Until the launch of WordPress 4.4, plugins were an essential requirement if you wanted to embed videos from sites like YouTube and Vimeo to your website. Today, you don’t need a plugin to fulfil this basic function, you can simply copy and paste the video’s embed code directly into your text editor. However, using that method will only give you limited options. Faced with the prospect of their plugins becoming obsolete after WP 4.4, developers have since begun to add many features to keep their plugins useful.
To show you what these plugins are capable of, this post will look and eight of the best WordPress video plugins around to help you choose the ideal tool for creating a great user experience for your own website.
1. Envira Gallery Lite
Envira Gallery Lite is a WordPress gallery plugin that has both video and still image capabilities and is built with real consideration for the needs of a webmaster.
The plugin enables users to curate video galleries from sources such as YouTube, business video hosting site, Wistia, and even videos hosted on your own site. These videos can be then displayed in the attractive galleries or watched in full-screen lightboxes.
Galleries can be created using the built-in templates and put on your website simply by dragging into your preferred widget area. In addition, they can also be displayed on posts and pages by the use of a shortcode, giving you genuine flexibility on where you can put them on your website.
With the webmaster in mind, Envira Gallery also makes sure it helps your site with SEO. It’s maximised for optimum speed and has metadata and deep-linking features. As you would expect from a great video plugin, it is also fully responsive so that the videos will play perfectly no matter what screen size your visitors are using.
Cost: The Lite version is free. There are also four premium versions with prices starting at $19.
2. YouTube Showcase
Simple to use, the YouTube Showcase plugin creates ‘video pages’ custom post types that display each video on a separate page. At the same time, it automatically creates a thumbnail gallery page of all your videos and a produces a high definition, Video Grid Gallery which shows thumbnails in a four-column, responsive layout so that users get an overview of all the videos available. It also has featured videos and recent videos widgets which can be placed in the sidebar.
Video pages are created simply by pasting in the last 11 digits of a YouTube video’s URL (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlvaSEWBK_w) into the plugin.
To give some flexibility over presentation, the plugin also lets users choose the dimensions of the videos’ thumbnails so you can display them with either 4:3 or 16:9 ratios. All videos are responsive when shown, so can be watched on any device.
For ease of use, the plugin provides a setup assistant which will create all the video pages for you.
Cost: Free and pro versions are available. Pro starts at $49.99.
3. YouTube Simple Gallery
The YouTube Simple Gallery gives users a combination of the features of the previous two plugins. It creates custom post types in order to add and categorise videos and provides users with the ability to embed galleries directly into posts and pages simply by using a shortcode.
For better viewing experiences, it enables users to view videos in a lightbox and for better presentation, you can customise the dimensions of both the video and its thumbnail.
Simple, effective and free.
4. WordPress Video Gallery
The WordPress Video Gallery is packed with useful features and can display a wide range of video files including high definition video such as FLV, H.264, MP4, MOV and some types of live streaming. This enables you to include videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, Daily Motion and other sites.
It also enables you to build in social networking comments from the gallery page and has a social bookmarking option. Users are also able to manage multiple playlists and alter the width, height, skin, theme, aspect ratio and volume of the videos. With seven additional widgets to use, you can also display recent videos, popular videos, featured videos and more.
Visitors to your site can create playlists, add videos to watch later and even see their viewing history.
The YourChannel plugin is designed to let you show your YouTube channel content directly on your website, so in order for this plugin to work, you will need a YouTube username or channel ID so that your channel and website can connect.
Once set up, the plugin not only shows your uploaded videos, it also displays your banner image, profile picture and YouTube username, together with your playlists. Though you do have options whether to display all these features or not.
As you would expect, the videos are responsive and can be viewed in a lightbox. There are seven styles of video thumbnail available.
6. uTubeVideo Gallery
If you want to display multiple YouTube galleries on your WordPress site, then uTubeVideo Gallery might be the ideal solution.
This plugin enables you to put galleries on any post or page of your website and automatically fetches and caches thumbnails to help your site load more quickly. One of its better features is that it automatically hides those pesky YouTube annotations to give your visitors a better viewing experience.
It also allows you to change thumbnail size, reorder your videos and add YouTube playlists to your galleries. Like other plugins, you can customise the size of the player and in addition, you can also set the resolution of videos to 480p, 720p, or 1080p.
7. Workbox Video from Vimeo & YouTube Plugin
The Workbox Video from Vimeo & YouTube Plugin enables users to easily create a video gallery on any web page simply by pasting the video’s URL and then adding the plugin generated shortcode to any page or post. In addition, you can completely customise the playing order of your videos in your gallery.
The plugin works with videos from Vimeo, Wistia and YouTube, so should be sufficient for most people’s needs.
8. Ultimate Video Gallery
The Ultimate Video Gallery plugin, like many of the others we have looked at, enables you to add videos to your site simply by pasting the video URL. It plays both YouTube and FLV videos and gives a range of options, including customisable video and thumbnail sizes and the ability to show video titles, descriptions and even subtitles. It also enables YouTube videos to be played on mobile devices – though it doesn’t state if this playback is responsive or not.
If you want to have galleries of videos on your website instead of just a single video, then you will still need a plugin to achieve this. Hopefully, the range of plugins that we have shown you will cover most of the features you need for your website.
If you are displaying videos on your WordPress website, make sure that you have the hosting resources (bandwidth, RAM, CPU and storage) needed so that your website can load them quickly and play them without disruption to your visitors enjoyment.
If you are a WordPress user and are looking for first-class dedicated WordPress hosting, take a look at our WordPress hosting page.