What would WordPress be without plugins? It is better not to think about it.
Those tools or software help us achieve almost every functionality with the platform. Any critical need or specific requirement can be fulfilled with the help of a plugin, and if it does not exist, it can be created or developed quickly. Because there are no limits, and plugins are primarily developed using PHP because it is the core language of WordPress.
Within the official directory of WordPress plugins, we can find more than 54,000 plugins and some others developed by third parties. So, it is one of the reasons why it is the most popular and widely used CMS.
What are the best WordPress plugins?
Let me define two main categories of plugins: essential and universal.
Both types of plugins are the most basic and work for all kinds of blogs or websites, regardless of topic, niche or industry.
The special and specific plugins: These plugins adapt to a particular need and depend on user and niche or topic on which it is focused.
The main thing is installing the essentials and focusing on the specials that we need to get any exceptional functionality into our blog or project.
50+ Best WordPress Plugins You Must Have – Separated by Category
Update: Every year, we will see the list for 2021 with new plugins that have become more relevant and offer excellent results. Every time it is worthwhile, I will be updating the list.
In this guide, you will learn about the 50 must-have WordPress plugins, ordered by category and with a short description so that you know their functions more closely.
These are the plugin categories:
- Security and optimization
- Statistics and Analytics
- Social media
- Marketing, Sales and Electronic Commerce
- Email Marketing
- Extra Utilities
List of Best WordPress Plugins You Must Have
- iTheme Security
- WP Forms
- Smush Image compression (WP Smush it)
- WP Rocket
- Broken Link Checker
- Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights
- WP Optimize
- W3 Total Cache
- Wordfence Security
- UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
- Sucuri Security
- Clicky by Yoast
- Site Kit by Google
- WP Social Sharing
- Click to Tweet
- AddToAny Share Button
- Floating Social Bar
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Thrive Architect
- WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart
- Thrive Leads
- WordPress Calls to Action
- Mailchimp for WordPress
- TinyMCE Advanced
- Shortcodes Ultimate
- NextGen Gallery
- Duplicate page
- Pretty links
- Q2 W3 Fixed Widget
- Related Posts by Zemanta
- Buddy press
- Disqus Comment System
- AP Mega Menu
- 8Degree Fly Menu Lite
- Conditional Menus
- WP Floating Menu
- WP 1 Slider
These are the universal plugins that I recommend you install in WordPress regardless of the type of page or the theme or niche you are focused on. So check all of them and install them.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Without a doubt, Yoast is the best plugin for internal SEO configurations. It offers everything you need to optimize the platform and offers a useful tool for creating search engine optimized posts and pages. These are its main advantages:
- Control panel with different options
- Change the titles of posts, pages, categories, files, etc.
- Breadcrumb options
- Change category URL
- Analyze pages and posts with suggestions to improve on-page SEO
- It helps focus ranking on posts or pages based on a primary keyword
- Automatic XML Sitemap creation
- Many other options
Overall, this is a very comprehensive plugin and “all-in-one” solution for setting up and optimizing WordPress for SEO.
Recommended Guide: List of SEO Articles
2. iThemes Security
Security is one of the top priorities that any WordPress user should have. It is best to protect the platform from the beginning until we have been attacked or hacked.
The best and most complete security plugin for WordPress is undoubtedly iThemes Security (for Better WP Security). Some of the essential features and functions it includes are:
- Change and protect admin URLs in WordPress, including wp-admin, wp-login.php, and more
- With the “away” mode, you can disable the option to log in to WordPress for a particular time
- Rename the admin account
- Change the wp-content structure
- Eliminate error messages when logging in
- Quick tips with one-click solutions to improve Security and protect WordPress in all aspects
- Much more!
Without a doubt an essential plugin that you cannot miss on your blog or website.
3. WP Forms
Nowadays, there is no need to create a contact form with shortcodes like Contact Form 7. So although this is still an essential plugin, there are already many options to not depend on a programmer to create any contact form.
