If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 2 years, you will have taken great notice of the development of the latest design and web development trends for an optimal user experience. WordPress continues to position itself as the number one choice for bloggers, writers, journalists and brand owners who’re passionate about having a solid homepage, as much as they are about having a reliable writing platform that one can rely on. The market and demand for WordPress-related plugins, themes, and snippets has continued to grow with tremendous power over the last couple of years, and it seems that these days there’s little that WordPress cannot do, because some developer somewhere is already coming up with the next big idea.
Content sliders… these bad boys have started to appear everywhere, literally! It’s hard to visit a website nowadays without seeing a full-page slider header, or a content blog that uses sliders to promote their latest content. We won’t say that it has gotten out of control, quite the opposite — embracing this design trend has helped readers to get accustomed to the content that their favorites sites are sharing, and this way the user can just pick the top content right from the header of the page, rather than having to reside on blind guesses for content that’s sitting in the sidebar, or worse — in the sites footer. Sliders have technically been around since the age of jQuery, that’s when they really started to take off, and with the evolution of HTML and CSS the level of possibility for such sliders has increased supremely.
Taking and putting together all the facts, we spent a whole day going through the selections and choices of free WordPress content sliders, which can be applied not only to content, but literally anything that your imagination is wanting to do or achieve. That’s the beauty of the diversity of these roundups, we strive to cover the most basic parts, but gradually include things that cover needs of professional and legitimate media publishers, who may not get away by using a strict and static implementation of a widget such as a slider, so you’ll find plenty of dynamic examples and choices to choose from.
Responsive Slider by Huge-IT
Huge-IT has worked on a variety of WordPress plugins related to image management and display, and one of their flagship plugins today is the Responsive Slider — a compact way to display your visual WordPress content within a slider that works across modern devices seamlessly. If you’ve been looking for a slider to meet your needs of new, and advanced features then Huge-IT could be a solid choice in that department. The beautiful slider transition effects make this slider an appealing choice for both classic and modern WP blogs. The setup takes only a few minutes to prepare for live production, choose a set of images you’d like to display in the slider, apply any additional effects and you’re good to go. The media library for this plugin is separate from your original image files, so you can upload unlimited range of photos directly onto your slider folder and customize the appearance of your sliders there. You can quickly customize things like slider titles, descriptions, and even add custom buttons if you’re planning to promote individual parts of your website alone. The intuitive interface that Huge-IT has built is friendly to all levels of WordPress bloggers, and it won’t take you long before your website starts to feel and look more professional.
Web-Dorado has nearly 30 unique plugins published in the free WP plugins directory, with a total number of downloads that exceed 300,000+ active installations. Slider WD is one of their flagship plugins that executes on the idea of a responsive slider that can do more than just create slides of images. Slider WD comes as an individual plugin that can be transformed into a custom widget, or if you prefer you can also use the custom functions to display the slider anywhere within your theme files, so for example you could use the function to call the slider within your author pages or category pages to show custom sliders within those pages. There’s a great range of custom slider effects available to use for free, and you can upload your files to your slider using three custom options: media library, Web-Dorado custom upload, or use an image from a custom URL as provided by you. You can create filmstrips, import music media, or show your latest posts using this slider. If you’re a serious blogger or a publishing platform, you way mant to look into grabbing the PRO version of this plugin which adds an extra 25 effects, more than 30 layers, custom video and social media support, including social sharing buttons and different kind of visual effects like carousels and parallax.
Smuzthemes has a couple of plugins published, but Slider Slideshow is their most popular one. This WordPress slider plugin gives you unique access to a visual slider builder that will be easy to use for absolute novices to WordPress. Using the drag and drop interface you can quickly navigate between the unique elements offered in this plugin. Features also include the ability to preview your finalized slider so you never publish something that looks off, you can overlay your slide images with custom content to further enrich the experience. The premium version covers aspects like Google Fonts, additional support for layers like text, image, video and HTML, includes more creative layers to take advantage of, and a plethora of modern integrations that will let you build an impressive slider from the start.
Slider Rich Web
Content sliders are without question some of the most trending elements of a good web design, whenever a website uses a slider it helps the reader to quickly navigate through the most important content, so selecting a slider plugin that is compatible with your theme and design is crucial, which is why you might enjoy using Slider Rich Web and its immense variety of slider types: basic navigational slider, content display slider, a fashion-design slider, custom circle images, carousels, and flexible dynamic sliders to further enhance the user experience. This fully responsive slider will look amazing on any device that is viewing it, and using the plugin interface you can tailor your slider to meet your exact needs. The CSS3 transitions with jQuery support allow your slider to work seamlessly alongside any device, be it a tablet or a smartphone, it’s all put together so that performance isn’t lost at any point. And if you still find yourself struggling with getting the slider up and running, then referencing back to the official documentation is going to give you a proper rundown of how to put this slider plugin to the test.
