Whether you administer your own website or a WordPress developer, you will love the platform for its extendibility with plugins. But in the interest of keeping your site secure, it’s always best practice to test and keep your plugins updated. Plugin vulnerabilities amount for the reason behind 22% of all hacked WordPress websites. The following plugins are all irreplaceable in their functionality and perfectly safe for use. More than 10 million users use these plugins and are often found in the top 20 most used WordPress Plugins.
These are some of our favourite WordPress Plugins
Beginners and experts alike adore and swear by WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin improves and builds up from WordPress’ own SEO-friendliness to help you publish content that is more relevant and easily findable than ever. It reminds you to write with focus keywords, optimize your permalinks and meta tags (it also does it for you automatically), generates sitemaps, creates navigation breadcrumbs, gives you the choice to specify which parts of your site should remain un-indexed (through robots.txt file) and so much more. This is a must for all WordPress sites.
Good site performance is the key to good rankings on search results page. Caching is a smart way to improve performance, and this WordPress plugin is a comprehensive caching tool for WordPress. It can be a bit overwhelming for beginners, but those who understand their way around caching will be able to configure the General and Page Cache settings, along with configuring database, browser, and object caching settings, minify scripts, or even hook-up to a Content Delivery Network based on their server configuration and requirements. Those not familiar with servers and websites could also stick to solutions like WP Super Cache or ZenCache, which are simple but aren’t as specifically detailed as this WordPress plugin.
3. WP Mail SMTP
This well-known and widely used plugin is authored by WordPress core contributor Callum MacDonald. It reconfigures the wp_mail() function to use SMTP instead of mail() function (in PHP). It also adds an options page where you can specify the following:
- Sender (“From”) name and email address
- Choice between SMTP or PHP mail()
- SMTP host and port (default: localhost and 25)
- SMTP username and password
- Encryption settings
- SMTP authentication settings
The plugin deserves a mention because often server settings on your shared hosting provider interfere with mail delivery from the websites, and WP Mail SMTP is an easy way around that.
For those of you who love image slideshows but hate their choppy transitions, Meteor Slides is the solution.
This WordPress plugin allows you to add responsive image slideshows. The settings screen makes it easy for non-coders and programmers to create single and multiple slideshows, select dimensions and transitions style/speed, add navigation, and more.
The plugin is also very developer friendly (See: built on jQuery Cycle) and lets you easily add or edit metadata, template, customize skins, and scripting.
For those of us creating easily-manageable WordPress websites for clients, this plugin is a gift. Display Widgets creates a simple interface for hassle-free widget management and display by adding a checkbox in front of every widget/sidebar. That makes it easier to sort through the widgets displayed and select specific sidebars to be displayed based on pages, categories, and custom taxonomies too.
This plugin is comprehensive without being intimidating. Beginners and pros alike will love it. It has all the social sharing features you’ll need: Social login and Share buttons, coupled with User profiling and social commenting (it adds Facebook and Google comments). It supports secure connections and is compatible with multi-site. For all that (and so much more), it’s absolutely free… apart from a white labelling cost.
This plugin has the solid credentials in the form of active installs (1 million+), frequent updates and a 4.9 star rating by thousands of users. WordFence really boosts up the security on any WordPress website. It packs powerful features for IP blocking, enforces login security (with limited attempts and two-factor authentication), Monitoring and firewall, and site scans to keep your site safe from malicious bots and attacks. It supports multisite and has a built-in caching feature.
Any WordPress developer worth their salt knows that broken links need to be found out and dealt with. This plugin takes the job right out of your hands. Broken Link Checker scans all posts, pages, comments, bookmarks, etc. for links. Once it has listed them all, it goes through each one to find out non-functional links, redirects, and missing images. It has features that let you deal with them: remove, hide, fix, etc.
WP-SpamShield Anti Spam is a powerful plugin that quite literally eliminates comment, trackback, contact form, and registration spam. And it does that without being a nuisance to your visitors by asking them stupid questions or showing them incomprehensible Captchas. It’s a simple solution to a big problem.
BackupBuddy by iThemes is one of the most feature-packed backup plugins available for WordPress. It can handle automated and scheduled site wide as well as database backups, gives you options to exclude selected files and tables from backup, and gives you offsite storage for your backup files on stash storage and cloud for easy management. It also makes using backups easier for migration or other purposes with built-in deployment features.
For those WordPress users who want to integrate Google Analytics in their websites but are really intimidated by code, Google Analytics by Yoast is the answer. It gives you Google Analytics tracking code and puts the dashboard right in your admin panel for easy monitoring of your statistics. The settings are easily configurable and the functions are easy to use. Essentially, it’s Google’s Analytics with WordPress interface, which is a win-win for everyone.
Once you install and run it, it creates a report of all plugins on your website and their performance to help you understand how they are individually affecting your site’s load speeds. The scanner generates some traffic to test your plugins’ performance and count the database queries being sent per page. For plugin developers and WordPress admins (who are tempted by every plugin they see) everywhere, P3 is a must.
13. WP Optimize
This is a powerful database cleanup tool. WP Optimize needs no manual queries or phpMyAdmin to optimize your database and removes old stale data quickly. It can burn away redundant post revisions, spammed, unapproved, and trashed comments, old post and plugin metadata, and lets you change settings for trackbacks and pingbacks. A lot of space can be cleared up from your database with one click.
This plugin lets you properly optimize your images by reducing file sizes for images in WordPress using both lossless (default) and lousy methods (little to no ‘perceived’ quality loss, only applicable on PNG to JPG conversion) and straight-up image format conversion. The feature for bulk optimization is a nice touch and can save you bandwidth and help your web pages load a lot quicker.
15. No Page Comment
This is a simple plugin to be used by those who hate that WordPress has stopped making comments available on every new page by default since version 4.3. It will also let you handle trackbacks and other similar settings.