WordPress is nothing without plugins. Out of the box, it has a limited number of functionalities that you can’t outperform your competitors without this amazing staff.
Plugins are the things that making WordPress a giant CMS (Content Management System) among any other CMS out there.
If you are really serious about making a professional WordPress site, then you must add some of the best WordPress plugins to sustain in the competitive herd.
Well, in this guide you’ll be able to learn about 10 best WordPress plugins based on purposes that every blogger or webmaster must install on their WordPress website.
If you are still new to WordPress platform and wanna make yourself well-acquainted with plugins before you leap into the Top 10 WordPress Plugins List…
Here’s the definition:
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A WordPress plugin is like a piece of software which can be installed on a WordPress site to add some features and functionalities that a stock WordPress installation lacks.
Technically, it adds an extra set of PHP codes (WordPress plugins are written in PHP programing language) or PHP files in WordPress to make them an integral part of it.
Think of WordPress as an OS of a computer and plugins as software applications. Whenever you installed a program or software on your personal computer, your OS immediately gets a new feature after a successful installation.
WordPress plugins work in the exact same way as a software application does with an Operating System.
Plugins will immediately give you an extra performance boost, features, functionalities or whatever on your website.
By default, WordPress packs with a set of basic functionalities and features. But depending on your niche or the type of website, you might need even more apart from them.
So to patch this issue up plugins are created.
The WordPress plugins repository is so huge that if you contemplate about a feature or function and search that on the plugins directory, you’ll probably find them out.
You don’t need to know anything about coding language, just search it, grab it, install it and enjoy!
Most of the WordPress plugins are free to use (these free plugins can be found in the plugins directory of WordPress) while some other premium plugins are also available on third-party websites (e.g. CodeCanyon, PickPlugins, MOJO Marketplace etc).
Best WordPress Plugins List that You Must Have
As I already said above that plugins are made to add some extra features and functionalities that a default WordPress installation lacks. The features could be such as enhanced capabilities for better SEO, advanced sitemap generation, adding an extra security layer, backing-up of the files, caching, image-optimization and the just goes on.
I’m gonna give you a list of plugins which are popular, frequently updated and have a good supporting staff.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Plugin
SEO plugin is a kind of WordPress plugin which is designed specifically for making a website visible on Search Engine Results Page (aka SERP). On web pages, there are some certain things such as the title tag, meta description etc. which gives you the power to counter top performing pages on a SERP. And an SEO plugin helps you optimize all these things.
So what are some good SEO WordPress plugins?
There are two plugins that I personally recommend and they are…
1. Yoast SEO Plugin [Free/Premium]:
When it comes to SEO plugins, there is no better plugin apart from Yoast SEO (formerly ‘WordPress SEO by Yoast’). Yoast is cramming with features helping you make sturdy websites in terms of search engine optimization.
It has features like SEO title, meta description, automated XML sitemap, checking up keyword density, setting up focus keyword (your target keyword) & canonical URL, editing .htaccess & robots.txt files, previewing your page snippet on Google’s SERP etc.
One of the most notable features of Yoast SEO plugin is readability check. It is a feature to check whether your textual content is easy enough to read. Yoast will give you a score based on your full body text (this is called ‘Flesch Reading Ease Test’).
Yoast has several million active installations and gets updated every 2 weeks.
You’ll get several amazing features in the free version of Yoast but if you want some more features and 24/7 support…
Then you can upgrade to their premium plan.
See the table below to know what the Free version lacks compared to Premium version:
|Yoast SEO: Free||Yoast SEO: Premium|
|Allows only 1 focus keyword.||Allows up to 5 focus keywords.|
|Only Google snippet preview.||Snippet preview of Google, Facebook & Twitter.|
|No internal linking suggestions.||The internal linking suggestion is available.|
|No Content Insights feature.||Content Insights feature is available.|
|No redirection manager.||It comes with redirection manager.|
|No customer or technical support.||You’ll get 24/7 customer support.|
An Anti-Spam plugin is a tool which helps you find and fight spam comments, spam registrations and any other kind of spam activity that harms your website.
These anti-spam plugins also help you save time. The plugins do work behind the walls detecting spams and only keep the genuine ones to moderate by yourself. So that you can concentrate on the most significant things for better productivity.
2. Akismet Anti-Spam Plugin [Free/Premium]:
When it comes to WordPress anti-spam plugin, Akismet is the best and irreplaceable.
Because this is the spam-detection plugin developed by Automattic (the company behind WordPress), which is giving users an enterprise level spam slaying solution.
Akismet prevents spammy comment submission, contact form submission, pingbacks & trackbacks etc.
