The Best WordPress Plugins

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The Best WordPress Plugins

On this page you will find the best WordPress plugins, ever. These are essential installations – but remember, Worpdress runs faster with fewer plugins, so don’t be tempted to install them all!
Best WordPress Plugins by Category:
Backup / Optimize SEO / Traffic Social
Core Functionality Photos / Galleries E-Commerce Random

Backup and Optimize

W3 Total Cache

w3tc The Best WordPress Plugins

The ultimate swiss-army knife of caching, from the basic page caching (keeping a static copy of the page), to CSS/JS/HTML minification (making your files smaller), as well as handling uploads to a Content Delivery Network.

Download | Plugin Site | Tutorial

WP-SuperCache

supercache The Best WordPress Plugins

If W3TC is too much for you, SuperCache is the answer. Very simply, it makes static HTML files to serve users, and much fewer settings to break.

Download | Plugin Site

Backup Buddy Premium

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Expensive, but the only WordPress plugin that can truly handle both file and database backups easily. Only for pro-bloggers though at that price, but a license lasts a lifetime. ($75 for 2 site license)

Purchase

Vaultpress Premium

wordpress plugins

Another premium backup service from the guys that created WordPress, so you know it’s rock solid. ($15 per month per site)

Signup

CloudFlare Caching Service

wordpress plugins

Though not really a plugin, this is a free service that works fantastically with WordPress to reduce the amount of spam requests for your page and cache certain resources in local CDNs around the world. Results in significant speed increases. Well worth it but requires you to adjust the name servers for your domain so can be a little tricky to set up.

Signup | Review

WP-Optimize

wordpress plugins

Optimizes the database by running the optimize SQL command, removing post revisions, spam and unapproved comments. It’s essential if you don’t manually manage your database or run your own optimization scripts. Also includes functionality to rename users, useful for changing the default admin user.

Download | Plugin Site

Secure WP

wordpress plugins

From the WebSite Defender guys, this gives you a thorough security check and make a number of small adjustments to harden your Wp install, such as hiding the version number. Also available as an online service.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

Redirection

free wordpress plugins
Monitor your site 404 errors and create simple 301 redirects easy to keep the Google link juice flowing and your readers free from 404 pages. Find what’s 404ing, redirect it, easy.

Download

Wassup

free wordpress plugins

Wassup gives you a full stats dashboard and even real-time monitoring of visitor activity, without needing an external service like WordPress Stats or Google Analytics.

Download

Broken Link Checker

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Dealing with broken links can be pain if you’re waiting for readers to report them – get ahead of the game with this plugin and automatically check all the sites you’ve linked to before they become a problem.

Download

BackWPup

free wordpress plugins

This won’t work for everyone’s setup, but it’s a fairly comprehensive free solution, and one of the best WordPress plugins for backups if you are lucky enough to get it working; includes email backups, Amazon s3, dropbox; and does a full file and DB backup, not just post export.

Download

WordPress Backup To Dropbox

top wordpress plugins

A simple solution for smaller sites; this plugin does what it says on the packet.

Download | Plugin Site

Quttera Malware Scanner

top wordpress plugins

A fairly competent malware scanner that doesn’t require signing up elsewhere and is completely free. Upon running a scan, a remote site will download your files, scan then report back. If you use free themes a lot and you’re not confident with PHP and Javascript – you need a site scanner of some sort.

Download

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Best WordPress Plugins for SEO

 

WordPress SEO by Yoast

top wordpress plugins

Widely regarded as the SEO plugin for WordPress. It has an extensive feature set and rave reviews. Give it a whirl, there are alternatives though. Includes XML sitemap features.

Download | Plugin Site

SEO Ultimate

Another extensive feature set – this one has a 404 error tracker and well as link cloaking for your affiliate links, as well as the standard features. Each module can be disabled as required, so scales with your needs. Quite heavy when fully enabled though.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

All-In-One SEO

top wordpress plugins

A basic set of features, but still a very popular choice for handling SEO concerns.

