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12 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Your Website

must have WordPress Plugins

When it comes to Content Management Systems, WordPress is undoubtedly one of the most popular. The platform has over 50,000 plugins making it incredibly versatile.

But with so many to pick from it can be difficult to find the ones you need. So, to make it a bit easier we’ve compiled a list of must have WordPress plugins in various categories.

must have WordPress Plugins

Things to Keep in Mind While Looking for Plugins

What Are Your Needs?

With over 50,000 plugins on the platform, the best way to narrow down your search is to identify what you’re looking for. Make a list of the specific needs or features you want and then begin evaluating the plugins available.

Security

Make sure the plugins you download are secure. If they aren’t, it’s an open invitation to hackers and other threats. A good way to ensure your plugin is secure is to note how often it has been updated and if it’s compatible with the latest versions of WordPress.

Check out the plugin changelog, this will reveal the changes at each update giving you an idea of the improvements a plugin has made over its updates. The more changes the better.

The Price

WordPress has an enormous collection of both free and premium plugins. Depending on your needs you might decide to invest in some premium plugins which usually aren’t that expensive anyway. Premium plugins come with more features but if you’re looking to save money there are several free plugins that might be more than sufficient for your needs.

Credibility

Make sure you trust the developers of the plugins. Go through reviews and take note of the number of downloads. Another aspect to consider is whether they offer support and assistance should you require it.

Consider the Technical Aspects

It’s also a great idea to evaluate the technical aspects of a plugin before you download it. Run tests and make sure you don’t run into any script errors before you commit to using the plugin with your website.

Our Criteria for Selecting the Best Plugins for Each Category

The following criteria are broadly what we consider when we recommend and evaluate WordPress plugins:

  • Speed and impact on Site Performance: How well does the plugin perform? And does it negatively affect the performance of your site?
  • Code Standard: Are the coding standards clean and do they stick by the conventions? High coding standards make modification simple and ensures the code is readable.
  • Bloatware: Does the plugin take up more space than it needs to, in turn slowing down your site?
  • Needed Features: Does the plugin have the features it claims to have and does it really add value?
  • User Reviews: How do people using the plugin rate it?
  • Number of Downloads: This is a good indicator of how popular and trusted the plugin is.
  • Update Frequency: How often is the plugin updated? This is a good indicator of how often the plugin is improved.

12 Must Have WordPress Plugins for Every Website

Security Plugins

1. All in One WP Security

Active Installations: 900,000+

WordPress is pretty secure on its own, but it never hurts to add a bit more security and that’s exactly what the All in One WP Security plugin does. It’s easy to use and implements state-of-the-art security techniques that keep your website safe from hackers, viruses, and other threats.

As the name suggests, this is your all-in-one security solution that comes packed with features. The plugin helps you keep track of the security features you implement and what’s more, this added strength doesn’t affect your website’s speed in any way.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • User Security: The plugin’s user security features include password strength tools, protection against brute force login attacks and user account name security features. The plugin also allows you to monitor login attempts, keep track of IP addresses, locations, add reCAPTCHA to user registration and manually approve user registration among several other features.
  • Database Security: The plugin allows you to schedule regular database backups and allows you to change the default WP prefix to a value you choose.
  • File System Security: These features help you locate the files or folders that aren’t secure, monitor system logs, and prevent access to files of your choice.
  • Firewall Features: Through an htaccess file, this plugin allows you to implement several firewall features that prevent attacks to your site.

Download All in One WP Security

2. Wordfence

Active Installations: 4+ million

Wordfence Security is perhaps the most popular and installed WordPress security plugin with more than 4 million installations. The plugin includes a malware scanner as well as an endpoint firewall providing comprehensive security for your WordPress site.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Firewall Features: Created by an expert term and provides endpoint firewall security. The premium version of this plugin also includes real-time firewall protection and real-time IP Blocklists. Additionally, the plugin provides protection against brute force attacks.
  • Security Scanner: Scans every aspect of your website from themes to URLs and prevents any risk of malware. The plugin can also repair damaged files and delete unwanted files as well. The premium version of the plugin additionally, includes real-time malware scanning among other features.
  • Wordfence Central: Wordfence Central centralizes all the security features in one place making it easy for you to manage and adjust. Wordfence Central keeps track of the security features you implement and records security analytics.

