Want to turn your WordPress site into a mobile app? A WordPress app builder plugin can help you do just that without needing to pay for expensive custom development.
In this post, I’ve collected six of the best WordPress app builder plugins, including a couple options that we’ve previously reviewed in more depth. These plugins will help you create two different types of apps from your WordPress site:
- Native apps – this is what most people think of when they hear “app”. Your visitors will download it through the app store for their respective device.
- Progressive web apps – a progressive web app offers an app-like experience to your visitors without requiring them to actually install a native app. Visitors will still be able to add it to their home screen, and you can even include offline functionality and push notifications. Learn more here.
I’ll also throw in a couple bonus services that do still offer more of a “custom development” feel (and price).
What To Consider With A WordPress App Builder Plugin
There are a lot of plugins that do a great job turning the core WordPress functionality into a mobile app. Where you’ll sometimes see a breakdown, though, is in functionality that you’ve added with third-party plugins (e.g. WooCommerce, an event plugin, etc.).
It’s impossible for an app builder plugin to offer a seamless integration for every single third-party plugin out there, but some app builders do offer deeper integrations for specific plugins, like WooCommerce or BuddyPress.
So – if you know that you absolutely need functionality from a third-party plugin in your app, make sure that the app builder supports it (reaching out to their support for clarification is never a bad option as it’s hard to know beforehand).
1. AppPresser – Native Apps For Android And iOS
AppPresser is one of the better-known WordPress app builder tools. Here’s how it works:
You build your app using the separate AppPresser app builder interface. Then, you connect your actual WordPress site to AppPresser via the REST API using the free plugin at WordPress.org. This connection is what allows you to sync your app’s data with your WordPress site.
AppPresser has more detailed functionality than many of the other app builders you’ll find.
First off, it has dedicated support for the following WordPress plugins:
And it also lets you:
- Take photos with the phone’s camera and upload them to WordPress
- Use geolocation in some interesting ways
- Send push notifications
- Log in to WordPress/register via the app
You can check out some examples of apps created with AppPresser here.
Overall, if you want a more customized experience for your users, AppPresser is a good option.
Price: Starts at $19 per month (billed annually)
2. WordPress Mobile Pack – Progressive Web Apps
WordPress Mobile Pack is a freemium service that makes it easy to turn your WordPress site into a progressive web app.
We’ve previously reviewed WordPress Mobile Pack, so check out that full review if you want to see everything in more detail.
WordPress Mobile Pack comes with a number of themes that let you quickly get set up with a great-looking site:
You’re also able to choose exactly what content to include in your app, as well as whether or not to insert ads from DoubleClick for Publishers.
All in all, this is a good one if you just want a quick-and-easy way to set up a great-looking progressive web app.
While there is a basic free version at WordPress.org, you’ll probably want the paid version because it gets you:
- More themes
- Push notifications
- Offline mode
- HTTPS support
If you run a WooCommerce store, you should check out our PWACommerce review. It’s a plugin from the same developer that lets you turn WooCommerce into a progressive web app.
Price: Free, or paid plans start at $99 for the Freelancer bundle.
3. Androapp – Native Apps For Android And iOS
Androapp brings things back to native apps and, despite the name, it can do so for both Android and iOS.
You can choose from multiple app themes and your app can include:
- Push notifications
- Monetization via Admob or Appnext
- Social sharing
- Comment support
- Infinite scroll
When configuring your app, you get a decent number of options, including space to include your own custom code:
It doesn’t offer built-in integrations like AppPresser, though.
Price: One month free. Then either:
- Free with ads from the developer
- $66 for Android or iOS only. Or, $110 for both.
4. Super Progressive Web Apps – Progressive Web Apps
Back to progressive web apps! As you can probably guess from the name, Super Progressive Web Apps helps you convert your WordPress site into a progressive web app.
It’s pretty easy to set up – you just:
- Choose some colors
- Select your start page
- Choose the orientation
And you’re off to the races!
If you want more functionality, there are also two free add-ons that let you:
- Add UTM tracking
- Set Apple Touch icons
If you want to see a live demo, open this site on a mobile device.
Price: 100% free
5. WP-AppKit – Flexible Native Or Progressive Web Apps
WP-AppKit has a really neat way of integrating its functionality that gives you a great deal of control over how your app functions. It’s not a good option if you’re looking for something that’s “plug and play”. But if you want the ability to actually customize how your app functions and what information it displays, WP-AppKit is going to give you more nitty-gritty control.
For example, when you go to build your app, you’ll be able to add individual “components” and then add those components to the menu. A component can be a page, post type, etc. And if you’re a developer, you can even create your own custom component using hooks:
Beyond the free functionality that you saw above, there are two paid add-ons for:
- Google Analytics integration
- Pushwoosh for push notifications
The process is definitely more geared towards developers/power users. But if that’s what you want, this is a good affordable option that gives you more control.
Price: Free. Paid options are 49.00€ each for add-ons or 399.00€ for Pro support/setup service.
6. Wapppress/iWappPress – Native Apps For Android And iOS
Wapppress and iWappPress are two separate plugins from the same developer that, collectively, let you create native apps for both Android and iOS.
The unique selling proposition for both is “one-click apps”. That is, they can turn your WordPress site into a native app without requiring any technical knowledge or detailed setup.
While that’s convenient, you shouldn’t expect a super customized experience as a result.
Both of them are premium solutions at CodeCanyon, so I wasn’t able to install them on my test site. But they do have a detailed demo that you can play around with. And from tinkering with that, it does indeed seem pretty easy to use.
You just run through some basic configuration options, click a button, and wait for the app to build:
Other features include:
- Push notifications
- Google AdMob ad integrations
- Multiple app themes to choose from
Price: $20 each
7. Bonus: MobiLoud – WordPress App Builder Service
In its own words, MobiLoud is a “done for you app building service specifically designed for WordPress”. It’s not cheap, but the service includes:
- Building your app
- Publishing your app to app stores
- Maintaining your app
So if you want more of a “hands-off” approach to turning WordPress into a mobile app, this one might be a good option for you. You’re just going to pay for the convenience!
If you want to learn more, you can check out Oli’s experience with an older version of MobiLoud.
Price: $199 per month paid monthly or $2,499 one-time for a lifetime license ($3,499 one-time if you also want access to the source code).
8. Bonus x2: Frontity – Custom WordPress Progressive Web Apps For High-Traffic Sites
Frontity definitely isn’t for everyone because they only accept sites with a certain traffic minimum. But if you’re a big publisher looking to create a progressive web app from your WordPress site, this one might be a good option to check out.
Wrapping Things Up
If you just want the easiest way to create an app-like experience for your WordPress site, I recommend going with one of the progressive web app plugins because they’re super easy to set up. Despite that easy setup, progressive web apps still offer a great user experience (if you’re single, it can be fun to play around with Tinder’s progressive web app to see how “app-like” the experience is).
If you definitely want a plugin to help you create a native app, I think AppPresser is the most detailed option, while Wapppress/iWappPress are the simplest options (they just don’t give you very much flexibility).
Now over to you – have you ever turned your WordPress site into an app? What’s your preferred method and why?