Free Parallax Slider Plugins for WordPress
If you aren’t sure what parallax is, you’ve probably seen it but didn’t know the name for it.
Parallax, at least for the simple purposes of this post, is when objects suddenly start sliding on or off the page at different times. (The actual technical definition is more involved.)
For example, say you have a headline, an excerpt, and a thumbnail sitting in a slider. Suddenly, the headline shoots off the page. Then the excerpt does the same. The thumbnail is still sitting there, but then that suddenly shoots off too.
The viewer quickly realize there’s more going on behind the scenes than originally appeared.
Here’s a quick video of one of the sliders we’ll be going over below. This short clip is a little jumpy due to my screencasting software. In reality, the actual slider works very smoothly. But this will give you the idea.
Two Sliders for Review
When I first started researching free parallax slider plugins, I was hoping to get at least five good ones to report on.
Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. It seems a number of the potential candidates have been abandoned. I repeatedly ran into issues, and upon searching for help, found the plugin author nowhere in sight with unanswered support questions piling up for months.
And so in the end, we are only left with two. The good news is each of these actually works (at least in my tests). They also each have a strength that the other doesn’t have.
The WP Parallax Content Slider offers a relatively simple but attractive parallax slider that gives you two basic choices – either show latest posts or show some content written especially for the slides in the slider.
When one slide changes to the next in the slider, you will see the parallax effect take place: first the title shoots off to the left, then the blurb shoots off to the left, and finally the image shoots off to the left.
Whether you’re using latest posts or original slides, you basically have three areas of content: the title, a blurb, and then an image.
In the case of showing your latest posts, of course the title is the post title, the blurb is your excerpt, and the image is your featured image.
This plugin comes with four themes – yellow, red (with designs), silver, and dark.
How It Works
In order to get the slider into your site, you either insert some code into a template file or insert a shortcode into a Post or a Page.
As mentioned, you can either show latest posts or original slides. There is a settings page to easily choose between the two.
The one potential drawback that stands out with this plugin is that you have to dig into the code in order to change the originally created slides (i.e. the slides you make yourself, not the slides of your latest posts).
In fact, you should read the instructions on the plugin page carefully before beginning. This is not of case of jumping into the settings and seeing an obvious way to create slides from the beginning.
I’d recommend inserting a shortcode into a Post and then looking at the sample slider that comes up. Once you have that running, dig into the appropriate file in the plugin and start matching things up – title, blurb, image, etc. From there, you should be able to figure out how to create your own slides.
This plugin is great out of the box for automatically pulling in latest posts. If you are looking to create your own slides, however, you may want to go with the Easy WordPress Parallax Slider below.
The Easy WordPress Parallax Slider gives you a kind of “slider lab” in the admin area of your site, offering an enormous amount of control over every single design aspect of a slide, from the size and background and font to the position of images and text for “read more” links.
In the end, you get the basic functionality that most parallax sliders offer, namely a title, text blurb, and image that shoot off the page one after the other in delayed fashion when the slide changes.
That said, the ability to control so many aspects (and control them easily) lets you get your slides looking exactly the way you want them.
Take a partial glimpse at the settings for a slide.
In addition, it’s easy to add as many slides as you like to a slideshow. And you can also create as many slideshows as you like.
How It Works
This plugin comes with both code to place into your theme’s templates and shortcodes to place into either a Post or a Page.
Here’s a video provided by the plugin author.
This plugin does not offer the ability to automatically put latest posts into a slider.
This plugin really shines in terms of the amount of easy design control it offers you. If you’re looking to build your own slides, this is the plugin you’re looking for. If you’re looking to pull in latest posts, however, you’ll want to go with the WP Parallax Content Slider above.
Only Two, But a Useful Two
So, as you can see, though we’ve ended up with only two, they really do shine at different jobs. So you might also find yourself using both in the end.
photo credit: yellow in the blue