The inclusion of audio and video on your website can enhance your users’ experience and improve the overall feel of your site. Whether you’re a musician and want to add some of your music to your site or a blogger looking to enhance your site with some podcasts, an audio, video or podcast player is an essential part of your site setup.
For simple embedding of a video off of YouTube, Vimeo or any other video service into your posts or pages you are free to use WordPress’ automatically converting embedded links. This is a hassle free way to show your videos without the need of an external plugin.
But to REALLY show off your audio, videos or podcasts, you need a little extra help.
That’s where the WordPress plugins come in. Using a plugin to enhance your audio visual experience is a great way to make your site more attractive to your users.
Below I’ve brought together some of the top free and paid audio, video and podcast player plugins for WordPress.
Compact WordPress Audio Player is an HTML5 + Flash hybrid based plugin that can be used to embed an mp3 audio file on your WordPress posts or pages using a simple shortcode. The audio player is cute and compact and functions well on all major browsers, playing either .mp3 or .ogg formats.
It incorporates a number of features including a responsive design, an autoplay option to play audio files as soon as a page loads and it even has the ability to distinguish between devices and choose between .mp3 or .ogg formats depending on the device.
To get a better idea of how to use the plugin you can even follow their How To video.
Gear Player is an HTML5 audio player that is sleek, modern and innovative, and showcases your music with style. It’s design uses a never before seen user interface that will without a doubt engage any visitor.
It pushes HTML5 to its limits with smooth SVG animations, a unique Canvas equalizer and even SoundCloud support. Some of the other features it comes with include a responsive design, shuffled playback, a circular trackbar, a docked mini player, randomized colours and more.
Check it out for yourself – just visit their demo page and give it a go.
The HTML5 jQuery Audio Player is a trendy looking audio player plugin that works on all modern browsers, including the iPhone and iPad. You have the option of adding a single audio track or a full playlist to your WordPress site using a shortcode.
Colours are customizable and you can display ratings, album cover art and even a download/buy link if you want. Once again this is another plugin that uses both .mp3 and .ogg formats combined with an attractive design and you even have the option of integrating with Easy Digital Downloads to easily sell your music.
Have a look at their demo and see what you think of its cool design.
Using the HTML5 MP3 Player you can easily enable native audio playback within any brower, be it Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE or Opera. This audio player features various options such as playlist, repeat, stream seek, volume control, timer and more.
It supports the audio mp3 codec with Flash a fallback, meaning it should work pretty much anywhere.
Have a look at their video to see it in action for yourself.
Spider Video Player is a WordPress video plugin that allows you to easily add videos to your site. You’re given the option of organising videos into playlists and choosing a preferred layout for the player. It provides a convenient user interface, incorporating all the common features for video players such as video quality selection, sharing, full screen, shuffle and more.
With this plugin you get a high level of customisation as well as a social media integration feature and even HD support; an essential feature for high quality players. The full feature list is extensive and you can find it in the plugin’s description on the WordPress plugin repository.
Have a look at the video player in action in one of their demos.
The HTML5 Video Player has a new version 4.0 out that comes with a responsive design as well as a real fullscreen feature for the browsers that support it, namely Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. You even have a new admin interface that includes preview and duplicate options for added convenience.
You also get an option to load a video file directly from the Media Library or from the shortcode definition or even from the page/post custom fields. Whatever you choose you get 3 types of video players to display them in; a video player with a right side playlist, one with a bottom playlist, or even without the playlist.
They have also included some new video tutorials for you to better understand all the features on offer in this plugin.
Ultimate Video Player is a powerful responsive video player for WordPress with two possible galleries at the right side or bottom of the player. It supports all the most popular video types; HTML5 video, YouTube and even Vimeo, and has an unlimited number of videos you can add.
The player even has a built-in advertising system as pre-roll or pop-up ads that can be enabled or disabled as you feel fit. Besides this you also have the option to play a lone video without a gallery or else show a gallery with thumbnails, titles and descriptions.
You’ve got five pre-built skins and the whole player is resizeable and customisable to fit perfectly into any website design you might come up with. Check out the demo to get a feel for the player.
Youtube Videos for WordPress enables you to integrate different YouTube feeds into your site. You’re free to integrate YouTube channels, features YouTube videos such as Most Popular or Most Viewed, videos from playlists, from search results and even videos from default categories like Music, News, etc.
