The easiest way to build an awesome portfolio site is through WordPress. The open source WP community makes it so easy to find help, install a sweet theme and even find a free plugin to handle your portfolio. It’s all a part of designing a great site.
If you’re looking for some options to get started, I’ve curated my 10 picks for the best portfolio plugins.
All of these plugins are 100% free to use and they work with the latest version of WordPress.
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Portfolio Post Type
If you already know how to build a plugin, then you probably know how to make custom post types. But many people who launch a portfolio site using WordPress aren’t coders. And that’s fine!
This Portfolio Post Type plugin is free and easy to install. While it takes a little work to get going, it’ll eventually become like second nature. No coding is required.
The biggest learning curve is adapting to the dashboard for adding and editing portfolio entries.
At the time of this writing, the plugin is only in version 0.9 – yet it’s got over ten 5-star reviews. I have a feeling this one will be around for the long haul.
If you want the full WordPress plugin experience, try Easy Portfolio. It’s dedicated to providing an interactive experience for users who visit your portfolio website.
Everything works through input fields on the backend. Just add your portfolio contents, fill in some data and hit “save”. From there, add the provided shortcode onto a page and you’re good to go!
This is probably one of the easiest options if you’re not too comfortable working in WordPress.
Portfolio & Gallery
Anyone who does visual work can benefit from a grid-style portfolio.
The Portfolio & Gallery plugin works really well for this, as it comes with over a dozen unique grid formats to pick from. They each have their own custom features like lazy loading, masonry formatting or custom pagination bars. Plus you can mix and match these features to suit your needs.
Visit the plugin page to check out a whole list of demo links. You’re bound to find something in here that will match the needs of your site.
The TLP Portfolio plugin is one of the simplest options here. It’s also a “freemium” plugin – one of the many on this list.
“Freemium” means that it offers a premium alternative with more features. But the free version always remains free.
With TLP’s plugin, you get a handful of custom styles for grid features and page layouts. You can switch between them using different shortcodes and targeting which portfolio gallery you want to display. It may seem confusing at first but there’s a rhyme and reason here.
Take a look at their promo video to see this plugin in action.
The Visual Portfolio WordPress plugin is actually very cool. It provides you with a complete portfolio editor where you can move things around on the backend without touching a single line of code. Features include a masonry layout for oddly-shaped items, infinite scrolling (or “load more” scrolling), along with custom filtering to make browsing easier.
Have a look at the live demo get a better idea of how it works. This plugin’s pro version is certainly fine, but I really think the freemium option is enough for most people.
If you want a mix of portfolio items with different grids, frontend features and a sidebar widget, Nimble Portfolio is for you.
Each portfolio item links to a full image displayed in a lightbox slideshow. This looks pretty darn fancy and gives you room to add a caption and outbound link if you want.
There are some optional add-on plugins you can buy from Nimble, but none are truly needed.
My only thought is that Nimble’s interface won’t work for everyone. It has a lot of fields and optional settings, so it’s not the simplest choice. Although it’s definitely one of the more powerful ones.
Advance Portfolio Grid
I haven’t used this plugin too much, but from what I have seen it’s just awesome.
Advance Portfolio Grid relies solely on a grid to display your work. This means you’ll find it far more useful if you do visual work (art, design, photography) rather than non-visual work (writing, coding).
Still, the portfolio layout is clean and easy enough to customize. And you can add tags for filtering your projects by company, style, date, etc.
Have a look at the plugin’s sample video to see how it all works.
Behance Portfolio Manager
Some designers and digital artists like to post their work on Behance. It’s a totally free portfolio/networking site and it’s one of the best places for sharing creative work online.
Thanks to the Behance Portfolio Manager plugin, you can quickly import all of your work from Behance into your fancy new WordPress website.
This plugin makes the process stupid simple. Even if you’ve never used WordPress before, this plugin is practically unbreakable.
It’s highly recommended for anyone who already has a lot of work posted on Behance.
Responsive Filterable Portfolio
What’s better than a fully filterable portfolio? One that’s also fully responsive!
The Responsive Filterable Portfolio is totally free and totally awesome. It has a cutting-edge dashboard that really gives you control over your portfolio without feeling too intimidating.
This is a plugin you need to see in order to fully understand, so have a look at their demo video before you form an opinion.
Portfolio Manager Lite
Portfolio Manager Lite is a plugin that’s sleek, easy to customize and just a real pleasure to use.
It won’t take very long to get the gist of how everything works. You can learn more on their demo page.
Note that this is also a freemium plugin, so you’ll find messages in the dashboard urging you to upgrade. You really don’t need to.
This plugin is strong enough to run on its own and you’ll get plenty of features to handle all of your portfolio needs.
There you have it – a whole slew of awesome WordPress portfolio builders to pick from. Feel free to experiment and find one that brings your portfolio to life.