29 WordPress Plugins to Start Your Site With

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Here is a list of WordPress Plugins that we use on almost every site we build. We see these as foundational to the process of building and maintaining a healthy, useful and productive WordPress site. We have had good experiences with all of these and recommend them for the purposes outlined here.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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)

  1. BackUpWordPress – Simple automated backups of your WordPress powered website. Free version only saves to server, but allows download.
  2. UpdraftPlus – Backup and restore: take backups locally, or backup to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, (S)FTP, WebDAV & email, on automatic schedules.

Security (can use all together)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

  1. Disable Feeds – Disable all RSS/Atom feeds on your WordPress site. Use only if you are not blogging on-site.
  2. 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.
  3. Hierarchy – Properly structure your Pages, Posts, and Custom Post Types. Move your Pages/Posts/Custom Post Type admin links from the sidebar to a Content menu that nests everything where it should be.
  4. Social Media Feather – NO LONGER RECOMMENDED. Super lightweight social media plugin to add nice and effective social media sharing and following buttons and icons anywhere on your site quickly and easily
  5. Twitter – Official Twitter plugin for WordPress. Embed Twitter content and grow your audience on Twitter. Requires PHP 5.4 or greater.
  6. WP Like button – WP Like button allows you to add Facebook like button to your WordPress blog. Do not use with Social Media Feather.
  7. 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

  1. 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)

  1. 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.
  2. Ninja Forms – Ninja Forms is a web form builder with unparalleled ease of use and features.


  1. 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.
  2. Better Internal Link Search – Improve the internal link popup functionality with time-saving enhancements and features.
  3. jQuery Colorbox – Used to overlay/pop-up images on the current page. Images in one post are grouped automatically.
  4. Meta Slider – Easy to use WordPress slider plugin. Create SEO optimized responsive slideshows with Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider and Responsive Slides.
  5. 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.
  6. Relevanssi – Replaces the default search with a partial-match search that sorts results by relevance. It also indexes comments and shortcode content.
  7. Simple Image Sizes – Add options in media setting page for multiple images sizes
  8. Sprout Invoices – Plugin allows for any WordPress site to accept estimates, create and email invoices and receive invoice payments.
  9. Testimonials Widget – Easily add social proofing to your website with Testimonials Widget. List or slide reviews via functions, shortcodes, or widgets.
  10. Theme My Login – Themes the WordPress login, registration and forgot password pages according to your theme.
  11. TinyMCE Advanced – Enables advanced features and plugins in TinyMCE, the visual editor in WordPress.

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About the Author: Kerry is the lead website builder at and founder of SonFisher Web Studios in Phoenix Arizona. He enjoys having an empty nest and being married to his wonderful wife since 1976. He started out, in 1995, using a text editor to write HTML & CSS pages, in 2011 he began using Joomla, and soon defected to WordPress. If you want to grow your business, he's your guy. You can find him on LinkedIn and SonFisher.com.

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