12 [Must Have] Best WordPress Plugins For Your Website

  • Jatin 
best wordpress plugins

What are the best WordPress plugins for my new website? It’s the most common question that you might come across.

Are there any WordPress plugins that are completely free? To be honest most of the plugins out there are free with option to upgrade. This way you get the option to test the plugin to some extent before you actually consider buying.

We are going to discuss the top of the shelf plugins that anyone with new or even existing website must have.

Let’s break them down with following categories:

  1. Performance – Improves overall performance of your website (LiteSpeed cache, CDN, Lazy load images, & optimize images to improve the speed of website)
  2. Security – To prevent bot attacks and phishing scams (Google noCaptcha, SSL)
  3. Enhancement – Improve the appearance of your website (Contact form 7, subscription form)
  4. Technical – Does the job in the background i.e. inactive log out, cron jobs
  5. SEO – Helps yor rank your website in search engines (Yoast SEO)

#1 Performance

The website performance is the crucial part for being online 24×7. Think about it for a sec, if your website is down, what would be the impact on your business?

Here are a few things that I could think off:

  • Loss of sale to competitor – you can loose sales to your competitor
  • Brand reputation at stake – if the website is down quite often
  • Lots of complaints – your customers won’t be able to make purchases. This will turn into negative feedback
  • Financial loss – Your business can have major financial impact
  • Liability – Not able to meet debt requirement or minimum repayments

To ensure you don’t come across any of that you must have the following plugins installed on your website.

LiteSpeed Cache:

LiteSpeed Cache Main

LiteSpeed cache is one of the best WordPress plugins to have on your website. It helps with speeding up your website and improves overall functionality.

Some of the features include:

  • Object Cache (Memcached/LSMCD/Redis)
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Combine CSS/JS
  • Minify inline CSS/JS
  • Browser cache
  • Lazyload images/iframes
  • Database Cleaner and Optimizer
  • Import & export settings

How to configure LiteSpeed Cache properly

Installing and activating a plugin is one thing but configuring it properly require understanding.

What do I mean by that?

It’s easy enough to say that you have activated it. However, you can miss out on the full potential that it has to offer, if not configured properly. That’s why we have found the perfect step by step guide for you offered by LiteSpeed itself. You can learn about each components yourself and decide whether that option should be turned on for your website.

Cloudflare

Cloudflare plugin

Cloudflare works very well on its own as well as with LiteSpeed cache plugin.

How does it work?

It saves the session (copy) of your website page, post, image, links and styles to users browser or computer. The benefit is quite significant that the web pages including content loads super fast.

Imagine a page size including, pictures, text, styles and anything adds up to 1mb. Generally speaking 1mb is nothing, however when it comes to optimization it’s a lot.

Simply put lesser the page size quicker it will load for your visitors. It will help them browse easily and more on your website. The longer they stay on your website is considered to be the best outcome.

Couldflare may seem technical to some people, however it definitely deserves a top place in our best WordPress plugins list.

It could mean a few things:

  • You are offering value
  • They are interested in your content, product or services
  • Your website may be shared across social media and other online places
  • Growth in your business (more sales)
  • Brand aware (people will start to recognise your brand name)
  • Your website authority will increase (this will lead to higher search ranking in search engines i.e. Google)

After you have installed it, make sure to configure the options best suit your business.

Some of the features include:

  • Improves page loading speed
  • One click setup with WordPress
  • Automatically purges the old content in cache
  • View stats including number of visitors, threats blocked
  • Protects against threats & attacks

Paid plans start from $20 USD per month.

Note: Some of the features may be available on paid plans only.

EWWW Image Optimizer

EWWW Image Optimizer - Main - best wordpress plugins

Image optimizer helps with optimizing the images.

What is image optimization?

It’s another way of saying reducing the size of your image. This has become very important for webmasters to use image optimization plugins to better the visitor experience.

The web page that takes long to load pushes the visitors away to your competitors. One visitor lost is one potential loss of sale! If the image optimization plugin can run automatically in the background that’s even better.

That is exactly what EWWW Image Optimizer does for your website. As soon as a new image is uploaded, it starts to compress it in the background.

Learn about the different types of compression options available in image optimization plugin.

By the way EWWW image optimizer is not the only plugin to compress your images. You can try online image designing tools for free to compress the images.

Some of the features iunclude:

  • No file size limit
  • Pixel perfect optimization
  • Choose the compression ratio
  • Supports Jpeg, PNG, GIF file types
  • Automated compression (set & forget)

Note: Some of the features may require to upgrade your plugin to paid subscription.

#2 Security

The question you should ask yourself, are you:

  • beginner
  • Intermediate
  • pro

If you are new to creating websites then you should start with basics about website security. A website without security is something like soldier without gun.

If you are an intermediate user, hold a website currently or pro, then would already know the importance of secure website.

Either case, it is extremely important to secure your website from hackers, bots and spammers.

Not only they can ruin your analytics data but can cause serious damage to your brand reputation. Any damage to your business name means no more sales. Customers will shift away from your business and the end result is financial loss.

There are many plugins that can make your life easier to safeguard your website.

Let’s take a look at our must have list:

All in one WP security & firewall

WordPress Security

WordPress has done a lot and continue to review their platform to ensure its secure. i.e. fix vulnerabilities through updates. This tool is my personal favourite because it takes away the hassle.

Let me explain……

If you are a beginner with one click of a button you can set up the basic features of this tool. Once you do consider yourself better than the ones don’t have any website security at all.

However, if you are willing to learn more or you are an intermediate user, then go for the gold.

It means setup some advance level options to ensure you are getting the most out of this tool.

For beginners, to learn more about the security tool visit webnots tutorial to guide yourself step by step.

Some of the features include:

  • Stop users from creating restricted usernames i.e. admin, moderator
  • Prevent users from creating identical usernames
  • Check a password strength
  • Auto logout after set time
  • Monitor failed login attempts
  • Block user by IP address
  • Manually approve user accounts
  • Prevent bots attacks on registration form
  • Database security
  • + much more

Note: Some additional plugins and add-ons are available through paid subscription.

Advanced noCaptcha & Invisible Captcha

Have you ever seen this box or symbol on registration, login, contact or comment form?

Google Captcha explained - best wordpress plugins

Even though this verification is very annoying process but very useful to keep bots away.

There are couple of options that you can choose from:

  • Invisible Captcha (v2)
  • Standard Captcha (v2)

They both do the same job protects your website from bot attacks. However, it’s mainly to do with preference and appearance of your website.

You can also learn about other versions from the best Google itself explains about reCaptcha.’

Some of the features include:

  • Use with API keys
  • Easy integration with WordPress sites
  • Free uses or assessments up to 1 million per month
  • Automated verification’s with “I’m not bot” box
  • Video resources available
  • