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With over 24% of the web powered by WordPress, it’s one of those things that is quite literally sweeping the Internet. And with WordPress’ next goal of turning that 24% into 50%, it’s clear that WordPress is all the rage. So what really are the best WordPress plugins available?
With so many people out there looking to start a blog and to build a more functional sustainable site with WordPress, more and more folks are looking for easier ways to handle the repetitive stuff.
That’s where WordPress Plugins come in handy.
These handy little additions can do wonders for a blog, and some WordPress plugins are so widely used that they have millions of downloads.
I’ve put together a list of 10 of the best WordPress plugins on the WP Plugins Directory to shine some much-deserved light on some essential WordPress plugins that are reaching for the top. Each of these bad boys currently has over 1 million active installs, and they’re ready to make a new home on your WordPress blog, too.
In this post, I have put together three lists
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- 10 most downloaded free plugins (with over 1 million downloads).
- Best WordPress plugins that I personally use.
- The essential WordPress plugins most sites should use.
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Top 10 (Free) Most Downloaded WordPress Plugins
Ah, comment spam. Don’t you just love that stuff?
Those pesky little emails and junk mail that come flooding in at every turn are just so much fun… Sarcasm aside, spam really is very irritating. And spam comments in WordPress are the most irritating of all.
If you want to save yourself a serious headache, then Akismet is the must-have WordPress plugin.
This blog plugin helps stave off comment spam and even has the ability to delete all the junk comments on its own so you never have to even see those digital vermin.
2. Google XML Sitemaps
Believe it or not, even if you’ve done everything you can to optimize your posts for SEO, your site itself might be what is causing the biggest issues for it not ranking…
The likely solution?
And the Google XML Sitemaps plugin is one of the top WordPress plugins for giving your site just what it needs. By creating an XML sitemap, your site is much easier for Google to crawl and read, thus helping your site rank higher.
3. Contact Form 7
If you haven’t noticed, my Contact page has a contact form. I didn’t code it nor did I design it. I just used Contact form 7.
It’s a very simple and much-needed WordPress plugin for creating different types of contact forms. In contact form 7, you will be able to add different forms and give them names. You can also make some of the boxes as “required” with this plugin, for example, the email address or phone number box. No need for special CSS coding.
The WordPress plugin integrates into a post or page by the use of shortcodes, and you can pretty much customize the input forms and dropdown menus as to say whatever you like.
4. Jetpack by WordPress.com
There is a lot to love about the JetPack plugin, making it another must-have WordPress plugin.
Instead of going in search of a whole bunch of other plugins, Jetpack has a sort one-and-done idea that it is built on.
There are over 30 modules that you can activate to help you run a tighter faster ship:
- Related Posts
- A picture CDN know as Photon
- Site Stats
And quite a few more. You’ll need a WordPress.com account to use and connect the blog plugin to your site, but it’s well worth the extra step.
WooCommerce is the WordPress blog plugin that revolutionized eCommerce plugins for WordPress.
It took the more difficult aspects of creating and running an online store with WP and made it about as easy as humanly possible.
Though it does take some learning, the ease of use and the many other plugins and companies that support the plugin add a lot to its popularity.
6. Wordfence Security
A house might have a deadbolt, but that won’t keep a thief from breaking in.
Similarly, your WordPress site may be locked behind a slew of passwords, but that’s not the best form of security.
Many people recognize the need to protect their site against cyber attacks and that’s why many flock to Wordfence. The security WordPress plugin allows features like blocking malicious networks, scanning for vulnerabilities, monitoring various metrics that could make your site more open to attack, and much more.
It’s no wonder so many people use this WordPress plugin in their blog.
7. Yoast SEO
You know it, I know it:
SEO is a big deal.
And even though a lot of what we know about what SEO is has changed, a lot of things have stayed important — like creating content that is optimized for Google search.
However, creating that content correctly can be of a hassle if you don’t know what you’ve done right and what you’ve done wrong.
That’s where the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin comes in.
Instead of being left to guess if you’ve optimized your content correctly, the plugin helps you every step along the way. And if you use this one, you can skip the extra XML sitemap plugins, because Yoast takes care of that too.
