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Searching for the best WordPress YouTube plugins to embed videos, feeds, or galleries on your site?
While WordPress makes it easy to embed individual videos in your content, it doesn’t offer built-in support for more complex embeds such as video galleries, feeds, lightbox popups, etc.
With YouTube plugins, you can fix all of those shortcomings and create more complex types of embeds.
In this post, I will share the eight best WordPress YouTube plugins to help you get more control over adding YouTube content and also improve the performance of your videos.
But First – Do You Need a WordPress YouTube Plugin?
Before I get to the plugins, I want to remind you that you don’t need a YouTube plugin just to embed individual videos in your content. WordPress comes with built-in support for YouTube embeds – all you need to do is add the URL.
If you’re using the WordPress block editor, you can use a YouTube block and paste in the URL to the video:
And if you’re still using the Classic TinyMCE editor, all you need to do is paste the URL into the Visual tab of the editor and WordPress will automatically generate the embed for you.
8 Best WordPress YouTube Plugins
Now, let’s get into the best plugins…
1. Embed Plus for YouTube
Embed Plus for YouTube is the most popular YouTube plugin at WordPress.org, where it’s active on over 200,000 sites.
It lets you embed pretty much any type of YouTube content in your WordPress site including:
- Individual videos
- Live streams
No matter what type of video(s) you’re embedding, you’ll get tons of options to control behavior. For example, you can control autoplay, sound, and lots more.
It also includes some really unique features to save time. For example, you can enter the URL of any channel and the plugin will automatically search for an active live stream and display that link. This would let you create one page on your site for live streams and always include the most recent live stream.
Overall, it just generally has a lot of features, which makes it a good option if you need flexibility.
There’s also a premium version that adds even more features including:
- More layouts
- Caching to improve performance
- Lazy loading
- YouTube live chat
- Automatic tagging for video SEO
- Option to receive a notification if one of your embedded videos gets deleted
The premium version starts at $39.
2. Elfsight WordPress YouTube Gallery
Elfsight YouTube Gallery is a premium plugin that makes a great option for creating eye-catching galleries of YouTube videos in a ton of different styles. Overall, the unique thing about this plugin is its modern, professional gallery layouts – they look great right out of the box.
For the source of your gallery, you can choose from different options such as a channel, playlist, or specific videos.
You can choose from tons of different layouts including over 100 adjustable parameters. It also has a built-in AdSense integration that lets you monetize your video galleries via AdSense.
Overall, this is one of your best options if you want to create galleries of YouTube videos.
Elfsight YouTube Gallery costs $49, but that comes with lifetime updates.
3. Feeds for YouTube
Feeds for YouTube is a great option if you have your own YouTube channel and you want to display an automatic feed of your latest videos on WordPress. You can also use it with other people’s channels too, of course. However, the key feature is that it’s built for displaying a feed of the latest videos from a channel – not for static galleries.
You can choose from multiple layouts, including both list, gallery, and grid options. Visitors can also load infinite videos without reloading the page thanks to the infinite “load more” button.
You can also include multiple feeds and use them in different places. However, you’ll need the premium version to combine multiple feed sources into a single feed. That is, the free version lets you create multiple feeds but each feed can only have one source.
The premium version also adds some other interesting features:
- Use your “Favorites” list as a feed source.
- Get access to a carousel slider layout.
- Filter which videos to include using keywords.
- Import the videos as actual posts on your WordPress site (using a custom post type).
The free version is available at WordPress.org and the premium version starts at $49.
4. WP YouTube Lyte
WP YouTube Lyte doesn’t have as many features as some of the other plugins, but it’s a great option if you’re worried about website performance. It comes from the same developer as the popular Autoptimize plugin, which is another useful performance optimization plugin.
Essentially, it makes the regular WordPress YouTube embed feature a lot more performance-friendly by replacing the regular “heavy” YouTube embed with a static thumbnail image. The plugin will only load the full video player when a visitor clicks on the thumbnail image to play the video.
This offers big performance improvements without negatively affecting your users’ experiences.
