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9 Best Free WordPress Lightbox Plugins (In 2024)

free wordpress lightbox plugins

Are you searching for the best free WordPress lightbox plugins to take your content showcase to the next level?

We picked the 9 top-performing solutions to add a lightbox function in WP to your website or blog after testing 30+.

We’ve used them over and over again and couldn’t recommend them more.

This allowed us to test them extensively to ensure 100% reliability and user-friendliness.

And we even let two of our photographer friends use them (NextGEN & Simple Lightbox Gallery) – who don’t know how to code.

Your content matters.

So make sure you put all the extra shine on it with a lightbox. (Quickly & easily.)

That’s exactly what it deserves.

This post covers:

Before we move forward, you may also be interested in reading our guide on how to install a WordPress plugin for a smoother workflow.

Best Free WordPress Lightbox & Gallery Plugins

1. NextGEN Gallery (Best overall!)

nextgen gallery free wordpress lightbox plugin
This is not the first time we have suggested NextGen as a brilliant plugin solution, and there are many reasons why.

This lightbox plugin (developed by Imagely) has more than 700,000 active installs. WOW.

During our testing, NextGen proved to be a comprehensive gallery plugin. But since this is a top pick of the best lightbox plugins, let us take a closer look at this feature.

With beautiful lightbox effects, this plugin has everything you need to showcase images and videos.

The lightbox function is also fully customizable. You can easily choose between numerous CSS styles and then change the one you choose.

NextGen Pro lightbox offers some advanced customization options. Still, you do not need to upgrade the plugin to add an amazing lightbox to your blog right away.

NextGen features:

  • 500,000+ active installations
  • 4.3/5 ratings
  • Fully customizable lightbox
  • Top-tier support (DEMOS & Video guides)
  • Also great for gallery creation

2. Meow Lightbox (Best name!)

meow lightbox free wordpress plugin
If you already have a fully mobile-ready plugin for galleries and only need a lightbox plugin, Meow Lightbox is simply the best solution.

Meow was the lightest and most beginner-friendly of all the free WordPress lightbox plugins we reviewed for this list. The plugin has a beautiful layout that looks fantastic on any device.

Although the developers have also created a responsive gallery plugin to add the lightbox effect, Meow Lightbox is compatible with most gallery plugins.

Meow displays all EXIF information (camera, shutter speed, aperture, lens) at the bottom of the lightbox.

This gives the effect a more professional look.

Meow features:

  • 7,000+ active installations
  • 4.9/5 ratings
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Compatible with many gallery plugins
  • Displays EXIF information

3. Simple Lightbox Gallery

simple lightbox gallery wp plugin
Simple Lightbox is a sleek, fully customizable lightbox plugin. Installation is very simple, and setting up a new lightbox only takes a few minutes. More like a few clicks!

We really liked the numerous customization options.

You can resize the lightbox, add effects, etc., with this free plugin. You can add your pre-made lightbox to any page, post, menu, etc., thanks to the simple WordPress shortcode.

During our testing, we also enjoyed the fact that Simple Lightbox is 100% multilingual. Finally, Weblizar regularly updates the plugin and fixes (any) issues.

What more to ask from a completely free plugin?

Simple Lightbox features:

  • 6,000+ active installations
  • 4.7/5 ratings
  • Simple shortcode integration
  • Lightbox image preview
  • Neat animation effect

4. Gallery Block Lightbox

gallery block lightbox wp plugin
Johannes Kinast has developed one of our most popular free WordPress lightbox plugins on the market.

Gallery Block Lightbox does exactly what its name suggests. It’s a simple way to add a lightbox to the standard WordPress gallery or Gutenberg block.

Since it’s JavaScript-based, the gallery block has an ultimately responsive design.

Adding the lightbox effect is as EASY as can be.

All you need to do is add the image (or gallery) block to your page or post. In the block’s menu, go to Link to and select Media File.

That’s it; your lightbox is ready!

Gallery Block features:

  • 10,000+ active installations
  • 5/5 ratings
  • For default gallery/block
  • Swipe-support
  • For galleries & still images


Fun fact: A traditional lightbox is a white, semi-transparent box where a photographer places a product to take a photo.

5. Responsive Lightbox

responsive lightbox free wordpress plugin
With more than 20,000 active installations, Responsive Lightbox Lite is a tool that you should definitely try.

As with our previous recommendation, it is a very responsive and lightweight plugin.

We really enjoyed the combination of the plugin’s 7 CSS effects during our testing. This free WordPress lightbox plugin is also compatible with all WP themes and supports all browsers.

You can add the lightbox effect to almost any type of visual, from still images to Youtube and Vimeo videos.

In a few words, Responsive Lightbox Lite offers a quick (yet advanced) way to create and apply a lightbox to your website or blog.

Responsive Lightbox features:

  • 10,000+ active installations
  • 4.7/5 ratings
  • Supports all themes & browsers
  • Fully-customizable
  • Multilingual & translation ready (use your favorite WP translation plugin)

6. Lightbox with PhotoSwipe

lightbox photoswipe free wordpress plugin
PhotoSwipe is a well-known gallery plugin developed by Arno Welzel.

