10 Awesome New (And Free!) Plugins Released on WordPress.org in 2015

Posted on August 4, 2015 by in Resources | 56 comments

10 Awesome New (And Free!) Plugins Released on WordPress.org in 2015

One of WordPress’ greatest strengths is its constant state of evolution. A solution that doesn’t exist today may well exist tomorrow. And while it can be all too easy to assume that the best plugins are those that have been in development for years, the latest plugins have a great deal to offer, even if they haven’t attracted a huge number of downloads (yet).

With that in mind, I took it upon myself to trawl through the WordPress.org plugins directory to unearth some of the best free plugins available that were first released in 2015. I was surprised at how easy it was to find high-quality plugins, and I had to cut the list short at 10. In reality, I could have featured far more.

Whether you want to better manage comments, customize WordPress to match your branding, add social sharing buttons, turn your website into a fully-fledged digital media e-commerce store, or achieve something else altogether, there is something for you below. Enjoy!

1. Yoast Comment Hacks

Yoast Comment Hacks logo

WordPress comments management is, in my humble opinion, one of the most underdeveloped features within WordPress core. I’ve attempted to tackle that issue myself with Advanced Comments Moderation, and I’m always on the lookout for complementary plugins.

Enter Yoast Comment Hacks. Developed by one of the most reputable WordPress development teams in the world, this plugin offers a number of small ‘hacks’ that are used by the Yoast team in moderating their own site (the following list is taken from the WordPress.org plugin description):

  • Cleaner comment notification emails.
  • The option to disallow comments below a certain length.
  • The option to redirect first time commenters to a thank you page.
  • An input field on the comment edit screen to change the comment parent ID.
  • Links in the admin comments section to email individual commenters.
  • A button in the WordPress toolbar to email all the commenters on a post.

I’m impressed with all of the features, but especially the comment notifications clean-up. To give you an idea of the benefits of this particular feature, consider first this standard notification:

Standard WordPress comment notification email.

Now take a look at the ‘sanitized’ version, courtesy of Yoast Comment Hacks:

Yoast Comments Hacks' 'sanitized' email notification.

That particular feature aside, if you’re involved in comments moderation on a WordPress blog, I heartily recommend that you give Yoast Comment Hacks a close look.

Take a closer look at Yoast Comment Hacks on WordPress.org.

2. Login Page Styler

Login Page Styler logo

The standard WordPress login screen is functional, if underwhelming:

Standard WordPress login screen.

It’s fine for your average blogger, but if you run a site that requires user/member login, the standard WordPress login screen is hardly going to augment your brand.

That’s where the snappily titled Custom login Plugin-Login Page Styler (shortened above to prevent your brain from imploding) comes in:

Login Page Styler example custom login screen.

This plugin has a flawless five-star rating on WordPress.org, which is no mean feat, especially considering that it is a freemium offering. (Usually you’ll have at least one disgruntled WordPress user marking it one star for that reason alone.)

Plugins of this ilk can often look promising but fail to deliver in terms of user-friendly customization features. Custom login Plugin-Login Page Styler is not one of them; it enables you to do all of the following without touching a line of CSS:

  1. Hide or change logo.
  2. Hide or show the login error message.
  3. Reposition the login form.
  4. Edit the login box’s styling.
  5. Edit the form labels’ styling.
  6. Edit the Log in button’s styling.

There are plenty of plugins like Custom login Plugin-Login Page Styler available, but it stands out – which is all the more impressive when you take into account that it was only originally released earlier this year.

Take a closer look at Custom login Plugin-Login Page Styler on WordPress.org.

3. Portfolio

Portfolio logo

It can be easy to dismiss relatively new plugins on the basis that they can’t be particularly advanced in terms of functionality, but Portfolio proves otherwise. Just check out the following video:

If that doesn’t impress you, check out any of Portfolio’s varied live previews:

In fairness, you’re not going to get all of the functionality that you might expect from the free version – for example, you only get one layout style, as opposed to the premium version’s three. That said, Portfolio certainly offers enough functionality to stand on its own two feet as a genuinely complete plugin; something that cannot be said for all free versions of premium products. Furthermore, if the developer’s responses to feedback on WordPress.org is anything to judge by – especially this completely unfair one-star review – their support is top notch.

Take a closer look at Portfolio on WordPress.org.

4. Customizer Remove All Parts

Customizer Remove All Parts logo

The WordPress core team appear to be hellbent on further developing the WordPress Customizer, in the face of not inconsiderable opposition. As such, it’s hardly surprising that anti-Customizer plugins such as Customizer Remove All Parts have started cropping up.

The developer’s own description says it all really:

[Customizer Remove All Parts] prevents any Customizer scripts from loading and removes all links and buttons to [the] Customizer in the dashboard and admin toolbar.

The functionality is flawless, and much appreciated by the 16 five star reviewers on WordPress.org (including Sarah Gooding of WP Tavern – a solid seal of approval).

Take a closer look at Customizer Remove All Parts on WordPress.org.

5. Naked Social Share

Naked Social Share logo

As you might reasonably expect, the Naked Social Share plugin doesn’t have cover art.

Like Customizer Remove All Parts, Naked Social Share is another fantastic option for WordPress developers, though for different reasons. This plugin focuses on adding useful functionality, rather than removing it.

In a nutshell, Naked Social Share enables the easy insertion of plain, unstyled social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and Google Plus:

Naked Social Share buttons with minimal styling.

You can opt for minimal styling if you wish, which really appeals to my minimalistic leanings.

Think of it as a social sharing buttons framework for you to build upon. It’s a great option if you’re building a theme and want to incorporate social sharing buttons in a specific style.

Five ratings (at an average of 4.8) from less than a hundred active installs (at the time of writing) demonstrates that Naked Social Shares’ limited user base truly appreciates its clean and simple functionality.

Take a closer look at Naked Social Share on WordPress.org.

6. AccessPress Social Share

AccessPress Social Share logo

With the bare bones covered, let’s now move onto a more bells-and-whistles solution for social sharing buttons.

You might reasonably think that when you’ve seen one social sharing plugin, you’ve seen them all, but AccessPress Social Share is worth a closer look. There are a few things that, in my opinion, set it apart:

  • Five different button themes to choose from.
  • Efficient API usage (for minimum load burden).
  • Caching functionality.
  • Responsive design.
  • Intuitive settings.
  • Proactive support.

There is a premium version of AccessPress Social Share that offers many additional features, which is great news not only if you want that functionality, but also because it vastly increases the likelihood of long-term quality support for the free version.

Yes, there is a huge number of social sharing plugins available, but this arguably looks as good an option as any. And I’m all for championing the underdog 😉

Take a closer look at Naked Social Share on WordPress.org.

7. Swifty Bar

Swifty Bar

Swifty Bar is definitely one of my favorites from among this roundup. You can gain a pretty solid understanding of exactly what this plugin does from the above image alone, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be impressed.

Swifty Bar enables you to add the following elements to a ‘sticky’ (i.e. static) bar at the bottom of your WordPress website:

  • Post title.
  • Post category.
  • Author name.
  • Social sharing buttons.
  • Number of comments.
  • Link to comments form.
  • Previous/Next post links.
  • ‘Time to read’ feature.

Here’s a screenshot of the plugin in action:

Swifty Bar in action.

In my professional opinion, Swifty Bar pretty damned sweet. It’s definitely a plugin that deserves more than the ~200 downloads it has attracted so far. Check it out.

Take a closer look at Swifty Bar on WordPress.org.

8. LearnPress

LearnPress logo

LearnPress developers – color me impressed. This plugin is a fully-fledged LMS solution for WordPress, with add-on functionality in the same vein as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads (which I consider to be the best plugin monetization method around).

Take a look at this introductory video to see how easy it is to create a course:

The breadth of LearnPress’ functionality might be somewhat intimidating to a newcomer, but it’s broken down into the aforementioned add-ons, which helps to keep things manageable. Free add-ons include:

Premium add-ons offer more commercially-minded features, such as:

There are plenty of alternative LMS plugins out there – Sensei being an obvious example – but LearnPress is free to use, easy to expand through add-ons, and developed by a clearly conscientious team.

Take a closer look at LearnPress on WordPress.org.

9. Simple Wp Sitemap

Simple Wp Sitemap logo

So a sitemap plugin is never going to get your heart racing, but Simple Wp Sitemap provides a clean and simple solution to a universal requirement among WordPress webmasters. In short, it dynamically generates both HTML and XML sitemaps of your WordPress website. There’s not much else to say about Simple Wp Sitemap – it simply works!

Take a closer look at Simple Wp Sitemap on WordPress.org.

10. Symbiostock

Symbiostock logo

Symbiostock works with WooCommerce to create a fully-fledged e-commerce platform for digital media downloads. It has more features than you can shake a very large stick at, and if you run into any trouble, offers both standalone support forums and a knowledge base.

If you’re interested in seeing how Symbiostock works, you can check out the live demo:

Symbiostock demo site.

It’s clear that the developer has gone great lengths to integrate seamlessly with and complement WooCommerce, rather than fight against it.

Take a closer look at Symbiostock on WordPress.org.

What is Your Favorite WordPress Plugin of 2015?

We’re past the halfway point of 2015 already, but if the above list of plugins is anything to judge by, there’s far more to come in terms of added functionality for WordPress.

I know for a fact that I’ve missed a whole bunch of great plugins that were released in 2015, so if you have any suggestions as to what should have made the list, please fire away below.

In fact, I’ll expand that out to any plugins you love that perhaps haven’t yet received the attention they deserve. Hell, you can even mention your own. Let’s dig deep and see what the WordPress community has to offer when you peel off a few layers!

Image Credit: vasabii / Shutterstock

56 Comments

  1. Not sure how I missed the LearnPress plugin, but that’s something I was looking for about a year ago for a random idea I had. Maybe it’s time to pick that project back up.

    Thanks so much for this!

  2. Thanks for sharing this great list of plugins. I may just go download and try a few of them….There goes my afternoon!

  3. Some great plugins in 2015, i find the plugin for selling photos really good. But i think the best plugin that seems to stand the test of time in my eyes and got better in 2015 is Wordfence Security especially with the pro licence. Piece of mind knowing that my site is secure is at the top of the list for me.

    Also another great plugin for WordPress optimization is Autoptimze and does a great job of compressing all those css, js and html output.

    • Same here, especially when you see how many IP’s some of our sites are blocking. WordFence is a must!

  4. Great list, Tom! Thank you for sharing! I am definitely gonna try out Swifty Bar. Looks very promising.

  5. Really thanks – it helps a lot to be able to read the summary from the trusted sours, not to mention that it saves a lot of time.

  6. Amazing list of plugins! Thank you for sharing, Tom. Elegant Themes is arguably the best resource in web design and development. I am always turning my friends on to you guys. Thank you for all that you do!

  7. It looks similar in function with that of the hello bar and its free which is great.

  8. Well I may be a little biased but I think the plugin Divi Footer Editor https://elegantmarketplace.com/product/divi-footer-editor/ we have created specifically for Divi is a great plugin! It has sped up development time greatly on all sites I build and has added a dimension of functionality that used to take quite a bit of time. I am not talking about only adding simple text to the footer either. I am talking about the ability to completely customize the footer.

    It’s lightweight at about 3KBs uses the WYSIWYG editor and all of it’s functionality. It gives you the ability to edit, modify, style the text as well as embed videos and allows you to insert images from the media gallery. Tomorrow we are launching an update that will allow dynamic updating of the year so that you won’t need to update it each year.

    We have a demo site set up that you can test it out, check it out here: http://divifootereditordemo.aspengrovestudios.com/wp-admin

    I hope you check it out Tom and let me know what you think! Great article, the only thing I will say is that there are MANY great plugins for WP, we are lucky to have such a great community.

    Cheers

    • Thanks David, Just on Time (:

    • Interesting plugin – but child themes for $150 – $175 ??? This seems a bit steep, considering how easy it is to customise with Divi.

  9. Great list! I value this type of list because there are always good tools which I have missed. I appreciate the detail description of why you like these choices. Thanks.

  10. Happy to see that.each one is very useful but particularly social share is mostly liked by me . WordPress is really a sweet heart for me.
    🙂

  11. Thanks – great new plugins to try!

  12. Although all nice plugins, none of them beat yith-woocommerce-bulk-product-editing – if you use WooCommerce that is.

  13. This is a nice roundup of some of the awesome plugins released so far this year. I think Swiftybar and Yoast Comment Hacks will be the plugins useful for most bloggers . Also, the functionality of LearnPress sounds extremely impressive and it is great that it is available for free.

  14. Nice list. Not exactly free though 🙂

    Custom login Plugin-Login Page Styler is really limited and you need to pay for the features you show in this post. Also the user plugin admin is COMIC SANS LARGE FONT. The less said about that the better ;D

    Saying that, i’ve used it on a project at http://www.fujifilmcollective.com and might upgrade. It looks good and does not clash with sites plugins.

    Cheers

  15. Swifty bar is one of those things I never knew I wanted. Until now.

  16. Good List. I like Swifty Bar & AccessPress. I have tried swifty bar and its really nice. Thanks for the list…

  17. This is a nice round-up. I really like seeing Yoast Comment Hacks, and Swifty Bar here. Both useful new free plugins.

    I’m totally biased, but I’m pretty proud of Give (https://wordpress.org/plugins/give) as one of the best free plugins of 2015. We have a perfect 5 star rating with 37 reviews, over 1,000+ active installs and over 6,000 downloads. For free, it’s the best donation plugin you’ll find.

    • Hello Matt, thanks for sharing this information !

  18. Great list ! All that are new plugins and so awesome ! I like the Simple Wp Sitemap plugin. It’s really simple and easy to generate sitemap for my websites !

  19. Impressive article with brief details of every plugin. Swifty bar and Learnpress are awesome. Good job Tom !!!

  20. great roundup – definitely gonna take a few of these for a test drive

  21. Swifty bar in top10 awesome plugins in 2015 and on elegant blog. @Tom thanks a bunch!

    You can expect update soon that will include number of shares for each article. I am just working in a way to keep it super fast and clean as that is primary goal of a swifty bar. No additional queries to social sites for now and thats where speed comes from.
    Also couple of new exiting updates will come after this one so keep an eye on it, and ofcourse all is free 🙂

    P.S. Thanks to this article, swifty is now on 300+ active installs instead of 200 and more then 1000 downloads. As its totally free, its not possible for me to pay for advertising it to masses but hopefully word of mouth would do it 🙂

    If anyone else has some suggestions for it, let me know i would gladly add it.

    Best,

    Goran
    Author of Swifty Bar

  22. Much like Adam Teece mentioned above, I’m a huge fan of what Postmatic are doing for WordPress blogs. They’re making subscribing and commenting easy and fun again.

    You want email subscriber options? Use their OptIns (free). You want email delivery and comment via email? Use their Postmatic (free, also Premium available). You want native comments that act like third party comments (Ajax, SEO, cache support, responsive, etc)? Use Epoch.

    When you use all three together…. yup, good times. 🙂

    OK, admittedly, I’m very biased as I’ve been using these guys since beta days earlier this year, but they’re the freshest breath of air to hit the WP plugin directory in a long time.

    Which reminds me – please add support for Postmatic to your Bloom plugin! 🙂

  23. Be cautious about Yoast, its founded in China and we been tracking it for now 14 years, if you do use it monitor its activity. I enjoy WordPress but, from a business stand point dealing in the cyber world. Adding something making it easy opens the door to something bad.

    Hackers are able to hack WordPress because simplicity is the doorway into a website. So, please be careful before you add any plugin, wordpress does not guarantee its validation.

  24. Be very careful with Symbiostock. When I installed it it completely took over woocommerce. Besides that there are many bugs. Use grfx instead https://wordpress.org/plugins/grfx/

  25. Unfortunately for the Login Page Styler, the really interesting pieces are not in the Free version; oh well. It got me looking around for a plugin to do this.

  26. I just tried the free version of the career portfolio plugin and there seems to be a conflict with the Divi Theme slider.
    As soon as I added a portfolio the Heading section of my slider lost its margins and the button below started to overlap the heading. Is this something you were aware of before recommending this plugin.
    If it can be resolved then it will probably fix a question i currently have with support with Divi’s on internal portfolio capabilities which are fairly limited in display capabilities.
    Otherwise it looks great. But you really do need the pro version for all the benefits.

  27. I like Swifty Bar, it was featured on the Advanced WP group on FB.

    Another plugin developed in 2015 that I think should be on the list is the SO Clean Up Yoast SEO plugin. It does what it says in the name: clean up all the fluff that the Yoast SEO plugin adds to your site.

    I released it end of April and the number of installs and active users is growing steadily. I also make sure to keep it up to date with whatever fluff Team Yoast adds to their plugin.

    If you’re interested and want to clean up the things that the Yoast SEO plugin adds to your site, then please have a look at https://wordpress.org/plugins/so-clean-up-wp-seo/

  28. Tom,

    thanks – the list is awesome , using free plugins at times mess the website, I prefer to use minimum plugins during the development if possible limited to few premium developers. For example when using divi theme , prefer using the monarch for social share , similar for opt-in so that high degree of compatibility is maintained.

    But list will be useful 🙂

    Take care , will look forward more from you

  29. Great list, i will try some of them. Another plugin i found useful is “Contact Form 7 Image Captcha” . I do not recommend captcha but this one is pretty useful (if the client really wants one)

    Thanks for the list.

  30. Awesome share. Most of the plugins, you have shared here are new to me. Surely I’ll try few of them on my blog. Among all of them I really like the Swifty bar.

  31. Swifty Bar is a great one especially for news/magazine type websites.

  32. The career portfolio plugin is nice – but the free version is incredibly limited – there are many other free portfolio/gallery plugins with a lot more features.

    The standard version is $30 – includes 6 months of support, but no updates.

    The extended version is $50 – includes 12 months support and 12 months updates.

    So, unless you’re happy with no updates, you’re looking at a $50 per year plugin.

    I’ve used many free and paid gallery plugins, and I wasn’t convinced that this had that much more to offer than many others, taking into consideration a $50 per year price tag.

    Happy to be proven wrong. Suggestion to developers – make a test demo site available to login and try all the features. From the free version, I really couldn’t see what makes this plugin significantly different or better than many others.

  33. A great free plugin is Email Address Encoder (https://wordpress.org/plugins/email-address-encoder/) No configuration or settings, just install it and it encrypts to hex/decimal any email address on the page being displayed. Users see the full email address, but the page source only shows a hex/decimal string to reduce page scraping.

  34. Yet another great post from Elegant Themes. already tested 2 of the 10 recommendations! Keep it up guys! 🙂

  35. Right on the toe. The tips are really helpful for anyone who is starting their new website. I am gonna bookmark it and revisit it whenever I need to start a new website.

  36. Love reading lists and finding one or two winners. Already got Swifty Bar going — interested to see if it increases interaction.

    Thanks for the article!

  37. Great work guys! Good picks and it’s amazing how many of these I haven’t seen yet.

  38. Is there a work around to get LearnPress to work with Divi?

  39. Thanks for the nice collections of new and free wordpress plugins as I am fairly new to wordpress I have come across these very useful plugins for bloggers! Thanks and Keep doing great work

  40. Great share Tom! I am gonna try The Swifty Bar and Portfolio plugins. They looks interesting.

  41. Well done Tom;
    I really like that swifty bar but i haven’t tried it and am sure i will definitely give it a try.
    I also want to use this avenue to recommend the plugin made by my friend named “AtComment” , the work of the plugin is to make the admin of a blog to make comments to all commentators on a post by mentioning their name and they will be notified of the mention and hurry back to the blog. You can get the plugin through the WordPress repository.
    Thanks Hope Praise.

  42. I own DIVI template and Hellobar doesnt work with your template seems a conflict with it ! Some plugins you present in your list create some conflict too, how do you explain this ? thank you

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Please submit a ticket to our support forum so that we can address any bugs or conflicts.

  43. Oh! loved this plugin collection. I was wondering if you can suggest me a good plugin for social sharing. These days social sharing plays a vital role in internet marketing.

  44. Nice article. Recently I came across a very nice WP plugin. The new bloggers flood their blog with all the high-resolution images to make it nice and attractive. But for the matter of fact, that reduces the speed of the website and it takes a lot of time to load which hampers the user experience.

    Use ‘wp smush’ to reduce the size of images and keep the quality good. The free version will allow 50 images to smush at a time, then you need to start the process again for next 50 images. Premium version will take this restriction off.

    Regards,
    Vikas Singh

401,632 Customers Are Already Building Amazing Websites With Divi. Join The Most Empowered WordPress Community On The Web

We offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, so joining is Risk-Free!

Sign Up Today

Pin It on Pinterest