WPBeginner http://www.wpbeginner.com Beginner's Guide for WordPress Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:29:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Which is the Best WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin? (Performance + Quality Compared) http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/which-is-the-best-wordpress-photo-gallery-plugin-performance-quality-compared/ http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/which-is-the-best-wordpress-photo-gallery-plugin-performance-quality-compared/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:44:52 +0000 http://www.wpbeginner.com/?p=28589 Are you looking for a WordPress photo gallery plugin for your site? Tired of going through thousands of WordPress gallery plugins to see which one is the best? That’s why we did the research for you. In this article, we will compare the top 3… Read More »

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Are you looking for a WordPress photo gallery plugin for your site? Tired of going through thousands of WordPress gallery plugins to see which one is the best? That’s why we did the research for you. In this article, we will compare the top 3 WordPress photo gallery plugins based on their speed, performance, ease of use, and over all features. The goal is to find out which is the best WordPress photo gallery plugin.

A photo gallery in a WordPress website

Many WordPress users create photo galleries at one point or another. That’s why WordPress comes with a built-in gallery feature. However, the default gallery lacks functionality and aesthetic appeal that most users want. That’s why we’re often asked which is the best WordPress gallery plugin. In this article, we will try to answer that question by comparing the best WordPress gallery plugins.

Choosing the right WordPress photo gallery plugin can not only improve the visual appeal of your photo galleries, but it also improves the overall user experience on your site.

What is Wrong With Most WordPress Photo Gallery Plugins?

The biggest problem with most WordPress gallery plugins is that they’re slow. If it is not well-coded, then a gallery can significantly slow down your website even if you have good WordPress hosting.

The other problem with WordPress gallery plugins is ease of use. Most of them are bloated with features and are overly complicated for beginners to get started with. Too many features does not always mean it’s a good product.

Last but not least, you want to make sure that your WordPress gallery plugin is responsive. A lot of them are not.

A perfect WordPress gallery plugin should be fast, easy to use, and have all the necessary features that you need to create beautiful photo galleries (such as lightboxes, image navigation, albums, pagination, etc). This allows for great user experience and helps improve your SEO as well.

So how do you go through all the WordPress gallery plugins and check for all this? Well you don’t have to. We did the research for you and below are our results for the best WordPress photo gallery plugins.

Our Top Contenders for Best WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin

We have picked the most popular WordPress photo gallery plugins in the market. In our comparison, we will look for speed, features, ease of use, and reliability. Here are the top 3 WordPress gallery plugins that most experts recommend:

Let’s get started with our comparison. First category is speed.

Speed

Speed is crucial when you are choosing a WordPress photo gallery plugin. Not only does it affect SEO, but it also affects user experience on your site.

If you are using a gallery plugin for a portfolio or photography site, then you simply cannot afford to compromise on speed. We ran a test on the plugins using the same images without modifying any default settings. Below are our results:

Gallery Plugin Page Load time Requests Page size
Envira Gallery 1.08 secs 24 1MB
Foo Gallery 1.89 secs 23 357.1KB
NextGEN 1.88 secs 33 518KB

As you can see in the above results, Envira Gallery came out as the fastest loading WordPress gallery plugin despite the fact that the page size was nearly double of NextGEN and Foo Gallery.

The reason why Enivra Gallery is the fastest is because it’s well coded and highly optimized for speed.

If you want a high performance fast WordPress site, then Envira is the photo gallery plugin for you.

Ease of Use

Creating image galleries is not as simple as uploading a single image to your posts. You need to choose layouts, select columns, add thumbnail sizes, choose lightbox and animations. Most beginners would find these things quite overwhelming. The goal here is to find a WordPress photo gallery plugin that is powerful and beginner friendly at the same time.

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery follows and adheres to the WordPress coding standards and best practices. It provides a user interface that seamlessly blends into your WordPress admin area. Creating a new gallery is very similar to creating a new post in WordPress which makes it extremely beginner friendly.

Envira Gallery user interface

When you create a gallery, you are immediately shown the shortcode that you can use to add the gallery in any WordPress post or page. Envira Gallery also adds a button right next to the media upload button above the post editor that you can use to quickly add any gallery or album in your post / page.

Aside from that Envira Gallery also shows you the template tag that you can use it in your WordPress templates. This comes particularly handy if you are developing a site for a client and want to include galleries straight into theme files.

Foo Gallery

Foo Gallery takes the similar approach as Envira Gallery. It makes it easier for you to create photo gallery using a simple user interface that looks and feels like WordPress.

Foo Gallery user interface

Foo Gallery also adds a button on top of the post editor making it extremely simple for you to add galleries into any posts/pages.

Unlike Envira Gallery, Foo Gallery does not show the template tag to insert your galleries into theme files or templates.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN is a little different than our other two contenders. Instead of using the built in WordPress features, NextGEN brings its own user interface, database tables, and separate folders to store your images. This is why NextGEN user interface looks a bit complicated in WordPress.

NextGEN Gallery user interface

It will take users sometime to understand how to upload images and create a gallery. They will also find it a bit difficult to add the gallery into post/page.

NextGEN adds a button into WordPress visual editor, but if you are using the text editor, then you will not see any button.

Winner: We found Envira Gallery to be the easiest out of all. Foo Gallery is a very close second. NextGEN is not quick and easy to use and we feel that users will struggle with it a bit in the beginning.

Features

In order to create a beautiful photo gallery, you need functionality like lightboxes, full-screen mode, albums, pagination, navigation, slideshow, password protection, EXIF metadata, social media sharing, and more.

However it’s important to remember that too many features can slow down your site, so let’s take a look at how our contenders handle the balance in features and functionality.

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery is built with a mobile first approach. This means that it is fully responsive out of the box.

It allows you to easily choose thumbnail sizes, animations, gallery layouts, add meta tags for your images all from the single user interface.

Apart from the built-in features, there are loads of features that you can add by installing addons such as: gallery templates, social sharing, videos, password protection, image protection, albums, slideshow, pinterest, deeplinking, fullscreen mode, image tags, and many more.

Foo Gallery

Foo Gallery comes with a great set of features. It is not mobile responsive out of the box, but you can select the responsive template to add a responsive photo gallery.

Another feature that we missed is the lightbox. You can install the free Foobox plugin to add lightbox functionality, but we felt that it should have been packaged with the core gallery plugin.

Foo Gallery also comes with extensions that you can install to add more features such as custom branding, cube effect, lightbox, and more.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is the oldest of all three plugins, and it comes with an extensive list of features.

Many of the features that are available as addons in Envira and Foo, are available out of the box in NextGEN gallery. There are also pro and plus paid upgrades which provide additional features.

NextGEN is loaded with features, but many of these features require certain level of familiarity with the plugin. This requires spending time, reading documentation, and posting questions in support forums.

Winner NextGEN is a clear winner when it comes to total feature count. Foo Gallery has some essential features missing in the out-of-the-box experience. Envira Gallery comes with just the right balance of features and functionality combined with ease of use.

Compatability

WordPress provides you the freedom to move your site from one web host to another and even to different competitors.

We need to see if you can easily import/export and backup your photo gallery data.

Envira

Envira stores all your photo galleries as custom post types in the WordPress database. It stores your media files using the default WordPress media location. This means if you backup your WordPress site, you will have all Envira Gallery data backedup.

Envira also allows you to import/export your individual galleries. This means that you can move a single gallery from one WordPress site to another.

Envira Gallery allows you to import/export photo galleries

When you move your WordPress site, Envira will automatically detect it and will show you an option to fix the migration.

All these features make Envira Gallery the most reliable photo gallery plugin for WordPress.

Foo Gallery

Similar to Envira, Foo Gallery also stores your galleries as custom post types in the WordPress database. If you backup your WordPress site, then you will have a Foo Gallery data backup as well.

However if you just want to export individual galleries, then there is no option for that because the plugin doesn’t come with an import / export feature.

NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN gallery does not come with import/export feature. Since it stores your data in separate database tables, this means you will need to configure your WordPress backup plugin to include those tables.

NextGEN also stores your images in a separate folder. If you want to create a backup for them, then you will need to download the folder separately to your computer.

Both Envira and FooGallery offers NextGen importers to make it easy for users to switch to their platform.

Winner Enivra Gallery offers the most comprehensive set of tools to import/export your photo galleries.

