One of the most often asked questions by our readers is what is the best WordPress slider plugin? In this article, we will try to answer that question by comparing some of the best WordPress Sliders for performance and quality.
The Problem With WordPress Sliders
Most WordPress sliders are slow. If it is not properly coded, a slider can significantly increase your page load time. If you do not have a good WordPress hosting service your server may even respond slower.
The other problem with WordPress slider plugins are ease of use. Most of them are bloated and comes with a learning curve for beginners.
Last but not least, you want to make sure that your WordPress slider is responsive. A lot of them are not.
So how do you go through hundreds of sliders plugin and check for all of this? Well you don’t have to. We did the research for you and below are our results for the best WordPress slider.
The Contenders for Best WordPress Slider Plugin
For the sake of this article, we chose 4 of the top and highly recommended WordPress slider plugins. While doing our research, we noticed that these slider plugins were among the most used and recommended. We decided to run some simple tests and see how each one of them performs. The criteria we are looking for is speed, ease-of-use, features, and compatibility.
Page load time and speed are an important factor to consider when adding a slider to your WordPress site. As mentioned earlier, not only a slow site affects user experience, but it also hurts your search engine rankings. This is why slider speed is our #1 priority during this test.
|Slider Plugin||Page Load time||Requests||Page size|
|Soliloquy||1.12 secs||19||1.4 MB|
|Nivo Slider||2.12||20||1.4 MB|
|SlideDeck 2||2.31 secs||29||1.8 MB|
|Meteor||2.97 secs||19||1.4 MB|
As you can see in the above scores, Soliloquy was the fastest loading WordPress slider in our tests. The reason why it is the fastest loading slider is that the code is optimized for speed.
The plugin also uses a neat little trick. It loads your cover slide and then rest of the slides are loaded asynchronously. It is not just fast on tests, but it feels fast to your visitors too.
If you want a high performance fast WordPress site, then Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider for you.
Ease of Use
Creating sliders is not as simple as we would like it to be. The goal here is to find a plugin that even beginner level users can use to create sliders both quickly and easily.
We have worked on and tested many WordPress slider plugins, but so far we have found none as easy to use as Soliloquy. Installing it and creating a slider in it is extremely simple (see our guide on how to easily create a responsive WordPress slider with Soliloquy).
The reason why it is easy to use is because it uses the WordPress coding guidelines and blends in with your native WordPress admin interface. It has a simple but intuitive user interface to create slides using the default WordPress media uploader.
There are simple shortcodes, template tags, a button on post editor, and widget to add your slides to different sections of your website.
SlideDeck 2 was the second easiest slider plugin we found. Creating a new slideshow in SlideDeck is quite simple and you can easily add multiple slides at once. You can also create slideshows by adding content from dynamic sources such as Flickr, Vimeo, and YouTube (see our guide on how to create video and image WordPress Slider with Slide Deck).
There are plenty of options to control and modify the behavior of your slideshow with live preview right in front of you. The admin interface of SlideDeck 2 is a bit slower, and looks alien in WordPress environment. However it is important to say that from the design perspective the admin interface is very pretty.
We feel that a beginner level user can easily and quickly create slideshows with SlideDeck within few minutes.
By default, your SlideDeck slide is not responsive, so you will have to either make it responsive while editing the slide or you need to add
ress=1 parameter to your shortcode to make it responsive.
Creating a slider with Nivo Slider was easy and quite straight forward. You can choose the images from the media uploader, and upload multiple new images at once. You can also drag and rearrange slide order. Using the same media uploader interface, you can add captions, link, and alternate text to your slide images. It comes with shortcodes and template tags so you can add a slider to your posts, pages, and template files.
Nivo Slider does not support video and other multimedia type. Meaning this is limited to only image slideshows. It comes with a nice bundle of themes that you can use and lots of transition effects to choose from. Plugin settings, creating slideshows, and adding slides to posts/pages is all very straight forward and smooth. However, if you are counting on features and options, then Nivo falls behind SlideDeck 2 and Soliloquy.
When creating a slideshow with Meteor Slides you need to upload or select each slide individually. This is time consuming and many new users would probably find it confusing. After installing the plugin, go to Slides » Add New. Give this particular slide a title, and then click on set featured image to upload your slide.
If you want your slide to link to a page, then you can enter a URL. Lastly, you need to choose a Slideshow from Slideshows meta box.
You can not arrange the slide order in a slideshow. You can not add a video slide, or add text over your slide. This makes Meteor Slide very limited in functionality. However, it is useful if all you want to do is add a simple slideshow.
If all you want to do is create simple image slide shows, then Nivo Slider and Meteor Slides are both good enough to work with.
However, Soliloquy and SlideDeck 2 allow you to do a lot more with your slideshows. In terms of features, SlideDeck and Soliloquy goes neck to neck. They both have great features and give you great control over the appearance of your slides.
We feel that due to its ease of use Soliloquy makes it very easy for beginners users to actually use the features bundled in it. Soliloquy slides are responsive by default, so a user does not need to add an extra parameter to their shortcode to make their slider responsive.
Both Slide Deck and Soliloquy support different content types, you can add images, posts, text, and multimedia content in slides. In both plugins you can edit individual slide and add extra information such as caption, overlay text, or a call to action button.
Another decisive factor that might help users choose a slider plugin for their site is pricing. Here is the price for a single site license of these plugins. Meteor Slider is a free plugin so it is not listed here:
|Slider Plugin||Single Site License|
After comparing these plugins we feel that the best WordPress slider plugin award goes to:
Soliloquy is by far the fastest WordPress slider plugin in the market. It follows all of the coding best practices, it is very well documented, it is easy to extend for developers and even easier to use for users, and last but not least it is also the cheapest.
Use our Soliloquy Coupon to get an extra 25% off.
SlideDeck is a close second in terms of functionality, but it is relatively slower. Should you decide to use it, here is a 20% off SlideDeck coupon.
We hope this article answers the questions regarding the best WordPress slider plugin in terms of performance and quality.