Download | Full review

Google XML Sitemaps

Creates a site map for you to submit to Google and automatically updates it when you post new content. Essential for getting indexed quickly and accurately.

Download | Plugin Site

SEO Friendly Images

cool wordpress plugins

Adds ALT and TITLE meta tags to your images so you can start getting valuable Google Images traffic.

Download

Robots Meta

The only easy way to add robots meta tags to specific pages, search results or feeds. Includes options for deindexing from directories and search engine specific tags. Also lets you edit htaccess and robots.txt from within the WordPress admin.

Download

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Social and Commenting

 

Thank Me Later

cool wordpress plugins

Automatically sends a follow-up email to anyone who leaves a comment at your blog, thanking them for taking the time to comment and encouraging follow up visits.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

Disqus Commenting

A full replacement comment system for WordPress offering a range of login options, share buttons, and serious spam protection. Syncs with your WordPress database to ensure you don’t lose any should you decide it’s not for you. Restricts your ability to add other commenting functionality and plugins though, beyond what Disqus provides.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

CommentLuv

cool wordpress plugins

Automatically inserts a link to the commenter’s latest blog post when they enter a comment (if they provide a website address of course). Superb way to encourage more comments, though also liable to encourage worthless comments posted just for the link.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

Digg Digg

Full set of social sharing buttons in a variety of styles – a vertical floating box is usually quite popular.

Download

ShareBar

cool wordpress plugins

Fewer options, but simpler and very attractive alternative for adding a set of vertical sharing buttons which moves when the user scrolls.

Download | Plugin Site

Sexy Bookmarks

A unique style and customisable set of social bookmarking buttons with a huge range of services included. Quite recognizable by readers who are fans of bookmark services.

Download | Plugin Site

Akismet

cool wordpress plugins

Comes with WordPress, but if you haven’t activated and added an API key yet, you’re missing out. It really does stop the hordes of spam comments that come every hour.

Download | Get an API key

Follow me

Creates a persistent slide-on sidebar widget you can fill with links to all your social profiles. Essential if you have a lot of accounts, but for one or two, just paste them onto a regular text sidebar widget.

Download | Plugin Site

LiveFyre

A revolutionary real-time commenting system with added social login features, CommentLuv-like links to users latest blog posts, user profiles that encourage interaction and more. Definately worth considering to replace your standard WordPress comments!

Best WordPress Plugin Site

Pay With a Like – $39

A premium plugin, but if you’re looking to introduce a Like/Tweet/+1 to view content system, this is the simplest and best way to do it. Part of the WPMU dev site (member $79/month), or you can download just this plugin for a one-off payment of $39.

Purchase

Flare

Another floaty share bar, but this one has a lovely icon set and counter which brings up the actual share button when a user hovers over it. Keeps those ugly native buttons off your posts.

Download

Clickdesk Live Chat

Creates a chat widget that connects through your Gtalk to enable live support; you can add more than one operator, and the free plan allows us to 30 chats per month. If live support is a thing you need, ClickDesk is your answer.

http://www.clickdesk.com

Tweet Old Post

An excellent tool that allows you to repost Tweets from previous days, useful for ensuring your readers have caught all of your blog posts.

Download

Embed Facebook

Enables you to embed features from Facebook, such as an album, photo, event, video, or page/group and share them with your blog readers. Facebook objects must be public.

Download

Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox

All visitors to your blog will be invited to like your Facebook page. This can be set to appear every X days, and can be beneficial in increasing your social network standing.

Download

Polldaddy Polls & Ratings

Need to poll your users? This plugin enables you to easily create and embed polls driven by the Polldaddy system into your WordPress blog.

Download

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Core Functionality

WP-PageNavi

Replaces the next/previous buttons with good looking paginated buttons. Customizable, and absolutely essential.

Download

Revision Control

If you edit your post a lot, each autosave will result in a new “revision” stored in the database. Keep those under control by limiting them with this plugin.