Image Slider by GhozyLab
GhozyLab has put in the work to publish a beautiful collection of image-related WordPress plugins, and Image Slider is one of them. This is one of the best slider plugins that you can download for free, and not because of the free price-tag, but because it integrates out of the box with your posts, pages, widget areas, and your sidebar instantly. The vast selection of features puts you in total control of the appearance of the slider, up to the last possible bit of design. You can choose from different navigation styles to enable the slider for different screen sizes, you can select custom positions of the thumbnails to best integrate with your existing WP theme, and you can specify the overall dimensions of the slider to fit perfectly into your content or header areas. Those who run a mobile website can opt to enable responsive design, but it can also be turned off if only a small percentage of your visitors come from mobile. There are tons of easing transition effects to choose from, so each of your sliders look and feel unique in their own way. Not to mention the professional version, which adds more than 600+ unique effects for titles and slideshows, and you might never have to look back on any other slider solution for WordPress ever again. The PRO version also supports social media sharing, so you can have readers share your amazing content to their social networks without having to click on the post individually.
Not all sliders are for strict text content only, nowadays you can customize sliders to include rich media, but also dynamic content that comes directly from the content that exists on your blog already. Here you have the Slider Video plugin that enables for you to use custom YouTube videos (perhaps some that you made yourself) and display them using a slider widget. You can create a range of design varieties that allow users to browse through your mentioned videos, so if you use a standard gallery style-sidebar you could add unlimited amounts of videos and users could scroll through them whilst watching a video already. This way, you could help to sustain a much bigger time spent on site rate as users watch and interact with your interesting videos. If autoplay isn’t your thing, why not use the carousel / popup feature to show thumbnails of the videos, and upon clicking users can read the description of the video in a modal box, whilst having the ability to view the video directly. Sometimes, obstruction can get into the way of user engagement, so it’s nice to see that the people behind Slider Video embrace different design choices and styles, and put it all together into a single plugin.
For a company that works specifically in Joomla! web development it’s not a bad plugin to develop for WordPress, the Slideshow and Images Slider delivers on its functionality, as much as it does on its design. The most appealing feature right of the bat is the styling choices. All sliders can be built to feature a content selection carousel at the bottom of the slider (or top if you prefer), and you can overlay each image with a custom overlay element that can include a background color (and opacity), but also text and description to go into detail as to what your slides are all about. You can configure as far as having the slider widget directly onto your content display areas, and show it so that it doesn’t interfere with the whole of the content area, but instead shows on up the left or side sides of your content, as specified by you. 2J SlideShow supports responsive and mobile design, lets you upload all of your images with a single upload, and provides cool effects to choose from.
Slider by Supsystic
Supsystic team has a reputable reputation for being a solid WordPress developer that cares for its users and long-term customers, and every single update to this plugin brings about a new and exciting way to display your content using the slider technique. Whether you want to promote your latest products or downloads, the use of smart CSS3 and HTML5 technology has made it possible for Supsystic to create a slider that’s comfortable with video content, carousels, thumbnails, and responsive design all within a single plugin package. The carefully designed core of the plugin ensures your search engine rankings won’t go down after adding the slider, it’s crucial to select a slider plugin that integrates with SEO standards well, and rest assured that this is one of those plugins.
éTOILE WEB DESIGN gives you a full-page full header slider that’s going to rock the socks off your existing web design. The use of this free slider is limitless and it even expands in the region of product promotion, so you can showcase a large banner of your latest products and directly add a purchase button in any of the slides that you’re showcasing; multiple buttons per slide are available. And don’t think about stopping there, because Slider Ultimate is friendly to video content as well, so if all else fails you can show a product demo video directly on your homepage. Very few sliders take into consideration a proper WooCommerce integration, but this is definitely one of those plugins that does, and the end result speaks for itself. Responsive layout? Check. Ability to display using a shortcode? Check. Insert unlimited slide images per slider? Check. The list of amazing features just keeps on growing, so take a moment to weave through the demo preview and perhaps you may have found the perfection free slider solution for you.
