3 WordPress Social Sharing Plugins (Helping You Find the Right One for Your Site)

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Finding a social sharing plugin for your WordPress site can be hit and miss.

Sometimes you’re used to using a certain plugin and then you realize that for styling reasons, it won’t work on a new site you’re making. Or perhaps you’re going along, using your usual social sharing plugin, and then you find out it has a conflict with another plugin, so you need to go find another one.

Testing and figuring out the pros and cons of each plugin can be seriously time consuming. With that in mind, I’ve gone to the trouble of thoroughly testing four major social sharing plugins. You can check out my findings below!

1. Simple Share Buttons Adder by David S. Neal

For those of you who want to know what my current favorite social sharing plugin is right off the bat, I’m going to start with this one, so you don’t have to read all the way to the end :)

It’s also worth mentioning that this plugin has a 4.9 star rating after being reviewed 109 times on WordPress.org. That’s quite an accomplishment. And it’s going to get awesome-er once I show you how grand it really is.

Simple Share Buttons offers you the option to add the following social network sharing options to your users:

The great thing about this plugin is that you can choose with a simple drag and drop interface exactly which social sharing buttons you want on your site. You don’t have to go by any defaults that are forced down your throat because there’s no better alternative that won’t break your site.

See, look at me add Facebook and Google+ sharing options with drag and drop flair:

social share plugins 1

What’s even better about this plugin is that you can add your own custom icons, and it totally works! You can tell I’m excited about this, and if you read the AddThis below review, you’ll know why.

The plugin author made it so that adding your own icon is as simple as uploading an image to the media library, right from the plugin’s settings screen:

social share plugins 2

See how easy that is? No messing with CSS or custom coding!

If you don’t have your own custom icon set to upload, that’s ok, because this plugin author has some amazing-looking icon sets you can use that might make a designer drool, such as these:

social share plugins 3

My favorite set is this:

social share plugins 4

You can decide if you want the social icons to appear in certain places using settings, or you can use shortcodes to show or hide your buttons at a per-post or per-page level. I tried this by simply inserting the shortcode “[ssba_hide]” at the top of my post, and it does hide it, but it leaves a big gap between the title and text, like this:

social share plugins 5

I’d say the 1-click Retweet/Share/Like Plugin described below makes this process easier with a checkbox for users to show or hide their social icons on the post and page editing screens.

The Simple Share Buttons Adder plugin also has styling settings for controlling button sizes, font appearance, borders, backgrounds and more. You can even enter your own custom CSS.

social share plugins 6

And yes, you can turn off the counters on social shares (this is important if you have a low-traffic site and don’t want to look like a loser because no one ever shares your posts). Oh, and surprise, surprise, the buttons don’t get cut off on mobile screens!

social share plugins 7

The plugin also comes with a widget so you can add its social sharing buttons in unique places, like on the sidebar or footer, for example, instead of just above and below your posts (it depends on your theme where these widgeted areas exist). Thankfully, it displays the buttons according to the settings you have set up for the plugin on its settings page, unlike another plugin I’m about to mention.

The Cons of Using the Simple Share Buttons Adder

There are hardly any really (unless someone wants to enlighten us in the comments below?). When you stack this plugin up against other ones mentioned in this article, it seems like it has the best of all worlds. But there are a few areas this plugin could get more awesome:

  1. Adding more social networks. I personally don’t see the need for hundreds of options here, since most of us don’t even know of or use more than a handful of social networks. But this can be helpful for international usage, such as for adding social networks that are relevant to a certain country. This plugin already does a great job, however, by keeping the most popular ones available.
  2. Adding the ability to use icon fonts. It certainly would help to have this for retina displays on mobile phones and tablets nowadays. Or at least the ability to easily set a CSS class or id for a button, instead of having to upload an image, so that the class or id can take the character code for the icon font.

Download Simple Share Buttons Adder from WordPress.org.