Download

No Revisions

Doesn’t delete previous revisions but does prevent any future ones being made. Install with any new blog. (Note: you can also achieve the same effect by editing the wp-config.php yourself).

Download

FD Feedburner

Redirects your main feed to the Feedburner site. This reduces the load on your server as well as adding a host of additional features.

Download | Feedburner Site

What Would Seth Godin Do

Odd name for a plugin, but it creates a “welcome box” for new users visiting the site. Disappears by default after the 5th visit. Use the box to encourage signup with the newsletter, or RSS feed, or just a personal greeting.

Download | Plugin Site

WP GreetBox

Creates a greet box at the start or end of posts, which you can customize specific messages for different traffic sources – so if they came from Google, get them to subscribe; or if they came from Digg then show a Digg button. etc.

Download | Plugin Site

nRelate (Related Posts Plugin)

A superbly customizable related posts plugin that doesn’t stress your database, and can even earn you money displaying sponsored content. Essential; lots of cool styles to choose from.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

JetPack

Loads of additional features that usually come with a WordPress.com blog – significantly, stats, gravatar hover cards, a grammar checker, and recent tweets widget.

Download | Plugin Site | How-To and Overview

Event Calendar Pro – Premium

A gorgeous events plugin with calendar view or event list, iCal and GCal import buttons. Perfect for club or society meet-ups. ($40 per site)

Plugin Site

GD Star Ratings

An incredibly rich ratings plugin, perhaps overwhelming for most users but well worth the time investment to learn it. A full templating system and a variety of rating types make this the ultimate rating system around.

Download | Plugin Site

Fast Secure Contact Form

With built in Captcha functionality and no need to mess around with templates, FSCF is a simple way to add a fantastic contact form. The options page is a little uninviting, but it hides a wealth of settings to customize functionality, including a meeting scheduler.

Download

WP-Touch

Creates a complete mobile version of your site with ease. Premium version also available that removes branding and allows you to embed ads.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

Linktrackr Premium

Essential for anyone using affiliate marketing or conversion pages, this plugin performs link cloaking and A/B testing for various conversion page designs. Also includes a viral marketing (sharebar type) module. Full stats and dashboard, various plans available from $9/month.

Site

Gravity Forms Premium – $39

Expensive if you just need a form, but the feature set is incredible and the name deceiving. Multi-step, logic, limiting entries for competitions, even a full ordering system.

Plugin Site

TinyMCE Advanced

An enhanced version of the built-in WYSIWYG editor that gives you a customizable array of extra features, such as being able to add HTML tables. Essential if you use the standard editor but find it a little frustrating.

Download

Widgets Controller

Dynamically adjust which widgets appear where – Widgets Controller uses a simple interface with checkboxes (rather than the similar and previously Widget Logic, which needed an understanding on conditional coding).

Download

Syntax Highlighter Evolved

Essential for anyone who blogs about code, programming or web development – this plugin gives you an attractive and functional highlighted code block with optional line numbers. You might prefer Google Syntax Highlighter though, so check that out too – both are good.

Download

Members

Allows you create additional user levels, as well as crucially blocking actual post content from being viewed by users not of a certain level – so you can set up a premium area of your site for paying users and require membership. I don’t recommend this tactic, but this is one of the best WordPress plugins that will handle it all for you smoothly.

Download

WPML – $80

Running a multilingual site with multiple translators is an incredibly difficult task; this plugin is absolutely essential if you plan on doing so in WordPress. No other multilingual plugins come close – but this comes at a price of $80 for the full version.

Plugin Site

WP Insert

Makes adding ad-codes to posts and feeds easy; includes support for mid-post insertion that won’t appear on short posts. An easy way to manage ad codes if you don’t want to delve into templates.

Download

QuForms – $25

A premium drag’n’drop form builder, capable of building much more than your simple contact form. If you hope to gather lots of data or do surveys, this is probably the plugin you’re after.

Purchase

Fluid Video Embeds

Simple plugin to fix WordPress’ auto-embed video sizes and keep their aspect ratio. Nothing difficult to configure here; just install and activate if videos are a big part of your blog.

