Often newcomers to WordPress get confused when trying to pick the best plugins for WordPress website they should use among so many that are available.
That’s the great thing about WordPress. Just in the WordPress Plugin Repository there are more than 30,000 plugins. Not to mention huge amount of plugins on CodeCanyon.
There are many questions to be answered. Like what is the best WordPress plugin for SEO, Social Media, Performance, Security, Backup etc.
Some prefer one plugin from another, others have different opinions while third just don’t like the look of plugin…
But all in all some plugins just segregate from others by their performance, quality and developer support.
Every WordPress developer or user has a toolkit of plugins they can’t live without. They usually include solutions for caching, security and adding other improvements.
But with so many free and premium plugins available, how do you sort the good from the bad?
Below is a collection of essential plugins, all chosen based on their usefulness, quality, popularity and my personal recommendation.
Not all are plugins, there are some tools that can easily be used on WordPress site as well.
Below products can help in website security, optimization, speed, increase traffic, engage visitors, make site stand out …
Backups are extremely important for any online business. If you have cPanel in your hosting then Softaculous can be used for backups. It is pretty easy and convenient to use.
But if you don’t have cPanel or want to let plugin do backups, then BackWPup is solution for you.
It has free and paid version. Free version is great and can be enough for full site backups. You can even schedule backups in free version.
For more information about BackWPup and other free backup alternatives check out Best Free WordPress Backup Plugins Comparison.
This is one of best free WordPress plugins which provides huge number of ways to secure and protect your site.
If there is any vulnerability in WordPress, be sure this plugin will patch it up.
Some of its features include:
– Changes the URLs for WordPress dashboard areas including login and admin
– Scans your site to instantly report where vulnerabilities exist and fixes them in seconds
– Detects bots and other attempts to search for vulnerabilities
– Makes regular backups of your WordPress database
It comes in free and paid version. Alternatives are Sucuri Security and Wordfence Security.
UPDATE: I recommend using free WordPress security plugin All In One WP Security & Firewall.
Premium SEO Pack
I just love this plugin for SEO optimization. This plugin has various additional modules included. It has free version so users can test it out first.
Once paid it is yours for good and is packed with bunch of extra features which will make many of your installed plugins redundant.
I don’t want to repeat myself so if you are interested in finding out more information’s about Premium SEO Pack be sure to read Premium SEO Pack vs All In One SEO vs WordPress SEO .
It includes SEO plugins comparison table for better overview.
UPDATE: As SEO optimization plugin I highly recommend using WordPress SEO by Yoast which I currently use on all my sites..
Premium SEO Pack
Do you need to collect feedback information’s from your visitors?
Want to add surveys, pools, voting, quiz to your site? No problem. There are many plugins for that too.
I recommend SurveyMonkey. It has few pricing plans, but there is free option too. It can be easily integrated in any website including WordPress sites.
Easily customize the look and feel of your surveys. Add your logo, company name, colors, and images.
Create your own survey URL and send respondents to a promotional landing page upon survey completion.
Get the data you need with required questions and response validation. Create interactive surveys and more.
Gather responses with one handy URL by including your link on emails, websites, Twitter, Facebook…. Surveys created will also look great on handheld devices.
As alternatives you can also use WP Survey And Quiz Tool or WordPress Simple Survey.
Splurgy is great tool for engaging visitors, building mai list, promotion etc.
Create online giveaways and sweepstakes, incentivize users to socially engage with your brand, amplify sales with coupons, convert fans and followers and much more.
Splurgy provides a simple, easy to use platform for you to create your unique online promotion in minutes.
Share your promotion anywhere on the web with the click of a button.
By increasing the visibility of your promotions, Splurgy helps drive online traffic to your brand and real customers to your business.
Users gain entries to your promotion by engaging with your social media, and sharing it with their social network via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and more.
Rafflecopter is great alternative.
Nobody wants to have his website full of grammatical mistakes. This simple plugin which adds a contextual spell, style and grammar checker to WordPress.
In order to get it working you will need to install TinyMCE Advanced which enables advanced features in WordPress visual editor.
I have it on every site I manage. As alternative to TinyMCE Spellcheck you can use After the Deadline.
Social Media Feather
In order to provide visitors option to share your content you need some social sharing plugin.
This is good choice if your WordPress theme doesn’t have inbuilt feature for social sharing (most premium themes have it).
I have tested many and Social Media Feather is definitely my number one free social sharing plugin. It also has paid version too.
WordPress Social Media Feather is a lightweight free social media WordPress plugin that allows you to quickly and painlessly add social sharing and following features to all your posts, pages and custom post types.
The plugin includes all major social sharing providers like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit, Pinterest, tumblr, LinkedIn and even e-mail.