2. Share Buttons by AddThis

If you are looking for a gazillion social network sharing options and you want to track all the clicks and shares,  this plugin is probably going to be your best bet.

AddThis has an analytics tool you can sign up for to track user behaviour when it comes to social shares. It also has something like 333 social networks you’ve never heard of that can be added to your share buttons for customization. Or, if you don’t want to pick through a list of 333 social sharing buttons to add to your website, you can use their “More” button, which lets the user pick from all those social networks they’ve never heard of to share your post on. The default options are:

social share plugins 8

These are what your display options sort of look like, except when you customize your social share networks, it doesn’t give you an obvious preview of your buttons unless you scroll to the bottom of the settings page, which sometimes doesn’t scroll so well (don’t ask, it’s weird).

social share buttons 9

It does have settings that allow you to control where the social sharing buttons appear, and a bunch of confusing settings if you want to get into the nitty gritty of how it displays social buttons (like for example, if you have a lot of free time you can go find out about “service codes” or read about “customization documentation” because that sounds like a lot of fun…or you could forget that idea and go watch an episode of Downton Abbey, I hear season 4 just came out….).

If you really need some extreme customization I guess you could spend time reading all about AddThis documentation. I can’t judge. It might be fascinating. I wouldn’t know.

The Cons of Using the AddThis Plugin:

  1. That last thought leads me to point out the first caveat with using this plugin, which is that it’s not easy at all to customize these buttons, even though it advertises that it’s possible, which is one of its top selling features. If you are a non-coder, well, good luck. If you like coding and want to deal with some CSS, you should check out this article by Jeff Sauer that explains in great detail How to Customize the Buttons on the AddThis WordPress Plugin. Though he doesn’t show a sample of using custom buttons that are that different from what AddThis provides by default, following his CSS will get you somewhere if you’re trying to get your own icons in there. But don’t expect it to be an end-all-be-all solution, especially if you’re trying to use icon fonts. You’ll need to dig around in Firebug or some browser development tool to figure out what styles you need to override.
  2. This plugin also has a widget that you can drag into a widgetized area of your WordPress site. But, and this is a big “but”, it won’t show your customizations from your settings screen. If you’ve added Google+ as a sharing button in the AddThis settings, for some reason those ‘instructions’ don’t get sent to the widget feature of this plugin. This is extremely troublesome if you are also trying to set up custom icons, as explained above. It almost renders the widget feature useless, especially since it won’t include Google+ by default, which is really necessary for those of us who care about search.

Download Share Buttons by AddThis from WordPress.org.

3. 1-click Retweet/Share/Like by LinksAlpha

This is a pretty cool plugin if you are looking to be able to auto-publish your posts and pages to your configured social networks too. As a social sharing tool, it can allow users to:

You can also set it up to offer a LinkedIn sharing button as well, but it’s not a default setting. There is no Pinterest or other social networks. It does have the ability to control where the social share buttons appear with some user-side settings, and also with an option to add some code to your template manually. For some reason, you can’t get it to not show on single posts universally unless you enter comma-separated post IDs in a settings field or uncheck a button on a post editing page. No biggy, since it’s unlikely you’re going to want a social sharing plugin for the purpose of not showing social sharing buttons…

For styling, you can set relative positions in its settings and you can opt to take out the counters on specific social share buttons. You can also set a font from a predefined list and set the color of the counters, but that’s about it, no fancy shmancy stuff.

social share buttons 10

Here is what it looks like on the front end:

social share buttons 11

I know what you’re thinking: where is the Digg, StumbleUpon and e-mail option? Ah ha! Those are hidden behind the two little arrows. A user has to figure out to click on that to get the other social share buttons, which would look like this, and include some really weird buttons that link to pages on LinksAlpha.com that have nothing to do with your site or say anything a user would care about:

social share buttons 12

That down arrow is not a download button. It just advertises LinksAlpha. And that Privacy button with the misaligned triangle arrow, that takes users to a party-crashing page with bunch of legal gibberish about how they’re signing their right to privacy away if they want to share any content on your website because the LinksAlpha big brother is watching. I’d be weirded out by that if I were a user on a site and had no idea who on earth LinksAlpha was in connection to the site I was reading a cool article on. I’m just sayin’…