Pricing

All three plugins have free versions available in the WordPress plugin directory. All three of them have paid upgrades available with more features. The pricing of your photo gallery plugin will depend on which plan you want to use for any of these plugins. You can choose a plan based on the features you need after trying the free versions.

Winner: No clear winners here – the pricing of products will vary based on what features you need and plan that you select.

Conclusion

Envira Gallery is the best WordPress photo gallery plugin. It is extremely fast, simple to use, packed with all the essential features, and is fully mobile responsive. Photo galleries created with Envira Gallery are stunningly beautiful and blazing fast at the same time.

Use our Envira Gallery coupon to get an extra 25% off their paid plans.

We hope this article answers the questions regarding the best WordPress photo gallery plugin in terms of performance and quality. Which is your favorite WordPress gallery plugin? Let us know by sending a tweet to @wpbeginner on Twitter.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials and join us on Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit Which is the Best WordPress Photo Gallery Plugin? (Performance + Quality Compared) on WPBeginner.

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Switching Away from Disqus Review – Increased Comments by 304% http://www.wpbeginner.com/opinion/switching-away-from-disqus-review-increased-comments-by-304/ http://www.wpbeginner.com/opinion/switching-away-from-disqus-review-increased-comments-by-304/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.wpbeginner.com/?p=27245 We switched away from Disqus about 2 months ago. Many of you noticed this change and asked us to write a Disqus review explaining why did we switch. After using Disqus for about a year, we noticed several drawbacks that forced us to switch back… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit Switching Away from Disqus Review – Increased Comments by 304% on WPBeginner.

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We switched away from Disqus about 2 months ago. Many of you noticed this change and asked us to write a Disqus review explaining why did we switch. After using Disqus for about a year, we noticed several drawbacks that forced us to switch back to WordPress comments. In this Disqus review, we will highlight the reasons why we switched and how it helped increase our comments by 304%.

Disqus Review - Why we Swithced Away

We started using Disqus in April 2014. We switched away several months ago. We really appreciate your patience and our apologies for taking so long to write about this. We know several of you have been asking about why we switched away from Disqus, so here goes our final Disqus review.

Why Did We Switch away from Disqus?

There were several reasons why we switched away from Disqus.

Inserting Affiliate Links without Permission

Disqus offers publishers ability to earn little extra $$ if you enable Promoted Discovery which shows sponsored stories in the related posts section that Disqus can add.

Since we didn’t want any advertisement from them, we had all the settings unchecked.

However we accidentally ran into what they called a “bug” where Disqus was inserting affiliate links in our blog post content without our permission.

Basically Disqus has a partnership with Viglink which looks through your content and change any link that they’re partnered with to an affiliate link.

We caught this when we noticed Viglink referring sales to OptinMonster from our site WPBeginner. How ironic since both of them are our sites. Hmmm.

After looking into it, we reported the problem to Disqus which they fixed and called it a “bug”.

We were quite disappointed in the way this was handled. We’re not sure how much money Disqus made through this affiliate-injection bug, and how widespread was this. There was no public disclosure announcement about this, and we definitely didn’t get any $$ credit for advertising that they were placing on our site for who knows how long.

That just left a bad taste in the mouth.

For more details on the bug, you can see our video here.

Sponsored Comments

We learned about this through our friend Michael Hyatt when he noticed sponsored comments showing up on his site without his permission.

He reported that you can’t opt-out without assistance from Disqus Support team.

So we reached out to Disqus for an official response regarding this issue.

They confirmed that there was no easy way for an individual to opt-out without reaching out to their support team. Since there were specific criteria for Sponsored Comments, most users will not be affected by this.

Great! As if fighting spam comments weren’t hard enough already, now we have to keep an eye out for Disqus and quickly reach out to them if they enable sponsored comments on our site. No thanks.

Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress sums it up the best in his response to the Disqus announcement: “It’s not comment spam if we’re getting paid for it!”

Note: during this sponsored comments fiasco, we discovered a setting that’s auto-enabled for cookie tracking. It’s located in the “Advanced” settings tab. Make sure you disable it if you’re using Disqus.

Significant Decrease in Comment Engagement

When we enabled Disqus, few readers complained that Disqus makes it harder for guest commenting. Since Disqus was being widely used across several top sites, we didn’t pay huge attention to those complaints.

