Since its invention, the slider has become a sought after item. No, I’m not talking about those miniature burgers served with cheese, onions, and fries on the side – though I bet you’re now craving for these small sandwiches!
Just like its food counterpart, the slider makes any website visitor salivate for more. This webpage accessory has evolved into an essential and indispensable part of a website’s front page. The animation of the slider brings movement and excitement to your landing page, while the slider content serves as a highlights reel for the website.
The good news for websites running on WordPress is that there is a whole lot of slider plugins available, most of which are free to download from the WordPress Plugin Repository. The bad news? With hundreds of slider plugin choices, you might end up installing a slider that may not work for your website.
I have tried and tested many slider plugins. Some were pretty solid and extremely useful, while others felt bland and difficult to implement. Let me share with you eight slider plugins that I have personally tested and awarded with my seal of approval:
Touch swipe navigation for mobile browsers. Custom slideshows and CSS3 banner rotation. Built for responsive design and dynamic resize. Topped with onion rings and barbecue sauce. These are just some of the rich features of the Royal Slider plugin (and yes, I made that last one up).
While Royal Slider may have only a few transition effects, it doesn’t feel like it is limited. What I liked best about this plugin is its emphasis on performance, ease of use, and flexibility. The plugin does not strut the runway with fancy effects and other unnecessary features. After all, what you really need is a no-frills slider that packs technical features.
This is by far the best slider plugin I have ever laid my hands on. In addition to all of its amazing features, Royal Slider also deserves two thumbs up for customer service. I received a fast response when I needed to customize or ask questions about the plugin.
Tallying close to 20,000 purchases and a Buyer rating of 4.63 (out of a perfect 5.0), Royal Slider is really worth your consideration.
This is a very popular slider plugin that has earned an impressive 4.76 out of 5 stars from buyers at Code Canyon. Slider Revolution was created by Theme Punch, a team of developers behind similarly awesome WordPress and jQuery plugins.
Slider Revolution is truly a revolutionary WordPress plugin with brand new huge features since its Version 4 Skywood update. You can create a responsive slider for mobile devices, or a fullwidth slider for desktop browsers. The plugin is equipped with customizable animations and transitions, as well as convenient drag and drop backend features to make installation and changes easier.
I guess it’s no surprise why Slider Revolution has become such a hit with WordPress theme authors and website owners.
“Create your next responsive WordPress slider in 60 seconds.” That’s what the makers of the slider plugin Soliloquy promise its customers. Kind of a tall order, don’t you think? And yet, when I tried this plugin, it’s actually very easy to install and implement across the my website.
Responsive? Yes. SEO? Definitely. Secure? Pretty solid. Soliloquy is packed with bounties upon bounties of features: custom post types to handle the sliders, custom slider sizes, video embedding with API for YouTube and Vimeo, responsive and touch swipe support, and more.
Soliloquy is offered in three pricing plans: Single, Developer, and Lifetime Access. I purchased the Developer plan, and I’m pretty happy with the product, especially due to the amazing customer support.
You may try its free version in Soliloquy Lite, but the premium version is so much more satisfying. The free version allows you to use custom post types, responsive and touch swiping features and SEO-friendly slides. However, only the premium Soliloquy version (Developer and Lifetime Access plans) comes with HTML / video slides, video embed support, and access to a rich supply of Addons (such as Instagram and Pinterest integration, Lightbox, carousel interface, among others).
If you’re looking for a basic rotating slider with features that are not available in free plugins, I recommend WP Electric Carousel. This slider plugin is designed to present WordPress photo galleries in a carousel type of slider.
Let’s get one thing clear first: Did you know that WordPress has a gallery feature? You can create photo galleries from the files in your Media Library. When you add a new post, click on “Add Media”. You should see the “Create Gallery” link, where you can assign a group of images in a particular gallery. Once you have a gallery set up, you can convert it to a slider using this carousel plugin through a shortcode.
WP Electric Carousel is equipped with Lazy-Load feature for images for faster page loading, and automatic image centering so you don’t have to manually position your images on the slider.
This is a relatively new slider plugin – it was created in January 2014 and updated a month after. While this particular plugin is focused solely on turning WordPress galleries into automated sliders, I like how it makes the conversion easy peasy.
Another new slider plugin available at Code Canyon boasts of a breakthrough interface. Metro Slider for WordPress involves slides made up of animated tiles containing images and posts. Each slide can contain many tiles, and each tile can contain many images displayed by automatic tile flips. You can also assign one slide containing images, and another slide with post links.
Here are some of the features that I found very useful in Metro Slider for WordPress: Fully responsive, mobile friendly, swipe support, ability to put URL links or HTML caption on each image in the tile, smart lazy loading, predefined layouts, and many animation options including CSS3 tile flips.
Looking for an affordable slider plugin that delivers the basic goods? You may want to check out WordPress 360 Image Slider, which has been available since 2011. This plugin allows you to do exactly what a well-functioning slider is supposed to do: create image sliders in a sleek design and automated animation effects.
I love the slider’s interface in that it uses sleek and swift animation to turn your photos into vibrant sliding displays. I found this plugin perfect for showcasing a photographer’s portfolio or a gallery of your favorite pictures. The pre-installed designs are in line with amazing and trendy web designs.
Another plus point for WordPress 360 Image Slider is automatic Pinterest integration. You can put a Pin It link below each slider image, so that you can easily share it on Pinterest.
Here’s a spankin’ new plugin that can potentially enhance the slider interface as we know it. As its name suggests, Accordion Slider combines the functionality of a slider and an accordion (i.e. a spring load of images that get exposed when you hover over them).
Aside from the industry-standard responsive and touch features, this slider plugin allows you to create accordions through a clean and user-friendly interface. You may place posts, galleries, and even Flickr photos on the accordion, which will display the content through smooth CSS3 transitions.
Although I’m still playing with the bubble wrap, I’m pretty much impressed with Accordion Slider. What I like best is the plugin’s option to display retina versions of the images, giving your site visitors crisper images as they look at your front page.
If you prefer to get down and dirty with putting the elements into your slide (or if you’re just obsessive-compulsive when it comes to customization), then Master Slider might just be a perfect fit for you. This WordPress slider plugin uses “super smooth hardware accelerated transitions” to bring your slider images to life.
When you install Master Slider in your WordPress blog, you get a drag-and-drop interface where all you need to do is place the content that you want in the slider. I absolutely love this feature! I’m reminded of Adobe Flash because you can customize how many seconds each element will appear, and at what exact moment the element will pop out and disappear. Master Slider also feels a bit like Photoshop, because you can arrange the elements in layers, making it easy to edit each element without affecting the others.
Your installation also comes with a visual style editor, transition editor, more than 25 starter templates, and access to hundreds of Google fonts. Aside from images and text, you can also put HD video backgrounds in your slide.
It might be a newly released plugin – created on April 12, 2014 – but Master Slider packs a serious punch when it comes to functionality and compatibility with current trends. Afraid of committing to another plugin purchase? You can try out Master Slider through a Free Test Drive right on the plugin’s website.