There are quite a few solutions for adding light boxes to your existing WordPress website. We have compiled a collection here of the best free lightbox plugins for WordPress and other platforms for your perusing convenience. If you don’t know what a lightbox is don’t be ashamed or afraid (for those that do, don’t scoff, everyone was new to something at some point in time, including you). A lightbox is essentially this:
Here you see FooBox’s website (as FooBox is a commercial solution, we’ll be covering it in another post) with nothing special about it. Once you click on the image that says “click here to demo” you’ll see this:
The lightbox centers an image or other content (music, text, etc.) and darkens the rest of the website to draw the attention of the viewer to the lit box (thus lightbox). If you need a way to focus or draw a users attention to some important content, or simply to showcase images, video, or text then a lightbox is one of the options that will meet your needs.
Simple Lightbox 2.0 Beta
Recently released into beta is the Simple Lightbox 2.0. This lightbox features support for links in widgets, image attachments, display of meta-data, and much more. Its license is the GPL (Gnu Public License) which allows for private and commercial use.
To download the plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-lightbox/
To get the newest version that is in beta go here: http://archetyped.com/lab/simple-lightbox-2-0-beta/
WP Lightbox 2 (Not to be confused with the above.)
WP Lightbox 2 (and 2.1) are available as plugins for your WordPress blog or other website. This plugin is slick, fast, and is neatly animated for your viewing pleasure. It features themes (with 5 prebuilt just for you), grouping of images in a post for convenient viewing, grouping if image links, and more. The WP Lightbox 2 is licensed under the GPLV2.
Get the plugin here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-lightbox-2/
For more information go here: http://onlinewebapplication.com/wp-lightbox-2/
Next up is the jQuery Colorbox. Below is one of the many themes available for the jQuery Colorbox. This shadow box and its themes will also work in tandem with the NEXGen Gallery (found here)
To download the plugin go here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jquery-colorbox/
For more information see their home website here.
WP Video Lightbox
The WP Video Lightbox plugin is for YouTube and Vimeo embedding purposes. Videos are not all it can do, however. It also can display images, flash applications, and iframes within the lightbox.
For more information and to download the plugin go here.
jQuery Lightbox Plugin
The jQuery Lightbox Plugin requires programming experience but is extremely flexible and very fast. As with the others it can handle pretty much any web content you can think of.
For more information and to download the plugin visit http://leandrovieira.com/projects/jquery/lightbox/.
This is another jQuery based lightbox that will take some programming experience to use. But the results are worth it. The Lightbox 2 is high-speed, animated, and can contain images, video and pretty much anything else you could care to put in it. It allows for single images, or galleries of images.
Check it out at http://lokeshdhakar.com/projects/lightbox2/
That wraps up the most popular, supported, and technologically current best free lightboxes available for WordPress and other platforms. We invite your comments below if you know of any others and we will gladly append this post with them.