Overtime, our comment engagement dropped significantly. After disabling Disqus, we saw our users starting to leave more comments. Since the change, we’ve noticed our comments increased by 304%.

Moderation Interface

We were quite excited about the new moderation interface when we switched, but as we used it more, it wasn’t something our editors liked.

Note: This is completely a personal preference, and we’re there are other users who love the Disqus interface.

What we will miss about Disqus?

While we didn’t like some of Disqus’ business practices, there were few things we will surely miss about the platform.

Scalability and Site Performance

Comments are very resource intensive. If you have a lot of comments on a post, then it will take a long time to load.

If a lot of users are leaving comments at the same time, then it would also impact your server load. The advantage of using a third-party commenting system like Disqus was that you shave that server load off from yours and send it their way.

Even if your site is getting attacked by a malicious user, it won’t impact your server because it has to go through Disqus first. (Note: This is only true, if you have disabled Comment Sync).

Redundancy

The best part about Disqus was that comments were stored on a third-party database which is extremely helpful with redundancy. We’ll definitely miss this.

For now if we ever have to do fail-over, we will simply disable comments until our main servers are back. Although not ideal, this is the simplest option that we have.

What’s Next?

For now, we’re using the default WordPress comments interface. In the past, we’ve tried Disqus and Livefyre, but we have made our way back to WordPress comments because it just seems like the best overall option available.

We’re definitely considering using De:Comments, a WordPress commenting plugin that we reviewed earlier.

The other option is to power up the native WordPress comments with a suite of other functionality plugins like Subscribe to Comments, Reply Notifications, Simple Comment Editing, and possibly few more.

We hope this review explained why we switched away from Disqus. We really appreciate your patience and our apologies for taking so long to write about this. We know several of you have been asking about this change.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit Switching Away from Disqus Review – Increased Comments by 304% on WPBeginner.

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How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-verify-your-wordpress-site-on-pinterest/ http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-verify-your-wordpress-site-on-pinterest/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:50:54 +0000 http://www.wpbeginner.com/?p=28402 Do you want Pinterest analytics for your WordPress site? Pinterest analytics help you monitor your site’s performance by showing stats for all images pinned from your site. Recently one of our users asked us for an easy way to verify their WordPress site on Pinterest.… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest on WPBeginner.

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Do you want Pinterest analytics for your WordPress site? Pinterest analytics help you monitor your site’s performance by showing stats for all images pinned from your site. Recently one of our users asked us for an easy way to verify their WordPress site on Pinterest. In this article, we will show you how to verify your WordPress site on Pinterest and get Pinterest analytics.

Verifying your site allows you to get more insights in Pinterest Analytics

Generating Pinterest Verification Code for Your Site

First thing you need to do is login to your Pinterest account and click on your user name. This will bring you to your pins page. Next, click on the gear icon on the top right corner of the screen and then on account settings.

Visiting Pinterest account settings

You need to scroll down on the account settings page to find the website field. Enter your site’s URL and then click on the confirm website button.

Adding your website to Pinterest

A popup will appear on the screen with a single line of code. This code is a meta tag that you need to add on your website. Simply copy it and leave this window open. You will need to come back here to complete the verification.

Pinterest verification code for your WordPress site

Adding Pinterest Verification Code in WordPress

There are two ways you can add the meta tag to your WordPress site. You can directly paste this code in your child theme‘s header.php file just before the </head> tag.

An easier way to add the code on your website is by using the Insert Haders and Footers plugin. Simply install and activate the plugin and visit Settings » Insert Headers & Footers page. Next, paste the Pinterest verification code in the headers section and save your changes.

Insert Pinterest verification code in the header

You now need to switch to the Pinterest verification code popup and click on the finish button. You will see a success message.

You can now see verified Pinterest Analytics for your site, and how it is doing on the Pinterest network. You may also want to add the Pinterest Pin it button to your site to increase exposure.

While we don’t use Pinterest on WPBeginner, we receive a lot of Pinterest traffic on our sister site List25. You can check out List25’s Pinterest page as well.

We hope this article helped you verify your WordPress site on Pinterest. You may also want to see our guide on how to add Pinterest Pin it button over images in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

To leave a comment please visit How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest on WPBeginner.

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