A few years ago, I wrote a post about what WordPress plugins I enjoy using/would recommend. However, there’s been plenty of changes since then. Some of the plugins I previously listed I’ve either moved away from or haven’t been updated in several years. Thus, I thought it was time for an updated post.
Below are a list of 11 plugins I’ve either used in the past or use currently.
Antispam Bee is an alternative to WordPress’ own Akismet. Like Akismet, Antispam Bee filters and blocks spam from sites’ comments sections. Unlike Akismet, Antispam Bee doesn’t seem to be integrated into Jetpack’s functionality. Antispam Bee’s main advantage over Akismet, however, is that it’s completely free.
BackWPup is a backup plugin for WordPress sites’ data that runs at a time preset by the user. The plugin can save a site’s installed data to a ZIP file. The ZIP file can be downloaded to the user’s computer, sent to an email address, or sent directly to several cloud services (Dropbox, etc.). However, a few services (such as backup to Google Drive) require paying for the Pro version.
The Editorial Calendar plugin (also known as WordPress Editorial Calendar) lets you see upcoming scheduled posts on a normal calendar-style page. You can drag and drop scheduled posts to different dates on the calendar page, and schedule (as created drafts) future blog posts.
This plugin’s particularly useful for my blog, as I can create and schedule blog topic ideas. Of course, you could create a custom Google Calendar page and plan out blog topic ideas that way. However, this plugin’s directly integrated into WordPress.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP allows you to enter your Google Analytics tracking code for your site. The plugin also lets you view various basic statistics on site traffic from the dashboard.
Formerly known as Better WP Security, iThemes Security provides various security features. It can protect sites from brute force attempts, ban certain unwanted visitors, provide database backups, and more.
Jetpack is a plugin by Automattic, WordPress’ guardian, that adds to sites multiple functions that would normally only available to WordPress.com users. Some of Jetpack’s functions include:
- Site statistics
- Email subscriptions for blog updates
- Access to the WP.me URL shortener
- Contact forms (integrated with Akismet)
- Automatically posting new posts to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.)
One advantage of Jetpack is reducing the number of separate plugins that would otherwise be required. On the downside, Jetpack’s one of the bigger plugins to run on a WordPress site, which some might not like.
Redirection is a plugin that allows you to set up 301 redirects, or redirect posts/pages from one URL to another. It can also track 404 errors.
TinyMCE Advanced adds extra functions to the Visual Editor toolbar. This includes managing formatting features, such as font sizes and text color. It also handles creating and editing tables.
Wordfence is one of several security-related plugins for WordPress. Wordfence performs various basic and advanced site securing functions. Some of the functions include:
- Scanning a site installation for malware and other vulnerabilities
- Limiting the number of wrong logins to block brute force attempts
- Firewall for added security
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is one of several caching plugins. Its function is to take some stress off of the site by serving up cached versions of pages that haven’t had any changes made. This plugin is particularly useful for periods of high traffic, lowering the risk of the site being unavailable altogether.
Yoast SEO is a plugin that greatly extends WordPress’ search engine optimization (SEO) functionality. The plugin sets up and manages various features, including XML sitemaps, meta elements, breadcrumbs, custom RSS feed text, and more.
Avoid plugin problems
It’s advised to keep the number of plugins installed down to as few as possible. This is to avoid a strain on site resources, for security purposes, and possible plugin conflicts. It’s also advised to delete any plugins that aren’t being used.
Regarding conflicts, while I advised several security plugins above, you only need one. If you’re using Wordfence, you don’t need or want iThemes Security installed.
Finally, it’s advised to uninstall any plugins not being used long-term.
Hopefully this list of plugins proves useful. Some popular ones, like Akismet, might be preferred over what I’ve suggested.
If you have any favorite plugins, feel free to list them in the comments below.