But, on to more important matters, a very cool feature of this plugin is that it offers you the ability to display the Facebook Like button (but only that one) in different languages. Like for example, “English (Upside Down).” I didn’t know that was a real language but now that we all have made this discovery, who wouldn’t want the word “Like” written upside down on their website?!

social share buttons 13

Just as a side note, I also love that it offers to spell the word “Like” in both “English US” and “English UK.” Very thoughtful of the plugin authors to think of all English speakers.

As noted above, this plugin can also auto-publish your posts and pages to social networks but you need an API key and a LinksAlpha account to do this. It’s fairly self explanatory if you like poking around settings screens but beware: if you do opt to auto-publish your posts, you’ll need to uncheck the “Publish this Post to configured Networks” on post and page editing settings for when you are publishing something you don’t want the world to see (like a password protected page, or a terms of service page, or things no one on Twitter will ever care about and think you are weird for publishing). Or if you hit the “Publish” button by accident it will be too late, the plugin will send out your unfinished or ‘secret’ post to all your social networks. I personally don’t like or use this feature because accidents happen. All my clients that I’ve set it up for in the past asked me to turn it off, even if they were the ones that asked for it.

The Cons of Using the 1-Click Retweet/Share/Like Plugin

  1. The social sharing networks available are limited. If you wanted Pinterest for example, you’d have to put that in with another plugin or code it in yourself.
  2. You can’t customize the icons.
  3. It advertises itself and its privacy settings too overtly (see above screenshots and explanations).
  4. It is poop when it comes to displaying LinkedIn Share with proper spacing and also poop on mobile phone display. You have to fix it yourself or give up on it for responsive sites because it cuts off on the edge of the screen and in reality, the arrow link to get to the StumbleUpon and Digg Share buttons is too small for fat fingers:

social share buttons 14

Other than that, it pretty much does what it says it’s going to do, so it’s a promising option.

Download 1-click Retweet/Share/Like from WordPress.org.

Conclusion

As you can see, this article definitely had a bias towards using the Simple Share Buttons Adder plugin, but that may not turn out to be everyone’s favourite and this list is by no means exhaustive at all.

If you are looking for a social sharing tool that can also automatically publish to social networks, then 1-Click Retweet/Share/Like may be the way for you to go. And if you’re looking for some advanced analytics as well as a list of 333 social networks for people to share your content on, then AddThis is your gem.

If anything, I hope this article helped you figure out which social sharing plugin is right for the site you’re working on today. Who knows, you may use a different plugin for different needs on different sites. Do share your experiences with these and other plugins in the comments below!

Joyce Grace

A Vancouver Internet marketer and freelance writer who loves making WordPress websites, writes with pencil, owns a paper agenda (still), gets ignited by anything Dutch, and is probably the only person on the planet who doesn't like cheesecake. Follow Joyce on: Instagram: @thoughtsofjoyce YouTube: /thoughtsofjoyce Twitter: @thoughtsofjoyce Google Plus: +JoyceGraceontheweb

52 Comments

  1. Thomas

    Hi, I recommend this useful plugin for websites https://youtu.be/EQ_4BExT1pc There is a lot of types customizable social buttons, but also email subscription widgets, pop up, header bar and many more :-)

  2. Sacha

    I love Monarch from Elegant Themes.

  3. Sharon

    Hi Joyce! Thanks for the article. I have Simple Share Buttons and I am having a problem because I use a Pinterest Hover Button plugin and how I have my pin it button hovering over the social media share buttons…and I can’t have that!

    Do you know how I can disable the hover?

    Thanks so much!!