Download

SlideDeck 2

Simply beautiful sliders, with support for a huge range of content and not just images; also capable of pulling more content from external sources like your YouTube channel or Flickr. Very customisable too, and a variety of prebuilt themes (lens’). The free version is a little limited, but a full single site license can be had for $49 to unlock everything and remove the watermark.

Plugin Site | Review and Tutorial

Slingpic

A very useful plugin that gives your readers the power to share images on your blog via a selection of social networks, including Facebook and Pinterest.

Download

Allow PHP in Posts and Pages

If you need to add PHP functionality to WordPress posts and pages and don’t want to alter the theme templates, install this plugin.

Download

Shortcodes Ultimate

Enables you to create a wealth of new looks and styles on your blog without touching a line of CSS. If you need columns, spoiler tags, tables or even tabs, this is the plugin to use.

Download

Contact Form 7

A very popular contact form tool, this is more basic than others but nevertheless effective, dispensing with bells and whistles for core contact form effectiveness.

Download

Edit Flow

If you have multiple contributors on your blog, Edit Flow is the tool you need. Enables you to manage users in groups, set custom statuses for articles, get notifications via email when posts are ready to be published and even manage article budgets.

Download

Custom Login Lite

Dispense with the WordPress branding on the login screen – use this plugin to display your website’s own logo. Improves perception with commenters and contributors, producing a polished, professional look.

Download

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E-Commerce

 

WP e-Commerce

The basic package is completely free with additional upgrades for a premium. The most popular WordPress free e-commerce around, there’s a vast list of showcase sites. A good selection of free features, SEO-friendly, highly customisable and works well with other plugins; but perhaps aimed more to web developers who don’t mind editing templates and writing CSS – there are slicker options out there.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

JigoShop

Works great out of the box with the default WP theme, and a very slick style. Built-in payment processors, inventory management and full stats dashboard make this a very attractive and FREE e-commerce solution to rival the best.

Download | Plugin Site

Shopp Premium

$55 for a basic license, plus upgrade costs for payments modules and other plugin functionality; but with rock solid support and a much cleaner backend interface than the free solutions. If you’re serious about eCommerce on WordPress, it should be a negligible expense for the peace of mind and support offered with a premium plugin.

Purchase

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Photography and Galleries

 

NextGen Gallery

The built-in gallery and photo management in WordPress isn’t ideal – this plugin creates a whole new gallery section to manage your photos, disassociating them from posts. You can then embed albums or galleries in posts or collect all your images on a single page. An extensive plugin in and of itself, you can also download plugins for NextGen Gallery to extend functionality further.

Download | Plugin Site | Review

Smush.it

Smush.it is an image optimizer service from Yahoo that can reduce the size of your images by around 10-40% without any loss in quality, and with this plugin your images will automatically be run through the service (they’re still hosted on your server though). There’s also a bulk option to do all your previously uploaded images too. If your site is image heavy, this is absolute must and pretty amazing stuff really. (Note: it doesn’t work on images over 1mb).

Download | Smush.it Standalone Site

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Random

Get Me Cooking

A rich-markup compatible recipe plugin; you can also submit your recipes to feature on the getmecooking.com recipe directory!

Download | Plugin Site | Review and Tutorial

Leaflet Maps Marker

Need to add a map to your blog? Then you need this plugin. It’s 100% free and give you a huge range of mapping providers and icons to choose from; even supports some augmented reality viewers. Then just add the maps to your page with shortcode. It’s an immense and complicated plugin, but you should be able to figure it out.

Download

podPress

best wordpress plugins

Any blog hosting a podcast should have used the podPress plugin, which automatically produces feeds, enables you to create iTunes-compatible metadata and offers a slick, embeddable media player – it even gives detailed statistics!

Download

Print Friendly and PDF Button

best wordpress plugins

Not all blogs are ideal for printing in their basic form. This plugin strips away the columns and styling of your blog posts and offers it in a print-friendly page.

Download

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