A Curated Collection of Free WordPress Lightbox Plugins

Published on August 29th, 2016

Last Updated on May 8th, 2019

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Media management in WordPress is a popular trend since images and videos play a vital role in making a website visually appealing. With the sole purpose of making your media content look beautiful on all devices, the WordPress lightbox plugins are inarguably a profound choice for users who have lots of images on their WordPress sites. With this extended plugin based functionality, you can display images, videos, slideshows, etc. all in an overlay.

The WordPress plugin repository contains a good deal of plugins which is a clear indication that this is a productive niche to tap on. If you are confused about choosing a good lightbox plugin out of 750+ free lightbox plugins in the official WP repo, then you’re in the right place. Today’s post is aimed at listing free lightbox plugins for WordPress. But before that let’s start with the basic knowledge about this feature, what are we talking about here?

What’s a WordPress Lightbox?

Whenever an image or a video is popped up on a screen dimming out the rest of the web page; you can call it as a lightbox feature. Lightboxes can be JavaScript(jQuery), or  CSS3 based scripts which incorporate an elegant approach to your web design. When implemented, it overlays the image in such a way that the actual web page remains visible around the edges, but users can focus on the media element (image or video) at hand. This technique is quite impactful and is used to display images, opt-in forms, newsletters, slides, etc. If you run a photography blog, you should most definitely checkout this post.

For the nerds out there, trying to understand the function model of the lightbox; then it is based upon a parent/child mode. The popped-up media element is a child screen and the web page which fades out is the parent screen. In the presence of a child screen, the connection between both the parent and child screens is broken. But this exists only till a user performs a particular action on the child screen.

Why You Need a Lightbox Plugin?

Do ask yourself this question before adding a new plugin to your website.You might have many reasons to adding a lightbox feature to your WordPress website but here are few from the top of my head:

  • You want visitors to stay on a particular web page instead of being directed to a new tab when they want to view the image/video.
  • More active social engagement of users with the media elements.
  • You run a media element heavy WordPress site for photography or design etc.
  • When you want to capture more leads or to increase their conversion ratio.
  • A robust way of marketing your Call to Action.

WordPress Lightbox Plugins

A good WordPress developer can easily create a custom pop-up, but there are several other ways to add a lightbox to your WordPress website. One of the best ways to add a lightbox to your site is by installing a good Lightbox WordPress plugin. Out of about hundreds of lightbox plugins here’s a list of few of them that may fit the bill.

FooBox Image Lightbox

foobox image lightbox wp plugin

FooBox Image Lightbox is one of my favorite plugins. It offers precise responsive media handling, where it not only resizes the images but it rearranges the buttons for easy navigation. If you are a Foo Gallery user, then you already know FooPluigns are pretty good. With a built-in functionality for social sharing, responsive design, and zero configuration FooBox Image Lightbox plugin provides a varied web experience.

You can also go for the PRO version of FooBox to get access to its advanced features like deep linking, HTML and iFrame support, a variety of color schemes, buttons icons, loader icons, and much more. You can also read its insightful review here as well.

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Responsive Lightbox by dFactory

responsive lightbox wp plugin

Responsive Lightbox is mainly developed to create responsive lightboxes that are mobile friendly i.e. the lightboxes built by this plugin adjust according to the variable screen size. With over 200,000 active installs, the plugin has a huge user base. The key highlight of this plugin is its six different responsive scripts (SwipeBox, prettyPhoto, FancyBox, Nivo Lightbox, and Image Lightbox) which add overlay effects to your WordPress media elements.

Simple Lightbox

simple lightbox wp plugin

Simple Lightbox provides a simple alternative to most of the complex lightbox plugins. Instead of a long list of customization options the developer (Archetyped) has kept things straightforward. These options include resizing of the lightbox w.r.t window size, easy-to-customize lightbox effects, and keyboard navigation for images, etc.

You can also enable lightbox feature on specific posts and pages. Likewise, meta-data also gets displayed with the media files. Despite being simple in functionality, the Simple Lightbox plugin still manages to showcase more than 100,000 active installs which is pretty impressive.

WP Lightbox 2

WP Lightbox 2 Plugin

WP Lightbox 2 is another free mobile-optimized plugin for displaying WordPress media contents in a lightbox. It offers a few unique features which you won’t find with a lot of its counterparts E.g. Changing the info position, reducing the large images, displaying download links for images, etc. It comes with five different themes, and you can show both the image caption and description in the lightbox. The images can be grouped together and which then can be viewed as a slideshow.

The plugin provides an excellent user-experience as no initial plugin configuration is needed but you can choose to configure the lightbox settings if you want. All you require are its pre-made shortcodes to get started. You can also include lightbox in the comment section as well. The plugin is easy to set up and is supported by major WordPress versions.

WP Featherlight

wp featherlight wp plugin

WP Featherlight just as the name implies – is a super lightweight jQuery lightbox plugin. It comes with only 400 lines of JavaScript, 100 lines of CSS, and adds less than 6 KB to your page load. That’s why the plugin boasts to be the “lightest” of them all. It’s built out of the mere frustration of slow lightbox plugins.

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WP Featherlight solves most of the slow loading time issues which come with other lightbox plugins. This is possible because of its pre-built jQuery library which prevents performance issues. The plugin is responsive, supports images, AJAX, iFrames and multiple other features.

Wrapping Up!

Lightbox is one of the most intuitive methods of displaying media in modern WordPress websites. A fully customized lightbox plugin could drastically improve the user experience. And if you want, now you have a list of free lightbox plugins to choose from.

No matter which plugin you choose, your site is going to benefit from the potentials of a lightbox plugin. I’d love to hear your viewpoint. How do you add lightboxes to your website? Do you use a plugin or do you code it yourself? Post your comments below.


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