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The Best WordPress Plugins That Everyone Should Be Using

Posted on April 16 by in Tips & Tricks | 140 comments

The Best WordPress Plugins That Everyone Should Be Using

With over thirty thousand WordPress plugins listed in the official WordPress plugin directory alone, it is no surprise that WordPress users are a little unsure about what plugins they should be using. There are just so many to choose from; which explains why there are so many plugin top lists online.

Most plugin lists focus on which plugins are the best, though the plugins which are listed as the best usually have the most features.

Today, I would like to share with you a collection of plugins that are not necessarily The Best. This is more of a collection of what could be considered essential plugins, and not plugins that offer the most features.

For the most part, these plugins address issues that are inherent in the core version of WordPress.

Essential Functionality

Everyone uses WordPress in different ways. That is why the developers of WordPress have made the core version of their platform so lightweight. This allows users to add features and customize WordPress in their own way using plugins.

However, I do feel that there are a lot of ways in which the core version of WordPress can be improved. The following plugins add functionality that I feel is missing from WordPress.

WP Missed Schedule Fix Failed Future Posts

If you use WordPress to develop blogs, you will know that blog posts do not always publish at the times they were scheduled. This problem rears its ugly head every now and then, and unfortunately, WordPress does not email you to let you know that a scheduled post has not been published. You will only see that a post has missed its schedule publication time when you log in and see an error about the post missing its schedule.

One way to fix this problem is to install the aptly named WP Missed Schedule Fix Failed Future Posts. The plugin creates a cron that searches for scheduled posts that missed publication and then ensures they are published. It works well and does not affect your server’s performance.

Widget Logic

Widgets can be used to place content in a variety of places such as your sidebar, header, footer, and home page. By default, a widget will show in a widget zone in all areas of your website. This is not always ideal. You may want widgets to only be displayed on certain areas of your website.

For example, let’s say you have a basic HTML widget that displays at the top of your sidebar. This widget would display a photograph of yourself and an invitation to readers to visit your about page and learn more about you. There would be no need to display this widget on the about page itself. You can therefore stop the widget from being displayed by using conditional tags (i.e. !is_page( ‘about’)).

You could also use it to remove advertisements from your member area and remove recent posts from pages.

Widget Logic

Widget Logic lets you control what areas of your website widgets are displayed.

Editorial Calendar

Scheduling posts in advance is essential if you want to run a successful blog. Sadly, the default post area in WordPress is not practical for doing this.

With Editorial Calendar, I can easily view the upcoming posts for that month. If something urgent comes up that I need to cover, I can simply drag and drop one of the scheduled posts into another day or week. It also lets you quickly edit titles, change content, change scheduled times, and more.

Editorial Calendar

Anyone who publishes blog posts frequently will find Editorial Calendar useful.

PC Hide Pages

WordPress does not have any built-in functionality for hiding pages. This can be a problem as there are certain pages that you do not want to appear when someone searches your website, searches your archives, or searches your website through a search engine.

PC Hide Pages can be used to hide pages that you do not want indexed. I use it to hide the “Thanks for Subscribing” message that is shown to new newsletter subscribers. I also use it to hide my eBook download page so that it is not indexed by Google.

PC Hide Pages

The PC Hide Pages settings area displays a list of all your pages. All you have to do is select the pages you want to hide.

User Role Editor or Members

WordPress does not allow you to modify existing user roles and capabilities. This means that you cannot allow contributors to upload images to posts or allow authors to publish pages. It greatly limits what you can do with WordPress.

User Role Editor is a fantastic plugin that I looked at closely in January. It gives you complete control over what users can see and do. It also lets you create custom user groups. This is very useful if you have have a lot of authors or members.

Members offers the same functionality as User Role Editor. The plugin can also be used to create a member website as it allows you to restrict content.

User Role Editor

Both User Role Editor and Members allow you to change the capabilities of users and user groups.

Enhanced Text Widget

The test widget that comes with WordPress is very useful, however it can only be used for text and HTML. The Enhanced Text Widget allows you to use additional languages such as CSS, Javascript, Flash, and PHP. It even allows you to use WordPress shortcodes.

Enhanced Text Widget

The Enhanced Text Widget lets you use a wide range of programming languages on your website.

Relevanssi

WordPress is not known for having great search functionality. Results are frequently irrelevant and out of date; which makes it difficult for readers to find the articles they are searching for.

In my article “Replace The Default WordPress Search Engine With Something Better“, I looked at ten solutions that you can use to replace WordPress’s default search functionality. Relevanssi is arguably the best solution available.

The plugin ensures search results are ordered by relevance and offers many great features for visitors such as highlighting search terms, searching through comments, and searching with phrases. It is an effective way of resolving the limitations of WordPress’s limited search functionality.

Relevanssi

Relevanssi allows you to specify how much weight is given to posts, comments, tags, and categories.

Spam & Security

Two battles that all WordPress users need to contend with on a daily basis are spam and website security. Even if your website has low traffic, you will still face spambots and hackers.

Protecting your website is not something that you can afford to be complacent about, therefore I recommend being proactive and strengthening your security from day one.

Akismet

Along with the irrelevant Hello Dolly, Akismet is the only plugin that comes packaged with every single version of WordPress. It is not a full proof solution for combatting spam, however it will block the majority of spam that your website attracts.

The plugin will check all of your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam. It sometimes get things wrong, so you need to check your spam folder regularly to be sure that legitimate comments are not being marked as spam (which can frustrate real commenters).

Akismet

Akismet will try and improve its accuracy over time by learning which comments were spam and which were false positives.

Better WordPress reCAPTCHA or Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

Activating Akismet and configuring your comment settings correctly should eliminate most of the comment spam your website receives.

Unfortunately, it is not always enough. If you find that Akismet is still letting a lot of spam through, you may want to install a plugin such as Better WordPress reCAPTCHA or Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin to make it more difficult for spammers.

Better WordPress reCAPTCHA uses Google’s anti-spam solution reCAPTCHA to display an image that spambots cannot decipher. It integrates with Akismet and Contact Form 7 too. If you do not want to inconvenience your commenters by asking them to complete a reCAPTCHA image, you may want to consider Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. The plugin will add a checkbox to the comment area that asks them to confirm they are not a spammer. Simple, yet effective.

Better WordPress reCAPTCHA

A reCAPTCHA form can drastically reduce comment spam.

Other good anti-spam solutions to try include Spam Free WordPress, NO CAPTCHA Anti-Spam, and Anti-spam by CleanTalk.

Login LockDown

Accessing your admin area by guessing your administrator username and password remains a popular way for hackers to infiltrate your website. One way to discourage unauthorized users from logging into your website is Login LockDown.

The plugin will block repeated attempts from a given IP range and lock them out for a defined period of time. This will effectively stop hackers from accessing your website with brute force password discovery.

Login Lockdown

Login Lockdown can limit the number of login attempts and lockout users with failed attempts for minutes, hours,days, or weeks.

Lockdown WP Admin

Lockdown WP Admin helps you hide the admin area and the WordPress login page. Anyone who tries to view these pages will be presented with a 404 page error message. It also lets you rename the login URL.

Activating this plugin makes it very difficult for any unauthorized people from accessing your admin area. You will still be able to login yourself using your unique login URL.

Lockdown WP Admin

Lockdown WP Admin makes it difficult for unauthorised users to access your admin area.

Additional Website Security

There are advanced security plugins available for WordPress that can strengthen your website in a number of ways. They can scan files and scan your database for unauthorized injections, address common WordPress vulnerabilities, and monitor your website on a daily basis.

Below is a list of four of the best advanced security plugins for WordPress. To ensure that your website performance is not affected, it is normally best to use only one of these plugins. However, it may be worth activating each one and checking whether the plugin finds a security concern that the others may not. You can then leave one activated to perform security scans on a regular basis.

  • Sucuri Security – Sucuri Security is a malware scanner that detects malware, spam injections, website errors, and more. It can prevent phishing attempts, PHP mailing scripts, IP cloaking, malicious iframes and malicious redirects. The plugin can also harden the configuration of your website. It can remove the WordPress version, protect the uploads directory, disable the plugin and theme editor, and restrict access to the wp-contents and wp-includes directories.
  • Acunetix WP Security – Acunetix WP Security can address security concerns that are caused in the core version of WordPress, such as the removal of update information for non-admins, disabling of error reporting, and the protection of your admin area.
  • iThemes Security – Recently renamed from Better WP Security, iThemes Security can address a lot of common WordPress security vulnerabilities such as renaming the admin account, changing the database prefix from wp_, and changing the user id for admin from 1. It can also monitor your website files for unauthorized changes and enforce strong passwords on all users.
  • BulletProof Security – BulletProof Security can protect your website from code injections of XSS, RFI, CRLF, CSRF, Base64, and SQL. It also enhances login security and will monitor your website for security issues. It primarily uses the .htaccess file to harden your website security.
iThemes Security

iThemes Security boasts more than thirty ways to protect your website.

Backing Up WordPress

It is vital that you back up WordPress on a regular basis. Hosting companies tend to keep their backup servers in the same datacenter as their main servers, therefore you need to ensure that you make additional backups yourself.

There are many great backup plugins available for WordPress. Below you will find four of the best:

  • VaultPress – VaultPress is a premium backup service from Automattic (the developers of WordPress). From only $5 per month, they will back up your website on a daily basis. The service features one click backups and restores; and you can download backup files at any time. I use VaultPress to backup all my websites as it is cheap, reliable, and only takes a minute to configure. Check out my review of VaultPress for more information about the service.
  • BackupBuddy – Developed by iThemes, BackUpBuddy is a premium backup plugin that allows you to back up to Amazon, Dropbox, Rackspace, FTP, and more. Backups and restores are straight forward. The plugin costs a one off fee of $80 for two websites, $100 for ten websites, or $150 for unlimited websites. While I do love VaultPress, there is no getting away from the fact that BackupBuddy is a more cost effective solution in the long term.
  • UpdraftPlus – An easy to use free backup solution that has a simple backup and restoration process. It supports backups to Dropbox, Amazon, Rackspace, Google Drive, FTP, email, and more. It has some cool features such as encrypting your database for additional security and the option of splitting large websites into multiple archives.
  • WordPress Backup to Dropbox – A free plugin that lets you schedule regular backups to your Dropbox account. It will backup all website files and your website database. A couple of extensions are available for between $9-$19 that offer additional functionality; however the free plugin works well on its own. Unfortunately, it does not have any restore functionality.
VaultPress

VaultPress is a reliable solution that offers easy backups and restores.

Speed & Performance

A slow web page can drive visitors away and hurt your search engine rankings. The following plugins will help you reduce the size of your web pages and make pages load quicker for visitors.

WP Defer Loading

WP Defer Loading will defer the loading of Javascript on your website and improve the speed of web pages. You should see your website page loading time drop after activating it.

WP-Optimize or Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions

Last month I spoke about how the WordPress revision system can significantly increase the size of your website database.

WP-Optimize is a great little plugin that can help reduce the size of your database and make your website run more efficiently by removing post revisions, auto draft posts, and comments, that are older than two weeks.

Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions works in a similar way. I used the plugin to reduce the size of my blog by a whopping 59%.

WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize will help you reduce the size of your database; which in turn will speed up your website response times.

WP Smush.It

WP Smush.It utilizes Yahoo’s Smush.it API to optimize your images in a number of ways. It will strip meta data from JPEG images, optimize JPEG compression, convert some GIF images to PNGs, and remove unused colours from indexed images.

Be warned, however, that the plugin can put strain on your server CPU when it is optimizing a backlog of images.

W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache

Installing a cache plugin will make the biggest difference to your website speed. The two leading cache plugins for WordPress are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. They allow you to create static HTML copies of your pages that are displayed to visitors, which drastically reduces the time it takes to load a page.

Both of these plugins allow you to optimize your website in additional ways. They support browser caching and minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and feeds. They can also be used in conjunction with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), such as MaxCDN, to reduce the page loading time of your pages even further.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache can improve page loading times significantly. Lighter web pages will help improve your search engine rankings and reduce your bandwidth costs.

Search Engine Optimization

WordPress SEO by Yoast or All In One SEO Pack

Both WordPress SEO by Yoast and All In One SEO Pack will improve your website’s search engine presence.

I recently looked at which plugin was best for SEO. A few Elegant Themes blog readers were unhappy that I did not choose a winner; however the truth is that there is not much between these plugins when it comes to adding essential SEO functionality to your website.

They both allow you to configure meta information for posts, pages, and social media services. They also allow you to create XML sitemaps. WordPress SEO by Yoast has many other tools such as breadcrumbs, RSS editing, and bulk title and description editors. Some of these additional features are included in the premium version of All In One SEO Pack, some are not. Though I believe your decision on which one to use still comes down to which interface you like best.

You will not be disappointed with either plugin as they both add SEO functionality that is missing from the core version of WordPress.

WordPress SEO

Both WordPress SEO and All in One SEO Pack allow you to modify page titles and meta information.

Google XML Sitemaps

WordPress SEO by Yoast and All In One SEO Pack can be used to create an XML sitemap for your website. However, if you want full control over what is contained with your sitemap, I recommend using Google XML Sitemaps.

The plugin allows you to choose exactly which parts of your website are included in your sitemap. Indexing frequencies and priorities can be specified. It also allows you to add additional pages that were not created using WordPress.

Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps gives you complete control over what is listed in your website sitemap.

More Great Plugins to Consider

My original list of plugins for this article was longer, though many plugins cannot unfortunately be considered as essential. You will, however, find them useful.

Here is a quick look at some great plugins that nearly made the list:

  • Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms – Two of the best plugin solutions available for adding a contact form to your website. They have advanced features such as file uploads, eCommerce integration, and spam protection.
  • Subscribe To Comments Reloaded – Allows commenters to be updated of new comments. A fantastic plugin for those of you who are not using an alternative comment system.
  • WP-PageNavi – Replaces the older posts and newer posts links with a more user-friendly paging navigational interface.
  • Optin Forms – A great way of integrating beautiful newsletter sign up forms into your website.
  • Smart Layers – I shared with you all the best social media sharing plugins for WordPress last month. Yet the most common question I receive from Elegant Themes blog readers is ‘What social media plugin is powering the floating bar on Elegant Themes?’. The answer is: Smart Layers by AddThis.
  • Google Analytics for WordPress – Allows you to track a lot of additional information on Google Analytics. For example, it can use custom variables to display traffic for authors, posts and pages, specific categories, and more.
  • SEO Smart Links – Allows you to automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments to other posts and pages from your website.
  • Pretty Link – An essential tool for affiliate marketers. It allows you to mask ugly affiliate URL’s and track the number of clicks to links.
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com – A whopping thirty two modules and counting. Jetpack adds a lot of functionality to your website including social media sharing, comments, related posts, and spelling and grammar correcting.
  • Types – A tool for managing custom post types, custom taxonomy, and custom fields.
  • Comprehensive Google Map Plugin – Let’s you insert Google maps into your website using widgets or shortcodes.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of top WordPress plugins. With tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available online, it can be difficult to curate a list that includes everyone’s favorite essential plugins.

Thankfully, the discussion does not end with me.

I encourage you all to use the comment area below to share the plugins that you cannot live without :)

Article thumbnail image by archideaphoto / shutterstock.com

140 Comments

    • Hello kevin,
      A great article.
      I need to share blog and projects in different sites.
      I mean, I have created a multisite wordpress, with three sites that are different in appearance, but I want the same blog and projects, but each site has its independent blog.
      I have not found a plugin for solve this problem.
      Do you know any?

      • Kevin Muldoon

        I am not sure what you mean. You say you want the same blog but then say each website has an independent blog.

        Can you clarify what you mean :)

    • Thanks Kevin, definately looking into the SEO and Security plugins you recommend for my clients. Thanks for this concise list.

  1. Hi Kevin
    Looks like the ultimate list and I certainly agree with most being there.

    I think that Contact Form 7 should be right at the top – I can’t think of a site that I don’t use it on.

    I also use a few of the security plugins you mention.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      There are a lot of great plugins that I could not include in the list as not everyone needs a contact form.

      I am currently working on an article that lists good contact forms for WordPress and Contact Form 7 is top of the list :)

        • Kevin Muldoon

          Yeah I am including the free and pro version in the list :)

          • :) that’s great!

  2. Any suggestions for live chat?

  3. Greatest list ever. :)

    Any ‘Optin Forms’ like plugin available for Jetpack Subcription?

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Does Jetpack not come with a widget for subscriptions already?

      • It comes with just an almost uncustomizable widget. I was wondering, if I could offer my readers a Jetpack subscription form using a pop-up, like MailChimp plugins do.

      • Jetpack is pretty awful for subscriptions. If they’re important to you, and you need to use an external service, use Feedburner or a full-fledged newsletter.

        • Kevin Muldoon

          Google stopped actively supporting Feedburner a long time ago. I am really surprised they haven’t pulled the plug on it yet like they did with their feeds service.

          • Yah, very concerned about using Feedburner on any new websites/blogs, but don’t know what the best/industry standard alternative is… any suggestions?

            Deb

          • Kevin Muldoon

            I just use the default RSS feed that WordPress provides.

            If you use something different, you are going to lose subscribers at one point or another.

  4. Very nice post but… I just have tested WP Defer Loading and it breaks a little websites made with Divi:

    1. NavBar doesn’t shrink, when you scroll down your website
    2. Images doesn’t appear when you scroll down your website

    Tested on two of my websites…

    Best regards, Krzysiek

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Sorry to hear that. I am using WP Defer Loading on my personal blog and it reduced my overall page loading time.

      I have not used Divi myself so I am not sure what is causing the confliction.

      There are, however, other defer plugins available on WordPress.org. Could be worth trying an alternative.