8. Regenerate Thumbnails
You know what stinks? Blurry images!
You decide to give your site a facelift and so you switch themes to change the look of it. Then, come to find out, all your featured images and thumbnails look terrible.
Enter the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin!
When you run into this WordPress blog plugin, just run it and it will regenerate your media as needed.
9. WP Super Cache by Automattic
Every tried and true online entrepreneur seems to know and understand the need for a fast and reliable website.
Caching a WordPress site is something that is good for providing both of these.
One reason why WP Super Cache belongs to our list of best WordPress plugins is because of it being so easy to use and setup. Just install, activate, check a few boxes to configure the plugins and you’re pretty much good to go!
10. Google Analytics Dashboard by MonsterInsights
Have you ever had that moment where you need to look at more than one browser tab and then feel suddenly overwhelmed with what feels like screen overload?
Yeah… We’ve all been there.
When you’re running an online venture, there are a lot of things you need to check on to keep a tight running ship like Google Analytics and your WordPress site.
But thankfully, the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin by Monster Insights saves the need to open that extra browser tab.
Just install and setup the plugin, and you’ll be able to view the analytics of your site right there in your WP dashboard. If you really want all the bells and whistles, however, head over to their site where you can get the amazing premium version.
7 Best WordPress Plugins that I personally use and love
1. All 404 redirect to Homepage
It’s a simple plugin that redirects all your 404 pages to your homepage. For example, if you have deleted an old post or someone has typed in a wrong URL of your blog then he or she will be automatically redirected to your WordPress homepage.
In my opinion, it’s another must-have WordPress plugins that every blogger definitely needs. In addition, it makes your blog more user-friendly. For dealing with 404 errors, read those “best practices” from Bing.
Want to download 404 redirection? Go here.
2. Antispam by CleanTalk
I know you already read about Akismet which is really popular. However, I prefer to use CleanTalk. Why? It just over-performs Akismet. It’s free for 14 days, but then it’ll cost you $5 per month.
Want to download CleanTalk? Go here.
3. Simple Social Share
This plugins adds social buttons and different sharing options to your blog posts and pages. When a visitor wants to share your page on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, he or she can do it with just one click.
Most of my blogs use this WordPress plugin and it has helped to increase my blog’s visibility on social networks. If your content is good enough, you have big chances that it will go viral as well. Neil Patel explains you how social buttons increase your blog traffic.
Want to download Simple Social Share? Go here.
4. Scroll Triggered Box
Do you plan to start sending regular newsletters to your readers? Or maybe you simply want to collect emails for potential business opportunities in the future? If yes, then the most advanced and well-designed WordPress plugin for that is Scroll-Triggered-Box. It’s made by Estonian WordPress coders and it’s easy to use. In my opinion, it’s not only useful but beautiful as well.
Want to download Scroll Triggered Box? Go here.
5. Easy Facebook Like Box
This is something that you can easily add to the widget area (mostly sidebar) of your blog. If your blog has a Facebook community or page then it’s definitely a must have WordPress plugin. With this plugin, you can direct visitors to like your Facebook fan page.
Want to download Facebook Like Box? Go here.
If you are planning to create polls for your visitors then the best tool for that is WP-Polls plugin. In short, it allows you to create different polls that you can add inside your blog post or to the sidebar. Get to know more about your reader’s opinions/thoughts.
Want to download WP Polls? Go here.
7. Author Bio Box
If your blog has many owners, contributors or writers, you should add the Social Author Bio WordPress plugin to your blog. It creates a special box below every post that gives the readers more information about the author. People usually write a short bio about the author and link to his G00gle+ account and homepage. It’s well-designed and it suits for almost every blog. [Want to know more about how to design your blog? Click here.]
Want to download Social Author Bio? Go here.
WordPress plugins are the core components to add some excellent functionality to your WordPress blog. But the thing is, when you are new to WordPress, you may find it challenging to choose the most essential WordPress plugins from the huge selection available.
According to WordPress.org, there are 55,053 WordPress plugins to date. In addition to that, there are multiple plugins with almost the same features which makes it even more difficult to choose the must-have plugins from among them.
