Plugins are what transform your WordPress-powered site into a feature-rich powerhouse. There are thousands of plugins in the WordPress directory! Researching and choosing the most appropriate WordPress (WP) plugins can be challenging, so which ones are worth it?
We have carefully curated a list of the top must-have plugins that every WordPress site should have as a minimum to elevate your website, online presence and business to the next level. Here is the feature based plugin list:
Quickly search for components in a large and complex website.
We have built a custom feature that searches against all posts, pages, widgets, and custom posts in a WordPress (WP) installation. It helps locate website assets much quicker than a traditional manual search.
Edit Widget link in the frontend
Reduces the tedious task of searching for a specific widget in the backend.
We have built a feature that appends an Edit link to the sidebars shown on the site. However, it is visible to the administrator only. It’s a time saving and useful feature even for a novice.
Improve page load and overall performance of your website. There are various plugins that caches data effectively, see below:
WP Super Cache easy to configure, garbage collection and generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog.
WP Total Cache easy to configure, customizable and does its job effectively.
Both plugins are the purpose solvers, but due to some plugin/theme compatibility issues reported by users, we prefer WP Total Cache plugin over WP Super Cache.
Avoid spammers and malicious parties. Numerous plugins are available, see below:
SI Captcha Anti-Spam generates colorful image captcha & customizable.
Captcha by BestWebSoft adds math logic which is easily understandable by human beings and is customizable.
Really Simple CAPTCHA generates two files one is captcha (.png) & other is text (.txt) file. It checks user input against the generated text file. Due to its mechanism, it becomes vulnerable.
The mechanisms of all these plugins are different. These can be integrated on all possible and required site entry points like login, registration, comments, and can be integrated on other plugins. We prefer SI Captcha Anti-Spam or Captcha by BestWebSoft over Really Simple CAPTCHA due to its sophisticated verification mechanism.
Feature a multitude of images within one frame or simply one. There are various sliders available in WordPress (WP) store like:
Revolution Slider has numerous options and animations.
LayerSlider just like Revolution Slider.
Mater Slider has cleanest and most simple UI to create slides.
All the sliders provide similar features and are rated as top sliders by users/reviewers. Essentially every well-designed theme installs a compatible slider during its configuration and installation; however, there are several themes that do not install sliders. When using a theme that doesn’t include a slider we prefer to use either Revolution Slider or LayerSlider, both are good options due to their robust features, immense customization, numerous options, responsive design and can be implemented on any post (default or custom). According to the theme, we choose the compatible slider.
Manage and enhance a standard yet essential form.
Forms are an entity that should look good and perform well, equivocally. There are many customizable form plugins available for this, see below:
Contact Form 7 allows you to manage form fields and email settings. It is highly customizable & flexible. Also, it supports various add-ons.
Gravity Forms is a PAID plugin, it provides quick and simple form-building, easily configure and embed forms. Can be integrated with leading payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net, etc. The team consistently provides add-ons to integrate payment gateways.
These are the well-known and well-written plugins for custom forms. Either form is suitable depending on the requirement.
Increases your business ranking and visibility on search engines.
Following plugins are available for SEO
WordPress SEO by Yoast incorporates everything from a snippet editor and includes real-time page analysis that helps optimize each page’s content, image titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps and offers a robust amount of optimization options in between. It has a number of premium add-ons as well.
All in One SEO is a plugin that automatically optimizes your WordPress (WP) site for search engines such as Google. For novices, this plugin is suitable as without much tweaking of many options it will completely optimize your WordPress (WP) site.
Platinum SEO Pack is similar to All in One SEO plugin but this plugin has not been updated in many years, so it may be missing crucial SEO Industry updates.
We prefer WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin over the alternative plugins as it comes with various options.
Reduce vulnerability and likelihood of being compromised. See below for the top recommended security plugins:
iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) can be easily setup, creates .htaccess rules that deny bad requests, login security, allows renaming of wp-content and wp-admin folders, monitors traffic, and includes many more features.
Wordfence is much more than a standalone plugin – at both the regular (free version) or customized intervals, Wordfence servers will scan your site for file changes, code injections, malware, or known backdoors. The premium option offers advanced scanning options so you can coordinate scans in accordance with your specific low traffic periods.
All In One WP Security and Firewall plugins offers basic security features like Brute Force login attack prevention, Basic firewall protection, Comment spam prevention, changing the login page URL, Disable copying of text and the use of your site in an iFrame, and more.
Among these top security plugins, we prefer iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security).
Easily track visitors on your site. Among various plugins for this service, the following are the most trusted ones:
Google Analytics by Yoast plugin is easy to setup on a WordPress (WP) site and stays up to date with newest features in Google Analytics (GA). It offers a comprehensive visitor metric dashboards and uses universal or the asynchronous Google Analytics (GA) tracking code, the fastest and most reliable code offers.
WP Google Analytics makes it easy to track your site’s usage. It automatically tracks site speed and uses Google’s asynchronous tracking method which is fast and reliable.
We prefer Google Analytics by Yoast plugin as it offers more options than other Analytics plugins.
Improves your overall industry position and brand awareness while simultaneously promoting your business to your core audience.
Numerous plugins for social sharing features are available from the WordPress repository as well as other outside vendors.
SumoMe is a suite of apps that helps to grow traffic. There are a huge number of places that we can add your social buttons to and it’s all done by a clickable interface.
Simple Share Buttons Adder is a simple plugin that enables you to add share buttons to all of your posts and/or pages.
WP Social Sharing adds very attractive responsive social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, Google+ and Pinterest to WordPress posts, page, media or any custom post type. This is a very lightweight and responsive plugin.
Above listed plugins are superb and easy to use; however, each provides different options. So depending on the requirement you will have to select the most appropriate.
Ease to manage and subscribe your clients. Here are some widely used Newsletter plugins:
Email Newsletter plugin provides a simple way for you to email registered users, commenters, and subscribers. Automate user growth and revenue with ReadyGraph integration.
The Newsletter is a real newsletter system for your WordPress blog. It is perfect for list building, easily create, send and track email. WordPress User Registration is a seamless integration.
Both plugins work great with WordPress (WP) installation but we prefer Newsletter plugin as it provides more features than other plugin options.
Access entire site navigation on a single page. These are our favorite XML sitemap plugins:
Google XML Sitemaps help search engines to better index sites and the crawlers can easily see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress (WP) generated pages as well as custom URLs.
Simple WP Sitemap generates both an XML and an HTML sitemap to your site dynamically. These two are updated automatically every time someone’s visiting them and makes sure they’re easily indexed.
Both plugins serve as expected but our choice is Simple WP Sitemap.
Manage and reuse the crisp informational blocks on pages.
Custom Sidebars help to create your own digitized areas and choose which pages they display.
Widgetize Pages allows the user to widget a page and drop widgets in page or post content area or any template file. Unlimited sidebars can be created.
We prefer Widgetize Pages plugin over other plugins as digitization is easily and best accomplished with this plugin.
Execute PHP code
Execute PHP code on pages and posts.
PHP Code for Posts allows you to add your own PHP code to posts, pages, custom post types (posts) and even sidebars. Allows the creation of shortcodes and corresponding PHP code from the backend.
Allow PHP Execute plugin executes PHP code on WordPress post, page, and a text widget.
Although both plugins provide the same service our choice is PHP Code for Posts as it provides an additional feature of managing shortcodes.
Database & file backup
Backup your files and Database in a timely manner.
BackupWordpress plugin will back up your entire site including your database and all files on a specified schedule. It comes with various important features; works in low memory, “shared host” environments, manages multiple schedules, an option to email backed up file.