      :)

    • Bump!

      I’m optimizing a few websites and I would love to find a way to achieve these results with DIVI.

  5. Good list! Another security alternative to Login Lockdown I always install is BruteProtect

  6. This ET post has helped me more than the 2 hours of plugin research I did on other sites yesterday! Not joking at all. I love how the ET blog posts are so well-written. So many other WordPress related sites just want to get your hit on a search engine and don’t seem to care so much about the content quality.

    Thank you!

    Other plugins I love..

    WP SlimStat
    Simple Page Ordering
    CommentLuv

  7. Hi Kevin,

    Excellent, thoughtful list. Bookmarked!

  8. That’s an awesome choice of must have plugins, a few very useful I didn’t even know about and will very likely use. Big thanks.

    Andre Foisy

  9. Great list, thanks.
    I can’t live without All In One SEO Pack and Widget logic.

  10. Hi Kevin, speaking of security plugins I think the best or one of the best is Wordfence, at least to me helped me sometimes telling me who wanted to hack any of my sites, greetings

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Agreed Daniel. I should have included that on the list :)

    • Agreed, the report they send reporting about latest status of your site and WP security is a great gem, I love it so much!

  11. Great list! Thanks. I use many of these.

    One plugin I use on all my sites is WORDFENCE – free security plugin. Does a nice job. I am amazed at how many notices I get of people trying to get into my sites. To me, Wordfence and iTheme Security are must haves on all sites.

    Thanks again!

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Yeah I should have included WordFence. I am surprised I did not include it. I initially was going to just two security plugins, but then extended it to four. :)

    • You curious, are you actually combining these two?
      Wordfence and iTheme Security?

      I’m only have wordfence installed.

  12. Great post and list. I would like to add “CopyRightPro” to this list. It prevents people from right-clicking and copying your website copy. While it is not a complete deterrent, if I make someone “work” a bit before they attempt to “borrow” my copy – so be it.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I am not sure how much of a deterrent that is because someone can just view the source. Plus this makes it a pain for legitimate visitors. I frequently quote articles that I reference in posts.

      It is a difficult thing to balance. As you don’t want people to scrape your content, however you don’t want to ruin the experience for legitimate visitors either.

    • Great secret of some essential plugins separated from the core. C’mon, this post should be for members only! I know some top bloggers may be seething right now for releasing this affection to ET readers. Thank you very much kevin. Please, can you tell nick to tweak this comment to have +1 thumbs and also edit option? (love wptavern comment edit option). More glorious days for WP, ET and its community.

  13. You forgot codemirror for coeditor

  14. Thanks for the list, your blog posts are consistently worth reading.

    I’m curious about your Popup (that encourages newsletter signups)? Is it a plugin or have you custom-coded it? Nice new effect on it, too!

    For plugins, I found P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) which shows how much lag time each plugin is using on your site — helps decide whether a plugin is worth using or not.

    Thanks!

    • Kevin Muldoon

      P3 is a useful plugin. It’s a shame they have not updated it since 2012.

    • I was curious about the signup popup as well. What type of plugin do you use to do that? Thanks!

      • I designed our subscribe popups myself :) They aren’t available as plugin, but if there is enough interest we may turn them into something more official someday.

        • Thanks Nick! You can count me and Lindsay in :).
          Amazing work — I just had to purchase the lifetime membership. You guys are incredibly talented, and I just wanted access to all your high quality stuff in the long term!

  15. Awesome list of plugins! I will definitely need to update my plugin list after this… Thanks for writing this!

  16. will the list include graphics plugins?

  17. Very timely. I need to get a backup solution that will work with a file size nearing 800MB.

  18. The plugins that are “essential” vary greatly depending on the type of site you’re building and what kind of hosting you have. Get good managed hosting and all the bloated, time and trouble-causing security and performance stuff becomes irrelevant. Possible exception: widget cache. Try WP Static Cache (simple) against W3TC and its infinite settings. Some developers will prefer Batcache.

    Any standard plugins list will be changing all the time, but here’s what I’d draw from for almost any type of site: Advanced Automatic Updates, Always Remember Me, Akismet (potentially coupled with Spam Destroyer or something else on high comment sites), Analytics360 (maybe not so much anymore), Attachment Pages Redirect, BackWPup (maybe AKeeba Backup in the future; no backup allowed or needed on WPengine), Broken Link Checker (large content sites), Email Encoder Bundle (when users have added or may add plain text emails to content), EWWW Image Optimizer or WP Smush.it as the server allows, Force Strong Passwords, maybe Google Analytics Dashboard for WP, maybe Google XML Sitemaps (disallowed on WPE), maybe Jetpack, Lazy Load (unless theme handles it), Limit Login Attempts, Widget Logic (if Jetpack is not enough), WP Widget Cache, Google Publisher, Use Google Libraries (if google .js libraries can be used.)

