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Which WordPress Calendar Plugin Should I Use?

Posted on | January 17, 2011 | 22 Comments

I’ve been working with some WordPress sites lately, and I find myself testing out several plugins for the same function before settling on the best one for the particular situation.  I thought I’d share some notes about the pros and cons I’m finding about each calendar plugin as I go along to make it easier for other people to pick the best option for their WordPress website.  One point to make note of is that these reviews are not exhaustive; once I find the plugin won’t work for my needs, I move on fairly quickly and may leave other features untested.

WP Events Calendar

This is a simple-to-use events calendar that has its own interface on your dashboard to manage events, which is a feature I like.  It shows the actual calendar view in the admin, which doesn’t really seem necessary to me, but some people may like.  It offers both visibility for a particular post, which seems to be fairly common, as well as access permissions for the plugin itself, which you don’t always see.  It offers some basic display options, although the user will need to be comfortable with php dates to adjust the date settings.  The major drawback is that there is no option for recurring events or days of the week.  An event starts and stops, and that’s it.  That’s a feature I’m looking for right now, so this plugin isn’t going to work for my current clients’ needs.

Pros

  • Independent ‘Events Calendar’ menu in Admin area
  • Plugin permissions option
  • Simple options that aren’t too overwhelming for newer WordPress users
  • External link option
  • Widget calendar or list view available

Cons

  • No recurring events or days of the week
  • Date options by php dates
  • Limited options

CGM Events Calendar

This is a great plugin, except for one little problem.  We can’t use it for a class that spans a certain amount of time, but only happens once a week.  For example, a teleclass that will happen every Tuesday from 10 to 12 for four weeks.  This plugin offers recurring events with a start and stop date, but it looks like the same class is offered four times, rather than it being only one event that is a series over that timespan.  We did need to install the ‘Executable PHP Widget’ as well to get the event list to display in the sidebar.  Another drawback is that it didn’t have an option for a mini calendar view in the sidebar, and using php for the widgets isn’t too user-friendly for new users.

UPDATE:  I’ve played around with this plugin a bit more, and I think we can get it to work for our need of additional meetings within the same ‘event’ (such as for a class).  I scheduled the event on the first day with a starting and ending time, then added additional dates through the, “include dates,” option.  I had tried to, “exclude dates,” before, but it didn’t seem to work.  The, “include dates,” however, seems to address the problem.

Pros

  • Independent ‘Events’ Interface
  • Good input options, including excluded dates, included dates, categories & recurring events
  • Nice out of the box styling (although colors will require css changes if they don’t match your site)
  • Completely customizable ‘event list’ widget (by html w/plugin tags)

Cons

  • No way to add one event that only happens certain days of the week over a period of time
  • No calendar view widget
  • You may need ‘Executable PHP Widget’ plugin, depending on your theme

Events Manager Extended

This is another great plugin with its own ‘Events’ interface and LOTS of options.  It adds a whole registration component, which can be really useful.  The problem is, it still won’t do that single event that repeats the same day for a few weeks. You can add recurring events, and you can extend events over a period of time, but it still doesn’t work for classes.

Pros

  • Independent ‘Events’ Interface
  • Registration/RSVP Options
  • Confirmation Email Customization
  • Google Maps Integration
  • Calendar or List Widget Options

Cons

  • No Weekly Class Option as a Single Event
  • No User Option to Toggle Calendar Display by Category, Print View, etc. (may be able to add this, but I didn’t research it that far)

Event Registration

This plugin comes with a wide range of features with its most unique being online payment integration.  You can set it up with PayPal, Google Checkout, Monster Payments, Authorize.net, or a custom payment gateway.  You can list events, take registration and payment, create categories, and add custom questions to your registration forms.  It comes with a nice sidebar widget that displays a calendar along with a list of events scheduled for the selected day.  Again, I am running into the issue that an event can be recurring or span over time, but cannot be listed on a certain day of the week over a period of several weeks, and still be the same ‘event’ (or class).

Pros

  • Independent Events Management Interface
  • Payment Integration for Event Registration
  • Supports Coupon Codes
  • Nice Multi-Featured Sidebar Widget
  • Can Upload Events with Spreadsheet
  • Includes User Guide

Cons

  • No Weekly Class Option as a Single Event
  • Slight CSS Issues in Admin Hide Page Headings
  • No List-Only Widget Out of the Box (available w/ shortcodes)

Event Espresso Lite

This plugin seems very much like Event Registration above, except with a much cleaner user interface and a pro upgrade option for additional features.  It comes with PayPal integration out of the box, and can add other payment gateways with the Pro version ($59.95).  Some other features that you won’t get until you upgrade include the Calendar feature itself, as well as recurring events (separate add-on for $39.95).  One annoying aspect was that I needed to set up four configured Pages on the site before it would even let me try to add an event to test the features.  I see how this helps get people to set things up correctly, but since I’m just trying to test the event features, it was extra work that I will probably go back and delete.

