We’ve all seen a quality slider when shopping online, but what is it that makes sliders appealing? To start with, a great slider is responsive and works well on just about any tablet or smartphone. Other must-have features include:
- Smooth animated effects
- Parallax layers
- Quick image uploading
- Stylish fonts and buttons
Some of these features help site owners, while others create an appealing visual experience for site visitors. Not all of these features are necessary on every site, but they’re all worthy of consideration.
Are you currently using a slider on your website? If not, you’re in luck, because we’ve compiled a list of the best slider plugins for WordPress. A few are premium and a few are free – but each one of these has what it takes to make visitors to your site say “wow.” Let’s have a look.
1. Nivo Slider
Nivo Slider is a freemium plugin with almost all of the functionality you’ll need to create some incredible effects. It’s free, but its intuitive interface makes it easy to create sliders and add them to your site using shortcodes.
This plugin has numerous transition effects on hand for you to showcase your imagery, enabling you to display stunning visuals that will enchant visitors. In addition, you can easily control which images to display by taking advantage of a range of slider types, and the automatic image cropping feature will save you lots of time editing your slides.
Finally, Nivo Slider is purposely lightweight, which offers minimal impact to your page load times. It’s a great option for adding a slider to your website.
2. Slider Revolution
The Slider Revolution plugin is one of the most popular slider plugins on the market – and justifiably so (it’s even one of the two premium slider plugins included with Total). It provides stylish, full-width sliders that are extremely responsive. You can implement the slider on any website since it looks remarkable on any device. The plugin also comes prepackaged with animation loops, ensuring that your customers aren’t left with a frozen slider if they linger on your homepage for a while.
Slider Revolution’s parallax layers are fantastic, and the timeline view slide editor displays an intuitive outline of how your images are going to show up on the slider. Besides all of that, the plugin provides a drag-and-drop editor that enables beginner webmasters to produce professional media sliders. It’s a slider plugin that’s packed with goodies, from multilingual support to full-screen YouTube and Vimeo video support.
3. Theia Post Slider
Add slideshows to your multipage posts with the Theia Post Slider. This premium slider makes it easy to create sliders from your multipage posts, pages and WooCommerce products. Choose from 200+ slider themes, 4 transition effects, add headers and titles to your slides, and even enable ad refresh on navigation. You can even use the admin live preview to view your sliders before you publish.
Worried about your SEO? Theia is optimized with unique slide urls as well as considerations for speed, using AJAX and preloading to keep your sliders fast.
Want to create carousels? Checkout the Carousel add-on which builds on Theia’s functionality to add carousels with thumbnails, 35+ vector arrows, touch navigation and per-post customizations.
This one is definitely premium. The Soliloquy slider plugin starts out at $19, but the pricing can go all the way up to $249, depending on how many sites you plan on using it for. If you can’t stand working with some of the free WordPress slider plugins because of their confusing interfaces, this option provides a reprieve. It’s responsive, and it gives you the power to quickly import and export previously created sliders, cutting down on time spent transferring to other sites.
The building interface is extremely easy to use as well, and it seems to never slow down or lag on the front end. One of the more unique features is the independent slider option for dropping individual sliders anywhere throughout your site.
5. Slider Pro
Slider Pro is a fully responsive and touch enabled slider premium WordPress plugin. With support for images, videos audio and more this slider is a great addition to any theme.
Want a flexible slider plugin that has tons of great features and is easy to use, right out of the box? Then you want Slider Pro. This awesome plugin makes it easy to add custom sliders to any WordPress theme. This touch enabled and fully responsive slider looks pixel perfect on any device, phones and tablets included. Plus, with support for galleries, content, flickr, deep linking and more you can create any type of slider you need.
Slider Pro also has tons of layout and design options. The plugin includes support for smooth slide transitions, animated layers, carousels, infinite scroll sliders, full-screen sliders, automatic heights, co-mingled portrait and landscape images, lazy load and much much more. There are just so many great options!
Other plugin features include retina support, lightbox, keyboard navigation, breakpoints and thumbnails. But that’s not all, you can see more features below. Slider Pro is a great WordPress plugin you won’t want to pass up.
What is your website’s first impression like? A good first impression encourages visitors to stay, but a bad one means you could lose visitors, potentially forever. This is why many websites choose to use a highly visual image slider above the fold on their homepage, which is also great for directing visitors towards your best or latest content – they add color and imagery, plus they make it easier to navigate your website. The premium LayerSlider plugin (which is the other premium slider packaged with Total) doesn’t only offer sliders. You’re also able to add image galleries and slideshows, forging the ideal multimedia experience.
LayerSlider provides over 200+ 2D and 3D transitions, and you can build your own custom transitions with the slide editor. A powerful drag-and-drop editor comes with the plugin for seeing real-time previews, as well as importing, exporting and moving components in a timeline view. LayerSlider lets you build beautiful, responsive image galleries and content sliders – you can also embed audio or video from YouTube or Vimeo. This is nothing new, but LayerSlider’s main selling point is the huge number of transition effects and skins available, which gives you plenty of flexibility when building the type of slider you want.
You can even generate dynamic sliders that connect to your WordPress posts and pages. This enables you to send folks to your most enticing content without much work on your end. With over 13 skins to choose from, the opportunities for branding your website and making it look different from the other people who buy this plugin are endless.
LayerSlider also supports lazy loading; later slides are only loaded as and when they are needed, rather than loading them all upfront. Oh, and did I mention that the slider is SEO friendly? This gives you a step ahead of the competition, since not too many folks know how to optimize their sliders.