That’s why I have made this list of what I think are the essential WordPress plugins you need in order to add the basic features and functionalities that your blog needs.
Essential WordPress plugins list: must haves for 2020
- Optimole (Freemium) – A Full-Service Image Optimizer
- Rank Math SEO (NOT Yoast!)
- MonsterInsights (Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress)
- UpdraftPlus (Freemium Backup Plugin)
- Broken Link Checker (Free)
- Sucuri Security (Freemium Security Plugin)
- Elementor (Freemium Page Builder Plugin)
- Social Snap (Freemium Social Media Plugin)
- WPForms (Freemium Contact Form Plugin)
- Akismet Anti-Spam (Freemium Anti Spam Plugin)
So here we go with the actual list. It consists of some of the must-have plugins that will help you to make your website faster, secure, SEO friendly, and just as importantly, visitor friendly.
Let’s explore them in detail:
1. Optimole (Freemium) – A Full-Service Image Optimizer
A slow website is a curse if you want to get visitors to your site. People usually do not revisit a slow website. For every fast website, image optimization likely plays the most effective role. Optimole is my main choice of plugin plugins when it is time to optimize your images. It reduces the size of the images but doesn’t reduce the quality.
Once you set up and connect your blog with Optimole, all of your images are automatically resized to match the required dimension of the device the visitor is using. That’s the magic of the plugin. Once you allow the plugin to do image optimization, you don’t need to think too much about your images loading slowly.
Along with lazy loading, lossless, and lossy optimization, it is powered by Fast Image CDN to serve the images to the visitors without any delay. With the free plan, you can optimize up to 1GB images per month with 5GB Bandwith. But, if you purchase the premium plan, you can get more than 750GB of image optimization service along with CloudFront CDN.
2. Rank Math SEO (Not Yoast)
Rank Math SEO is one of the most impressive SEO plugins to come out recently which boosts your site’s SEO with some exciting features. Comparing to Yoast and All in One SEO Pack, Rank Math SEO has some killer features that enable your website to attract more visitors.
I recommend Rank Math and I have been using it for my blog for a while now. With this plugin, you can do what other plugins don’t allow you to do. Unlike other SEO plugins, you can add up to 5 focus keywords (a paid feature in Yoast).
When you get started, the easy to follow wizard will allow you to set up SEO for your WordPress blog. The plugin offers many Yoast SEO premium features for free. The Inbuilt SEO Audit Tool gives you an overview of:
- Blog posts without any focus keywords
- Usage of permalinks
- Social sharing feature
- Google Search Console concerns
- SEO analysis score, and
- 40 other SEO tests based on your content
Rank Math SEO also helps you to build links automatically to your website. It also provides the insights of Google keyword ranking, LSI keyword integration, and SEO warnings. This really is one of the best WordPress plugins out there, and I think that with the use of Rank Math SEO, your target keywords will be at the top of SERPs very soon!
3. MonsterInsights (Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress)
MonsterInsights is one of the most essential WordPress plugins for analyzing and tracking your website traffic and sales. After this plugin launched back in 2016, Syed Balkhi added some stunning features to track your website from a lot of different angles. There are some core features that will help you to understand what visitors are doing on your website and execute plans to increase traffic and conversion.
Core features of MonsterInsights:
- Add Google Analytics tracking code
- View detailed insights of your audience
- Get reports of your contents analyzed
- Google Search Console report
- Track your E-commerce sales and activities
- Get a report on your affiliate link activity
- View all of the information on your WordPress dashboard
With the help of MonsterInsights, you not only be able to track all of your data but also take necessary steps based on the reports. With the premium plan, you can get some cool features such as Instant FB articles, form tracking, enhanced link tracking, and much more.
4. UpdraftPlus (Freemium Backup Plugin)
UpdraftPlus is an extremely popular freemium plugin that helps you in producing a backup of your WordPress website on Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, and even through email. The free version of it lets you back up the WordPress database and files with the capability of retrieving your website via distant storage.
UpdraftPlus allows you to run backups manually or automatically at certain periods. In addition, the free version will enable you to keep a downloaded copy of the backup archives. Also, if any upload fails at the time of backup, the plugin automatically reattempts repeatedly.
