With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, not to mention thousands more plugins on third-party websites, it can be daunting for site owners to find just the right plugins to improve their WordPress websites.
Choosing the right plugins is crucial for the speed, security, and user-friendliness of your website. Luckily, there are some clear winners that benefit just about any type of WordPress site.
Below we’ll take a closer look at these plugins.
Want to sell products or services on your website? Yes, there’s an ecommerce plugin for that. WooCommerce is the leading ecommerce plugin for WordPress — it converts your WordPress blog into a fully functional online store.
Thanks to its virtually endless customization, you can sell everything from digital files to physical products, set currencies, show reviews and ratings, add sorting and filtering functions, set unlimited images per product, enable subscriptions and tiered pricing, and a lot more.
Perhaps best of all, the core functionality of WooCommerce is free. Plus it’s made by the same company as the WordPress CMS (Automattic), ensuring you’re using a high-quality, reliable plugin.
Why we recommend: WooCommerce is practically synonymous with WordPress ecommerce. It’s trusted by millions of WordPress websites to run an online store, and its high level of customization means you can adapt the tool to your precise needs.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress, making it easy to optimize your pages and posts to rank higher on search engines.
With Yoast SEO, you’ll get templates for titles and meta descriptions, so you can learn how to craft this information according to SEO best practices. Yoast SEO also analyzes your content for both readability and keywords, so you can balance high-quality content with SEO.
Why we recommend: Yoast is another leading SEO plugin for WordPress, full of features to optimize your website for organic search. Plus, on top of its automatic SEO improvements, the plugin provides tactical help to make your content shine in the SERPs.
Elementor is a leading page builder for the WordPress CMS — it allows you to place a variety of page elements with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. This way, constructing your ideal website is as easy as clicking and dragging your desired elements into the builder area — no coding necessary.
For its ease-of-use, simplicity, and compatibility with many WordPress themes, Elementor is a highly recommended plugin for beginner website owners and those less comfortable touching the back-end WordPress code.
Why we recommend: With Elementor, you can add expertly-crafted pages to your site without writing a line of code. This plugin provides a wealth of page elements that you can easily add to any page and craft a highly effective site. Elementor is the kind of plugin that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it.
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. Caching is the method of storing website content in the user’s browser, in order to provide that data even faster the next time they access your website.
Essentially, W3 Total Cache reduces your website’s loading times. Because of the increased site speed, you’ll see a boost in your site’s search engine rankings, user experience, and perhaps even in conversion rates.
Why we recommend: Website performance should be one of your highest priorities as a website owner. If your pages are slow to load, visitors will simply leave for a competitor’s site. W3 Total Cache helps ensure your pages stay fast and reliable, with minimal configuration needed from you.
Speaking of site performance, images are a key culprit on slow-loading websites. Because of this, it’s important to optimize every image file on your site to help improve speed. However, doing this manually for every image can be a time-consuming, tedious task.
Thankfully, the Smush image optimization plugin comes to the rescue — it automatically compresses images across your site as you upload them to your media folder. With smaller image file sizes, your website will continue to load quickly for users, keeping them engaged and converting.
Why we recommend: Smush provides an easy way to compress and optimize your WordPress images. Since it handles compression as you upload your image files, you’ll see improved performance with no interruption to your workflow.
WordPress sitemaps make it easier for search engine crawlers to find the important pages and posts on your WordPress site and retrieve them more efficiently. The free XML Sitemaps plugin supports various types of WordPress-generated pages and custom URLs, which you can submit to search engines for better indexing and ranking.
XML Sitemaps is also adaptable, accommodating for different kinds of WordPress pages and custom URLs. It will also notify search engines when you publish new posts to ensure your site’s information is consistently up-to-date.
Why we recommend: XML Sitemaps is free, simple, and effective at helping search engines understand your website and index it more efficiently. This ultimately helps your search ranking for no cost and minimal work from you.
Contact Form 7 is the most popular free contact form plugin for WordPress. With Contact Form 7 installed on your website, users can reach you via streamlined contact forms that also have reCAPTCHA and Akismet functionality to help prevent spam. It’s also Ajax-compatible, so your forms can fetch information and update their appearance without reloading the page.
Why we recommend: Contact Form 7 is best for WordPress admins in need of a free and easy way to grow their contact lists. The plugin makes it simple to build and deploy simple forms with all essential features available.
Security should be a top priority for all online business owners. Sucuri offers a WordPress security plugin and web application firewall that is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site.
They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, spam comment attacks, and basically every other type of attack. If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then you need to add one today.
Sucuri helps us block hundreds of thousands of attacks every month on WPBeginner.
Another added benefit of Sucuri is that it automatically adds a CDN layer which significantly speeds up your site.
While there are other security plugins like WordFence, WP Activity Log, etc, none of them can offer the full protection that Sucuri does. The only real alternative is Cloudflare which can be quite expensive if you get their premium add-ons.
Why we recommend: While there are other security plugins, Sucuri offers comprehensive protection.
We mentioned 404 errors earlier, and the harmful effects they can have on your website. One common solution is creating a redirect, which sends traffic from one inactive URL to another active URL.
Redirection is a free WordPress plugin that manages 301 redirects as well as other kinds of redirects, keeps track of 404 errors, and tidies up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, changing the directory of your WordPress installation, or updating your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
Why we recommend: Redirection lets any site owner create and manage their permanent and temporary redirects. You can also log redirect activity and get alerted when 404 errors occur on your site.
All-in-One WP Migration is a popular WordPress migration plugin with a comprehensive set of features. Unlike other plugins on the list, it is not a backup plugin specializing in website migrations.
- Tested and supports many WordPress hosting providers, operating systems, PHP versions, and more.
- Supports older versions up to WordPress 3.3
- It bypasses your host’s file size limits by importing chunks of data.
- The free version limits import size to 512 MB
- You’ll need to manually install WordPress on the new location
- For multisite exports, you’ll need a separate paid extension
Pricing: The basic plugin is free, but you’ll need the Unlimited extension to remove the import size restriction. The Unlimited extension is available at $69 for a lifetime license.
Why we recommend: Backups is a No.1 priority for your website and this plugin makes it really easy for you. The paid-version is also very well priced.