7. Smooth Slider
The developers of Smooth Slider claim that you can implement a stunning slider, with links to recent or featured posts, within just 50 seconds. That’s a tall task, but it seems to be completely true. The interface is rather simple to use, and there really aren’t many buttons or settings to wrap your head around. This is another one of the free slider plugin choices, and it’s fully responsive.
The slideshows you create are search engine optimized for bringing new people to your site, and the Settings panel provides full control over the way your sliders look on the front end. I particularly like that the free plugin comes with six transition effects, which is more than some of the less appealing premium slider plugins (we didn’t include any of those on this list).
The key to this plugin is that you don’t need any coding knowledge to make something look professional. Slides can be placed or removed in a single click – just go to the Sliders admin panel. It’s a neat option well worth checking out.
8. Smart Slider 3
Smart Slider 3 is an intuitive plugin that enables you to quickly build responsive slideshows, as well as include videos from both YouTube and Vimeo. Its easy-to-use editor enables you to work with multiple layers, build slides through a drag-and-drop interface, and preview content live before you publish it.
Change easily all the details that really matter in typography and style. You can pick fonts and styles for your layers, navigations & other elements, and change across multiple slides and layers. Start with a blank WordPress Slider or choose from a variety of beautiful samples. 100+ pre-made slides with super easy one click installation. Simple way to build every type of sliders. Smart Slider 3 uses a powerful layer animation system to give layers motion and transitions. The possibilities of what you can build are endless. It comes with 40+ built-in layer animations in 3 animation types: in, out, loop.
This plugin also includes a touch-friendly design, autoplay configurations, and multiple slider controls to change styles and positions. You can even generate sliders from external sources. Add dynamic content to each slide such as: WordPress posts and articles, Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, WooCommerce and 32 others. We definitely recommend that you check out the developers’ documentation, to learn more about what this plugin can do.
RoyalSlider is a premium image gallery and content slider tool that comes in multiple formats. The WordPress plugin is a fast, responsive, and touch-enabled for mobile devices. You can use it to quickly create high-quality galleries from your Instagram, Flickr, or 500px accounts.
This slider adds great dimension to any WordPress theme. There are so many slider types to choose from, you’re sure to be able to use it on a variety of projects. And since the sliders are all automatically cached in your browser, Royal Slider won’t slow down any of your WordPress websites (hooray!).
Also, Royal Slider is very user friendly and easy to use. There are many backend features that man an admin’s job easier. First an foremost, it works great with the newest version of WordPress and has it’s own admin area. Plus, it takes advantage of WP 3.5’s bulk upload through the media manager, or you can link directly to your your Flickr or 500px account. This makes it super fast to create beautiful sliders full of images. You can then add titles, dates, etc. using the Slide Markup Editor, and add custom transition effects (all of which you can see live in the Live Slider preview area within the admin panel). To insert your sliders, it’s as simple as using a shortcode, widget, or PHP function (whichever works best for you).
10. Responsive Slider by MotoPress
Responsive Slider by MotoPress is a user-friendly way to build gorgeous slides and implement animated effects. It features a drag-and-drop interface, so you never have to touch any code. Instead, you can use it to quickly build search engine optimized slideshows that work on any device.
This plugin offer three main types of sliders: Custom Sliders, Posts Sliders, and WooCommerce Sliders (for e-commerce sites). To learn more about its wide array of features, you can take a look at the developers’ documentation, or demo it for yourself. And be sure to checkout the premium MotoPress Slideshow plugin for more features.
MetaSlider offers a simple interface that enables you to create an SEO-optimized slideshow in seconds. You can easily drag and drop images from your WordPress media library to create a gallery, and then add captions, links, and SEO data – all from the same page.
In addition to being responsive and easy to use, MetaSlider also features multiple configuration options for speed and animation effects. If you are a developer, you may be particularly interested to know that this plugin is compatible with Multisite, and offers an extensive API you can work with.
12. Master Slider
Master Slider free plugin offers an extensive list of features. In addition to being SEO friendly, it has an easy-to-use interface, is responsive on any device, and enables you to create gorgeous slideshows with its drag-and-drop slider creator. This is one of the most robust slider plugins you can find for free.
What’s more, the premium version includes all of the free features (which are numerous) and a few extras, like a WooCommerce product slider with advanced filtering options, HD video backgrounds for slides, and deep linking to help with your SEO. It also includes real-time previews, so you know immediately if it is working with your content before you publish.
13. Master Slider Pro
Master Slider Pro is a fully responsive touch slider WordPress plugin. This powerful plugin features options for touch navigation, content rich layers, useful hotspots, tons of effects and much more.
The Master Slider Pro is the next great slider WordPress plugin to come out of CodeCanyon. It’s full of all the great features you’d expect from a quality WordPress slider including responsive support, content & image layers, video support, layer animations, slide transitions and more. But on top of all of that there are unique options for slide hotspots with tooltips, snap to alignment, and even smart image preloading.
This plugin also includes support and integration for many of the other popular WordPress plugins on the market. Master Slider Pro integrates with the Visual Composer Plugin, Flickr Plugin, Members Plugin and more. Plus the plugin is multilingual ready so no matter what language your website uses, your Master Sliders will all be easy for your readers to understand.
The Master Slider Pro also comes with 25 sample sliders to help your get your website ready fast. Plus it’s been cross-browser tested to ensure that your sliders look perfect on all major browsers.
The ideal slider displays what your company does and it grabs user attention to push them toward your most important content. You can link to your top blog posts or even send people to seasonal specials in your online store.
Whatever you use your slider for, take a look at the best WordPress sliders we’ve mentioned here and consider implementing one on your own site. Is one of these plugins your personal favorite? Did I miss your favorite plugin? I want to hear from you in the comments!