how to install a wordpress slideshow plugin

Sliders have a multitude of uses. Whether you’re looking to show off your latest images, highlight your recent blog posts, or even showcase video content, a WordPress slider plugin can help you do just that.

A lot of WordPress themes actually come equipped with sliders right out of the box. But, if a slider isn’t included with your WordPress theme, then this post is for you.

WordPress has a multitude of slider plugins that you can easily integrate into your site.

Below you’ll learn why you’ll want to use a WordPress slideshow plugin for your WordPress-hosted site, how to choose the right one for your site, which plugins we recommend, and finally how to actually install the plugin on your WordPress website.

best WordPress hosting


Why Use a WordPress Slideshow Plugin?

By adding a WordPress slideshow plugin to your site you can create a more lasting impression on your site visitors. With a slider, you can entice visitors with dynamic and flexible content the moment they land on your site.

Dynamic and moving content is more engaging than plain text. Higher engagement and user interest mean more time on your site, increased interaction, and hopefully, more customers.

In the fight to grab your audience’s attention online, you’ll want to use every tool in your arsenal.

Depending on the slider plugin you decide to use, you’ll get access to a wide variety of features. For example, you can create full-page sliders that show off your best images. You can create sliders to insert into your post, creating a slideshow list post. Or, maybe you want to embed your YouTube video content, or even add animations.

With a WordPress slideshow plugin, you can do all that and more. You can even use WordPress shortcodes to simplify the process further.

Keep reading to learn what you’ll want to keep an eye out for when choosing a WordPress slideshow plugin.


How to Choose the Best WordPress Slider Plugin

There are tons of different WordPress slider plugins out there. Once you know that you want to add a slider to your site, it’s time to dig through the vast WordPress plugin library to find the right plugin for your needs.

Before you begin your search, it’s important to take a few considerations to heart:

  1. Do you have a budget for a premium plugin, or are you opting for a free plugin? This will help to narrow your selection.
  2. What will you primarily be using the WordPress slider plugin for? For example, are you solely creating image slideshows, or do you need video compatibility too?
  3. Is a basic plugin okay? Or, do you want advanced customization features and dynamic content support?
  4. Is drag and drop design and functionality important?
  5. Do you want the ability to upgrade your plugin in time with additional extensions, or a premium version?

Spend some time thinking about the questions above and keep your answers in mind throughout your plugin search.

Now you probably have a better idea of what kind of slider plugin you’re looking for.

Here are a few other considerations you’ll want to think about which will help determine the quality of the WordPress slideshow plugin you choose:

  • Does it have a large volume of downloads? Typically, plugins that have been downloaded hundreds of times (or hundreds of thousands of times) are higher quality.
  • What’s the general consensus of the user reviews? Is it four-stars or above? Do the negative reviews point out any glaring flaws that haven’t been addressed?
  • Does the plugin include a dedicated community forum? Or specialized support?


5 Best WordPress Slideshow Plugins

If you’ve spent any time browsing through the WordPress plugin repository, or on a site like CodeCanyon, then you’re probably overwhelmed with the sheer volume of choices.

Instead of making you sift through every plugin yourself, here are five of the top WordPress slideshow plugins currently on the market:


1. MetaSlider

metaslider plugin

MetaSlider is an incredibly popular free WordPress slider plugin. For being a free plugin it offers an incredibly rich set of features, such as several themes to choose from, a library of transition effects, and more.

To build out your slideshow you’ll use the drag and drop builder and built-in image cropping tool.

Once you install the slideshow plugin you’ll have four different slider types to choose from, which are all equipped with different features and advantages.

There’s also a premium version of the plugin which will unlock even more features. For example, you’ll get access to multiple plugin skins, animation effects, and the ability to include more dynamic content in your slides.


2. RoyalSlider


RoyalSlider is one of the most downloaded plugins on the Code Canyon site. It’s even been used by massive companies like Coca-Cola and Land Rover.

This WordPress slider plugin is very versatile and can display a wide range of content types. From images to text, to video, animations, and more.

Those who are photo-obsessed will love the full-screen slider capability, along with the ability to pull photos directly from your Flickr account.

Some other features this plugin offers include:

  • Adding multiple sliders into a single page
  • Responsive slider capabilities
  • Multiple different navigation options and formats
  • Built-in slider templates and skins
  • A lot more

Currently, this plugin will cost you $24. That’s a pretty good deal considering everything you’re getting with this plugin.


3. Easing Slider

easing slider

Easing Slider is a great free plugin that’s very lightweight. That means it won’t bog down your site on the backend, or have a negative impact on your site loading speeds.

This plugin is incredibly easy to use and if you’ve used the WordPress post editor before, you’ll feel right at home.

You can upload images in bulk. Then this tool will optimize them for you, so you can begin creating and customizing your sliders.