In addition to automatically replacing the regular YouTube embed feature, this plugin also lets you embed playlists and videos using a shortcode.
In general, if you value website performance and just need something simple, this one is a good option. However, if you want to create styled galleries or video feeds, you’ll want a different plugin.
5. WP Video Popup
As the name suggests, WP Video Popup lets you create a lightbox popup for YouTube embeds, which is a popular tactic you’ve probably seen on other sites. If you want to see it in action, go to the plugin site and click to play the video.
This effect serves two basic functions:
- It’s more user-friendly for visitors because it creates a larger, distraction-free interface for them to watch videos.
- It’s more performance-friendly because you only need to load the full video player in the lightbox popup – you can use a static image thumbnail everywhere else.
The plugin is super simple – all you do is add a shortcode with the link to your video. Or, you can also trigger it in other ways, like CSS.
If you want more features, there’s also a premium version that lets you add multiple video popups on the same page (the free version limits you to one) and also lets you create video galleries in the popup.
The free version is available at WordPress.org and the Pro version costs $30 for use on unlimited sites.
YotuWP is a free plugin that helps you create a gallery of YouTube videos from different sources including:
- Specific videos (by video ID)
For your gallery layout, you can choose between a grid or a list (or mix the two). You can also choose from different players including a lightbox popup option that shows the specific gallery video in a modal popup.
If you want more features, there’s also an affordable premium version that mainly adds new layouts and effects:
- Carousel layout
- Masonry layout
- Big player left/right layouts
- Flip layout
The premium version is quite affordable at just $21.
7. Essential Grid Gallery
Essential Grid Gallery is one of the most popular gallery plugins at CodeCanyon, where it’s been purchased over 45,000 times with an excellent 4.71-star rating on over 1,400 reviews.
Essential Grid Gallery is not focused specifically on YouTube, but it does include an option to import YouTube videos (among other sources such as Vimeo).
The advantage of using Essential Grid Gallery over a dedicated YouTube plugin is that Essential Grid Gallery is incredibly flexible when it comes to style and layout options. You’ll have 100% control over your grid gallery’s layout and style – much more than most YouTube plugins.
You’ll also get advanced features such as category filters and pre-made skins.
To choose which videos to include, you can enter the ID of specific YouTube videos or you can dynamically populate your gallery with videos from a specific channel, which lets you create a feed of videos.
Overall, if you want the most flexible plugin for YouTube galleries, this is probably it. However, it’s overkill if all you want to do is embed a basic YouTube gallery.
Essential Grid Gallery is a premium plugin – it costs $69 with lifetime updates.
8. Bonus: Lazy Load – Speed Up YouTube Embeds
The free Lazy Load plugin from the WP Rocket team is not a plugin for embedding YouTube videos on WordPress. However, it is an important plugin to use if you’re embedding a lot of videos because it lets you improve the performance of your video embeds.
As the name suggests, it does this by letting you lazy load your YouTube videos. With lazy loading, your site will wait to load below-the-fold YouTube embeds until a user scrolls down. This lets you speed up your site’s initial page load times.
The Lazy Load plugin also lets you replace the YouTube embed with a static thumbnail until a visitor clicks on it (just like the WP YouTube Lyte plugin from above).
If you combine these two tactics, you’ll make your site load much faster even if you’re embedding lots of videos.
Start Embedding YouTube Today
With these YouTube WordPress plugins, you can start embedding YouTube content in more interesting ways.
Which plugin is best for you? Well, that depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want a stylish gallery, consider plugins like Elfsight YouTube Gallery, Essential Grid Gallery, or YotuWP.
On the other hand, if you want to embed a feed of videos, you might want Feeds for YouTube. Or, for live streams and other options, maybe Embed Plus for YouTube, while WP Video Popup is great for lightbox popups.
Finally, don’t forget about performance, as using lots of YouTube videos can slow down your site. If your chosen plugin doesn’t have built-in performance features, consider using the free Lazy Load plugin or WP Rocket to optimize your YouTube videos.
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