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I agree.

      I would always stress the need for a good backup solution. Though the reality is that if you have a ten page website that is never updated, you can simply back the website up one time and forget about it as you can restore it at any time.

      Some good plugins in your list, including a lot I had not heard about.

      When you are designing websites for plugins, do you always monitor the plugins you use and check how much resources they use etc?

      • Hi there,
        Great article, any good plugins to check which plugins are slowing down the website?

  19. Great article, thank you!

  20. A real job, congratulations, greetings

  21. Great Article Kevin! This is exactly what I needed. Finding and using experimenting with new plug-ins can be very addicting but also time-consuming. I just love finding new plug-ins. There are many on here I was not aware of and you just saved me hours upon hours of time.

    Your articles are great and I have a dedicated folder on my browser just for these WP resources and tips. Thanks for your contribution to the wp community (and all of us).

    – Geno

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Thanks for the kind words Geno. I am pleased that everyone is finding the articles useful :)

  22. There are so many plugins you mention that I currently implement into all of the sites I own & build.
    Yoast, W3 Cache & WP-Optimize are ones that stand out the most in my opinion. They have transformed not only the way I build sites, but more enhance their speed & localization.
    Of course none of this would make me any success without help from Elegant Themes & WordPress!

    Thanks Kevin for a very thorough review of these plugins!

  23. Nice guide, thank you!

  24. Thanks Kevin for another great post. I already use most of these but I’m going to have to check out the editorial calendar. that looks like it could be extremely useful for both me and my clients.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      You’re welcome Adam. It’s a great plugin. I use it every day.

  25. great informative article…awesome but most of plugins that i already have used and i have found problem with W3 Total cache that page not refreshed after deleting all cache… please suggest some tips according to the your best experiences……

    • Kevin Muldoon

      It’s not something I’ve personally had any problems with.

  26. Glad to see that many of the plugins I use are on you list. Do include Wordfence, an excellent security plugin.

    • Do delete the duplicate message. Another question: Do you recommend using these plugins within an ET theme? For example, I’ve found the contact form in the ET templates I have used thus far to be sufficient. Why would I want to use the Contact plugin listed?

      • Kevin Muldoon

        You should continue using the ET contact form if you are happy with it :)

  27. Glad to see that many of the plugins I use are on you list. Do include Wordfence, an excellent security plugin.

  28. Very useful plugins, specially security plugin. Thanks for share this valuable information post Kevin!

  29. great information… thanks

  30. I would like to change the article’s title to “The Best WordPress Article That Everyone Should Read”

    Assuming this article is no.3. And assume your previous article is no.2. And assume your awaiting article “How to Choose best Hosting Company” is no. 1.
    I would say:
    Any beginner (just like me) reads 1,2, then 3 respectively, will be, definitely, upgraded from “Beginner Level” into “Wordpress Hosting Provider level”. At least this is my point of view Or my own way to say Thank you Kevin very much for this awesome, very helpful article.

  31. great list Kevin, as always.. just to add to the caching plugin list is – WP fastest cache.. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-fastest-cache/ This is by far the easiest to use caching plugin and it really works well, in fact better than W3 Total or Super cache.. I have used it on several sites and it makes a really big impact on the loading time.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Agreed. I mentioned WP Fastest Cache in a previous blog post. It works really well and is very easy to set up.

  32. Thank you Kevin, I found W.P. defer loading, which is something that I have been looking for.

    The problem these day’s is finding plugins that are up to date, WordPress updates that often that developers can’t keep up with it.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I know.

      I fully support developers who take the time to fork older plugins that are no longer supported. That is what GPL is supposed to be about.

  33. That’s a heck of a list.
    I’m already using many of these plugins but I’m definitely going to add the one that defers JS loading since that seems to be the biggest bugbear when trying to speed up WordPress sites (particularly for mobile devices).
    Huge thanks
    Karl

  34. I’m in the process of creating a website with the Divi theme and have a couple of questions after reading this article..

    1. Is the search function used from WordPress or from Divi?
    2. Is it true that one should only use a maximum of 5 plug-ins?

    • Kevin Muldoon

      In response to your second question, no, you should limit yourself to only five plug ins. Anyone who says that does not know anything about WordPress. :)

      • I think every WordPress tutorial article I’ve ever read says to only use the most minimum number of plugins and to completely uninstall (rather than just deactivate) any plugins that you are not using at the moment.

