In a recent post we discussed best WordPress slider plugins. And there were a lot of awesome options for you to choose from! But this time around we’re going to focus on the best free WordPress slider plugins only.
“Why?” – you ask. The free plugins you find on WordPress.org go through rigorous testing and must comply with the latest WordPress conventions in order to be published. While you may get a slider plugin with not so many options, those limitations mean that there are less moving parts. The plugin is often more stable, secure, faster to configure and easier on your page load (and great for new WordPress users).
It’s always best to use a WordPress theme that’s made fully compatible with the slider plugins it comes bundled with. I always suggest you try our Total WordPress theme, which has been thoroughly tested with two of the most used sliders today.
If you don’t want to switch themes, but still want a carousel on your website then you’ll find the list beneficial. The plugins listed here satisfy two most important conditions. They are:
- Regularly updated
- Provide good support via WordPress.org forums
It seems that there’s still a high demand for sliders, which is awesome, and if used properly they can improve user experience and sometimes even conversion rates. New and exciting free WordPress slider plugins are frequently released and we’ll do our best to keep up.
Now let’s review some of the best free slider plugins and find out whether they bring some new features that can freshen up your WordPress website.
1. Smart Slider 3
Smart Slider 3 is a sequel to the older and proven Smart Slider 2 WordPress plugin. It claims to be a brand new and intuitive WordPress plugin that lets you create sliders in a way never seen before with any free slider plugin. This includes a live editor, free templates, mobile ready sliders, seo optimization and more.
This plugin gives you the ability to create YouTube and Vimeo slides and even use your WordPress posts and create slides from those, so I went on to try if myself. I like that there’s a lot of video tutorials on how to create certain visual effects and a good “getting started” guide. It means you’ll have good support should you opt for this slider.
And for more features you can upgrade to Smart Slider 3 pro – which offers lightbox support, dynamic slides, an animation builder and just more features in general (more layers, premium templates, more slider types, advanced controls etc).
If you’re using Gutenberg to build out your posts and pages then the Gutenslider is a must. This lightweight yet powerful slider is a great addition to any WordPress site. It has excellent slider features you want in a good slider plugin, such as unlimited slides, transition options (slider or fade), arrows, navigation dots, automatic captions, fullscreen support and links. There is also a unique fixed content mode, where you can add fixed layers with a sliding background.
But best of all – unlike other sliders you’re not limited to images. You can add anything to your Gutenslider. Create a callout with a heading, text and button. Add a pricing table. Showcase WooCommerce products. Gutenslider even allows you to add other sliders – literally anything can be added!
All of the above is available in the FREE version of Gutenslider (crazy, I know). But for even more features you can upgrade to Gutenslider Pro for less than $3/mo. This gives you added access to customizable slide navigation, parallax, fullscreen backgrounds, gradients, slider duration settings, video support and multiple slides per view. Just think of all the sliders you could create!
3. MotoPress Slider Lite
MotoPress has been known for creating some quality WordPress plugins. MotoPress Slider Lite is no exception. It’s a good solution for creating slides with emphasis on visual effects. It features drag ‘n’ drop interface (which I’m not a big fan of), responsive layout and swipe navigation.
It’s a solid, lite plugin with support for custom post types, layers and even WooCommerce. Another great feature is that you can import and export sliders. I haven’t seen another free slider plugin that gives you this option. So if you have multiple sites, but you want to use the same sliders, or you just want to save slider settings for later use, you can do that easily with MotoPress Slider Lite.
4. Transition Slider Lite
You’ve probably heard of the popular Transition Slider plugin before, but did you know they offer a Lite version? That’s right – this free, Gutenberg compatible slider offer lots of great features that you can use to build stylish sliders for your WordPress site.
With Transition Slider Lite plugin you can design custom sliders with animated text elements, impressive WebGL powered transition effects, navigation arrows, slider loop and autoplay, deep linking, video slides, buttons, smart preloader and more. There’s even built-in options for full-width or fullscreen sliders (a great way to make a lasting first impression on site visitors)
Transition Slider Lite is also responsive, supports touch and drag navigation, and is compatible with the most popular web browsers. And for more power, definitely be sure to checkout Transition Slider Pro – which adds ready-to-use slider templates, mobile and tablet responsive layers, premium support and more.
5. 10Web Slider
I found the Slider WD WordPress plugin one of the fastest. It’s an effective tool for creating carousels on your website. You can insert them manually, using shortcode, as a widget, but also within any of your theme files using PHP function.
With Slider WD you can add unlimited slides, both images and videos (YouTube and Vimeo). There’s plenty of transition effects and also support for 3 layers:
- Textual content
- Sharing buttons (Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook & Tumblr)
The most interesting thing I found on their description page is that they offer to translate the plugin to any language within 3 days. I think that’s an example of a great plugin support.
6. Meta Slider
One of the most popular WordPress slider plugins, with Meta Slider you’ll create carousels fast. You do it by selecting images from your Media Library, drag-n-dropping them, setting slide captions, links and SEO tags.
You can add it to posts and pages, but also use shortcode or template tag to embed slideshows anywhere you want. Being one of the most used free slider plugin out there, it’s been translated to 16 languages.
7. Ultimate Responsive Image Slider
Ultimate Responsive Image Slider is another good option if you’re looking for a well-maintained and supported free slider plugin. It gives you the ability to upload multiple images in a batch, add multiple slides within a post or page, insert it using shortcode, individually adjust the height and width of your sliders, configure navigation buttons, etc.
The most interesting feature is slide thumbnails. If you have multiple slides within a slider, you can enable thumbnails that will be displayer below the slides, so visitors can preview them and jump forward or backward if they want to. Another perk of using this plugin is that you can define fonts within it. I don’t like plugins that have this feature, simply because it slows down your website if you enable it. But if you want to have different slider fonts than the ones defined by your theme, you can do that with this free WordPress slider plugin.
8. Slider by Supsystic
Supsystic slider is a responsive solution which allows you to build image and content sliders with some nice looking templates and quite a few options. This includes responsive image sliders, slideshows, captions, slider thumbnails, custom links and an easy slide builder interface (video slides, dynamic posts feed, carousels and HTML layers are also available with the pro version).
It also claims to be SEO optimized, but you can make any slider image SEO friendly by writing unique and relevant file names and alt tags. Currently this slider plugin is available in 15 dialects, so it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a localized slider option.
9. Slider by Soliloquy
Build lovely responsive sliders, and fast, with the Soliloquy image slider. This slimmed down slider includes straightforward but powerful options via an intuitive drag and drop slider builder. Simply add your images, use the default layout (or choose from pre-made templates), add custom CSS if your want and you’ve got a slider ready to go.
Want more? Soliloquy does offer add-ons for premium templates, image protection, carousels, thumbnail navigation, lightbox, Instagram & Pinterest integrations, WooCommerce products, dynamic sliders and customizable defaults (which you can get access to all of with a dev license).
10. Master Slider
Master Slider is a free and responsive image and content slider. It supports smooth transitions and touch navigation.
It claims to be built using WordPress best practices (backend and frontend), but the interface doesn’t seem like something that belongs to WordPress (perhaps that’s because they wanted a seamless transition between the free and pro version of the plugin). On the other hand, it does work great with the default WordPress themes, but also several other themes I tested it with.
11. SlideDeck Responsive Slider
SlideDeck is a powerful free WordPress slider plugin you can use to add visual interest to your website. Best of all SlideDeck is free and easy to use. Just install and use the SlideDeck manager to create new slides from scratch, or select a free template to get started. You can then add you images, video (Youtube or Vimeo), titles and even buttons. SlideDeck includes built-in options for slide links (so viewers can click anywhere), titles, excerpts and read more links.
Looking for more features? You can upgrade to SlideDeck Pro to get awesome extensions for text sliders, custom CSS, WooCommerce integration, added gallery sources, social media feed options, call to action and tons more premium slide templates.
12. Elementor Image Carousel Widget
Elementor is technically a page builder plugin, it does include a pretty awesome image carousel with the free version (if you upgrade to Elementor Pro the plugin adds more powerful image and video sliders). So if you’re looking to create custom layouts anyway Elementor already offers an easy way to build simple image sliders – no additional plugins required. The Image Carousel Widget includes options to choose navigation style, speed, slide/fade effect, autoplay and pause on hover.
The Elementor Slides Widget on the other hand can be used to create fancier sliders with text, buttons, full width or full screen layout, ken burns effect, content animation, customized transitions, and more. This widget is only available with Pro though, so you’ll need to upgrade first to use it.
