In case anyone else out there is looking for a calendar plugin for WordPress, here’s our preliminary research. We are creating a new site with event listings for dance in Slovakia so we need something really solid which allows us to enter permanent venues (to avoid re-entering data each time) and to add a lot of events quickly.
We have high presentation standards and as this is an art/cultural site, the requirements are even higher. The calendar has to look good. What we don’t need yet is bookings and/or ecommerce. When/if we move to selling, we don’t mind paying for a pro version but not before.
Our three contenders were:
- Event Organizer. approx 100,000 downloads. 4 stars plus. Very few low ratings.
- Events Calendar. approx 380,000 downloads. 4 stars plus. More low ratings.
- Events Manager. approx 600,000 downloads. 4 stars plus. More low ratings.
Why did we choose Event Organiser:
wordpress event organiser
- uses built-in WordPress functions from custom post type.
- does not hide essential features behind pro version.
- very good user reviews.
- lightweight: won’t slow down clients sides or give us hell with caching (as it’s using core WordPress functionality).
What Event Organiser may lack: some advanced e-commerce functionality in comparison to its two primary competitors. This doesn’t matter to us as we are right now interested in publicizing events but not selling into them.
Runner up number one: Events Manager
events manager wordpress calendar
What we like:
- longstanding plugin
- everything we need is freely available, only limitations for pro versions have to do with ticket sales (if we were selling tickets paying for pro upgrade is no issue)
- sincere developers who are really trying to improve the WordPress universe offering most of the code for free and asking for payment only for ecommerce features
- moved to using custom post types
What we don’t like:
- probably a bit worn down by legacy code base (although it’s recently been rewritten)
- resource heavy, too many features: we don’t like overly complex plugins which try to incorporate too much into core functionality. KISS
- don’t like the look of a few screens (probably legacy): we prefer better out of the box presentation as it’s one less thing to have to customize when hurrying out a large site
- have to install an additional calendar display plugin to get proper calendar display: not the most elegant either
Runner up number two: The Events Calendar.
WordPress Events Calendar
What we like:
- very good looking
- very actively developed
- very active support
- not many complaints about slowing down a site
What we don’t like:
- hides essential features like saved venues and saved organisers behind pro version. I mean we really don’t like this. The Events Calendar is crippleware in its current form.
- per site licensing
To Avoid: All-in-One Event Organiser
As a final note, here’s a plugin to avoid: All-in-One Event Organiser. It appears to be almost as bad as Semper Fi’s adware ridden AIO SEO pack.
wordpress all in one event calendar
What we don’t like:
- slow, resource heavy
- damages database on occasion in attempt to extort users. Flowerpoint writes: “”I had this plugin installed and it worked fine. Then they upgrade and destroyed my data and put in place the horrible version that takes features away. I uninstalled it and switched to Event Organizer.”
If anyone else has some solid suggestions please let us know. We’ll post back on how we do with Event Organizer.
Alec has been helping businesses succeed online since 2000. Alec is an SEM expert with a background in advertising, as a former Head of Television for Grey Moscow and Senior Television Producer for Bates, Saatchi and Saatchi Russia.
Hey Alec. Thanks for the write-up here; awesome to see a mention of our plugin The Events Calendar and this is a nice overview of different calendaring solutions. We really pride ourselves on the support side and it was greatly appreciated to see you mention that as a positive. Thanks a ton!
I’m a bit surprised to see you refer to the plugin as “crippleware,” though, since we haven’t gotten a lot of feedback saying that. I’d certainly be interested in hearing more from you on this point, to see if there are any steps we can take to make the core/free plugin more usable in your eyes. The majority of users who’ve installed The Events Calendar find that it meets their needs for a free calendar solution without having to buy any PRO add-ons…but if you don’t share that sentiment, we’ve obviously failed you. And my gut tells me you’re not alone. I want to apologize for that on behalf of the whole team, and to see if there’s anything I can do to make it right.
Any chance I could get you to elaborate on what else you think is lacking from the free release, which could make it more meaningful in your eyes? Either in a comment here or privately via email? The one point you raised there – saved venues/organizers – is being ported to the free release already for our upcoming 3.0 build, so the good news is relief is in sight on that end. But since I didn’t see any other features on your list….I’d love to hear those from you so we could A) see how they line up with our current set of features being ported from PRO to free for 3.0, and B) whether there are any others that the community would see value in so we can add those to our list of considerations. Happy to throw you a copy of PRO, also, if seeing the feature differences between free and PRO is something you’d see value in.
No pressure, obviously. But if you’re interested I think your feedback could help shape the product into something that is more inviting to users looking for a full-featured free calendar. Thanks again for the coverage.
Rob La Gatta Head of Quality / Modern Tribe email@example.com
Thanks for stopping by. The feature which killed The Events Calendar for us is the lack of saving venues/organisers.
To my mind, the features which should be pay on an open source calendar should be related to sales not basic calendar functionality.
We buy plugins all the time, mainly developer licenses. When a plugin’s free version does not do its main role due to limitations, it keeps us away from trying it. Anyone who needs the pro version doesn’t require too many features to justify paying the upgrade.
But if the core is crippled we cannot transfer our expertise to non-profit or arts clients (who will not want or be able to pay for licenses).
Glad to hear that the next version of The Events Calendar will include saved venues.
I hope tri.be will handle the database upgrade better than All-in-One (trouble free upgrades are another important feature for pro-level plugins).
Thanks Alec! I appreciate your follow-up. You make some great points.
I’ve sent you an email just now with some more information. It also included both the preview code for 3.0, so you can check it out and see what’s coming, and the current 2.0.11 PRO release (the latter of which can be used as a basis of comparison between what’s currently in free vs PRO).
Thanks for the chance to try Events Calendar 2 properly. I wasn’t delighted with the very messy html source code for Event Organiser presents to the outside world (I’m a reformed SEO). So I installed Events Calendar and then took a look at the source code presented to the world. It was even more frightening (i.e. almost nothing human readable or easily parsed by Google).
I then did some tests on indexing from Event Organiser. We were deep in Google with our events. At that point I am satisfied enough with Event Organiser to leave it in place so we can focus on getting the rest of the issues ironed out on this site.
If we run into some limitations with Event Organiser we’ll give Events Calendar another run. Do stop by when Events Calendar 3 goes live.
I’d be very interested to see a head to head in depth SEO comparison of the two events plugins. My investigation was far from exhaustive.
Thanks for sharing your news! I’m thrilled to know that Tri.be has taken steps to make sure that the open source Events Calendar 3 will be of real use to people and not just a demo for the commercial product.
Excellent to hear you’ve found a solution that meets your needs one way or another here, Alec. Definitely would be interested in hearing your feedback on the 3.0 release once it’s out there in the open as well.
Best of luck with Event Organiser!