If you’re a creative person who wants to show off your work, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to do it than combining the power of WordPress with a top-notch WordPress portfolio plugin.

Right out of the box, taking advantage of managed WordPress hosting allows you to add images and create basic galleries to your WordPress site, but the overall functionality is a bit limited. If you truly want to show off your work to impress potential clients, then you’ll want a professional WordPress website portfolio plugin behind you.

With WordPress, creating your dream portfolio site doesn’t have to be that difficult. WordPress is a very beginner-friendly platform, and most plugins also include extensive documentation to help walk you through any tough spots.

Below you’ll learn what WordPress portfolio plugins are, the benefits that using one of these plugins will bring you, the kind of features that are absolutely necessary, and finally, the top portfolio plugins we recommend.

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What Are WordPress Portfolio Plugins?

If you’re familiar with WordPress, then you know there are about a million popular WordPress plugins you can choose to help customize your site. It’s easy to get overwhelmed throughout the plugin search. But that’s why posts like this exist—to help you find the absolute best plugin for your needs.

But…what are WordPress portfolio plugins? Glad you asked.

WordPress portfolio plugins will help you easily present your creative work in the best light. So, if you’re looking for a graphic designer theme, photographer, videographer, or any other kind of visually-oriented creative theme, a portfolio plugin will help you put your best foot forward.

WordPress portfolio plugins will help you easily create one-of-a-kind displays. Trying to do this yourself would take some immense coding skills. But, with a plugin, you can do it in a few hours.

Depending on the portfolio plugin you choose you’ll have a variety of different features and layouts to choose from. Most portfolio plugins exist to help you accomplish the same goal—showcasing your creative work in a beautiful and enticing manner.

Some WordPress portfolio plugins may be best suited for different types of media, so make sure you pay attention to the individual plugin feature sets we’ve highlighted below.


What Are the Benefits of Using a WordPress Portfolio Plugin?

Any creative who’s looking for a unique way to present their work can benefit from a  portfolio plugin. While visually oriented creators will probably get the most benefit from a WordPress portfolio plugin, even freelance writers can use a portfolio plugin to showcase their past writing clips.

If you’re building a portfolio website to help you get hired by more clients, then a portfolio plugin is a no-brainer. Simply uploading your photos to a basic WordPress site page without any styling won’t give that much of an effect—and clients won’t be impressed.

Best of all, WordPress portfolio plugins are incredibly easy to use. You simply install the plugin, upload your media, add various effects, and press publish. Plus, most of the top WordPress portfolio plugins out there include documentation that will walk you through any points you might get stuck on.

If you want to save yourself some time, while building a beautiful portfolio you can show off to potential clients to help you land a new gig, then you’ll want to use a WordPress portfolio plugin.


Using a WordPress Portfolio Plugin vs. a WordPress Portfolio Theme

A lot of WordPress themes already have built-in portfolio features. If you already have a WordPress portfolio theme, then why would you want to install a portfolio plugin? Don’t they accomplish the exact same thing?

One of the main reasons concerns what each element of WordPress is supposed to address. Generally, WordPress portfolio themes should handle the visually oriented elements of your site, while plugins exist to add more features to your site.

Adding a portfolio to your site falls under the functionality portion, so you’ll usually want to handle this with a WordPress portfolio plugin.

For example, let’s say that you decide to change themes, but your portfolio was created with the built-in theme features. Once you switch themes all of this data will be lost, and you’ll be stuck having to re-create your portfolio from scratch.

If you take the plugin approach you’ll not only get more control over the final appearance of your portfolio page but if you ever want to switch themes you can bring all of this data with you.


What to Look for in a WordPress Portfolio Plugin

Most portfolio plugins have a similar set of features. This can be a good thing, as it makes the selection process a little bit easier. But still, there are a few must-haves you should look out for. These include:

  • Support for various types of media. Unless you’re solely a photographer, you’ll have different forms of media you want to display.
  • The ability to create more than a single portfolio. Chances are you have a variety of different styles of work. Look for a plugin that allows for multiple styles or types of portfolio pages.
  • Various overlay features. Now, you might just want a very simple portfolio. But, the ability to add animations, text, overlays, and other features can really help your portfolio stand out.
  • A plugin that’s easy to use. The last thing you want is to spend hours and hours trying to set up your portfolio.

Now that you know what to look for in a portfolio plugin, here are a few questions that will help you vet the actual quality of the plugin:

  • What is the general consensus of the reviews? Is it above four-stars?
  • Does the plugin provide dedicated support or documentation?
  • Is it regularly updated in alignment with the latest version of WordPress?
  • Does it have all the features you require, like support for videos or WooCommerce products?

Now that you have a better idea of why you need a WordPress portfolio plugin, along with the kinds of features you’ll want to look out for, it’s time to get into the real reason you’re reading this post—the plugins themselves.