13. Ultimate Slider
Ultimate Slider is a free WordPress plugin with autoplay function, where you can also set slider delay and slide interval times. Using the included shortcode [ultimate-slider] you can easily insert sliders you’ve created anywhere you want in your posts and pages.
This plugin is fully responsive and compatible with WooCommerce. It does let you create different slides using categories like the previous ones, but you can also input custom CSS to tweak the looks of your slideshows. Timer bar will inform visitors when to expects slide changes.
14. Slide Anything
Create a stunning slider for free with Slide Anything. This free carousel and slider plugin includes easy options for adding slide images, text, HTML and more. Using Slide Anything’s options you can certainly build a great, responsive, touch enable slider in no time.
Since the plugin was recently updated to use Owl Carousel 2 there are also new options for infinite loop, slide links, CSS3 translate 3D transitions, and stunning transition effects (like flip, zoom, fade, bounce, roll out and more).
15. Serious Slider
The free Serious Slider plugin is a seriously awesome option to add sliders to your site. Not only is it easy to use, but the plugin is also SEO friendly, translation ready and fully responsive.
Build an unlimited number of custom sliders using settings for text, buttons, links, appearance styles, transition effects, caption animations, etc. Serious Slider also includes an easy “media button” so you can quickly insert your sliders into posts and pages with a click.
16. Avartan Slider
Avartan is an easy to use free responsive WordPress slider plugin packed with lots of features. Add impressive image sliders, video sliders, content sliders, text and animations to your website. It also includes shortcode and button elements.
Avartan slider provides an easy admin interface with modern features like drag and drop slider builder, live preview, and different type of element options. It includes options for vibrant slideshows for featured pages, posts, custom post types, media images on the WordPress website. It is also cross browser compatible for major browsers including Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, and IE.
Avartan slider’s element feature covers option for autoplay video, option for next slide on end video, option for loop video, full screen YouTube, Vimeo, and self-hosted HTML5 videos. Plus it has option for scale image, force rewind video, mute video. There are 13 kinds of transitions and animations with addition of HTML + Simple text, custom CSS, and many more. You just need to choose images from your WP library, drag and drop them in a particular place, set links, slide captions and SEO fields from one page.
It’s a progressive WordPress slider plugin which executes proficiently on desktop and mobile devices too. Avartan slider brings a beautiful experience for users with stylish effects. It is not just a slider – it’s a new way to deliver ideas!
17. WP Responsive Recent Post Slider
Use your posts to create a slider with the WP Responsive Recent Post Slider. The plugin pulls content from your recent blog posts, all you have to do is use the shortcode to add your slider to any page. Use options to choose a slider or carousel format, the number of posts displayed, post category and slider design (choose from 4 included presets).
18. Video Slider
Create a media rich slider with Video Slider by Rich-Web. It’s a great way to showcase company introductions, product videos, client reviews, or anything else. This responsive slider plugin includes options for overlay color, slide speed, animations, titles, etc. Plus it offers support for popular video sources such as MP4, Youtube, Vevo and Vimeo.
19. Prime Slider
The Prime Slider is a free slider extension for Elementor that offers advanced features for the low price of $0. This quick and easy slider uses pre-styled templates that you can edit to have beautiful sliders ready for your site in minutes. Plus the pro version also offers support for WooCommerce, the Event Calendar and more.
20. Product Slider for WooCommerce
Sliders aren’t just for images – you can add your products too with the help of a plugin like the Product Slider. This free slider allows you to add product sliders or carousels to any page. Just use the easy shortcode generator and make selections for max number of products, auto play, looping, product information, cart buttons and more. There are also preset themes plus font and color options, so it’s easy to style to match your website.
21. Social Slider
Specifically built to showcase your social posts, the Social Slider Widget allows you to easily create a slider with content from your Instagram feed. Simply install and connect to authorized Instagram accounts (one or many). Then use the widget or shortcode to add your social slider anywhere on your WordPress site.
Wrapping Up the Best Free WordPress Slider Plugins
All the free WordPress slider plugins mentioned claim to have an intuitive interface, but I suggest you try them yourself and see which one offers the best functionality-to-intuitiveness ratio for you. Since no WordPress website runs just one plugin, the load each one puts on your website is something to be consider as well.
Hopefully, the information in this article will make it easier for you to determine which of the top free WordPress slider plugins is the right one for you. Be sure to let me how it goes!