Without a doubt, the best plugin to create advanced and straightforward contact forms in WPForms. With its interface “drag and drop,” you can start from a simple form to surveys, quotes, subscriptions, and payments. In addition, it has a much more complete paid version that I recommend 100% if you are going to use something beyond the basics.
SPAM is common on the Internet, and WordPress is not spared from it. Akismet is the best plugin to moderate SPAM and prevent it from becoming annoying and invasive. To start, you need to create an API key, then the plugin is activated, and you will no longer have to deal with SPAM in your blog comments.
5. Smush Image Compression and Optimization (Wp Smush It)
Excellent tool to optimize and reduce the size of the images that are uploaded to WordPress. This helps to maximize the platform’s performance and improve loading times, which translates to various SEO and usability benefits.
6. WP Rocket
WP Rocket has become one of the best cache plugins on the market. It allowed you to improve the performance of your website almost immediately without having to spend hours in a technical setup.
It has a cost, but it is 100% worth it.
Elementor is a viral, easy-to-use page builder that allows you to create almost any type of website. Undoubtedly, among all the page builders such as Divi, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, or Thrive Architect, Elementor takes the first place.
Best of all, it has a free version that comes with limited functionalities. On the other hand, the PRO version includes excellent bonus widgets, templates, and other features that are 100% worth the investment.
The best and most popular plugin to convert WordPress is a virtual store immediately and efficiently. With WooCommerce, you have access to different extensions that give more power and possibilities to the plugin and, of course, to all the functions of a professional virtual store (add products with various attributes such as size, color, and size, sell physical and virtual products, use different platforms payment, etc.).
To get the most out of the plugin, it is best to use a theme or template that is 100% compatible and has the appropriate interface and structure for a virtual store.
9. Broken Link Checker
Nobody wants useless links on their site that lead to the “fatid” 404 error page.
With Broken Link Check, you can automatically check the links on your blog or page that is “broken” and do not work. It often happens that certain links are modified or deleted; With this tool, detecting and eliminating them becomes easy.
Redirection is very effective for handling 301 redirects, checking 404 (not found) errors, and fixing link errors or similar things that your site may have. It doesn’t matter if you need one or hundreds of redirects; this plugin will help you create and manage them easily.
11. Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Monster insights help you read and interpret the essential information of your website that allows you to get out of invisibility, increase your traffic and discover from the same WordPress Dashboard where your users come from, where they are, the devices they use, the average time that is on your website, the most visited pages, etc.
As its name says, it helps you optimize your WordPress site’s database and, among other things, to:
- Delete all the data you don’t need
- Compact and/or defrag MySQL tables with just one button
- Complete control over all the optimizations you want to carry out
- Automate database cleanup every week (or in another period)
- It perfectly syncs with Updraft Plus for backups
- Available and compatible on mobile devices
Security and Optimization
Although we already saw that iThemes Security is the best option to protect WordPress, we will see other helpful security plugins (some complement each other well).
13. W3 Total Cache
Helps improve WordPress performance, speeding up loading times on posts, pages, and other sections of a website.
For a faster, cleaner, and more efficient WordPress, this plugin is undoubtedly indispensable.
After installing and optimizing your website if you are still facing problems with website loading speed then you have to upgrade your web hosting plan to a Dedicated SEO server.
But if you are running your website/store using shared hosting plans then you should get a VPS plan as per your storage and computing requirements.
Vaultpress helps create automatic backups for your website automatically and in sync with Jetpack. It also helps you scan your website and detect malicious files or potential threats with just a few clicks. In addition, it has a paid version so that you have access to many more functions.
15. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security offers free “enterprise-grade” security for your WordPress site. It helps on two main fronts:
- Prevent your site from being infected with malware or viruses
- Detect what has an infected site to take action from there and eliminate the problem
As in many plugins, they offer a very complete basic and free version, while for premium support, premium audits, scheduled scans, and much more, they have a paid version.
Limit Login Attempts Reloaded
Set a maximum number of attempts a user can log into WordPress. When the maximum is reached, the device’s IP will be blocked, preventing massive or brute-force attacks on WordPress.
16. UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
Backing up our website or blog should be a top maintenance priority. Today there are endless services with which we can make these backup copies that, in case of emergency, save us from a terrible scenario! Nobody is in the disposition to lose hours and hours of work by an attack or error.
UpdraftPlus can make manual or automatic “backups” in services such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, via FTP, SFTP, email, and more. Other services are included for the paid version.
Autoptimize is 100% dedicated to improving your website performance quickly and easily. You can add, minimize, and cache scripts and styles, inject CSS into the header, and optimize scripts that your site loads. You can also optimize your images with lazy-load, optimize Google Fonts, and much more.
It is the perfect companion to W3 Total Cache.
18. Sucuri Security
Sucuri is a service that helps remove all types of viruses, malware, or problems from a hacked site in a matter of a few hours. However, it has a cost since its professionals do the work 100% manually.
In addition to the Sucuri service offers this excellent plugin that helps to scan, audit, and enforce Security on several fronts.
Install it, and rest assured that your blog or page is 100% secure.
Statistics and Analytics
Let’s see different plugins to insert Google Analytics and alternatives to monitor the statistics in WordPress:
19. Clicky by Yoast
Clicky is an excellent alternative to use as a complement or replacement for Google Analytics. It offers real-time visits, up-to-date statistics, and a large control panel that is easy to understand and interpret.
With this plugin, you can configure Clicky quickly and safely.
20. Site Kit by Google
The official Google plugin connects your website with Google Analytics, Search Console, Google Adsense, Pagespeed Insights, Tag Manager, and Optimize. All within the WordPress dashboard for easy access.
It is highly recommended!
One of the best ways to position yourself, create branding, and get traffic is through social networks, growing exponentially in recent months and years.
Check out the following list for the Best Social Media Plugins:
21. Monarch Social Media Sharing
With Monarch Social Sharing Plugin, you can add different formats of social media buttons with a modern design, which does not obstruct the content and offers an easy way for people who consume your content to share it on different social networks.
This is a premium plugin that has a cost depending on the plan you choose with Elegant Themes.
My best recommendation!
Getting the user who visits your blog to consume your content, stay a long time on the site, and share it with their social network contacts is essential.
With Shareaholic, you can get people who visit your blog to share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and other critical social networks.
It also allows you to add a section of related articles at the bottom of each post, so they can spend more time and take advantage of all the knowledge that you share with them every day.
It includes its dashboard to view statistics and performance reports.
23. WP Social Sharing
With WP Social Sharing, you can add great-looking social media icons for users to share your content. More traffic always available!
24. Click to Tweet
An excellent plugin that allows you to create a phrase or a tweet so that users reading your posts or any other type of content can publish it on their Twitter with a single click.
Example: I have a fitness blog where she posted a phrase that says, “In order to lose weight you need discipline and determination” ← Click to tweet this!
The plugin allows clicking on the phrase to open a Twitter window where the user can send the tweet.
Traffic and branding, it is an excellent plugin.
25. AddToAny Share Button
Another excellent plugin to add buttons that allow you to share content from your blog on social networks.
26. Floating Social Bar
If you want to give your social media buttons a different style, Floating Social Bar is an excellent plugin that will allow you to add a bar at the top with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus buttons.
The best thing is that as the user goes down the page, the bar automatically goes down, allowing it to be visible.
Try this plugin alternating it with Digg Digg and see which one converts better. 🙂
Marketing, Sales, and E-Commerce
WordPress is an excellent platform for doing business, doing marketing, selling products, and creating a complete and perfectly functioning eCommerce store in a few hours.
Check out the following plugins for solutions in these aspects (in addition to Woocommerce):
27. Easy Digital Downloads
It is an excellent plugin to sell digital products such as eBooks or courses. When you install it, you will have access to a particular control panel with all the functions and characteristics necessary to start accepting payments via Paypal.
It is a simple and very effective plugin for “infomarketing” within your blog.
