I last wrote about WordPress plugins almost five years ago. Since then, I’ve tried several different platforms (Ghost, ClassicPress) before switching back to WordPress. Thus, here’s an updated version of my old post, taking a look at what WordPress plugins I find useful.
Avoiding plugin problems
While there’s no exact recommended number of WordPress plugins to use, it’s advised to keep the number of plugins at a minimum. Too many plugins can lead to: plugin conflicts; using more system resources; and increase the chance of security issues (more plugins to keep up to date, etc.).
It’s also advised to uninstall (versus merely deactivating) any plugins not being used long-term.
For those who, like me, dislike the new block-based Gutenberg editor that’s been included by default since WordPress 5.0, I highly recommend installing Disable Gutenberg. This plugin can restore both the classic editor and the classic widgets interface.
Alternative: Classic Editor / Classic Widgets
The Classic Editor and Classic Widgets plugins are alternative options to Disable Gutenberg. These two plugins are maintained by Automattic itself (WordPress’ maintainer). However, Disable Gutenberg will do the job of both of these.
Jetpack is a plugin maintained by Automattic. It features multiple modules, and offers a wide range of features. Some of Jetpack’s functions include:
- Basic site statistics
- Email subscriptions for sending new blog posts
- Contact forms (integrated with Akismet for anti-spam protection)
- Social network share buttons
One advantage of Jetpack is that it cuts down on the number of separate plugins that would otherwise be required for extending site functionality. However, some feel Jetpack is bloated, as it’s one of the more complex plugins to run on a WordPress site. Jetpack’s individual modules also might not offer as many features as separate stand-alone plugins.
Matomo is a Google Analytics alternative that offers a similar range of website analytics. Its chief advantage over Google is, well, not being tied to Google; as it’s self-hosted, Matomo avoids Google’s privacy problems.
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.
UpdraftPlus is an easy-to-use backup plugin that can backup WordPress files, including the database, themes, plugins, and images. Said backups can automatically be stored on a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or emailed to the site administrator. Restoring said backups is also easy to use, as I recently discovered after a site upgrade mishap.
Wordfence is one of several security-related plugins for WordPress. Some of Wordfence’s functions include:
- Scanning a site installation for malware and other vulnerabilities
- Limiting the number of wrong logins to block brute force attempts
- A firewall for added security
WP Last Modified Info
WP Last Modified Info displays at the top of a blog post when the post was last modified. This is useful for those that want to indicate a post from years ago contains updated information.
Since I often update older posts, this plugin lets me easily display when I last updated the post. I can also set a post not to show an updated date, in case of minor edits (spelling errors, broken links, etc.).
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is one of the more popular caching plugins; like Jetpack, Super Cache is maintained by Automattic. Its function is to reduce a site’s resources by serving up cached versions of pages.
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. Yoast can also hide the “category” part of a category page URL, letting one use categories more like pages (or as I use them, as pseudo-separate blogs).
Image by Werner Moser from Pixabay
One thought on “Recommended WordPress plugins (2023 edition)”
I’ll have to try Matomo Analytics sometime. Since it’s self-hosted, I wonder how much CPU this uses.