As alternative you can use Floating Social Bar or Floating Social. Also I would recommend Likebox Slider for WordPress.
UPDATE: I highly recommend using Easy Social Share Buttons plugin. It is paid plugin but worth every cent.
Social Media Feather
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Displaying related content at the end of your articles is an effective way to increase page views.
If you theme doesn’t already have related posts option built, then reaching out for good plugin is way to go.
Exposing visitors to related posts is a great way to encourage them to stick around and engage with site.
YARPP displays pages, posts and custom post types related to the current post, introducing your readers to other relevant content on site. It also has very original name!
Definitely check out YARPP if you need to insert related posts option in your theme.
As alternative you could use nrelate Related Content which is a third-party related content service provider.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Social Login is a professionally, free WordPress plugin that allows your visitors to comment, login and register with 25+ Social Networks like for example Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, PayPal, LiveJournal, Instagram and Yahoo.
This plugin is great especially if you want to allow visitors to comment on your website using different social sharing sites.
It will increase your WordPress user engagement.
Depending on how much social sharing sites you want to enable setting this plugin can be pain in the ass.
Not because it is hard or complicated as much as time-consuming. But once all done it will be worth it.
Another popular and worthy alternative for comments is DISQUS.
Having slider on website really makes one more appealing. There are many WordPress slider plugins available on the market.
However, most of them slow down your website significantly. Also many SEO experts say sliders are bad for SEO especially if there are at the top of site.
Whatever your opinion on sliders may be, Slider Revolution and Layer Slider are most popular and best slider plugins for WordPress.
They have really huge amount of features and possibilities. But greatness comes at price as you will have to pay if you want to use one of them.
If you need free slider plugin then check out Soliloquy Lite or Cyclone Slider 2. But bear in mind that they have just basic features.
Creating subscriber list is important for every website owner. With MailPoet you can easily create beautiful newsletters, post notifications and autoresponders.
Newsletters can be easily created. Simply drop your articles, images, dividers and free form text, insert your logo and more.
Move them around at will. Edit as you wish. You can also create newsletters to be sent when new content is published, or weekly summarize of posts, send a welcome message….
See how your subscribers act with detail statistics on open, clicked, bounced and unsubscribed mail list and newsletters. There is free and paid version.
Good alternatives to MailPoet are MailChimp, AWeber and Campaign Monitor.
Email marketing is the easiest and most reliable way to make sure that your users keep coming back.
Look around at all your favorite blogs or websites, and you will find that they all have an email list. But what is the best way to grow your email list?
OptinMonster is on of the best WordPress lead generation plugin. It allows you to add beautiful opt in forms into your WordPress site and helps you get more subscribers.
It comes with page level targeting, split testing, analytics and exit-intent technology which allows you to display a lightbox popup when a user is about to leave your website.
It allows you to create and integrate effective email sign up forms on your website.
It works with most popular email service providers like MailChimp, Aweber, ConstantContact, Campaign Monitor, Mad Mimi, MailPoet and more.
For free alternatives you can check Dreamgrow Scroll Triggered Box, Optin Revolution: WordPress Popup, Icegram.
Paid alternatives can be Ninja Popups, Pippity or WP Subscribers.
W3 Total Cache
Caching is the best way to easily improve your website and users experience without having to make change to your site’s content. So it is natural to have some caching plugin installed.
W3 Total Cache is definitely one of best plugins for WordPress. It improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
You can integrate it with CloudFlare or MaxCDN for extra site speed.
With over than 3M downloads this is one of the most popular and used WordPress plugins. But be aware that it can also cause conflicts with other plugins or themes.
Personally I have had many troubles using it. But it is still great plugin to have in your arsenal.
UPDATE: I prefer and personally use WP Super Cache on all my sites.
W3 Total Cache
Contact Form 7
The most popular free form plugin available. Contact Form 7 has been downloaded over 20 million times in the WordPress Plugin Repository.
This plugin can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and any email content with simple markup.
It also include support for AJAX-powered submission, CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering.
So if you need some kind of contact form on your website Contact Form 7 is best choice.
Other alternatives are Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms.
UPDATE: I recommend using Easy WordPress Contact Form Plugin – WPForms Lite if you need very simple but easy to use contact form and your theme doesnt have one integrated.
Contact Form 7
Or in other words, If This Then That. One of most useful tools to make everyday WordPress tasks less consuming. But it is not limited to WordPress.
IFTTT is a service that lets other services or software (like WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram ect.) talk to each and perform actions when certain things occur.
It can help you update Facebook from WordPress blog. Or you can automatically tweet every time you publish a new blog post.