Pros

  • Very Clean, User-Friendly Interface
  • Payment Integration for Event Registration
  • Includes Events List Widget
  • Very Feature-Rich, Especially with Pro Version
  • Support Available

Cons

  • No Calendar in Free Version
  • Fewer Features than Event Registration in Free Version

Event Calendar / Scheduler

This one works a little differently because events are added to the calendar from the front end, right on the calendar, much like you would with Google Calendar.  It says it can do a multi-day event, but this does require getting into the code and adding custom settings to enable the feature.  One thing I don’t like as much about this system is that, from what I can tell, a unique page is not created for each event.  I prefer each event to link to its own page both to allow room for detailed description and/or sales text to get people to sign up, and for SEO benefits.

Pros

  • Unique Front-End Interface with One-Click Event Creation
  • Drag-and-Drop Features to Move Events
  • Somewhat Buggy – some events created did not show up, but showed no error message either; further investigation would be needed to resolve

Cons

  • Advanced Features Require Web Developer to Modify Code
  • No Individual Pages Created – Drawback for Sales or SEO

The Events Calendar

I had avoided this plugin for awhile because events are entered as Posts, but it was time to give it a try.  There are a lot of nice features, and I like the out-of-the-box styling, except that it’s oversized to fit on the site I’m working on and would need to be adjusted through the css.  There’s a question on your Post page that asks if you’re entering an event, so the scheduling options only come up when you answer, “yes.”  The scheduler is simple with options for all day or start and end times.  For multi-day events, even if they’re consecutive, the start and end times don’t really work.  This is common in some of the others as well, but the start time goes on the start date, and end time on the end date, as if it was continuous all the way through.

Pros

  • Clean User-Friendly Events Input
  • Toggles Between Calendar or Events View
  • Google Maps Integration
  • Includes Venue and Price
  • Option for Eventbrite Integration

Cons

  • No Recurring or Multi-Day Events
  • No Independent Events Interface – Add Through Posts

Booking Calendar

This may be a great plugin, but it’s a bit too ‘salesy’ and distracting to me.  There are a lot of options listed, but once you try to use them, it says you need to buy the Premium version.  Not to mention the repeated references to the Hotel version which would be confusing to my clients.  It may function for events as well, but all the other stuff gets in the way so much that my reaction is to not even bother.

Event Calendar 3

This plugin looked promising at first.  The screenshot shows a sidebar calendar with a list down below, and it can handle multi-day events.  I’d passed it over earlier due to the Post interface, as well as the long period of time since it’s been updated.  So, now as I work with it, it has some options to keep the ‘Events’ posts separate from the ‘blog’ posts, and we can at least keep them off the recent blog posts list.  The scheduling interface is really simple, with nothing more than a date and start/end time.  The BIG difference here is I can add another date, with its own start and end times, and another, while still in the same ‘Event’.  The drawback is in how this information is displayed, listing each date with its corresponding time, almost as part of the first paragraph of the description.  Also, the calendar widget is based on the calendar that lists posts, and defaults to displaying the date the event was added, rather than the date it will take place.  There is a ‘show schedule’ option, and I could probably edit the display templates in the code, but the fact that this plugin seems to be no longer supported is pushing me to move on.

RS Multi-Day Event

This is another one that uses the blog Post input format.  That works OK, but it’s showing up on the calendar based on the ‘published on’ date rather than the event date.  It displays this date on the side when looking at the event page as well (the theme I’m currently working with displays the Post date, which I suppose most do).  The event dates are displayed in the widget as a range, and I was able to easily customize this to the format I wanted.  There’s also a generic field that I adapted to use for the day the event will repeat on.

Comments

22 Responses to “Which WordPress Calendar Plugin Should I Use?”

  1. Garth
    January 20th, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    Nice review.

    It is amazing how much a calendar can help a business, while at the same time, I wonder how many people realize they can do so much more than just a calendar.

    Event Espresso is thinking about including the calendar in the lite version. If/when we do, I’ll try to let you know.

    Thanks.

    Garth

  2. Brandon
    February 14th, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    I’ve tried and failed numberous times to find an adequate event calendar plugin capable of handling multi-day events. I eventually figured out a way to create an event calendar capable of handling single day and multiple day events using the MagicFields plugin. You can read the blog post here.