    1. Ingrid

      Hi Sharon, I’m having the same exact problem than you! Did you manage to solve it? Let me know, plz! Thanks!

  4. Amy

    Do you know of a share plugin that will show you who clicked on the share buttons for each post? Thanks!

  5. Eiman

    Thank u , Actually i use my own buttons for the sharing the simple way

  6. Ben Protasio

    I have never laughed so hard at an article about choosing plugins. You my dear Joyce have a superb wit. Perhaps it’s funny to me because I’ve been scouring these social plugins, and sure enough we had the same thoughts. I mean really, 100zakladak(sic) will truly rocket my clients’ userbase 😉 Of course I’m going with your first choice. Seriously though, great article.

  7. Sal

    Hi Joyce,
    Thanks for the recommendation. I installed simple share , but be damned if I can find where I actually put the links to my social sites in!
    Would love some advice.
    Thanks

  8. frecrewebsite

    Hi. I would like to ask if its possible to add another social button(s) like Line or others? If its possible, how will we add it? in codes?

    Thank you. I used this plugin and i honestly appreciate it. Thanks much :). Kudos!

  9. Marjorie

    Thank you so much for your comprehensive reviews. I was starting to tear my hair out, trying to work out which way is up!

    1. Casey Burnett

      Agreed. Thanks for this review and saving my hair… this weekend was nearly wasted sorting out Framework’s / SEO / Social intergration

  10. balibagus

    Thank you, i need plugin for my web.

  11. Spyros

    Hello,

    We have published a couple of weeks ago WP Font Awesome Share Icons.
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-font-awesome-share-icons/

    We hope you will like it.

    Regards,
    Spyros

  12. Kamal

    It looks great sharing plugin but can it be placed vertically along with the page edge?

  13. David Neal

    I just wanted to say thanks for the really positive review for my plugin – ‘Simple Share Buttons Adder’!! Glad you like it :)

    1. Sharon

      David,
      How can I disable my Pinterest hover buttons over the social media icons ONLY? I can’t figure it out and I’m going to have to delete your plugin if I can’t. :(

  14. Jice Lavocat

    Hi,

    I ‘d like to suggest another plugin, i recently developed, for those who are using the authorship markup.
    This “most shared plugin” imports the articles you have authored, and displays the best ones, even if they have been published outside your blog (Most Shared Articles For WordPress : http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordiz-most-shared-articles-for-authors ).
    It would be great for me if you give it a try and give me some feedback
    If you have some time to give it a try, do not hesitate to drop me some feedback and suggestions so that i can improve it.

  15. Saleena

    Nice sharing… It seems like it might be good for e-commerce though. I can’t say much more, since I’ve never used it :)

  16. Linda Sherman

    Now using Simple Share Buttons on AskLindaSherman.com. That blog began it’s life as Posterous. I just finally re-opened to search after converting to WordPress.

    Doesn’t have the option to put just a few on the top doing it the easy way but I haven’t explored the short codes yet. Like his default design. Tried to register for his WordPress site twice but didn’t work.

    Thank you for the recommendation!

  17. Alex Smith

    I have used Sharethis, Addthis, Flare Plugin on my website http://codemink.com . But the sharing buttons on website generated by these plguins takes more than 3 seconds to load which increases the loading time from 700ms to 3.5ms. Moreover these slows down the scrolling of the webspage

    1. Joyce Grace

      Thanks for the input Alex. I also noticed that sharing buttons can really slow down a site. Let me know if the Simple Share Buttons does this for you, it would be an interesting experiment.

  18. Joyce Grace

    For anyone wondering, we have a post on the ManageWP blog about how we set up our own social sharing buttons:

    https://managewp.com/fast-loading-social-media-sharing-buttons-managewp-style

    Enjoy!

  19. Kalle

    Hi there :-)

    Nice post.

    Small question: what is the name of the floating sidebar on THIS page?

