Sensible Sliders for Your WordPress Website

There are many sliders and slideshows available for use in WordPresss. While you may have one built into your theme,  often you have to search through a staggering list of plugins, several of which are either out of date or they’re just not flexible enough to do what you need to do.

Here are three sliders I find myself coming back to for their easy flexibility and simple application. I rated each of them for comparison. There are other, more specialized sliders out there, but these are three quality, general purpose sliders I use in many web sites.

Portfolio Slideshow Pro:

Multi-instanced: 4.5/5

Portfolio Slideshow allows you to create sliders from images attached to a post.  It is quite easy to create several separate galleries, though the formatting & settings for them is universal, so you can’t have two radically different galleries with just this plugin. This is true of almost all gallery and slider plugins, so it’s no surprise.

Visual Appeal: 3.75/5

It doesn’t bring a huge range of flexibility, but the options to show thumbnails, prev/next, image counters (or not) makes it useful for a wide range of purposes. Since the short code pulls from a post/page/slideshow’s ID, it can be put anywhere on your site.

Ease of use: 4.5/5 (3/5 for the free version)

For best results with Portfolio Slideshow Pro, upload images to the slideshow section that is added in. It then gives you a code you can paste into any page to display the slideshow.

You can also simply use a page’s or post’s gallery, but that is trickier, as you have to find the post/page’s ID in the url of your edit screen, like so:


this is slightly annoying, but perfectly functional.

The free version only has the second option, which means you’ll have to do a little bit more work, which is time consuming but won’t reduce the functionality of this version.

Support: 5/5

The support is definitely there. It’s built into the back end in a section explaining the short codes, and includes a video detailing the plugin, with links. Most anything you need to know about using the plugin can be found here.

Cost: $19

Though there is a Free version of this plugin, with most of the basic functionality, the free version is functional, if slightly less user friendly in places. (There is also a developer version, which mostly gives you one that can be used on as many sites as you want, for $49. It provides you with no additional features.)

Overall: 4.25/5 (4.0/5 for free version)

Portfolio Slideshow is a well documented, functional plugin. It can be used all over a site for multiple displays with easy. A few controls aren’t intuitive, but with a bit of reading this wont be a hindrance.

 

Easing Slider:

Multi-instanced: 1/5

Easing Slider is a more specialized plugin. You can have only one slider per site.  It also limits the number of images you can display to 12.

Visual Appeal: 4.5/5

To counter that, Easing Slider is a very pretty plugin and appeals to the user seeking the concept of minimal yet functional style for their page. It makes a great homepage slider, or would work well if  you want to display featured content. Slider Border dimensions and colors are among the basic options so you don’t have to explore the CSS to get the look & feel you want

Ease of use: 3.5/5

While it is very easy to use, I feel that the uploading process is unnecessarily tedious and unwieldy.

Support: 5/5

The slider section has a link to http://rivaslider.com which gives good support for all of your questions and contains a contact form for specific questions that you may need helps with.

Cost: Free

Overall: 3.75/5

Besides from being single instance, the Easing Slider is an excellent free slider option. It looks nice, has a flexible appearance, and is a great way to show off some great images. Particularly good for artists, designers, and anyone who wants to show off beautiful images.

 

NextGen Gallery & Slideshow:

Multi-instanced: 4/5

The NextGen Slider is capable of handling a very large number of images and sorting them among Galleries to be displayed in the groupings you need.

Visual Appeal: 2/5

Simple and to the point. There isn’t a lot you can customize about it without getting into serious CSS, but if all you need is a basic slider it needs very little work to get it up and running.

Ease of use: 4/5

While you must upload images to NextGen separately from the Media Library, once they are in the gallery they are easy to sort and re-arrange. It can be used in widgets as easily as pages with the widget that comes with the plugin.

Support: 3/5

Support is spotty, and mostly consists of forms on WordPress.org and a few sites focused on the plugin. Most information can be found with a Google search, but it isn’t placed at your finger tips like other slideshows. There are also several other plugins that synch with NextGen Gallery to give you more options with your images

Cost: Free

Overall: 3.75/5

A good free plugin for images, though not outstanding. Simple and functional, NextGen Slideshow is an add on plugin to NextGen Gallery. It’s one of several add ons that are designed to improve your ability to handle images over your site.

While it’s not the best slideshow, this plugin’s use comes in its easy integration with your site and its gallery functionality.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the great guide, Morgan!
    Can you recommend a good responsive slideshow? I’ve been checking out Meteor Slides and a few others but I wonder if you’ve had any experience with them?
    Thanks-
    Ted

    • Morgan says:

      Hi Ted,
      the one that I’ve had the best experience with is FlexSlider by Woo Theme’s ( http://flexslider.woothemes.com/ )
      I haven’t tried Meteor Slides on a site yet, but I’ve heard good feed back on it.
      Hope this helps!
      -Morgan

  2. Hi Morgan,
    Thank you for this post. It is most informative, as the issue of choosing a slider plugins can be daunting. Question: can you install both the portfolio slideshow pro plugin and the easy slider on one site without any plugin conflicts?

    For example: Can I choose to use easy slider on the home page and portfolio slideshow pro in my blog posts
    Yehudit

    • Morgan says:

      Hi Yehudit,
      That is a very good question, and it’s always a good idea to be aware of potential conflicts.

      In my experience there is no conflict between multiple sliders on the same site, and more so it can be very advantageous to have multiple slider plugins. Especially with a single instance slider like easing.

      Best ,
      -Morgan

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