If you are using your WordPress website to promote an event or publicize a product launch, then these countdown timer plugins can help you build anticipation for the big day.
Even if they are just used for fun, a countdown timer can add an extra level of functionality to your site and provide some additional information to your readers. For whatever reason you want to add a timer of this type to your site, there are plenty of options to choose from.
The Best WordPress Countdown Timer Plugins
Countdown timers are one area where WordPress users are well catered to. There is a good selection of free options to choose from, although the features and quality of each do vary from plugin to plugin.
Most of the free plugins work in different ways. This means the best choice for you will depend on what type of timer you would like to add to your site, and how you would like to it to work. If you want a one size fits all option, then you might have to upgrade to a premium countdown timer plugin in order to get access to all features and designs in one product.
This free plugin does what it says on the tin and makes it very easy for you to add a countdown timer to your website.
Once the plugin is installed on your site, the settings can be accessed from the Settings > WP Countdown Timer menu. This means the developers have been considerate by not adding a top level menu item to your dashboard, which can quickly clutter up the admin interface of your site.
The settings for configuring the plugin are very minimal and it’s simply a case of entering the date you wish to countdown to. WordPress Countdown Timer only supports one timer on your site, so if you are planning on counting down to multiple dates, this isn’t the one for you.
There are also no customization options for altering the way the timer is displayed, including which units are shown. When it comes to displaying the timer, the included shortcode can be added into any posts or pages.
Pros: free, nicely designed timer, very easy to use, can countdown to a specific time.
Cons: only allows one date per site, no customization options.
Countdown Timer is another free plugin for adding a timer to your site. However unlike the above WordPress Countdown Timer, this one doesn’t display a large set of numbers, but is better suited to inserting a timer into the content of your site.
Also with this free plugin you get a lot more options for how your timer is setup. One option is to add a link to the timer. This is handy if you are counting down to an event that you want to link to, or the launch of a product.
There is also the option to create multiple timers for your site, each with their own expiration dates. The timers are then displayed in posts and pages using shortcodes. The shortcodes also allow you to create a timer on the fly, simply by adding the date or value to the shortcode.
As you can see, the plugin supports strtotime which means it can parse about any English textual date time description into a Unix timestamp.
Through the settings you can select which units are shown on your timer, with the option to display the units from years through to seconds. You also get the option of continuing to show the timer after the date has been reached, with the timer displaying the time since that date.
Pros: free, lots of settings for how your timers are shown and how they work, supports multiple timers, includes a sidebar widget, can add links to the timer, supports PHP strtotime.
Cons: doesn’t include a graphical timer or formatted countdown, more settings and options means it’s a bit more complex.
This is another free option, but with this plugin, you do need to register with the developers in order to save your changes, and basically use the plugin at all. Alternatively you can upgrade to the premium version for more options and less branding.
With POWr Countdown Timer there is no settings page, with the timer being edited in a popup window which displays a hosted control panel.
To use the POWr Countdown Timer, it’s just a case of adding the shortcode to a post or page and then clicking on the edit icon when viewing the timer. Clicking on the edit icon opens a new popup window which loads the options page from the power.io website.
One major downside of this plugin is that the animated edit me button is displayed to all visitors to your site, even if they aren’t logged in.
Through the settings panel you get a good range of options for customizing how the counter looks, including settings the style, fonts, backgrounds, and border. However you do have to register an account to save those changes.
Pros: lots of customization options, includes a sidebar widget.
Cons: must register to use,displays the ‘edit me’ graphicto non-logged in users, lots of branding on the front end, much better free options available.
This is another truly free option – although there is a premium version – which has been downloaded many times, making it a tried and tested option for your site.
The timer can be added to your site either as a sidebar widget, or by using the shortcode to embed it into posts and pages. While this plugin doesn’t have a settings page, the timer can be configured via the widget and then either displayed in the sidebar, or in a post and page.
The timer come with a 11 templates to choose from and whether these designs appeal to your or not will dictate whether T(-) Countdown is a good choice for your site.
Pros: free, easy to setup via the widget, range of templates, includes shortcode.
Cons: distinctive designs might not be to all tastes.
With a free version available, as well as a premium option, the Uji Countdown plugin gives you plenty of options for customizing your timer.
After installing the free version, you can access the settings and then start creating your timer. The options available include changing the colours with a picker, and choosing the size of the timer from a range of settings.
Once you’ve chosen your design, the timer can be displayed in either the sidebar using the included widget or by clicking on the icon on the post editor to insert the shortcode. When you add the timer to your site, you can then set the date to be counted down to, as well as choosing the style.
With this plugin you can also set a link to auto-direct the user to once the timer has expired, making this a great choice for creating a countdown timer for a product launch.
Pros: create multiple custom designs, forward to link on expiry, multiple timers on one site, sidebar widget and shortcode modes.
Cons: no labels under the units, timer cannot be resized.
This is a premium option, but it’s one with a very affordable price tag. The Countdown Pro is packed with features and you really do get more for your money, compared with the free options.
Through the settings you can set the expiration date bytime elapsed, a fixed date, or total user visit time with optional IP tracking. When a counter expires you can forward the user to a URL of your choice, display a message to the visitor, or you can even hide content when the countdown has finished.
The plugin also comes with a range of great looking templates for presenting your timer which are hard to beat when compared to the free versions above.
With the Countdown Pro you can also add a countup timer to your site showing the time that has elapsed since a specific date. This is great for measuring the age of a site, or showing how long you have been blogging about a certain activity.
Pros: lots of templates, multiple options for customizing timers, shortcode or widget mode, expiration actions,
Cons: not free, maybe too many choices.
As you can see there are plenty of free options for adding a basic countdown timer to your site. However, if you need lots of flexibility in the way your timers are displayed and how they work, then the low cost Countdown Pro is definitely worth considering for your site.
What are you planning on using a countdown timer for?