Download Wordfence

Backup Plugins

1. UpdraftPlus

Active Installations: 3+ million

Backing up or restoring your site is easy with UpdraftPlus. The plugin is one of the most convenient and easy-to-use backup plugins out there, so it’s no surprise it’s one of the most trusted with over 3 million active installations.

The plugin allows you to back your files directly to the cloud with more options than most other backup plugins. Backup through Google Drive, Dropbox, FTP, OneDrive, Backblaze B2, and much more, it’s all supported with UpdraftPlus.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Complete control over backups: Choose whether you want to automatically backup your site, manually back it up or schedule a backup.
  • Remote Backup: UpdraftPlus even allows you to backup your website to remote locations after just a few tweaks in the plugin settings.
  • Migrate and Clone: The plugin allows you to easily clone and migrate your site through the help of the Migrator addon.
  • Storage: UpdraftPlus comes with its storage option, UpdraftVault that makes backing up your website even easier.

Download UpdraftPlus

2. Duplicator

Active Installations: 1+ million

Duplicator is the plugin to have if you’re looking to migrate or clone your website. Duplicator can transition your site between domains with zero downtime seamlessly transferring scripts and data. The plugin also has several backup options that allow you to backup your entire website or just the parts you choose.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Migrate, move or clone: move your site between domains with zero downtime
  • Transfer between hosts: The plugin also allows you to move your website from one host to another if you need to
  • Backup: Duplicator includes backup features that can backup your website or selected pages as well
  • Bundling: The plugin allows you to bundle your entire site

Download Duplicator

SEO Plugins

1. Rank Math SEO

Active Installations: 900,000+

SEO can be a tedious and taxing process especially when it’s approached manually. However, with the Rank Math SEO plugin, everything becomes simpler. The plugin brings a myriad of features that makes optimization a breeze.

Rank Math automates the SEO process, doing most of the work for you. It’s a must-have plugin to save time and effort while simultaneously improving your content.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Unlimited keywords: With Rank Math you can use an unlimited number of focus keywords, most other SEO plugins restrict this feature
  • Keyword ranking: The plugin allows you to see how your keywords rank on Google
  • Analytics: Rank Math allows you to seamlessly integrate Google Analytics for your website
  • Keyword Suggestions: The plugin automatically suggests keywords from Google as you create your content
  • SEO Tests: The Rank Math plugin performs 30 SEO tests on your content allowing you to optimize to the maximum
  • SEO Analyzer: The plugin’s built-in analyzer suggests SEO optimizations that you would normally pay a separate service to do

Download Rank Math SEO

2. Yoast SEO

Active Installations: 5+ million

Yoast is the SEO plugin targeted at everyone. Whether your website focuses on technology or cooking, Yoast provides the SEO solutions to help your site rank considerably higher in search engines. Some of the largest sites in the world use Yoast and with frequent updates and millions of downloads, it’s an SEO plugin you can trust.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Analysis: The plugin includes high quality, SEO and readability analysis and supports 18 languages from English to Indonesian.
  • Automated SEO: The plugin helps with automated technical optimizations such as canonical URLs.
  • Site breadcrumbs: The plugin gives you complete control over site breadcrumbs.
  • Previews: Yoast allows you to preview how your listings will appear on Google the premium version displays social media previews as well.

Download Yoast SEO

Performance Plugins

1. WP Super Cache

Active Installations: 2+ million

Caching plugins are a great way to speed up your website for your users. And one of the best caching plugins available for WordPress and for free is WP Super Cache.