  3. Kristin
    February 17th, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    Thanks for the input, Brandon. We settled on CGM Calendar for now, but your solution certainly looks like it’s worth trying out.

    Thank you for documenting it so thoroughly!

  4. Meredydd
    May 15th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Thank you for your work. I was looking for an article like this.

  5. VegasByNyte
    May 23rd, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    In search of a WordPress Calendar plug-in that does the following. Listed in order of importance.

    Gotta have the following
    -Sync, upload Facebook calendar. (I have a site that reposts on what is going on around town and most of the events are coming from facebook)
    -recurring events
    -List view that show a mini icon of the flyer for the event along with a short description.(I have many events to post and I want a list view that does not take up much real-estate.

    Would be nice but not needed at
    -Fb Places, gmap, or foursquare embedded
    -Warning email or alert for when recurring events are about to end .

  6. Coleman Pilch
    August 15th, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

    My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  7. Shirley @ Velvet Blues
    September 26th, 2011 @ 8:39 am

    Great and complete list. I’ve been creating a lot of sites lately that have needed calendar plugins, so I’ve used and customized a lot of the calendars that you mentioned. But over time, I’ve found that it would be much easier if I created my own fully-featured plugin. I’m using your pros and cons as a starting point as I plan to release my calendar plugin when I am done. :-)

  8. anshuman@POS Hardware Company
    September 30th, 2011 @ 3:36 am

    An efficient wordpress calendar plugin should be configured with all the PHP widget.

  9. John@Wedding photographer Essex
    October 16th, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    I’ve been using google calendar and integrated that on my site for some time. But I haven’t been able to style it the way I want. Coming across this list should really help me. I intend to try out at least three of these and will post back my opinions soon.

  10. Jan@Event Management
    December 24th, 2011 @ 5:44 am

    I am looking for this one too and this greatly helps me, I never thought there are tons of useful calendars to choose and aside from that I don’t have to review them one by one, all I have to do is read your reviews and decide.

  11. Mikel King
    December 29th, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    I am trying to digest this. Thanks for the write up on this subject. I have been looking for multiple users to have their own calendars of events. Then have the output of each separate calendar to overlay on to one page in different colors or to be filtered down to based on selected calendars. Anyone know if any of these can do this?

  12. Robert
    January 27th, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

    I’m looking for something that seems obvious, but I can’t find it anywhere. A WordPress calendar that supports individual/personal calendars for each registered user. I want the administrator to be able to see and modify the individual calendars (to schedule appointments for people) but each user should have a personal/private calendar.

    Is such a thing availabile? Possible? I’m willing to pay, but can’t find anything like that.

  13. Terry Lawton
    February 10th, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    Nice post. You can now create your online calendar in minutes, without coding.
    Just point and click http://blog.caspio.com/web_apps/creating-calendars-in-caspio-bridge/

  14. Brandon Jolley
    February 10th, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    Thank you so much for the information. i have been searching the web for the last 3 and a half hours to find a solution. This post helped a lot with my decision.

  15. Kristin
    February 10th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion, Terry. It looks like you have a WordPress plugin as well to easily deploy your apps in WP, right?

  16. Steven Potter
    February 24th, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    thanks, great info, but I’m looking for a calendar that that NOT just creates a single calendar that everyone sees, but a calendar that is individual to the user/subscriber that can be public or not, any ideas?

  17. Jennifer Quinn
    February 29th, 2012 @ 12:49 am

    Thank you for this blog post! It really helped me make sense of all the information out there! So grateful! I am going to give Event Registration a try first!

  18. bobit
    November 30th, 2012 @ 2:34 am

    iam looking for a good calender plugin

  19. North
    January 25th, 2013 @ 9:07 am

    I’m looking for a calendar plug-in that will display in the sidebar (right column) of the Home page and in the main area of the Calendar page and no other location. I’ve tried several with no luck. Any ideas?

  20. Kristin
    January 30th, 2013 @ 1:10 am

    Thanks for your comment and question. You’ll want to look for a calendar plugin that supports widgets to have it display in the sidebar. In order to have it display only on the home page, that setting won’t be part of the calendar plugin. Your theme may have options for this, or it could be coded into a custom template. Otherwise, you could use a widget control plugin to assign certain widgets to show up only on certain pages.

  21. Karuppasamy
    February 19th, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

    What is the shortcode for to display calendar in page using wordpress

  22. Kristin
    February 20th, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    The standard calendar that comes built in to WordPress is just a widget, so I don’t think it has a shortcode. You’ll need to pick one of the many calendar plugins one of the many calendar plugins, then read the plugin instructions to find the shortcode they use – it will be unique for each plugin. My current favorite is the All-in-One Event Calendar by Timely.

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