6 Free Ways to Add a Responsive Slideshow for WordPress

Tried adding a slideshow for WordPress lately? With as common a thing as this is, you’d think it’d be super simple to find a great slideshow plugin. Working on a site lately that needed one though, it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that high quality options are limited.

If you’ve gone searching, you’ve probably found an abundance of slideshow plugins. Problems immediately surface, however:

  • Many slideshow plugins haven’t been updated in a long, long time (1+ years)
  • Way too many are not responsive, meaning they don’t look great on mobile and tablet devices
  • Quite a few were hacky to set up, requiring edits within WordPress that make them not so user-friendly

Our search encompassed better than 2 dozen slideshow for WordPress plugins. Of them, 6 had the qualities needed. Join us below as we run through free, responsive, user-friendly plugins that will give you the perfect slideshow for WordPress!

6 completely free plugins to add a responsive slideshow for WordPress

Each of these 6 plugins meet the following basic criteria:

  1. Free!
  2. User-friendly
  3. Are actively maintained by their authors
  4. Are fully device responsive

This means these plugins are actively maintain by their authors, look great on any device, and don’t require any hacky edits to get working properly. Plus, they’re free! 🙂

1. Smart Slider 3

Smart Slider 3 stands out as one of the most flexible and easy to use slideshow plugins we’ve come across. Their drag-and-drop live slide editor is incredibly intuitive and turns building your slideshow into a page builder-esque experience. You need virtually no technical skills whatsoever to make beautiful slideshows, from scratch or from a template.

In addition to being very user friendly, it’s SEO friendly as well and uniquely customizable. It’s hard to go wrong here. A few key features:

  • Live Slide Editor for incredibly easy building
  • Layered slides for easy incorporation of images, video, heading, text, and buttons
  • Built-in support for page builders; Elementor, Divi, Beaver, Builder, etc
  • Background and slide-switching animations
  • Customizable, touch-friendly slide navigation with timing control

2. Slide Anything

slide anything slideshow for wordpress logo

In your quest for slideshow plugins, you may have become familiar with the term Owl Carousel. It’s a fantastic jQuery slider plugin which works great with WordPress… if you have the development skills to make it WordPress compatible. Most of us don’t, and that’s where Slide Anything comes in.

Developed to bring the beauty and power of the Owl Carousel to WordPress, Slide Anything is one of the best slideshow for WordPress plugins you’re going to find. This plugin features:

  • Infinite looping of images
  • Supports touch navigation of slides
  • Ability to easily pop a slider into any post or page from a button in your toolbar (or shortcode)
  • A full built-in visual editor to easily style each and every slide
  • Dashboard styling options that don’t require CSS knowledge to use

3. MetaSlider

metaslider slideshow for wordpress logo

MetaSlider is brought to you by Team Updraft, the creative talent behind other excellent WordPress plugins like the UpdraftPlus backup plugin and WP Optimize. MetaSlider reflects the same level of quality as their other popular plugins, and is a top-notch slideshow for WordPress option.

  • Simple but very powerful interface with drag-and-drop slide reordering
  • A host of styling and configuration options that don’t require technical knowledge
  • Slides support captions, links, titles, text, alt text, and more
  • Works on WordPress Multisite
  • Free, dedicated support

4. Soliloquy

soliloquy slideshow for wordpress logo

Soliloquy has been developed with a focus on ease-of-use, and this is where the plugin truly shines. Virtually everything is drag and drop, customization is straightforward and simple, and there’s a wide variety of unique things you can do with no code at all. It’s sleekly professional and flexible while staying very easy to use!

  • Soliloquy features a variety of custom slideshow templates and themes for fast customization
  • Dynamically generate slideshows from a post or page’s pre-existing content
  • Easy to incorporate thumbnail navigation
  • Beyond images, they support PDFs, Instagram, Pinterest, video content, and more
  • Can customize default settings for even faster slideshow generation

5. WP Photo Album Plus

While it’s the least used in terms of active installs on this list, don’t hesitate to check it out. WP Photo Album Plus has some very unique features that set it apart from the rest of the pack. Some highlights include:

  • Built-in lightbox overlay system
  • Built-in Google Maps support to display maps based on the photo
  • A customizable commenting and rating system
  • Can accept front-end uploads from users
  • A large array of widgets for neat things like photo of the day, top rated photos, and more

6. Master Slider

master slider slideshow for wordpress logo

Master Slider shines as a cleanly coded, lightweight slideshow for WordPress option. It has been developed with streamlined performance in mind. If your site suffers from slower page load times, you’re on a shared hosting plan, or just want a lightning fast slideshow that’s easy to use, Master Slider should be on your shortlist.

  • Starter templates and skins to jumpstart your imagination
  • Very lightweight and performance oriented compared to other options
  • Touch navigation with swipe-gesture support
  • Very easy to configure timing and display/positioning of slides
  • Dedicated, free support

Need more? If a feature you need isn’t on this list… it’s probably on this list!

If your needs are more advanced than the features we’ve highlighted here, don’t give up! Just take a closer look. Each of these options above offer a premium version (or add-ons) with even more features. Each are also easy to extend for those that are development-minded.

Comments are below! Do you have a slideshow for WordPress solution that you love, but isn’t on the list?

Need a simple to use but highly flexible and customizable slideshow plugin for WordPress? Here are some stand-out options!Click To Tweet