WP Super Cache creates static HTML files as opposed to serving users WordPress PHP scripts, drastically improving load times for users. The plugin includes several caching settings that you can adjust for the best results.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Serves caches files in multiple ways: The plugin has 3 options for serving cached files that vary with speed, Expert, Simple and WP-Cache caching
  • Garbage Collection: The plugin offers several garbage collection features for example cache timeouts, schedulers and email notifications for collection
  • Custom caching: The plugin allows you to customize how caching is done on your site

Download WP Super Cache

2. WP Rocket

Must Have WordPress Plugins

If you’re looking for a premium performance plugin, WP Rocket is ideal. With three available plans starting at $49, WP Rocket is easy to set, easy to use, and popular amongst beginners and advanced users alike.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Page Caching: The plugin caches your pages and boosts site performance
  • Cache Preloading: The plugin automatically preloads the cache every time a change is made
  • GZIP Compression: WP Rocket compresses and decompresses web pages on the server and in the browser respectively allowing for smaller file sizes and quicker load times for your users

Download WP Rocket

Analytics and Ads

1. Site Kit by Google

Active Installations: 1+ million

Google Analytics is arguably the best and Site Kit by Google is the official WordPress plugin for exactly that. Get insights on your site’s performance with Google’s tools and keep track of your improvements.

The plugin makes everything easy to access and incorporate within your site making it the perfect tool for your analytics requirements.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Search: Site Kit can show you how often your website turned up through Google searches from the Google search console
  • Analytics: Site Kit helps track how users view your site and which pages they prefer. The plugin also allows you to set goals to boost your improvement.
  • Tag Manager: Site Kit helps you manage and control the tags you use in your content
  • AdSense: You can keep track of your earnings through Site Kit as well

Download Site Kit

Image Optimization Plugins

1. Imagify

Active Installations: 500,000+

Imagify is one of the most sophisticated tools out there to optimize images on your website. The plugin helps you automatically adjust thumbnails and other images to reduce their file size and in turn boost your site’s performance. Especially for websites that are image-heavy, this plugin is essential to maintain the speed of your website.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Optimization Levels: The plugin offers a varying scale of optimization, Normal, Aggressive and Ultra. Depending on the compression levels you need you choose a level of optimization.
  • Convert to WebP: The plugin also creates WebP versions of the images you choose to optimize which are considerably faster.
  • Free Optimization: Imagify allows you to optimize 20MB worth of images, that is well over a hundred images for free

Download Imagify

2. Optimole – Image optimization & Lazy Load

Active Installations: 80,000+

Optimole is another image optimization plugin that fully automates the process. The plugin is easy to set up and you can immediately get started optimizing images and improving the performance of your website.

The plugin optimizes in real-time and also provides lazy loading, further improving the performance of your site.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Cloud Based Optimization: The plugin uses a cloud-based system this allows the plugin to optimize images based in their format and can also convert them to the WebP format.
  • Cloud Library: Store images on the Optimole cloud server instead of taking up space on your website server.
  • Smart Cropping: Efficiently and automatically crops images
  • Add watermarks: Optimole can automatically add watermarks of your choice to all images as well as new images you upload to your website
  • Quality Control: Optimole allows you to downgrade image quality for slower connections ensuring your pages load even on weak connections.

Download Optimole

Contact Form Plugins

1. Fluent Forms – Fastest Contact Form Builder Plugin for WordPress

Active Installations: 100,000+

Integrating a form with your website is one of the most vital aspects for engagement with your audience. Fluent Forms makes that easy without the requirement of manual coding each time you need a form.

The plugin is an easy drag and drop form builder that helps you make the cleanest looking forms in no time. The forms are customizable and come in a range of templates and designs for you to choose from.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Easy Form Building: Choose from several layouts including multi-column layouts and build conversational forms or use the classic form builder. Building forms are easy with the simple drag and drop features
  • Mobile Friendly: Create forms that are well formatted and clean across every device
  • Form Submission: Choose what happens after a form is submitted, for example success messages or emails sent to the submitter
  • Analytics: Keep track of your leads
  • Integration: The plugin allows you to integrate with MailChimp and Slack