28. Thrive Architect
One of the main disadvantages of OptimizePress is the large number of pop-ups that we have to deal with to build our different Marketing sites.
With Thrive Architect, you edit the page you will create, without extra menus, without pop-ups; everything is “live” and in the final design.
It is easy to use, intuitive and includes many marketing page templates such as landing pages, lesson pages, download pages, webinars, home pages, and much more.
It works great for selling and promoting all kinds of digital or physical products.
Memberpress is an excellent option to create a paid membership for your website. You can create exclusive content for different levels, and it is compatible with most of the major payment processors, plus it can be synced with Woocommerce.
30. WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart
It is a straightforward and fast way to integrate Paypal into WordPress. It includes many options such as adding purchase buttons to tickets, selling any file (MP3, Videos, PDFs) with a couple of clicks, synchronizing with email, and much more.
One of the best traffic and marketing strategies is to create an email subscriber list. For this, you will need an autoresponder to be able to capture prospects and send messages.
In addition to this, there are excellent plugins to get the most out of this marketing method. Here are the best email marketing plugins for WordPress:
31. Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is, in my opinion, the best plugin to increase your subscriber list. It includes different formats and ways of displaying the forms:
- Popup Lightbox
- Sticky Ribbon
- In-line forms
- 2-Step Opt-in
- Form Slide-In
- Opt-In Widget
Each one with different options to configure the times and places where we want them to be displayed. They also offer a great statistics function, a / b testing, first-rate designs, and adaptation to many autoresponders.
It costs USD 67 for one site or USD 97 for unlimited sites.
32. WordPress Calls to Action
Suppose you are going to do email marketing. In that case, WordPress Calls to Action will allow you to create a sales and subscription flow within your blog where you can grow your email list by measuring conversions, doing split tests, creating pop-ups with different messages and calls to the action, create attractive banners and much more.
Direct marketing at its finest 🙂
33. Mailchimp for WordPress
If you use Mailchimp to create your subscriber list, this plugin will make your life easier with different tools to create forms, send messages, synchronize everything with your content, and much more.
If you are looking for a plugin that can display a subscription form in the form of a “pop up,” OptinMonster is all you need and much more. It offers attractive designs, modern colors and fonts, and the possibility of customizing the designs as you like or need them the most.
Besides pop-up, it also offers different ways to display the shapes. It is highly recommended.
35. TinyMCE Advanced
Although WordPress includes an excellent WYSIWYG editor, with TinyMCE Advanced, you can customize your content to a higher level with more options, tools, and different functions.
Excellent to give more style and originality to your entries.
36. Shortcodes Ultimate
One of the best advantages that WordPress offers is shortcodes, small code lines that allow you to add new design features and special functions to your content.
With this plugin, you will add different icons, buttons, highlights, colors, notes, tabs, and much more through shortcodes.
It’s great for design purposes and for adding premium graphics.
37. NextGen Gallery
Add different types of image galleries to WordPress. Excellent for people who upload their photos or for professional sites that show photo galleries on a specific topic.
It also offers different options to add watermarks, labels, edit images, and much more.
It is one of the complete plugins out there in terms of photographs and galleries.
It contains a series of tools and solutions that make the WordPress experience and functions even more complete. These are some of the features of this excellent plugin:
- Traffic statistics including page views, traffic sources, number of visits, and much more.
- Email subscription for users when commenting on posts or pages
- CSS editor included
- Be able to publish entries from any email client
- Different content and social media widgets
- Set Widgets to only appear on particular pages
- Image carousel
- Backup and Scan with VaultPress
- Many other things
Jetpack contains excellent options to improve WordPress in all aspects and give you access to a series of handy tools.
39. Duplicate page
As its name says, the plugin is responsible for duplicating pages and for entries and custom posts.
This plugin has saved me a lot of time when creating websites with a particular template or specific Framework (e.g., Visual Composer, Thrive, Architect, etc.). Instead of creating everything from scratch, I can duplicate the page (or post) and only modify text and images.