The plugin Akismet is a cloud-based solution. Meaning it uses its own server to process the spam contents.
They have algorithms on their server and whenever a comment arrives, the plugin uploads that comment to their server. Then the comment or content get analyzed by the algorithms through various steps. If they smell spammy to them, it goes to the spam folder. Otherwise, Akismet put that comment in the moderation queue.
To use the Akismet plugin you need to get an API key from their website. Akismet will use your WordPress.com account to work from.
The free version of Akismet is enough if you have a low traffic site or if your traffic is relatively high you can choose their premium plans.
A WordPress cache plugin is a tool to reduce page loading speed as well as server load.
By default, when a user visits or requests a page, WordPress needs to use PHP scripts to process them. Meaning it creates a new page each time a new request is made.
It requires lots of resources…
And your server might not be able to handle a huge amount of requests at the same time.
WordPress caching plugin is a piece software that helps you eliminate this server burden.
A cache plugin will save pre-loaded files in a separate directory whenever a new request is made by a user. And if that same request for a page or file is made by a user, the plugin will deliver that static file to that user.
To use the web caching mechanism on your website…
Use either of the following two WordPress cache plugins.
3. W3 Total Cache [Free/Premium]
W3 Total Cache is a very powerful WordPress caching plugin and probably the best plugin to apply caching mechanism and to improve website performance.
W3 Total Cache is packed with a lot of options and features. This can be very confusing especially for the new users and most of the options are only suitable for the guys with enough technical knowledge.
This plugin is available in both Free and Paid version. As always, the paid version comes with better technical support, FSD CDN functionality, caching statistics on dashboard etc.
Image Compression Plugin
A WordPress image compression plugin is a plugin which reduces image size to optimize them for faster page loading speed as well as for bandwidth saving. But, your website can still be sluggish even if you are using a CDN or caching mechanism without compressing your images.
Here’s a great image compression plugin:
4. WP Smush Image Optimizer [Free/Premium]
WP Smush (formerly WP Smush.it) is a splendorous image compression plugin. It intelligently compresses your images (without any quality loss) while you upload them before adding them to the media library.
The plugin WP Smush uses its own server for compressing images. So no burden on your server while you compress them.
WP Smush has a ton of feature like compressing images in bulk, Super Smush (lossy) to super compress your images, image resizing, PNG to JPEG conversion, protecting EXIF data, Directory Smush to compress images outside of media library etc.
This plugin also comes with a premium version as WP Smush Pro for some extra features.
A WordPress security plugin is like a watchdog to protect you from ill or hacking activities like DDoS attacks, malware attacks, SQL injection etc.
Website security is so important and hackers can do anything that they want. The website hacking techniques are immense in numbers and you cannot let that conundrum to happen.
WordPress security plugins are veteran troops, which help you win the battle against hackers.
Here’s an excellent security plugin:
5. Wordfence Security – Firewall and Malware Scan [Free/Premium]
The WordPress security plugin Wordfence is quite a smart security solution for your website. It is very reliable and also has a very strong firewall protection. This plugin has features like malware scanning, malicious IP blocking, live traffic monitoring, comment spam filter, brute force attack protection etc.
Wordfence also comes with a premium version to add some extra features like Real-time Malware Signature Updates, Checking for IP Blacklisting, Two-Factor Authentication, Country Blocking etc.
Overall, Wordfence is a very spectacular plugin to boost website security significantly. Their free version is quite good but if you are really serious in terms of website security, go with their premium version.
As the name suggests, a WordPress backup plugin is a tool which keeps your website’s database and files in the cloud or in other servers. This helps in situations such as website hacking, server crashing, corrupted database and many others which causes your site to be dysfunctional or data loss.
If any of the above-mentioned situations happen with you, a WordPress backup plugin will help you restore your site in no time.
So let’s talk about the best backup plugin…
6. UpdraftPlus Backup Plugin [Free/Premium]
UpdraftPlus is one of the most downloaded and reliable WordPress backup plugins out there.
It lets you backup your website’s entire database and files with a variety of options to upload them into varies web servers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, email, FTP (some of your own server) etc. It also supports scheduled backups (automatic backup) to save you time for more creativity and productivity.
The Premium Version supports some extra features such as Site Migrator, Multisite Compatibility, Dedicated Customer Support etc.
Newsletter or Email Subscription Plugin
An email subscription or newsletter plugin helps you to gather regular site visitors or prospecting customers (if you are selling products). It helps you to increase genuine traffic or to increase the conversion rate of your website.