Download Fluent Forms

2. Contact Form 7

Active Installations: 5+ million

Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular contact form plugins with millions of downloads. The plugin allows you to manage and control several contact forms as well as fully customize them. It’s completely free and is regularly updated with consistent documentation and support as well.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Templates: The plugin comes with several pre-built templates you can use
  • Customization: Expand the capabilities of your forms from the variety of fields you can add
  • Captcha Support: Contact Form 7 supports Captcha
  • Compatibility: Compatible with the latest WordPress themes and layouts

Download Contact Form 7

AMP Plugins

1. AMP for WP

Active Installations: 100,000+

AMP brings Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages functionality automatically to your website optimizing your site for mobile users. With frequent updates and support through WordPress forums, AMP for WP is a great choice for mobile optimization and it’s completely free.

Here are some of the key features of this plugin:

  • Supports all major page builders: Gutenberg, Divi and Elementor
  • CSS Optimization: The plugin removes unused CSS from AMP pages therefore boosting performance
  • Compatible with several SEO plugins: AMP for WP is completely compatible with a range of SEO plugins including Yoast, Rank Math, All in One, and much more
  • Supports Form Plugins: AMP for WP support form plugins such as Contact Form 7, Graviry, and Ninja among others.
  • Themes and Layout: The plugin comes with several themes and layouts with new options updated constantly

Download AMP for WP

2. AMP

AMP

Active Installations: 500,000+

AMP seamlessly optimizes your site for mobile users using your existing themes and plugins. The plugin automates the optimizations and provides a range of tools as well as regular support to make the best improvements for the mobile versions of your website. The plugin is simple to use and is an effective tool for even not tech-friendly users.

Here are some of the key features of this plugin:

  • Automation: AMP process is automated, so your workflow isn’t disrupted
  • Validation Tools: The plugin helps keep track of AMP incompatibilities in real time helping you resolve issues as soon as they occur
  • Template Modes: Choose from three template modes to display to your users – Standard, Transitional and Reader

Download AMP

Recommended Plugins

Here are some other plugins worth considering for your website:

Free SSL Certificate

WP Encryption by Go Web Smarty

Active Installations: 40,000+

If you’re looking to boost the security and credibility of your site, a good idea is to get yourself an SSL certificate. The WP Encryption plugin by Go Web Smarty does exactly that and for free. The plugin registers your website and verifies your domain through an effortless process.

Here are some of the key features of this plugin:

  • Domain verification
  • SSL Installation
  • SSL renewal
  • Insecure Content Scanner: The plugin scans your site for insecure images and scripts

Download WP Encryption

WordPress Page Builder

Elementor

Active Installations: 5+ million

With millions of downloads, Elementor is the leading website builder for your WordPress website. Create professional-looking and high-performing pages with incredible features with minimal coding skills required. Drag and drop what you need, customize, adjust, and build the site that looks the way you want.

Here are some of the key features of this plugin:

  • Drag and Drop editor: Build your site and see the results in real time
  • Design Features: The plugin comes with several professional design features to give your website a clean and polished look
  • Templates: Elementor comes with hundreds of templates across several styles
  • Widgets: The plugin includes over 40 widgets to add incredible functionality to your site

Download Elementor

Table of Contents

Easy Table of Contents

Active Installations: 200,000+

It’s the simplest addition to your site but makes navigation for your users easy. A table of contents is especially useful when you have a lot of written content. This plugin adds simple but professional tables to your pages to allow for easy navigation through your content.

Here are some of the key features that come with this plugin:

  • Automatic Generation: This plugin can automatically generate a table of contents based on your pages
  • Supports a variety of page builders: Includes support for Gutenberg, Elementor, Divi and more
  • Customize: The plugin allows you to customize and configure settings to create the table of contents that fits your pages best
  • Smooth scrolling: The plugin supports smooth scrolling

Download Easy Table of Contents Plugin

Final Note…

With these must have WordPress plugins, you should have every aspect of your site covered from security to SEO. Plugins are always great additions to take your site to the next level and hopefully, this list can help you do just that.

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