In our testing, this free WordPress lightbox plugin worked like a charm.

We like that the creator provides plenty of instructions and screenshots to simplify the process.

You only need to link the image or gallery to the media. (With 0 experience!)

Photoswipe offers numerous customization options and allows you to edit the lightbox in the backend.

Nevertheless, this plugin is SIMPLE to master. For this reason, it is a good choice for both beginners and professionals.

Lightbox with PhotoSwipe features:

  • 20,000+ active installations
  • 5/5 ratings
  • Beautiful JavaScript gallery design
  • Many customization options
  • Great support

7. WP Video Lightbox

wp video lightbox free wp plugin
WP Video Lightbox is a great choice if you are looking for the best way to embed a video into your WordPress website.

With this free WordPress lightbox plugin, you can easily insert videos while using a lightbox overlay display.

We used YouTube, Flash, and Vimeo videos when reviewing the plugin and had no problems adding them.

So. Simple.

The plugin is fully responsive, so the embedded videos also work on mobile devices.

All you need to do to insert a video lightbox to your website is use a shortcode.

You don’t have to worry if you don’t have experience. The plugin includes video tutorials and documentation for you.

WP Video Lightbox features:

  • 40,000+ active installations
  • 4.3/5 ratings
  • Comprehensive video guides
  • Works with numerous video types
  • Simple embedding process

8. Responsive Lightbox & Gallery

responsive lightbox and gallery free wp plugin
If you need an all-rounder gallery and lightbox plugin for your WordPress website, dFactory has the perfect answer.

This free WordPress lightbox plugin is an excellent alternative to NextGen.

Like NextGen, Responsive Lightbox & Gallery is a powerful plugin that you do not need any programming knowledge to use.

We really enjoyed using the simple (yet powerful) drag-and-drop gallery builder. The lightbox effect is easy to add to your galleries.

In summary, this versatile plugin lets you do more than just create a lightbox.

Responsive Lightbox & Gallery features:

  • 200,000+ active installations
  • 4.9/5 ratings
  • SEO-Friendly
  • Vast customization options
  • Great NextGen alternative

9. Easy FancyBox

easy fancybox free wordpress lightbox plugin
Like the Gallery Block Lightbox reviewed above, Easy FancyBox is a brilliant lightbox plugin for the default WordPress editor. For this reason, FancyBox easily made it to our list.

Easy FancyBox is minimalist and suitable for images (WebP, JPG, PNG, etc.) and videos (YouTube, Dailymotion, Flash, etc.).

Of all the free WordPress lightbox plugins we tested to create this top pick, Easy FancyBox was the most beginner-friendly.

Since it’s also one of the fastest and lightest plugins, this is a solution you should definitely try to create a beautiful content showcase.

Easy FancyBox features:

  • 200,000+ active installations
  • 4.6/5 ratings
  • Different pop-up effects
  • Great modification options
  • Perfect for images & videos

FAQs About Lightbox & WordPress

What is a lightbox plugin?

A lightbox plugin is an excellent solution to emphasize your images, videos and even forms. This is a perfect option to boost your website’s user experience with a modern media display.

What is a lightbox?

It’s a variation of a popup or a modal that creates an overlay (on top of the page) with your media in it. A lightbox works great for galleries and carousels with clickable thumbnails or too-small content. It opens media content as an overlay, darkening the rest of the page.

How do I create/add a lightbox in WordPress?

The simplest and quickest way to create and add a WordPress lightbox is to use a plugin (which we highly recommend). You can add the new function to your website without knowing how to code. Many plugins also have additional features and functions to beautify your lightbox.

Does WordPress have a built-in lightbox?

No, WordPress doesn’t have a built-in lightbox. You either need to use a plugin (our pick!) or code it into the base yourself. Hint: Using a plugin is much faster and simpler.

Can Lightbox Plugins work with any type of media?

Yes, most WordPress lightbox plugins support a variety of media types, including images, videos, and HTML content.

Are lightbox plugins mobile-friendly?

Many modern lightbox plugins are designed to be responsive and mobile-friendly. They automatically adjust to different screen sizes, ensuring a seamless experience on devices like smartphones and tablets.

Do lightbox plugins affect website loading speed?

Lightbox plugins can have a minimal impact on website loading speed, especially if they are well-optimized.

Is customization possible with lightbox plugins?

Yes, customization is a key feature of many lightbox plugins. They often offer options to change animation effects, sizes, colors, and controls to align the lightbox appearance with your website’s design.


Note: This article was originally published on September 10, 2021. But our team regularly reviews it and updates it with necessary improvements for accuracy.

About Author

The MA in Buildings Archaeology in York, U.K., gave Nick the technical skills of a graphic designer and a deeper understanding of the English language. He believes his studies enriched his imagination and helped him stand out. Since 2019, Nick has worked as a full-time freelance writer.