WP 1 Slider
Access Keys, the company behind this slider, has worked with thousands of clients during its run as a creative business, and putting together the accumulated experience and customer feedback — the team has come up with the WP 1 Slider plugin, a plugin that’s amongst the top plugins in terms of features and flexibility. It’s common to see WP developers just stitch together a few jQuery libraries into a WP plugin, but Access Keys has real and tangible experience timeline which has helped to shape this plugin into what it is today — a leading WordPress slider plugin that sets the standard for any other plugins that plan to come into the market, albeit saturated. Create unlimited sliders with the option to have unlimited slide images within it, even on a single web page you can have as many as 10 unique sliders, it doesn’t really matter because all slides have their own unique HTML structure. We’re in particular in awe of the ways that you can overlay the slides to add extra content on top of them, this way each of your slides can become a unique part of the website themselves. Could be potentially a useful plugin for eCommerce and startups websites who want to use slides to explain products and their features more conveniently.
Ultimate Responsive Image Slider
This invention of a slider has active installs of 30,000 and upwards. The numbers speak for themselves, and continuous updates to the functionality of this slider has helped it earned solid reputation amongst those who like to use sliders on their websites, so perhaps if you’re planning to start using a slider plugin just now — it would help you personally to go with an option that’s time tested, and has a substantial community behind it. We couldn’t find any serious flaws with this selection, whether you want to display it in your sidebars, homepages, or within content — use a simple shortcode and have the slider appear anywhere on your pages. Ultimate Responsive Image Slider Pro Features expand upon the free version, and give you a more refined set of features like unique layouts, touch support for mobile devices, ability to select an unlimited amount of colors, extra integrations of carousels and thumbnail-style sliders, and more. Small time bloggers and big time media publishers will all be able to find common ground between using this plugin in their content promotion strategies.
Category Posts Slider Pro
There are creative possibilities behind every idea, including traditional content sliders. Developed and published by Neelam Samariya, the Category Posts Slider enables you to create content sliders based on individual categories on your blog or media website. This way, you can tailor a custom slider for each of your categories and further strive for that unique design experience. You can select for each of the slides to fetch the featured image, to show the post title and an excerpt in the length as determined by you. You can even create one big slider that would feature a tabbed selection of the categories that you’ve chosen, this way allowing readers to browse through your most prominent categories from the homepage. Some are beginning to embrace what’s known as mega menus, a menu feature that enlists the content once rolled over, but this slider could become a significant alternative without the need to implement a menu that might obstruct user experience in the long run.
It’s hard to imagine that Matcha Labs expected such big exposure for their Meta Slider plugin, but to this day there have been more than 2+ million downloads of this plugin globally, and the WP plugin directory shows that more than 700,000+ bloggers have this plugin activated on their WordPress blog. That’s a number that many could only dream of, but clearly represents the appeal that Matcha Labs has been able to generate over the last few years. So what makes this slider so original in its pure form is the fact that it is compatible with four unique slider plugins: Flexslider, Responsive Slider, Nivo Slider, and Coin Slider. Each of those slider systems have their own benefits and features to bring to the table, but being able to use all four independently across your website can provide a level of user experience that’s not commonly seen in your average slider solution. The slideshows are optimized for best search engine performance, and each of the systems gives you an assortment of effects and layers to pick from. Another factor towards success of Meta Slider could be the fact that it’s optimized for web performance, so by the time your slides are up and running your website won’t start to slow down.
Master Slider – Responsive Touch Slider
Master Slider from Averta has reached almost 100,000 active installs, and is another top contender for being an all-in-one solution for all your content slider needs. We have done a little review on the ways that this plugins is being used, and it seems to be one of the top choices for food related blogs. The reasoning is most likely because of the way that the slider can be configured to display content, you can use traditional slider without adding thumbnails, or the exact opposite and display thumbnails in a sidebar, for those who’re passionate about showing off content as well — you have the choice of using the sliders with additional slide info in the form of an excerpt from your post, or you can add a unique description for each slides yourself. It doesn’t need to be said that Master Slider operates with all modern web browsers and devices, the user interface is friendly to beginners and the valid markup of HTML5 ensures that search engines will index your content properly. Lots of hardware based optimizations make a slider like this a perfect choice for content heavy websites, because despite having such beautiful content displays your site won’t lose out on performance metrics.
The creator of Soliloquy does an excellent job at fulfilling the requests of plugin users, and since the inception of this slider there have been numerous large scale updates that have added extra functionality. Soliloquy has sliders in the form of carousels, featured content, lightbox, videos, captions, thumbnails, and social media sliders to give your content the maximum exposure that it deserves. Needless to say that Soliloquy makes the process of adding sliders convenient for everyone, an intuitive drag&drop interface allows you to upload and sort through images on the fly. If you plan to create more than a single slider, then you’ve been covered because ultimately you can create unlimited sliders and versions without having to worry abut each one interfering with one another. If you are serious about your SEO strategy, then Soliloquy is an absolute must-have for your SEO goals. Each image has its own alternate text and title. Your links can have titles. Captions can accept any type of HTML and text. Every image is preloaded, meaning that this slider is insanely fast (which helps SEO too). Many top WordPress bloggers have dubbed this the fastest slider plugin on the market, so that just adds more leverage to your process of choosing the best slider plugin for WordPress.