A WordPress newsletter plugin gives you options like… opt-in forms, sidebar widget etc. to grab those potential visitors.
Keep in mind that (if you really don’t know yet), every time you are gathering those visitors, you are doing email marketing.
And without email marketing, you just can’t go high enough.
Okay… enough introduction.
Let’s grab a good email subscription plugin.
6. Popups by OptinMonster [Premium]
When it comes to newsletter or lead generation WordPress plugin, OptinMonster is probably the best plugin out there.
This plugin works like a charm and will help you get a whole lot of subscribers
OptinMonster comes with many fascinating features to generate subscribers or leads… such as;
- Popup Forms
- Floating Headers
- Footer Bars
- Scroll Triggered Boxes
- After Post Forms
- Mobile-Specific Forms
- Exit-Intent Technology (mind-blowing feature)
- MonsterLinks 2-Step Optins (a great way to gather subscribers)
- Split A/B Testing
- Integrating with Email Marketing Service Providers & lots of…
OptinMonster is a completely premium plugin and their basic plan costs $9/month and the flagship plan costs $199/month (for fully loaded features).
If you are really serious about gathering a lot of subscribers or customers, just look no further and start using OptinMonster today. You’ll love it.
Contact Form Plugin
A contact form plugin is used to create contact forms on a website.
As you already know that a contact form is a type of form that asks visitors to put a set of personal information with the desired message to directly get in touch with you. One more thing is that it allows website visitors to send you messages without actually knowing your email ID (it helps reducing spam).
A contact form is typically used to get feedbacks, service or product query etc. which helps improve your business down the road.
So what’s that great plugin that’ll help you embed contact forms on your site?
8. Contact Forms by WPForms [Free/Premium]
WPForms is well known for its simplicity, ease-of-use and a lot of powerful features.
This plugin is not only limited to build contact forms but you can also build newsletter signup forms, payment forms etc.
It has a drag & drop form building feature to quickly create any type of form that you need.
WPForm’s forms are 100% responsive making it suitable for multi-device consumers or users. This plugin is also fast and SEO friendly.
Some of the features of WPForms are mentioned below:
- Drag & Drop Form Builder
- Pre-built Form Templates
- Responsive Mobile-Friendly
- Multi-Page Forms
- File Uploads
- Spam Protection
- Custom Captcha
- Signature Addon (users can sign with their mouse or touchscreen)
- PayPal & Stripe Addon etc.
Google AMP Plugins
Google AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source project made by Google for faster web page processing for mobile devices. While using AMP, a webpage loads almost instantaneously.
It improves the UX (User Experience) as well as lowers the bounce rate. Though AMP is not a direct ranking signal till now, it’s a powerful indirect ranking signal.
So implementing AMP on your website is of the highest priority to further increase your rankings.
The below-mentioned plugin is a great WordPress AMP plugin:
9. AMP for WordPress [Free]
AMP for WordPress is an AMP plugin, developed by Automattic (the team behind WordPress).
This plugin also works out of the box. You just need to download, install & activate it. After activation, it’ll create AMP version of each and every post that you have on your website.
Yeah, it’s that simple.
Further, you can customize the appearance of the AMP pages by going to the Appearance>AMP. This will let you customize things such as header text color, header background color, body text color etc.
To view the AMP pages of your posts, just append“/amp/” at the end of the page URL. For example, http://www.website.com/post-title/amp/
TROUBLESHOOTING: If you are having problems or error while loading AMP pages, just go to the Settings>Permalinks and without doing anything just click on SAVE CHANGES.
Push Notification Plugin
A push notification is a browser-based notification which enables users to get content updates via web browsers.
Unlike email subscription, this method doesn’t require any hassles, one can subscribe to the latest updates or promotions with just a single click (no need to put information like name, email ID etc.).
Push notification is definitely an excellent traffic tweaking mechanism which you must implement on your site. And a WordPress push notification plugin helps a lot in this regard.
10. One Signal – Web Push Notification Plugin [Free]
OneSignal is a free (almost) web push notification plugin with lots of great features.
It is the most downloaded & popular push notification plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.
The most prominent benefit of using OneSignal is that it doesn’t put any limitation on its providing features.
Some of the features of the OneSignal has been highlighted below:
- Cross-Platform Browser Support: Google Chrome (Desktop & Android), Firefox (Desktop) and Safari (Mac OS X)
- Automatic Notification: Get your notification delivered after publishing a new post or if they are not visiting your site for a few days.
- Segment Targeting: Send notifications to users based on language, visiting frequency etc.
- Real-Time Analytics: You can see your notifications being delivered in real time and if they are converting into visitors or not.