You can also extend the functionality of this WordPress slideshow plugin by purchasing one of the premium add-ons. With these additional features you’ll be able to do things like add video, insert captions, add the lightbox effect, or even include touch and swipe compatibility for mobile devices.


4. Soliloquy

solilouy plugin

Soliloquy is one of the best selling slider plugins on the market. It’s a very lightweight plugin and is incredibly fast.

If one of your biggest concerns is speed, then this plugin can’t be beaten. Beyond its speed, it also has top-notch security measures in place.

In regards to building out your WordPress slideshow, this plugin couldn’t make things easier. It’s equipped with a drag and drop builder so you can effortlessly rearrange elements as you see fit.

It also offers a ton of different customization options, so you can embed images and video. You have a wide range of transition options available as well.

This plugin currently costs $19 for a single site. However, there is also a basic version of the plugin available if you’d like to give it a trial run before you decide to purchase.


5. Slider Revolution

slider revolution responsive wordpress plugin

Slider Revolution has been a top selling WordPress slider plugin for quite some time. Just one look at the quality of sliders you can create and it’s easy to tell why. This flexible plugin lets you easily create eye-catching sliders that are intricately layered.

You can even add animations to different parts of your slider while incorporating elements like text, images, video, buttons, HTML, and more.

Even though it might seem complex combining all of these different elements into a single slider, using the plugin is actually pretty intuitive. You can either use the drag and drop feature, or the graphical interface to build out each slide.

Finally, you’ll have the option to easily add content from sources like YouTube, Twitter, previous WordPress posts, and a lot more.

Overall, there’s really nothing that you can’t do with this plugin. It’s infinitely flexible and can help you create the perfect sliders for your WordPress site.

You can currently pick up Slider Revolution for $26 from Code Canyon, which is a steal considering all the uses of this plugin.


How to Install a Free WordPress Slideshow Plugin

Once you’ve found the WordPress slider plugin of your dreams, installation is pretty straightforward. If you’ve ever installed a WordPress plugin in the past, then you’ll just follow those same steps.

But, in case you forgot, you can follow the steps we’ve outlined below.


1. Login to Your WordPress Backend

Your first step is to login to your WordPress dashboard (or admin panel). This link, along with your login information, should have been provided when you installed WordPress.

The URL will look something like this,

Enter your username and password and you’re good to go.


2. Navigate to the Plugin Install Screen

Now that you’re in the backend of your site find the Plugin tab on the left-hand side. Then select Add New.

add plugin in wordpress

Here you’ll be able to search for and install the plugin right from WordPress itself.


3. Search for Your Preferred Plugin

For the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you went with the free MetaSlider plugin.

In the little search bar in the upper right-hand corner type in MetaSlider.

Then, find the plugin that looks like the one below and click Install.

search for plugins in wordpress

Once the plugin has been installed the button will switch over to Activate.

Click this, and you’ve successfully installed a WordPress slider plugin on your site!


5. Start Configuring Your WordPress Slider Plugin

Now you can start configuring the plugin and adding a slider to your site.

With the plugin installed you’ll now find another menu option on the left-hand side.

In the case of MetaSlider, you can access the plugin by going to the tab labeled MetaSlider on the bottom left-hand side.

install metaslider to wordpress

How to Install a Paid WordPress Slideshow Plugin

If you decided to purchase one of the plugins from the list above, then you’ll have a slightly different order of operations.

Typically, you’ll have instructions from your plugin provider on how to install and set up the plugin. But, if not, then follow the steps below.


1. Purchase and Download the Plugin

If you’re going with a premium plugin, then you’ll want to purchase and download the plugin from the provider’s website.

Then, you’ll have a .zip file, which we’re going to upload to WordPress.


2. Upload Via the Plugin Screen

Once again navigate to your WordPress dashboard, then select Plugins>Add New. Then select Upload Plugin at the top of the screen.

add plugins by upload

On this screen, you can either drag the file into the box or click Choose File, then locate the file on your computer.

Boom! You’ve successfully installed a premium slider plugin on your site.


3. Setup and Configure Your Plugin

Now it’s time to set up and configure your plugin. Since it’s a premium plugin you’ll have access to extensive documentation, support, and even tutorials to help you successfully use the plugin.

What you do with your slider plugin is up to you!


Time to Create Your WordPress Slideshow

Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of what WordPress slider plugins can do and why you might want to add one to your site.

Adding a slider to your site gives you a lot of flexibility. Today’s sliders offer a lot more than a basic image slideshow.

Overall, your selection will depend upon your budget and the overall features you’re looking for. Any of the WordPress slider plugins above will be a great choice, but if you’re looking for the ultimate in flexibility and display options, it’s a good idea to upgrade to a premium plugin.

The free options highlighted above are great choices, but if you’re serious about the look of your slider, then it’s hard to beat a premium option.

If you’re still unsure about which slider will be the best fit for your needs, then it’s a good idea to check out the demo of each plugin or install a free version to get a feel for how you can integrate it into your existing site.

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