    Thanks in advance :-)

  20. Leigh

    Hi

    Do you mind telling me what you are using for your social buttons. I really like this concept and would love to implement it on my new site.

    Leigh

  21. giulio

    If you want to measure all the likes, tweets, pins, google +1s and linkedin shares you can use my plugin: Top Social Stories plugin for WordPress, it can tracks posts every day, make charts and ranks. You can find all the features here: http://codecanyon.net/item/top-social-stories-plugin-and-widget/5888553?ref=ginoplusio

  22. Dan

    For social media sharing buttons, Slocum Studios has a clean and flat designed plugin called “Simple Share Links” that is totally editable, if folks want to tweak the plugin for that website in any way.
    It comes with all necessary documentation.
    https://github.com/sdsweb/Simple-Share-Links-Plugin

    1. Linda Sherman

      I saw that searching on line Dan. Is there also a link to this plug-in in the WordPress repository? Thanks!

  23. john smith

    I need a plugin like zig zag that appears at left side while on home page not only on posts

  24. john smith

    what is name of that plugin which appears at left while scrolling down?

    1. Joyce Grace

      Hi John, there are probably some you can search on the WordPress repository. I know one that can be done with TF Social Share but last I checked it wasn’t on the WordPress repository anymore (we don’t use that on this site). These plugins can be hard to work with on responsive designs.

      1. Leigh

        Hi Joyce

        Do you mind telling me what plugin you’re using on this site? I really like it and would be keen to implement on a new site I am about to launch.

        Leigh

      2. Linda Sherman

        Joyce, you mention issues with responsive design. I assume that Simple Share Buttons adder DOES work with responsive? Has there been any update for URL shorteners after mentioning on their forum?

      3. George

        Is this sticky social share plugin appears at left custom made by you guys ?

  25. anand om sharma

    pls tell me the common plugin which display author details with social sharing icons. regards

  26. Big Geek Daddy

    You asked to be enlightened about the cons of Simple Share Buttons Adder so here’s one: Email Share Button opens the default email client on a PC. This is fine if you actually use something like Outlook or Windows Live Mail but what about the people that have an email client installed but don’t use it? If they are checking their email online and click the email share button it’s not going to open up Gmail, Yahoo, or whatever email service they use.

    I hope I am wrong about this feature but in the quick test I just did on an older machine running Vista (I use only for testing purposes) it started the setup process for Windows Live Mail when clicked.

    Other than this I love this Plugin and especially the colorful design options. I don’t know if I’ll switch from AddThis to it because of the email issue and not being able to track usage stats but it certainly has peaked my interest.

  27. Pam

    Hi Joyce,

    Thanks for this post. I first came across your mention of Simple Share Buttons on Carrie Dils’ site (http://www.carriedils.com/social-sharing-without-plugins-wp/)

    I considered going with this plugin for all of the reasons you mentioned above, but the lack of response to questions over the past month has made me hesitant to go to with it. Active support is important to me.

    For example, several people have posted issues with the counter for Pinterest, but as of my last look back (Wednesday, November 27th) at the support page there has been no response to the issue. Furthermore, the developler, from what I have seen, does not have a way to contact him. I hope that David is ok.

    1. Pam

      I found David’s contact information. He is doing well, just extremely busy. I think I still may give Simple Share Buttons a try. Thus far it is the best plugin out there fore non-coders and for those who would like to use custom icons.

      1. Joyce Grace

        Thanks Pam! Those are good points you brought up. Support is important that’s true, but I’ve learned not to expect anything with a free product :)

        If I were paying for something this amazing, then yes, of course, I would expect quick turn around times.

        But when a plugin author volunteers their time to contribute something to the community, then what else can we ask for? I guess we could offer to pay him his hourly rate to help us, which would be totally fair.

        But if he’s busy, well, c’est la vie!

        I’m glad you found out he is well, and I’m also glad to hear he is thriving (hopefully!)