- A/B Testing: Send different type of messages to a group of people and then send the most effective one to the rest.
- Scheduling: Schedule your notifications to be delivered based on time zone or the time a user last visited your site etcetera.
Social Media Sharing Plugin
A WordPress social media sharing plugin is a type of plugin which allows you to add social media buttons on your website. It encourages users to share the website contents with others and also helps you to increase your site traffic, engagement, visibility etc.
A vast majority of the people around the world are using social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) and thus consequently making it one of the most popular ways to drive traffic after search engines.
So what’s that plugin I’d like to recommend you?
Here it is:
11. Social Warfare – Social Sharing Plugin [Free/Premium]
Social Warfare is a fast and light-weight WordPress social media sharing plugin. This plugin has very attractive social sharing buttons designed to get more clicks and sharings for better content engagement.
It supports above & below the post content share buttons, floating share buttons and custom locations to add share buttons at any location you want.
Social Warfare is not only limited to social media share buttons feature but also has some other useful features as well (you’ll find them in the list below).
Social Warfare comes in both free and premium version. The free version comes with very basic features and you can choose its premium plan to get the fully-featured version.
Take a look at some of its useful features:
- Above the Content Share Buttons
- Below the Content Share Buttons
- Both Above & Below the Content Share Buttons
- Custom Placement of Share Buttons
- Floating Share Buttons
- Customizable Share Buttons
- Shareable Quotes (aka Click-to-Tweet)
- Popular Posts Widget (Based on the most shared blog posts on social media platforms)
- Social Proof (Total number of shares, tweets etc of a blog post)
- Responsive Share Buttons (Will look great on any device)
- Frame Buster (Protects your contents against content pirates)
- Google Analytics Integration etc.
I should’ve mentioned about multi-functionality plugin at the first and foremost of this article.
But I didn’t… Why?
From a beginner’s point of view, as a multi-functionality plugin packed with features, it might create a puzzle among them, while they read through this article. It has some similar functionalities that I’ve already mentioned based on plugin usage.
So what is a multi-functionality plugin?
A multi-functionality plugin is a plugin suite cramming with loads of features. It eliminates the need to install many plugins for each and every purposes (e.g. Contact Forms, Sidebar Widget, Social Sharing Buttons and so on).
Interestingly there’s only one multi-functionality plugin out there, which is ‘Jetpack’.
So let’s chat about it.
12. Jetpack by WordPress.com [Free/Premium]
Jetpack is a tremendously powerful plugin with a surfeit of features (called modules).
The plugin is developed by Automattic (the company behind WordPress), which was previously available to only WordPress.com users.
The Jetpack modules are quite easy to use and activate (especially useful for newbie users). The modules of Jetpack help you activate various kind of useful features without installing any additional plugins.
This plugin is free to use and also has three premium plans to get some more amazing features.
Some of its notable features have been encapsulated below:
- Unlimited Image CDN: Your images will be delivered through WordPress.com cloud.
- Lazy Loading Images: Images will be loaded as the user scrolls through a page. This improves the page loading speed drastically & also reduces server load.
- Daily Automated Backup: You don’t have to worry about losing your website’s data. The flagship plan even supports real-time data backup. (This option is premium only)
- Bruteforce Attack Protection & Malware Scanning: No need to worry about hacking activities on your site. (The malware scanning feature is premium only)
- Publicize: The publicize feature lets you share your posts on popular social media sites right after you published them.
- Social Sharing Buttons: Lets you add social sharing button on your posts.
- Subscriptions: The subscriptions feature lets you add subscription widget to your sidebar, allows to add a subscription option in the comment form etc.
- Site Statistics: This feature lets you see your site’s total number of views, visitors, geo-specific traffic source, number of clicks on your site etc.
Apart from these, there are many different modules are available in Jetpack. If you want to see all of the modules of Jetpack then go to Jetpack>Debug>Access the full list of Jetpack modules available on your site. You can even disable or enable modules from that place if you don’t need some of its functionality.
Wrapping Words Up
WordPress plugins are just like endless and you might need some other plugins which are not on this list.
Every plugin has its own purposes to act according to your need.
But these plugins will definitely give you some essential solutions without which no websites can be run efficiently.
But in case you get stuck somewhere and in need of some other plugins to meet your unique requirement…
Search that specific requirement on Google or in the WordPress plugins repository.
And then do some research about ratings, comments, update frequency, active installations etc.
If all of these criteria are rock solid then grab the plugin, install the plugin and finally put that plugin in the action.
What your favorite WordPress plugins are apart from these? Do share them with us and keep the discussion flowing. 🙂