Top 10 Syntax Highlighter WordPress Plugins That You Must Know

WordPress Plugin

WordPress doesn’t support syntax highlighting by default. So today we’ll look at the top 10 best syntax highlighter WordPress plugins!

Before we begin, let me summarize the top 10 best syntax highlighter WordPress plugins:

  1. WP-GeSHi-Highlight – Syntax highlighter that supports 259 Languages
  2. Enlighter – Easy to Use Syntax Highlighter Plugin for WordPress
  3. SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – A syntax highlighter plugin that’s developed by Automattic
  4. Code Syntax Block – Syntax Highlighter that’s Easy on the Eyes
  5. Simple Code Block – Simple Syntax Highlighter
  6. CodeMirror Blocks – Highly Functional Syntax Highlighter Plugin
  7. My Syntax Highlighter – A Shortcode Based Syntax Highlighter
  8. Prismatic – A Complete Syntax Highlighter
  9. Code Prettify – A Lightweight Syntax Highlighter Plugin
  10. Simple Code Highlighter – A Really Simple Syntax Highlighter

Why Do You Need Syntax Highlighter WordPress Plugins?

Writing code in plain text without any code-specific formatting will create readability issues. Consider the following two samples:

Plain Text Code
Plain Text Code
Highlighted Code
Highlighted Code

Notice how highlighted syntax makes things easy to read when it’s code. But WordPress doesn’t have any syntax highlighting features by default and so we need some syntax highlighter WordPress plugins to make this happen. Let’s look at some of the best syntax highlighter plugins along with their pros and cons.

Let’s go over the top 10 best syntax highlighter WordPress plugins that you should try if you’re writing any sort of programming content.

1. WP-GeSHi-Highlight – Supports 259 Languages

Beautiful fonts spaced correctly, and customizable. If these are some of the things that you are looking for, the WP-GeSHi Syntax Highlighter WordPress plugin is one of the best ones out there.

Why do I say that? Because it has the largest database of supported languages – 259 languages.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Supports 259 programming languages
  • Line numbering
  • Highlighting style can be customized by providing a custom CSS file
  • Individual blocks of code can be styled differently
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Works only with the Classic Editor
  • A little difficult to get used to – Not out of the box
  • Created for customizability instead of user-friendliness

2. Enlighter – Easy to Use Syntax Highlighter Plugin for WordPress

Enlighter Plugin
Enlighter Plugin

An out of the box syntax highlighter WordPress plugin that allows you to just select the language, write the code and continue with your work. The default highlighting is great by default, but can also be customized based on the plugin settings.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Easy to use and beginner-friendly
  • Supports Gutenberg
  • Lightweight
  • Easy customization of code blocks and highlighting
  • Display multiple code snippets in a tabbed format
  • Can work as an inline syntax highlighter too
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Only major languages are supported – If you’re planning to work on some niche programming languages like Haskell, you should find another code highlighter

3. SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – Developed by Automattic

Syntax Highlighter Plugin
Syntax Highlighter WordPress

An open-source syntax highlighter WordPress plugin that has been developed by Automattic. So this is one of the most updated and compatible plugins with anything related to WordPress.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Developed by Automattic making it the best choice for syntax highlighter WordPress plugins
  • Very out-of-the-box experience
  • Specific syntax highlighter code block available in the Gutenberg editor after installation
  • Seamlessly integrates with Gutenberg editor
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • A few minor bugs with displaying special characters (though this is not a deal-breaker since you would never even notice these issues)

4. Code Syntax Block – Syntax Highlighter that’s Easy on the Eyes

Code Syntax Plugin Screenshot
Code Syntax Plugin Screenshot

Easy on the eyes is the USP for this code highlighter plugin. As you can see from the screenshot, it makes the code beautiful to look at and understand when reading on the web.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Has a beautiful dark theme based on Atom’s One Dark theme
  • Can specify a list of languages that you regularly use for easy selection later
  • Customizable color schemes from themes repo
  • Supports 200 languages
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Nothing major here. Works as expected

5. Simple Code Block – Simple Syntax Highlighter

Simple Code Block WordPress Syntax Highlighter
Simple Code Block WordPress Syntax Highlighter

This syntax highlighter displays code with the Ace editor which is a successor of Mozilla’s Skywriter project. This WordPress plugin adds a syntax highlighter block to the Gutenberg editor.