It integrates several customisable widgets and shortcodes that all work very nicely with Fancybox to display video previews from the home page or widgets sections. You even get to have a fully featured YouTube search right there on your site for any visitor to search through the millions of YouTube videos that exist.
Check it all out on the demo page.
Combined Audio/Video Players
The Posts Table Pro plugin enables you to create interactive WordPress tables with embedded audio and video players. You can embed players into your posts (or a custom post type) using the built-in WordPress shortcodes or another plugin. They can then be displayed in an instant table layout with search, sort & filters to help users to quickly find and view your audio and video.
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The plugin developers have provided tutorials on how to create an audio library or video gallery with Posts Table Pro. You can also display audio and video in a single table, creating a full multimedia experience.
The JW Player Video plugin enables you to embed Flash and HTML5 audio and video as well as RTMP and YouTube streams on your site using JW Player 6. It’s very easy to use on any WordPress site and is very simple to customize and embed the videos in your posts.
JW Player provides support for all of the JW Player 6 configuration options, including custom watermarks, HLS/RTMP streaming and VAST/VPAID advertising. You’ve also got full integration into the WordPress media library making it even easier to embed the video into your posts.
CP Media Player is an audio and video player that is supported by all major browsers and mobile devices. It allows you to publish files in various formats including .mp4, .ogg, .wmv, .mp3, .wav, .wma, and more.
This plugin also allows you to associate a playlist to your media player and change its looks to match the design of your blog as closely as possible.
There is also a premium version of the plugin that comes with some added features. Have a look at the demo to check them out.
Progression Player is a great way to show off your work with an easy-to-customise and fully featured audio/video player. When purchasing this plugin you get a few additional features such as five custom skins and a responsive layout.
Some of the other features this player offers include video playlist support, album artwork integration, audio playlist support, unlimited audio and videos per page as well as retina support, among other. You do have a limit of a single playlist per page and your player will automatically stop when another player is activated.
Check out their demos and get a better feel for what you can do with this plugin.
Vimuse Player is a jQuery plugin that allows you to play both audio and video in a modern and sleek interface. You have the option of either playing your own audio or video files, or getting videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion or even Shoutcast streams.
Vimuse has got a fluid responsive design that is also optimized for retina and touch screens while providing the feel of a native app. It uses HTML5 in supported browsers while falling back to Flash in older ones. There are plenty of configurable options you can play around with and all can be seen in its feature list.
The Smart Podcast Player was developed by Pat Flynn, a popular podcast enthusiast himself. Knowing what is needed from a podcast player he was able to combine all the best features including support for all RSS-based podcast feeds, automatic library updates, downloadable episodes from right within the player, easy social media sharing and more.
It’s design was hand-crafted to impress, and it really does so. It plays nicely on all web browsers and mobile platforms with a mobile-friendly design. The Beta version has already been released and you can now sign up to be informed upon the public release of the plugin.
Buzzsprout is a podcasting solution aimed at all levels of podcasters, from novices to experts, without the need of any training. It’s as easy as picking the podcast, uploading it, and playing it on your site.
It even gives you the ability to share your podcast on various social media platforms and keeps track of statistics such as each episodes’ play count over time, the geo location of your audience, what device they’re using, and others.
Blubrry PowerPress is a podcasting plugin that brings together the essential features for podcasting on WordPress. Once again being developed by podcasters for podcasters, it offers full iTunes support, web audio/video players, and much more.
It can even integrate with Blubrry’s services to add free or paid media hosting as well as statistics to streamline your podcast productivity. There’s even a list of advanced features such as embeds, custom podcast channels, FeedBurner support, diagnostics and more.
Whichever plugin you choose you know that the implementation of an audio or video aspect to your site can make it that much better.
When choosing between them there are a number of factors that you might take into consideration, besides of course of which one looks best on your site. Having a responsive design is becoming more and more of an issue on modern-day sites so that is something you should take into consideration if you’re looking to build a fully responsive site.
Other than that, having volume adjustment options along with all the other options you’d expect of an audio or visual player can make it look and feel that much better. There are a number of other features that might come into it too such as an autoplay option, captions on videos, loop and playlist options, amongst others. However, these all depend on your needs and wants.
Now get to work improving your audio/visual experience and make your site stand out among the rest!
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