NextGen vs Envira: Which gallery plugin is better?

Images are a vital part of a website. They can make a WordPress post more informative. WordPress lets you insert a single image in the post. You can also insert several pictures with the help of a feature called “gallery”.

The WordPress CMS lets users create and embed galleries in their pages or posts, but it doesn’t let you manage them. Also, when you create an album, you cannot reuse this gallery in other posts or pages. You’ll have to reselect the pictures and create a gallery once again.

With a dedicated plugin, creating, managing, and reusing galleries become easy. WordPress repository has many album extensions. Two of the most popular extensions among the lot are Envira and NextGen.

Is NextGen better than Envira? Which plugin provides more fetters and is easier to use? Below, we’ve compared the two WP extensions.


NextGen is the most downloaded WordPress gallery plugin. Its rating on is 4.3 out of 5. It has 700k+ users. Envira has 100k+ users, and its rating in the WordPress repository is 4.8.

Creating galleries

The two WP plugins let users create galleries on the fly. They allow you to choose multiple or single images at a time. They can import photos from a folder in the WordPress directory on the server or the media library.

While creating a gallery, the extension may move the image to a folder they create, and the photo’s size makes the album look ugly. NextGen can remove the pictures once you create a gallery and the plugin moves this photo to its folder. It can also resize images automatically to the size you specify. It can back up the picture automatically before resizing. Envira can automatically crop photos to make the album look perfect.


NextGen free edition supports these four album styles – Basic Thumbnails, Basic Slideshow, Basic ImageBrowser, and Basic TagCloud. You can enable pagination for galleries and configure the plugin to show N number of photos on a page. If you don’t want a specific image to be a part of the album, you can deselect it in NextGen. Pagination is a Pro feature in Envira. You can set a style with NextGen while inserting the album in the post. When you insert a gallery in the post with Envira, you can set its layout to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 columns. You can also set the row height and margin.

Managing galleries

NextGen enables you to sort images by date, time, filename, image ID, and alt text. You can set an alt text and caption for the picture with the help of the Manage Gallery tool of the plugin. If you have created many galleries and want to find a picture, you can use the extension’s search tool to find the image. Envira only shows the list of galleries you have built. It lets you see the list of galleries created in a particular month.

Bulk operations

NextGen supports these bulk operations on images – set watermark, resize/delete pictures, rotate images, delete tags, remove EXIF information, import metadata, etc. Envira’s free version only lets you bulk delete galleries or find a photo in a gallery.

Lightbox effects

NextGen free edition ships with these six lightbox effects – Fancybox, simplelightbox, Thickbox, and Shutter. It also supports custom effects. When you choose the “custom” option in its lightbox section, you’ll see a form where you must enter the effect’s stylesheet, JavaScript URL, or a custom code.

Envira free edition comes with only one lightbox effect i.e. legacy. It lets you set the caption position to one of these – inside, outside, float, or over. It will display the full-size picture in the lightbox. You can make Envira show a photo of a specific size when the user clicks on it.


NextGen, by default, will set the website name as a watermark for the image. You can configure it to watermark the pictures automatically when you upload a photo. You can set the opacity, font, font size, and font color for the watermark label with NextGen. The plugin supports these two types of watermarks – image and text. If you choose the image watermark option, you will have to enter the URL of the picture. Watermark is a free feature in NextGen. Envira users must buy the extension’s premium edition to use the watermark function.


NextGen enables users to control which user gets access to a specific plugin function. For example, administrators can let subscribers/authors create and manage galleries, change the style, edit albums, manage tags, etc. Envira’s free version doesn’t let you manage roles.

Lazy Loading

Envira lets users enable the lazy loading feature for gallery images. This extension allows users to set the time after which it should load the photo.

Other options

NextGen can add RSSMedia links to the HTML code of the page. It can display a gallery in the WordPress site feed. It generates a cache of images for better performance. You can clear this cache and make it recreate the cache. The two extensions enable you to set a custom permalink slug for the galleries.

NextGen pros

Lots of options: NextGen free version has more options than any other gallery plugin you’ll find in the WordPress repository.

Envira Pros

Simple: As Envira doesn’t have many options, it doesn’t require any special configuration.

Envira cons

More ads than features: You’ll find ads in the various settings sections of this plugin. Envira offers fewer features compared to NextGen.

Closing words: NextGen has more features than the free version of its counterpart. Envira is a very basic extension.


Pramod is the founder of wptls. He has been using WordPress for more than nine years. He builds web applications, and writes about his experiences with various WP products on this site.

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