        On the other hand, I would love to install every plugin on your list, in addition to a few others, so I’m a bit confused about plugin advice…

        Thanks!
        Deb

        • Kevin Muldoon

          It is good advice to not activate any plugins you are using, though the notion that you need to limit yourself to a certain number of plugins is wrong.

          One plugin may add more code to your website than ten. It all comes down to how efficiently they are coded.

          What part are you confused about? :)

          Kevin

  35. I cant figure out weather to use Sucuri Security – SiteCheck Malware Scanner or BulletProof Security to protect my website. BulletProof Security seems to have a higher rating on WordPress but I know you guys use Securi to audit your themes, do you think the Securi plugin is better than BulletProof Security? Thanks, James.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Why not use BulletProof security on a daily basis to monitor your website, but use Sucuri to scan your website as a once off. :)

  36. Hi,

    it is a good list. But I would mention that Relevanssi is only usable until the amount of Posts grow over 5000 or so. This Plugin starts to destroy your Site when it is getting bigger. The Tables in DB getting incredible big (I heard of one about 4GB!!) – in our case it has already 900MB – with over a million rows in the DB. The Plugin Author himself is saying: “I would not recommend using Relevanssi on large, high-traffic sites, as it is simply not built for such specs.”

    If your site is getting bigger and bigger you should think of disabling Relevanssi.

    Greets Martin

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Thanks for that Martin. I have tested Relevanssi on a few occasions but not used it on a live website as yet. I’m disappointed that it puts so much weight onto a database.

      I agree that website owners with high traffic websites should not use it.

  37. Thanks a lot for this list ! For my part, I really like the plugin “Shortcode Ultimate” that offers a lot of possibilities !

    • +1, I love it too but Divi seems not to be friendly with her, particularly the page builder. Notwithstanding, I kept alerting the developer whenever an update is released. Shortcode Ultimate is a great plugin but I’m afraid when Divi 2.0 comes out if it will still be necessary to use it. :)

  38. Just started with WordPress two months ago… First theme I bought was way to difficult. Threw it away…. Started with ET and used Divi. I really love you guys. I have learned so much from the tutorials. It just works. Two beautiful sites running now and this article helps me further in no time. Great plug-ins . Saved loads of money buy doing it all myself…. And I will build some for friends/colleages. Being an artist I know how it should look, now I can also make it happen. Great. Thanks Kevin & the rest of ET.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      You’re welcome Heleen. Glad you found the article useful.

  39. Hi Kevin, more love here from me, this was an outstanding post. I do have a couple of ?s that I suspect others may have as well…
    – I too have seen many recommendations that say to limit the # of plugins on your WP as much as possible… your response to the other comment is a bit confusing – you should limit the plugins you use? Or you don’t need to worry about the NUMBER of plugins? I would guess you could use whatever you want, but monitor the amount of resources they consume- is that the underlying issue?
    – On the security subject, you mentioned 4 different plugins, some have unique features, some overlap. How many of these would a typical user choose? 1-2, all four?

    • Kevin Muldoon

      You should not use any plugins that you do not use. So that means disabling statistic plugins if you are not checking the stats and widget plugins when you are not using the widgets. You need to take a step back with every plugin and ask yourself whether you need to use it.

      A plugin is simply a series of functions. It is possible that one plugin could slow down your website more than having fifty activated. It all comes down to the plugin in question. It is prudent to test the speed of your website after every plugin you install to see if it does hurt your website’s performance.

      I would just use one. I was tempted to just list one, however they are all equally as good in my eyes. They all enforce similar security measures, though they each do certain things that the others do not. I would just pick one and go with that :)

  40. Good recommendation. Wordfence Security is a great security app too. I use it and it provides functions of three plugins from the above combined. Login locking, Force locking out bots or heavy users or lechers and many more.

  41. Great list! AIO SEO Pack and W3 Total Cache are my favorite of the list. Thanks for sharing..

  42. Great article, thx.

    Just figured out that «WP Defer Loading» caused a problem with divi.
    Picture resize and tables didnt work anymore.

    Worth activating only one at the time :-)

    • Kevin Muldoon

      I would only use one major WordPress security plugin on a website as they generally protect your website in the same way.

  43. I was just reading the other great plugins to consider, and after a recurring problem with Comprehensive Google Map Plugin I was happy to discover Intergeo Maps (http://wordpress.org/plugins/intergeo-maps/). This is by far the best Google Maps plugin I have used.

    Definitely have a look if you require more advanced editing capabilities for Google Maps.

  44. Awesome Article! I’ve been very impressed with your articles so far.

    I know it has been a few weeks since you originally posted this, but I haven’t had time to comment. I have a question I’ve been trying to find the answer for and I was hoping you might have some insight.

    I’m considering investing in backupbuddy or updraftplus. They are similarly priced, but I can’t see a clear winner. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, I’ve heard some criticize anything back-up plugins besides vaultpress because theoretically a hacker could just mess with your plugin once they are in your site.

    I’m still leaning towards backupbuddy or updraftplus for the economic advantages.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Thanks Mike.

      Backupbuddy has a great reputation, though updraftplus is a free solution. Therefore, it may be worth trying updraftplus first and then reviewing whether it is a good option or not.

      I personally use VaultPress, though both plugins you suggest seem good too :)

      Kevin

      • Thanks for the feedback.

        I’m considering the unlimited version of either plugin. Both come in just over $100 if you get a good price. I’m trying to figure out if there are any clear advantages to either one. I can keep you posted on my research if you’re curious.

        Although If I had a really serious high traffic site I would probably consider vaultpress myself.

  45. Awesome Article! I’ve been very impressed with your articles so far.
    I know it has been a few weeks since you originally posted this, but I haven’t had time to comment. I have a question I’ve been trying to find the answer for and I was hoping you might have some insight.
    I’m considering investing in backupbuddy or updraftplus. They are similarly priced, but I can’t see a clear winner. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
    Also, I’ve heard some criticize anything back-up plugins besides vaultpress because theoretically a hacker could just mess with your plugin once they are in your site.
    I’m still leaning towards backupbuddy or updraftplus for the economic advantages.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Someone asked this exact question in another post and I responded. I assume it was you? :)

      • Kevin Muldoon

        haha just realised it was this post! Clearly I need some sleep! :)

  46. Awesome Article! I’ve been very impressed with your articles so far.

    I know it has been a few weeks since you originally posted this, but I haven’t had time to comment. I have a question I’ve been trying to find the answer for and I was hoping you might have some insight.

    I’m considering investing in backupbuddy or updraftplus. They are similarly priced, but I can’t see a clear winner. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

    Also, I’ve heard some criticize anything back-up plugins besides vaultpress because theoretically a hacker could just mess with your plugin once they are in your site.

    I’m still leaning towards backupbuddy or updraftplus for the economic advantages.

  47. wow, awesome list of plugin, there are many plugin which i need but never known like widget logic. Thanks for the list.

  48. thanks kevin’ve had to share wordpress plugin

  49. Great article!

    Any suggestions on the best plugins for managing a large library of audio files? We would like to make them available for streaming or downloading as well as searchable.

    Thanks.

  50. Super excited for Divi 2.0 :D

  51. Thanks for sharing this tools, Kevin! Like you I’ve been finding some good tools for my wordpress blog most especially on it’s spam and security. There are actually a lot of add-ons being offered but I really don’t which would really suit my blog site. Recently I’m in a dilemma with people who are visiting my site since I can’t sort them out if their purpose is to just visit or drop their spammy links. I’m a little bit tired of cleaning after the mess they do. Good thing I cam across this! =)

    • Kevin Muldoon

      Glad you found it useful David. Best of luck with the spammers :)

  52. Hi Kevin! As an affiliate marketer, I really value wordpress widgets in how it helped my strategies in marketing online. It made me organize some of the stuff that I usually do online and it gave me less effort in stressing those spam threats in my blog. Thanks for this!

  53. Wow a great, nice and very helpful collection for newbies.. you have mentioned very great and most popular plugins to boost up our site quality….well it helped me so much..thanks for sharing ;-)

  54. Great, comprehensive analysis!
    I’m really thankful to you, Kevin. Just came to know of many useful plugins among which SEO Smart Links is on the top. Enjoyed visiting you. Thanks a lot.

    • Kevin Muldoon

      You’re welcome Raheel. Glad you found the list useful :)

  55. Nice list – I also use Formidable Forms. Very affordable, exceptional service and response times – powerful and easy to configure.

  56. Great list! I also use Duplicator. It allows you to migrate, copy or clone a site from one location to another. The plugin also serves as a simple backup utility.

  57. I notice that you didn’t mention Wordfence and wondering what your thoughts were on this plugin.

  58. What newsletter plugin are you using? I like the way it pops up after being triggered by an action.

  59. Nice article. Good collection. Got some new plugins which i was not aware of.

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