Top 5 Best WordPress Portfolio Plugins

There are a lot of WordPress portfolio plugins out there on the market, both free and paid. Instead of having to dig through and test out every plugin yourself, here are some of the best of the best. Below you’ll find a mix of both free and premium plugins to fit any budget.

Without further ado, here are five of the best WordPress portfolio plugins currently on the market.


1. Envira Gallery

envira gallery Envira Gallery is available as a free and premium gallery plugin. But, it lets you do a lot more than just upload your photos. This plugin is incredibly easy to use and can leave you with a beautiful portfolio in a matter of minutes.

It’s equipped with dark and drop customization, pre-existing designs and layouts to match your existing design, and it’s super fast. The last thing you want is a slow loading portfolio plugin that affects the rest of your site’s loading speed.

Once you install this portfolio plugin you’ll be amazed at the selection of responsive, retina-ready designs and layouts.

There are even some unique features that let you display your WooCommerce products (if you’re running an WooCommerce store), and even social sharing options.


2. Nimble Portfolio

nimble portfolio

Nimble Portfolio is a feature-packed portfolio plugin that’s entirely free. With this plugin, you can create a wide range of different types of portfolios. For example, you can create galleries filled with posts, pages, images, videos, and even WooCommerce products.

Each element of your portfolio is displayed in an attractive circular thumbnail. Once your users click on a certain element of your portfolio it’ll pop-up in a lightbox.

There’s also a built-in filtering feature that lets your users sort your portfolio based on the type of media they want to see. Plus, your portfolio will look good on any screen size as the plugin automatically creates responsive portfolio pages.

If you want to add even more features to your portfolio, then there are a number of premium extensions you can purchase. These will give you additional options like more sorting options, portfolio skins, light boxes, and more.


3. Easy Portfolio

easy portfolio

If you’re looking for an easy to use plugin, then Easy Portfolio might be the perfect plugin for your needs. It’s exactly like it sounds, a very easy to use plugin that can help you create an interactive slider.

If you’re not comfortable changing a bunch of plugin settings, or just want a simple portfolio that does the job, then consider this WordPress portfolio plugin.

It’s super easy to use. Once you install the plugin, just add whatever content you desire, describe your images or projects and click save. Then, you’ll be given a shortcode that you just copy and paste into any page on your site.

Best of all, Easy Portfolio is a free plugin, so there’s no investment required to get an elegant portfolio up and running on your site.


4. Go Portfolio

go portfolio

Go Portfolio is a feature-packed WordPress portfolio plugin. This is a premium plugin and there isn’t a free version available, so if you’re on a budget then you might want to choose another plugin on this list.

Right out of the box you’ll have four different styles you can choose from. Each of these has their own unique look with different thumbnail shapes, overlays, and built-in effects. This makes it easy to start adding a portfolio WordPress theme to your site without having to adjust a bunch of additional settings.

Beyond choosing your portfolio style you’ll have access to a lot of different customization elements, like the color choice, font style and size, and adding filtering options.

Finally, you’ll be able to add a variety of forms of media like images, videos, audio clips, and even WooCommerce products.

There’s also a cool feature that gives you the option to sell your images or videos that are embedded in your gallery. With WooCommerce integration and a beautiful portfolio display, you can easily add a new income stream.


5. Essential Grid Premium WordPress Plugin

essential grid

Essential Grid Premium WordPress Plugin is an all-in-one portfolio builder. It truly shines in its flexibility and versatility. If you’re not quite sure how you want your portfolio page to be structured, then this plugin can be incredibly useful.

It’s equipped with 30 different skins you can use to craft a unique portfolio. Plus, it has its own drag and drop builder that allows you to create your own skin, giving your portfolio a one-of-a-kind look.

No matter what kind of media you want to use for your portfolio, this plugin can more than likely support it. You’ll be able to craft a portfolio with images, audio, video, blog posts, logos, and even WooCommerce products.

Every portfolio you create is also fully responsive and can be filtered by your visitors, so they can see the exact kind of content they wish.

If you’re looking for a premium WordPress portfolio plugin that affords you the flexibility to do whatever you desire with your portfolio, then this plugin is worth checking out.


Choosing Your WordPress Portfolio Plugin

An online portfolio plugin for WordPress can be a great way to showcase your creative work in a stunning fashion. Hopefully, you have a better idea of why you’d want to use a portfolio plugin, along with some of the best recommendations to help you get started.

The way that you display your creative work is almost as important as the work itself. With the sheer amount of WordPress portfolio plugins available there’s no excuse for having a lackluster portfolio.

Remember, to use any of the awesome plugins above you’re going to need a host, a domain name, and a website running WordPress. If you haven’t found the right host yet, consider HostGator’s WordPress hosting.


Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.