What are the best WordPress plugins?

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The official WordPress directory has more than 50 thousand plugins. However, not all plugins are equally used. Below we have listed the 10 most used WordPress plugins.

  1. Akismet Anti-Spam

You can hardly imagine running a blog site without this plugin. For my clients who ran a blog site in the past, this was the first plugin installed and only plugin, in most cases, they needed to for their entire blog site.

Even though, nowadays, most of the sites have comments disabled and the conversations have moved to social media, this still remains one of the most popular plugins among bloggers with 5+ million active installs.

2. Contact Form 7

For a very long time, this was the only contact form plugin available and it was the best. It is still one of the most configurable and simplest contact form plugins. And, with 5+ million active installs, still one of the most popular WordPress plugins freely available on the WordPress directory. Developers like it for its reconfigurability, simplicity, and robustness.

3. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a must install on every site. Whether you are running a blog site or an online shop, Yoast will make your site SEO friendly in just a few clicks. It has a dead-simple wizard that makes onsite SEO a piece of cake even for the first time users. It also has 5+ million installs.

4. WooCommerce

Acquired by Automattic, the creator of WordPress, WooCommerce is a complete online shipping system with thousands of plugins built for it. WooCommerce has become so popular that it has given WordPress a new branding as a shopping platform. You can sell anything with WooCommerce, whether it’s digital goods, subscriptions or physical products.

5. Elementor Page Builder

Elementor isn’t the oldest or the best, but it’s the most popular page builder available on the WordPress directory. Elementor came when page building systems were mostly dominated by Divi and siteOrigin’s plugin. It quickly gained market share and became a very popular choice, with lots of 3rd party blocks available free of cost. The free version Elementor has 30+ blocks and lets you quickly build any webpage. If you need more ready-made blocks, you will find plenty of 3rd-party free add-ons without spending a dime.

6. Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan

Wordfence is one plugin that I recommend to every client. WordPress core is a very secure platform. But most hacking happens because of running older and vulnerable plugins or having insecure passwords. Wordfence has automatic malware scanning and will email you periodically when themes and plugins need to be updated.

7. bbPress

When the internet was dominated by forums, not social media, bbPress was one very popular plugin. It still has a very active user base with 300,000+ installs.

As it’s built on WordPress you can use the same 50 thousand+ plugins available on the WordPress directory on your forum. WordPress.org support forums are also run on bbPress platform.

8. Google XML Sitemaps

Sitemaps are necessary to guide search engines what page on your site should be crawled. The Yoast plugin mentioned above also has an easy site map generation feature. But in case, you are looking for a standalone plugin to generate site maps, this remains one of the most popular plugins with 2+ million activeinstalls.

9. UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

The reason I am mentioning UpdraftPlus over other backup plugin is that it’s easy to use and the free version is powerful enough for most site owners. You can create instant backups and store it securely on the site. As a developer, when working on a new site, this is the plugin I install to create a backup of the client’s site.

10. WP Super Cache

In recent times, Cloudflare has made caching a lot easier, but this still remains a must install plugin for busy sites. It plays a trick – instead of dynamically generating the same page every time a user visits, it saves that in a static HTML, and serves it the next time a user visits, making it very fast for the next visitors. The plugin has 2+ million active installs.

This is hardly an exhaustive list. WordPress is a very large ecosystem with hundreds of thousands of plugins and also, what one blogger finds useful may not be necessarily useful for an online shop owner. I tried to compile the list based on current popularity and also historical important plugins, that shaped the WordPress ecosystem.

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