        I do find it to be the easiest plugin for using when design matters to you, apart from custom coding it all yourself.

        Thanks for your comment!

        1. Pam

          Thanks for your response Joyce.

          I am very new to all of this, but yes, I am finding that people tend to expect the world, even when something is free. I will keep your train of thought in mind.

          I think this plugin is a great start. I have also learned that much can be learned from trying to figure out things on your own.

          Thanks for mentioning this plugin on Carrie’s site. You directed me to something that I needed.

          As for David, it does seem like he has several great life changing things going on at the same time.

          Thanks

          Pam

          1. David Neal

            Hi all!

            I am back and about and have released a couple of new versions with lots of little improvements, including the addition of a print button!

            I’m trying to be a little more active in the WP support forums for everyone :)

            As for the forums on simplesharebuttons.com, I think they may need to be closed down as they are getting spammed a great deal!

            Thanks,

            David

  28. Sirpa

    I can also highly recommend David’s :-) http://www.simplesharebuttons.com. Not only is David a real nice guy, but the buttons are really clean, coding is very well done.

    And important for me it does not affect the speed of my site as much as others I’ve tried before, like https://shareaholic.com/ or http://www.addthis.com, etc.

    greetings from German :-)

    1. Pam

      Hi Sirpa,

      Thanks for the feedback. I had already decided to go with Simple Share Buttons. Your endorsement makes me feel even better about my decision.

      Have a good one.

      Pam

      1. David Neal

        Great to see you have opted for Simple Share Buttons guys :)

    2. Technikaly

      The latest AddThis Layers is also cool one and faster. Sharrre can also be a good option.

      1. Linda Sherman

        Someone else just recommended “sharre-based plug in” to me. I have tried searching that and just sharre online and in the add new plugin space and not seeing it. Can you please give me the link to the actual plugin?

  29. eliz

    I do like Simple Share Buttons Adder and I’m trying it on one of my sites now. The only fault I can see is that it doesn’t have a URL shortener. If I’m missing something and there is one…please enlighten me :)

    1. joycegrace

      Hi Eliz! This is a good observation. I would make a suggestion on the Simple Share Buttons Adder forum about this. I guess nothing is going to be 110% perfect but out of all the ones I’ve used, I find this one to meet most of my “must have” requirements, so I am just glad for what it can do so far!

      1. eliz

        I do agree Joyce. I like the styling and other features enough to leave it on the site I have it on.

        1. Linda Sherman

          What site do you have it on Eliz? I’d like to see it in action.

        2. David Neal

          I did briefly have a URL shortener in place, but a lot of the code will need to be updated/replaced so that it shortens upon click, instead of upon page load. 1,000s were being created a minute! This is certainly still something I’d like to reinstate.

  30. Mitchell Abdullah

    Joyce, I highly recommend you look into the AddShoppers buttons as another great social media button. The analytics and extended capabilities are amazing, especially if the site is doing ecommerce.
    http://wordpress.org/plugins/social-sharing-buttons-by-addshoppers/

    1. Joyce Grace

      Thanks for the suggestion Mitchel, it always helps to see what other people find useful. I had a look at the AddShoppers plugin and it looks similar to AddThis, which means it would present some of the same issues (and pluses!) that I’ve described in this article. I mainly find it too hard and too many steps to customize the icons. Some people may have no problem with it, but when I see a plugin makes it as simple as possible for the masses to get what they want, it scores points in my book :) Also the AddShoppers plugin only has two reviews and hasn’t been downloaded a lot thus far. So maybe it will take time before it really takes hold in the WordPress community.

      It seems like it might be good for e-commerce though. I can’t say much more, since I’ve never used it :)

      I’d love to hear more about it from you though to help contribute to this post. Do you know if it works well on responsive sites and retina displays? And have you customized the icons before, or the order of icons? If you have step-by-step resources for our non-developer readers to know how to do this, please do share! Or maybe you could write about it :)

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