I wanted to add a photo gallery to this website quickly the other day and to do this I used the NextGEN Gallery plugin. It seemed to be generally well-received by the WordPress community and I wasn’t disappointed. I literally had my gallery up and running in five minutes!
The plugin was created by Alex Rabe who studied all photo and picture plugins for WordPress, he thought that some of them were really good and well designed, but missed a simple and easy administration back end to handle multiple photos, galleries and albums.
Here’s how you do it:
Download the plugin and, after un-zipping and uploading to my wp-content/plugins folder on my server, I activated the plugin in the WordPress CMS. For more explanation about WordPress and loading plugins consult the excellent WordPress documentation.
I found that I had to edit my
php.ini in order to get the plugin to work properly.
php.ini is a text file that sits on your server (in this case on the root) that sets global variables such as memory usage. I have found that allocating more memory to PHP on the server useful to get WordPress working at reasonable speeds. That is why I have
memory_limit = 64M in my
php.ini. Here are the other commands I put in my
php.ini to get this plugin to work.
file_uploads = On
upload_max_filesize = 20M
post_max_size = 25M
max_execution_time = 600
max_input_time = 600
safe_mode = 0
Setting up a gallery
On the left hand side of your WordPress navigation right at the bottom you will now see a section called “Gallery”, click on the triangle next to that and from the options that slide down click “Add Gallery / Images” and give a name to your gallery. Now, to upload images, click the last tab on this page entitled “Upload Images”, click “Browse” and locate the image on your computer. Very important: make sure flash based upload is not enabled! I found the plugin would not work properly otherwise. Choose the gallery you have just created and click the “Upload Images” button. I also used the “Upload Zip” method and I was really impressed with how it worked. You can upload potentially hundreds of images in one go and the plug-in will do the rest! Awesome!
Managing the gallery
At the bottom of the left hand WordPress navigation again, click “Manage Gallery” underneath “Gallery”, choose the gallery you have just created and here you can alter the
alt tags for the images. This is not only very important for SEO purposes but also sets the text when the thumbnails are hovered over and captions when the bigger images are displayed. Once done, click “Save Changes”.
Adding gallery to a WordPress post or page
Easy! Simply add
[nggallery id=1] while editing the post or page. The gallery id number can be seen on the Gallery Overview page. The first one you do will be number 1.
I left the plugin options roughly as default but there are a few important things to consider. On the first page of the options I would leave “wp-content/gallery/” as the default path for all galleries. I would uncheck “Activate PicLens/CoolIris support” as not many people have PicLens or CoolIris installed and it creates an unsightly link above your gallery.
You can set the size of the images and the thumbnails here as well as setting a watermark onto the images.
The “Effects” option is very important. It sets the effect that displays the image when the thumbnail is clicked. Shutter and Thickbox will work if selected as these are installed with the plugin however you can use your own. I used “ShadowBox” which is similar to Lightbox and is nicer than the two that are bundled with it.