Very useful for any type of site with many pages.
40. Pretty links
Suppose you will monetize your blog and have affiliate links or any other that have a structure that makes its purpose clear (sell and advertise). In that case, Pretty Link will be very helpful to create personalized links and “hide” your affiliate link.
If you want to advertise Temok, set your affiliate link to be: http://www.tublog.com/temok. With this, you increase conversions, and you also have access to the clicks report and other statistics on each link you create.
41. Q2 W3 Fixed Widget
With this plugin, you can create a fixed widget; that is, it does not disappear when a user or reader of your blog consumes your content and lowers the bar of your browser with their cursor. In this way, the widget (it can be an image, a banner, a list of links, or a subscription form) always accompanies it in its reading, which increases the possibility that it will click and thus have better conversions.
42. Related Posts by Zemanta
If you have a blog and publish content frequently, you need a related articles plugin to increase engagement and your readers’ time browsing and consuming information.
To prevent them from reading an entry and then going to another site or closing the sale, use Related Posts by Zemanta, an excellent plugin that places links with similar content at the end of the entries. The best thing is that it offers several formatting options, modifying the number of links and a control panel with statistical information such as CTR and impressions. Very complete, helpful, and superior to the other plugins of related articles.
In my opinion, MemberMouse is the complete WordPress membership plugin. Perhaps it is a bit more complex than other options, but at the same time, it is much more powerful, complete and offers you all kinds of statistics about the users you have and how much they engage with your content.
As with any membership plugin, you can create different levels of members, create different products, access privileges, and much more.
44. Buddy press
With Buddy press, you can transform your WordPress site into a whole social network where you can create a community that shares content, makes your personalized profile, and interacts with a reliable and well-designed platform.
It is an excellent option for schools, study groups, communities for courses or digital products, or any other group of people where a type of social network is required.
45. Disqus Comment System
Although WordPress comes with a built-in commenting system, some alternatives offer great features. One of the best is Disqus, where they promote interaction and community building. In addition, its system offers personalized profiles and a great design that will surely help improve the aesthetics of your blog.
46. AP Mega Menu
As the name indicates, it is a menu where you can add several widgets column-wise and configure them to create a vertical or horizontal menu. It is more suitable for big eCommerce stores having a lot of categories and product lists. Anyone can build their excellent menu using the drag & drop feature.
47. 8Degree Fly Menu Lite
It is an off-canvas free WordPress menu plugin used to style the website with accessible information or quick access navigation efficiently. 8Degree Fly Menu uses the default WordPress menu function and adds additional features and elements such as Icons, Taglines, long descriptions, etc.
48. Conditional Menus
As the name indicates, you can set different conditions and show different menus in different posts, categories, pages, etc. In other words, you can swap menus in the theme as per your specific conditions.
49. WP Floating Menu
It is another free WordPress plugin that is used to increase the usability of your website with sticky navigation or a one-page navigator menu. You can choose a menu from both your website design or requirements without changing the WordPress theme. Instead, you have to define different sections on your website and create a one-page navigation menu within a couple of minutes.
It is one of the easiest ways to add a custom responsive slider to any page with unlimited slides and custom settings for each slide. In addition, it has many slide effects and custom options to design your slider within a couple of minutes and add shortcodes wherever you want to show your slider.
51. WP 1 Slider
If you were looking for a feature-rich and free WordPress plugin, you found WP 1 Slider. However, most of the developers have many clients that came across their custom requirements. So, this slider has a range of layout and configuration options, with no limit to add sliders on one page.
Not all plugins are necessary.
These plugins fulfill a specific task and function, so they only have to be installed when essential for our blog or website. However, what commands installing all the plugins from the Essentials section since those are the universal ones required on all sites regardless of the theme or purpose.
Later review each section and choose the ones you want and need. Save this page well to have it as a reference when you need a specific plugin.
I hope this list and guide of the best WordPress plugins have worked for you and helped you better know what you need for your blog or your website.