is Plus pricing that is available just for $79. You can use the plugin for only one site and cannot get access to all the imagely themes. Moreover, you can get all the NextGEN plus features but cannot access to NextGEN pro features with no print lab and lifetime facilities.
Expect the lifetime pricing, both the pricing are renewed annually. The accessible features are allowed to be used again by the annual renewals whereas lifetime requires no annual renewal of the plugin. If you failed to renew the plans, you cannot enjoy further updates and support.
The users are praising NextGEN Gallery. They have appreciated the plugin as easy to use, attractive, its customization options, and well maintained. Along with that, this plugin is simple to use, looks great and has powerful features.
The customers have been using NextGEN Gallery for over ten years and they are satisfied with the plugin. The customers are so into this plugin that they are willing to use it further. This is the evidence why the NextGEN GAllery is worth the hype.
However, it is always better to experience on your own before completely trusting others. You can go for the free version at the initial stage. When you feel the plugin is worth the investment, you can upgrade to the pro version.
Our Though on NextGEN Gallery
NextGEN Gallery is an ideal plugin for adding a gallery to your website. The gallery can be displayed in 5 different formats from the thumbnail, slideshow in free and a dozen additional gallery displays in NextGEN Plus.
NextGEN Gallery has been a popular and feature-rich plugin since 2007 with an advanced gallery management system. It has powerful features to create an elegant site that is suitable for power users. It might be difficult to get along with features at the beginning. But, once you are familiar, you cannot wait to experiment more.