PROS (What we liked)
  • A lot of languages available
  • More than 20 syntax highlighting themes
  • Can choose a custom font sizes and number of displayed lines
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • None – Works really well for both advanced and basic users

6. CodeMirror Blocks – Highly Functional Syntax Highlighter Plugin

Code Blocks Mirror Syntax Highlighter
Code Blocks Mirror Syntax Highlighter

Extremely user-friendly with a bunch of themes and styling options that are easily available from the right sidebar (as shown in the gif above). This is the best syntax highlighter WordPress plugin for people who want something that’s easy and works really flawlessly.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Supports ~100 languages
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Intuitive interface
  • Load plugin files on pages only when needed – Avoids increasing page size
  • Supports wide and full width
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Not great for users who want advanced customizability

7. My Syntax Highlighter – A Shortcode Based Syntax Highlighter

My Syntax Highlighter Plugin
My Syntax Highlighter Plugin

A very basic syntax highlighter that has bright attractive colors – Something our Geeks love!

PROS (What we liked)
  • Standalone Shortcode-Processor
  • Code syntax highlighting
  • Line numbering
  • Auto-add $ sign before the line
  • 36 Themes, 13 Programming languages, 15 Shortcodes
  • Allow shortcodes in the text widget
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Loads the JS and CSS files for all languages on page load – Though the file sizes are small, for an already large page, this can be an additional burden

8. Prismatic – A Complete Syntax Highlighter

Prismatic Plugin
Prismatic Plugin

This is one of the complete syntax highlighter plugins because it works with Gutenberg and with TinyMCE (the classic editor) on WordPress without any compatibility issues.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Easy to set up and configure
  • Built with the WordPress API – Easy Integration
  • Bug-free and minimalistic code
  • Lightweight, fast and flexible
  • Focused on performance and security
  • Loads CSS/JS assets only when required
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • None in general – Unless you have a specific use case, this plugin will be a good syntax highlighter WordPress plugin

9. Code Prettify – A Lightweight Syntax Highlighter Plugin

Code Prettify Plugin
Code Prettify Plugin

This one is pretty basic compared to all the others listed here but if all you’re looking for is something that’s really lightweight and doesn’t increase the size of the page, you’re in for a treat! This plugin simply formats anything that’s coded within the <pre> tags.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Extremely lightweight
  • No bells and whistles – just plain simple syntax highlighting
  • Doesn’t have too many customization options
  • Works with Gutenberg
  • Open-source
  • For people using the outdated Crayon Syntax Highlighter, this plugin will replace it without you having to edit existing posts
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Not too many features – This is both a pro and a con as it depends on what you need

10. Simple Code Highlighter – A Really Simple Syntax Highlighter

Simple Code Highlighter
Simple Code Highlighter

It’s simple, straightforward, and just works. Using the Google Prettify script, this syntax highlighter gives you really beautiful looking code and fonts right away.

PROS (What we liked)
  • Out of the box and easy to use
  • Just click “insert code” and you have a syntax highlighter box prepared
CONS (What we didn’t like)
  • Doesn’t work perfectly with Gutenberg
  • Not too many customization options (isn’t a dealbreaker because it’s beautiful by default)

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve read through all the syntax highlighter WordPress plugins that we loved, do let us know which ones you’ve used and are your favorite! We’d love to hear more about them from you.

And hey, as we will always tell you, there’s no best WordPress Plugin out there. The only best plugin is the one that suits and fulfills all your requirements.

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