Here is a list of the best WordPress plugins that we use on many sites that we build and support. An ailing website has a difficult time at best to become useful and productive. We have had good experiences with all of these and recommend them for the purposes outlined here.
- If you are not paying for WordPress maintenance on your website, then you sorely need these plugins to keep your site healthy and safe.
- If you are building or supporting a small number of websites these are a great way to gain a more professional reputation. If you are trying to maintain more than say 10 websites, you should seek tools (online or offline) that require less intensive labor on your part.
WordPress Plugins That We Use and Recommend
One caveat! Please don’t install a bunch of recommended WordPress plugins from anyone’s list without first learning what each one does and how to use each one. You will only frustrate yourself and have a really ugly time wrestling with your website.
Build & Maintain
- DesktopServer for WordPress – Although not technically a WordPress Plugin, this software makes for a safe environment to build a WordPress website and makes it really easy to deploy once the site is ready. It runs on PC & Mac and it’s free for up to 3 websites at once.
- iThemes Sync – Manage updates to your WordPress sites easily in one place. Free for up to 10 WordPress websites. The Premium version has lots of useful bells and whistles.
Backups (use only one on a site)
- BackUpWordPress – Simple automated backups of your WordPress powered website. Free version only saves to server, but allows download.
- UpdraftPlus – Backup and restore: take backups locally, or backup to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, (S)FTP, WebDAV & email, on automatic schedules.
Security (The first 3 can be used together or the last 4)
- WordFence – Wordfence Security is 100% free and open source. A Premium API key is also offered that gives you Premium Support, Country Blocking, Scheduled Scans, Password Auditing, real-time updates to the Threat Defense Feed, two-factor authentication, and we even check if your website IP address is being used to Spamvertize. This is more complex to to setup than iThemes or Sucuri.
- WPBruiser– (formerly GoodBye Captcha) An anti-spam and security plugin based on algorithms that identify spam bots without any annoying and hard to read captcha images.
- IP Geo Block – Protect your WordPress site by blocking access from other countries. This does not stop all attempts from other countries, but it drastically reduces the number of attempts. Plugin review coming soon.
- iThemes Security – Protect your WordPress site by hiding vital areas of your site, protecting access to important files, preventing brute-force login attempts, detecting attack attempts and more.
- Sucuri Security – WordPress Audit log and integrity checking plugin (by Sucuri Security). This plugin will monitor your WordPress installation for the latest attacks and provide visibility to what is happening inside (auditing). It will also keep track of system events, like logins, logouts, failed logins, new users, file changes, etc. When an attack is detected it will also block the IP address from accessing the site.
SEO & Social Media
- Disable Feeds – Disable all RSS/Atom feeds on your WordPress site. Use only if you are not blogging on-site.
- Google Analytics by Yoast – This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site, adding lots of features, e.g. error page, search result and automatic outgoing links and download tracking.
- Twitter – Official Twitter plugin for WordPress. Embed Twitter content and grow your audience on Twitter. Requires PHP 5.4 or greater.
- WP Like button – WP Like button allows you to add Facebook like button to your WordPress blog. Do not use with Social Media Feather.
- Yoast SEO – The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. Do not use if your trying to hide your site.
Speed Enhancement (use only one)
- Hummingbird – Hummingbird zips through your site finding new ways to make it load faster, from file compression and minification to browser caching – because when it comes to page-speed, every millisecond counts.
- Comet Cache – Comet Cache has replaced/superseded ZenCache. It is an advanced WordPress caching plugin inspired by simplicity. Speed up your site with a reliable and fast WordPress cache. May conflict with web hosts server-side cache software.
Forms (use only one)
- Fast Secure Contact Form – An easy and powerful form builder that lets your visitors send you email. Blocks all automated spammers. No templates to mess with.
- Contact Form 7 – Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
- Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard (or via email) if any are found.
- Better Internal Link Search – Improve the internal link popup functionality with time-saving enhancements and features.
- jQuery Colorbox – Used to overlay/pop-up images on the current page. Images in one post are grouped automatically.
- Meta Slider – Easy to use WordPress slider plugin. Create SEO optimized responsive slideshows with Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider and Responsive Slides.
- Permalink Finder – Never get a 404 page not found again. If you have restructured or moved your blog, this plugin will find the right post or page every time.
- Relevanssi – Replaces the default search with a partial-match search that sorts results by relevance. It also indexes comments and shortcode content.
- Simple Image Sizes – Add options in media setting page for multiple images sizes
- Sprout Invoices – Plugin allows for any WordPress site to accept estimates, create and email invoices and receive invoice payments.
- Testimonials Widget – Easily add social proofing to your website with Testimonials Widget. List or slide reviews via functions, shortcodes, or widgets.
- Theme My Login – Themes the WordPress login, registration and forgot password pages according to your theme.
- TinyMCE Advanced – Enables advanced features and plugins in TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress.