In this post, I’m going to reveal my 15 Must-Have (And Free) WordPress Plugins. The plugins that I’m going to review are ones that I install on EVERY WordPress website I build as a default. This list comes from over seven years of experimentation. I will break down the plugins into categories so you can find what you need fast. Here goes.
All In One Security (over 600,000 installs) – This plugin is fantastic because setup is fast and easy. The software allows you to export your settings to a flat file which will enable you to import them to a new site. Work efficiency is crucial, so this plugin is a win. My settings are just tight enough to make the site secure but not so tight that it impedes day to day work efficiency. Download my import settings here.
Email Address Encoder (90,000 installs) – For those who don’t know, there are malicious programs called email-harvesting robots that scan websites for email addresses? The email addresses are collected and sold on the dark web for spammers. Email Address Encoder uses code to hide your email from these programs. This plugin is a must-have.
Get Email Address Encoder
Advanced Automatic Updates (100,000 installs) – This WordPress plugin is new as of this year. It automatically updates your WordPress theme and plugins. Now I have to suggest that if you do use this software that you use Robot Uptime to monitor the status of your site. There’s a chance that plugin updates crash the site so make sure that Robot Uptime (free) is watching your site.
Get Advanced Automatic Updates
WordPress Zero Spam (20,000 installs) – This plugin stops folks from spamming you via your online forms including post comments. It also removes the need for captchas for your sendmail forms. HEADS UP! If you’re using Gravity Forms (like me) make sure you replace this plugin with Gravity Forms Zero Spam. It uses the same technology, but it’s reconfigured to work more efficiently with Gravity Form’s code base.
Get Zero Spam
Get Zero Spam for Gravity Forms
LiteSpeed Cache – If you’ve read my posts you know that I rave about MDD hosting. LiteSpeed Cache is a big reason why. This caching plugin connects your site to the LiteSpeed web hosting operating system in such a way that caching is fast and easy.
If your an MDD customer install this plugin immediately.
Get The Litespeed Cache Plugin
Comet Cache (60,000 installs) – If your not an MDD customer consider the Comet Cache WordPress plugin. It’s easy to set up. Cache plugins are inherently tricky to configure, and this is where Comet Cache beats the competition. If you wish to have more control, and you don’t care about endless parameters, download W3 Total Cache and tweak till your hearts content.
Speed Booster Pack (40,000 installs and growing fast) – This software is my all time favorite. Ever run your site against the Pingdom Speed test and wonder how to fix all the issues that it raises? This plug is the solution. It compresses and moves your site’s script calls so that pages print much faster. Run this thing with caution. Junky bells and whistles themes won’t like it. Run a backup before allowing it to make changes. If your using Genesis themes like me, you won’t have problems. RUN A BACKUP FIRST!
Get The Speed Booster Pack Plugin
Plugin Performance Profiler (100,000 installs) This plugin was developed by Godaddy, and it’s beneficial. Its sole purpose is to analyze what plugins are negatively impacting load time on your site. I suggest that you install the plugin run the test, remove the bad plugins and uninstall or deactivate the plugin.
always uninstall plugins that are not being used.
Get The Plugin Performance Profiler Plugin
SEO Traffic Building
Yoast (5,000,000 installs) This plugin provides feedback on the effectiveness of your keyword usage from the search engines perspective. It teaches you how to boost traffic on your site. If you have a blog, this plugin is a must.
Now if you’re an SEO professional your probably rolling your eyes right now because you consider this plugin “chump software”. Well, that may be true, but it works, and it’s educating folks on how to get better rank. It’s got my vote. Reply below if you If you have a better alternative. I want to know about it.
WordPress Ping Optimizer (100,000 installs) Oh! This one is awesome. Did you know that WordPress allows you to automatically submit your blog posts to a list of websites that will link back to your posts? Go to Settings > Writing > Update Services and enter this list of domains into that field.
Now here’s the kicker. Every time you resave your newly created blog post, it is automatically resubmitted to the list. This constant resubmission to the sites could get you listed as a Blog Spammer. WordPress Ping Optimizer reduces the announcements to a defined time limit protecting your domain from being listed.
Get The WordPress Ping Optimizer Plugin
Full Website Backups – Database and Site Files
Duplicator (over 1,000,000 installs) This software was initially designed for website migration from one web server to another, but it’s great for backups too. The only downside is it can run for long periods of time which taxes server process time. Some web servers (Godaddy!!!!!) don’t let it run. Ease of use is fantastic. Also, DesktopServer uses it as a way to set up local instances of websites which makes things so easy for WordPress development at the office.
Backup Guard (90,000 installs) If you can’t get Duplicator to execute a backup due to your server’s process limitations Backup Guard is your best bet. Creating backup are super simple. It’s easier than Duplicator. The software is free to run a backup but reinstalling from the archive will cost you money. It’s worth the cost.
Search Meter (30,000 installs) Ever wonder what words are being searched on your site? This plugin provides a report so you can see who’s looking for what. If folks are looking for a keyword and you don’t have a page to support it get one built right away. This plugin helps you see what users want.
Magic Date (100 Installs) This little gem is what makes WordPress awesome. It satisfies a tiny need that I come across so often. Ever have a client call you and ask you to update the “Years in Business” date? This plugin keeps that number up to date for you automatically. It’s versatile, and it works by using a shortcode. It can be used for the copyright date as well.
Advanced Responsive Video Embedder (ARVE) (60,000 installs) – This plugin makes YouTube video embeds easy. Check out the benefits below:
- Disable Related Videos
- Embeds are Responsive
- video alignment
- accepts almost all video site embed codes
- SEO friendly
Do You Agree with My 15 Must-Have (And Free) WordPress Plugins?
If you have a plugin that completes the same tasks and does it better let me know. I just found a better map plugin that fast powerful fast loading and free. Stay tuned I’ll post it here real soon.