You can read more by checking Best Way To Automate WordPress Tasks.
Great alternative is NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster.
Optimization of images is very important especially on websites with lots of pictures. The smaller in size and better optimized images, the better.
Smush.it optimizes images files to help improve site speed. This plugin strips meta data from JPEGs, optimizes JPEG compression and strips un-used colours from indexed images.
It reduces image file sizes and improve performance using the Smush.it API within WordPress.
Every image you add to a page or post will be automatically run through Smush.it behind the scenes. You don’t have to do anything different.
You can also run your existing images through Smush.it Some alternatives are EWWW Image Optimizer or Hammy.
It is also recommended to have some lazy load plugin which replaces all your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images and content iframes with a placeholder and loads the content as it gets close to enter the browser window when the visitor scrolls the page.
By doing that it makes your site load faster and saves bandwidth. Decent lazy load plugin is BJ Lazy Load.
One of best plugins for WordPress and way to protect your website from hackers is BulletProof Security.
There are actually a lot of security plugins at the official WordPress plugins directory, promising to protect your site through their different features.
Above I have already mentioned great security plugins. But why didn’t I mention this one too?
Because this one is more .htacces security oriented and it is not bad to have it active on site and working parallel with one of the above security plugins.
To summarize. BulletProof Security automatically creates and activates .htaccess website security protection, even if you don’t have a full understanding about .htaccess files.
Go – Responsive Pricing & Compare Tables
If you need to put pricing tables in your site posts and content, then Go Pricing is plugin for you.
Beside the usual pricing table style, Videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Screenr) and images are also supported with optional responsivity.
It’s very easy and fast to create stunning tables and integrate them into your WordPress site using Admin Panel.
Beside traditional pricing tables feature, the plugin is suitable also for creating team viewer and compare tables. The Go Pricing can be used at many different areas.
On my comparison page you can see all pricing tables I have created and used on this site till this day using Go Pricing plugin.
Also check out detailed review on Go Pricing – Create Stunning WordPress Responsive Tables With Go Pricing.
As free alternatives you can try Pricing Table or Easy Pricing Tables by Fatcat Apps.
Go – Responsive Pricing
WPBakery Visual Composer
Nowadays page builder plugins are very popular. Using them your site can get new shine and look amazing on any device.
Visual Composer for WordPress is drag and drop frontend and backend page builder plugin.
You can take full control over your WordPress site and build any layout you can imagine. All that with no programming knowledge required.
Easily choose to either work on a backend or move your page building process to frontend and instantly see changes you make.
Design responsive websites with ease, control whole layout or just separate parts.
You can read more about Visual Composer in review or if you already have it be sure to check addons for Visual Composer or Visual Composer extensions.
As alternatives check out Aqua Page Builder or Page Builder by SiteOrigin.
WPBakery Visual Composer
WP SlimStat is one of the most popular statistic plugin for WordPress blogs. This plugin has a lot of features that are enough to fill out your Dashboard.
You can also configure the plugin in your own way to show the stats that you want.
WP SlimStat offers features like real-time web analytics report, pan-and-zoom world map, traffic sources, page views, visitors, unique IP, top search terms…
You can jump through calendar and compare stats according to daily, weekly and monthly stats.
Good alternatives are JetPack and Google Analytics For WordPress.
Other Worthy Best Plugins For WordPress
Those are some of WordPress best plugins for every website or blog that is powered by our beloved CMS. There are a lot more good plugins other there.
It is on you to test them and see which fits your needs best. It is test and trial process.
Some of plugins not mention above, but still worthy to have:
- AdSense Click-Fraud Monitoring Plugin – Monitors and prevents malicious clicks on Adsense ads. Could prevent an exclusion from your Google Adsense account
- Anti-spam – No spam in comments – RECOMMENDED
- External Links – Marks outbound links as nofollow
- Q2W3 Fixed Widget – Fixes positioning of the selected widgets, when the page is scrolled down
- Quick Adsense – Quick Adsense offers a quicker & flexible way to insert Google Adsense or any Ads code into a blog post
- Simple 301 Redirects – Create a list of URLs that you would like to 301 redirect to another page or site
- Solve Media – Integrates Solve Media’s anti-spam solutions with WordPress
- Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin – Prevent spammers from registering or making comments
- Subscribe To Comments – Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted
- WP-Optimize – This plugin helps you to keep your database clean by removing post revisions and spam
Best Plugins For WordPress Final Words
Hope some of mentioned plugins are just what you need. If you feel that some plugins don’t deserve to be on this list feel free to unleash your rage at me below in comments or leave your cherished opinion about better plugins available.
This post will be updated from time to time. Thanks for reading!