Are you still deciding on which slider plugin to use? Easing Slider is firm choice for those who only want to display a selection of images in a beautiful and design-optimized slider, though Easing Slider does provide a selection of Extensions that could help you further enhance the slider experience for your readers. Those extensions include a visual customizer to better edit the appearance of the slides, a featured content extensions to showcase your latest and best content, a custom captions extension so you can overlay your images into a true quote-like style, and also things like touch and swipe support, load images from external URLs, and a Lightbox to make the slider more interactive. Whether you want to show simple slides, feeds from your latest posts, thumbnail based sliders, videos slides or carousels — the Easing Slider base has something to give to everyone.
Cyclone Slider 2
Coming in at 80k active downloads, the Cyclone Slider new edition gives you a transparent workflow for getting your slides implemented in your website within minutes. The smart design features will make it possible for the slider to adapt to any design choice, so you won’t have to worry about setting custom height and width dimensions. You have the choice of four custom templates, a dark and white template, and also a standard (full-screen) and thumbnail-style templates. Those with skills in CSS and HTML can easily transform the templates to their own requirements. If showing sliders on the homepage isn’t your thing, then why not put them into your sidebars or other widgetized areas of your website. The simple widget allows you to put a custom title and select the customer slider that you’ve built, everything else (like resizing) is done automatically for you. Adding titles and descriptions for sliders is possible, so you can customize your slides to better reflect what you’re advertising and/or promoting.
Smart Slider 3
Smart Slider has gone through a number of releases and provisions over the last few years, and this versions seems to be topping it all off. There are more than 100 styles to choose from — some of which are premium — and they have all been categorized in their appropriate categories, so you can select from slides like boxed layout, full-width, full-size, block layouts, layouts for landing pages, dynamic source sliders to insert dynamic content, totally minimal styles for journalists and writers, or special designs that were designed to appeal to range of audiences in fields like startups and eCommerce. The user interface is complimented with a drag & drop interface builder so even the least experienced WP users can have a go at building a phenomenal slider for their WP website. Smart Slider embraces the mobile revolution, and has in-built support for mobile and touch-friendly devices so no matter who and from where is accessing your website, the slides will never lose their design potency.
WordPress is has a good standing in terms of flexibility and the possibility to optimize and customize your website in any way you like, which is why so many websites are making a switch to WordPress for good. SliderVilla built a name for itself as one of the elite teams that really put their knowledge to the test when it came to creating a WP slider that would trash the competition, and although the admiration is in the lower numbers (20k+ users) the performance of the plugin is impeccable, and provides a concise set of appliances for embedding a slider widget into your own website. Maybe you want to show banners, or perhaps carousels are more of your thing, even professional authors who do video content can take advantage of the features that Smooth Slider packs within its core.
Premium Sliders for WordPress
What a collection of amazing and dynamic slider widgets for WordPress. It was a lot of fun to interact with different demos of these sliders, and it has helped ourselves to better understand where the current trend for sliders is standing. A word of advice for new WordPress bloggers — if you can’t decide on a slider that’s best for you, why not look up sites in your niche that are doing great already and see what kind of content arrangements that they’re doing, with that inspiration you could come up with your own unique twist of displaying sliders to your readers. This last chunk of the article will be dedicated to sliders that come from the most reputable premium marketplace on the web, many of these sliders have upwards of 100,000+ users and they’ve earned their status by providing an ultimate collection of features that take care of even the most demanding of tasks.
Slider Revolution Responsive WordPress Plugin
You may have come across the name Slider Revolution on multiple occasions, even a single query on Google returns millions of results about this stunning WordPress slider. Brought to you by the team at ThemePunch, this is a revolutionary (pun intended!) slider that gives you tools like front-end slider editing, and takes into consideration factors like security; which is why SR is completely secure and tested by professional security testers to prove the plugins’ viability. Create, customize and built sliders with classic, hero and carousel styles. Select between a range of sizes for all of your slides to best prepare them for the content pages that you plan to use them on. A selection of content sources enables you to show content from your own images, sliders based on your WP content, a slider that’s based on specific WP posts that you’ve published, a WooCommerce product slider is in-built as a demo, you can also apply post streams from the most popular social networks: Flickr, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t get any fancier than that! The price is equal to a couple of premium-quality cups of coffee, but we can imagine that the returns would be much higher than that.
LayerSlider Responsive WordPress Slider Plugin
LayerSlider is sitting comfortably at 50,000 sales and it doesn’t look like the growth is going to stop anytime soon, the reason why? LayerSlider embraces a modern approach to what the current web design trends are telling us, and the result is a pristine slider component for showing off your best content. The really nice thing about these premium sliders is that their creators have gone the lengths to ensure that basic needs are always met, so you never have to think twice about whether these sliders will work on mobile devices, or whether they’re secure enough to use — these are the kind of features that come as the core set of features, and all you really need to focus on is the features that these plugins/sliders are able to provide individually. Built for performance, LayerSlider gives you access to more than 200 transitional effects so that even though someone has a similar design to yours, you can always stand out by using a unique combination of transition effects. There’s also, of course, the choice of a dozen of skins that you can apply to your slides globally. Find a style that matches yours, or if you’re experienced enough in web development then take it to the next level and build a style of your own. The reviews seem to speak for themselves too, because any reviews we found were all positive and uplifting, which can only be a good sign for the company who’s behind the plugin.
RoyalSlider – Touch Content Slider for WordPress
RoyalSlider must be amongst my favorite plugins that I’ve frequently used in my own blogs and projects, the technicality of the user interface makes the process of developing a new slide meaningful, but also engaging at the same time. The timeline of settings that are required for each slide allow you to spend some time thinking in how your slide could be best used to display your best content. Royal Slider might say that it’s focused around performance and accessibility for all types of readers, but the engine behind the plugin shines in all areas of performance, optimization, and customization possibilities. Sites like TinyBuddha have used RoyalSlider for years now, showing off the dynamic potential of how content can be aligned in a slider that becomes an integral part of the overall design. Remember to leave no stone unturned when going through the provided demo slides that RoyalSliders offers in its package, all of those demo previews are for you to fully optimize and customize to your own liking.
Master Slider – WordPress Responsive Touch Slider
Didn’t we cover another Master Slider earlier? In fact we did, but this is the pro version of that same slider, which has unquestionably attracted a momentum of likability because this pro versions sits at 14,000 sales and they’re growing each day rapidly. What distinguishes this slider from any other sliders on the market is the fact that Master Slider Pro gives you animation tools to create interactive slides that you won’t find anywhere else, ever. Unless of course, the person who has created an animated slide is also using Master Slider. The animation engine is quite simple, you can select a range of elements or images, and through the timeline specify their appearance time, so at the end you get an interactive and animated slider that pops out content much like an animation video does. Overall the animation interface reminds us of tools like Final Cut Pro and iMovie where you create something based on the timeline settings. Not enough to convince you? How about the ability to add “hotspots” over your slides content? These hotspots can then act as tooltips to display vital information about the slide you’re showing off, so essentially it becomes an invaluable asset for eCommerce digital stores that want to explain products through an interactive slide widget.
Slider Pro – Responsive WordPress Slider Plugin
Reaching the high numbers of 10,000 sales the Slider Pro solution gives you an AIO (all in one) platform to create and modify slides that will appeal not only to bloggers, but those who do more than just publish stories. The features we found most interesting include: smooth animations built using CSS3, a set of animated layers to overlay your images with, a collection of stylish effects that make the slide stand out from the rest of the page, the possibility to scroll through all slides with infinite scrolling (so you can add as much content as you want), lazy image loading to ensure that no performance points are lost during the loading of the site (show to users pictures that they’re trying to view only), and of course there’s the coverage of search engine performance, so using Slider Pro won’t affect your overall search engine rankings.
Accordion Slider – Responsive WordPress Plugin
For last we kept a creative slider, also known as Accordion Slider. As the name implies, this slider will show your content in an accordion style, so perfectly suitable for fashion designer websites that want to promote the latest season sales.
Which slider plugin is the best?
The best one is going to be the one that can deliver on your feature requirements. Choose one that integrates well with your existing design, but don’t forget that many of these slider plugins do have customization options, which means their design could be altered to reflect the color and image schemes that you’re using already. It’s all about being persistent with using a single plugin, not giving up on it straight away, because it certainly is a trend amongst WordPress bloggers to try something for 5 minutes and simply trash it. That shouldn’t be the case with these sliders, although so many varieties and choices, we made sure to feature only those that have truly helped people to provide a better user experience to their readers.