The premium edition includes tons of additional features for ensuring the utmost safety of your website. Some of the features are supplementary destinations for backup storage, numerous themes, a site migrator and duplicator, automatic backups, and so on.
5. Broken Link Checker (Free)
If your website contains broken links, that can provide a bad experience for your visitors. Even, Google recommends checking your site for broken links regularly. But, to find the broken links manually is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Broken Link Checker is one of the most essential WordPress plugins for these exact reasons.
It notifies you about the broken links in the WP dashboard and/or via email. It allows you to check all of the broken links from posts, pages, even from the comments. It notifies you all of the existing broken links as a list, all laid out ready for you to correct them.
6. Sucuri Security (Freemium Security Plugin)
When it is time to secure website from unwanted attacks, I prefer Sucuri for its important features. Sucuri is a renowned brand name for providing website security. If you want to use their free version, you’ll get the security activity auditing to determine how well the plugin is to protect your website from unwanted access. You can also monitor the file integration, detect remote malware, and get security notification.
With their premium plan, you’ll get some essential features that will always monitor and protect your site. The Website Firewall(WAF) will allow you to save your website from hacking and DDoS attacks. Another great benefit of using Sucuri is that they provide highly optimized CDN to make your site speedy.
7. Elementor (Freemium Page Builder Plugin)
Elementor is one of the most essential WordPress plugins for page building. If you want to design your website’s pages or posts, you usually need to have some design skills, or you have to depend on your theme’s customizer. But, with Elementor, you can design your page with the drag and drop page builder. As it supports drag and drop, you don’t require coding skills to build your pages at all.
There are some cool pre-built templates that you can also use to give a stunning look to your site. Elementor also supports responsive mobile-friendly design.
It’s also pretty simple to learn how to use Elementor, you don’t need to design your page from the backend. You can do it from front-end and see the magic of Hover effects, Headline effects, Cool Animations, Backgrounds. Not only that, you can see the live page before clicking the Publish button. With the amazing pro version, you will get extra handy widgets, pro templates, theme builder and so on.
8. Social Snap (Freemium Social Media Plugin)
Social Snap is one of the very few essential WordPress plugins that will help you to share your content on different social media. We all know the importance of using social media to get traffic to the website. The Social Snap toolkit will enable you to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sharing and bookmarking services. There are 30+ social share actions to choose from.
The plugin is straightforward to use and integrates your site with social media in a snap and you can download the free version from WordPress repository.
The floating layout of social icons with the customization feature is stunning. You can also see the social sharing counters right after the icons to see how popular your content is. With the premium plan, you can also enjoy advanced statistics, one-click tweet, and some cool add-ons.
9. WPForms (Freemium Contact Form Plugin)
If you search for a contact form plugin for your visitors, you will find a lot. But believe me, WPForms is the the most impressive among them due to its drag and drop feature. The plugin will also allow you to get instant notifications so you can make quick responses to your audience.
The premium version of WPForms allows you to create almost any kind of form you can think of. That includes booking forms, order forms, payment forms, Email subscription forms and so on.
There are also some pre-built templates from which you can choose the perfect design for your website. You can even set up conditional notifications to notify your other team members or co-workers.
10. Akismet Anti-Spam (Freemium Anti Spam Plugin)
Akismet is an essential WordPress plugin for detecting spam. It was created by Automattic, the core team of WordPress. It is the default plugin every WordPress site has. However, you need to use an API key to use the plugin. But it is free and easy to set up.
Akismet allows you to detect spam comments to prevent your site from receiving malicious and time-wasting content. Whenever someone makes comments to your post, Akismet checks the comment with its intelligent cloud-based algorithms and filters-out the spammy comments. If your site reaches more than 50,0000 comments per month, you can use the premium plan to get more comments filtered.
I hope my list of essential WordPress plugins will help you to enable some cool new features on your blog. These plugins will provide the features to improve your SEO, optimize speed, backup your site and much more.
Did I miss anything? Please leave your comment below or share your own must have plugins.
And that’s it!
When it comes to the best WordPress plugins, which ones can you not live without? I know I have more than one and I’d love to hear what yours are!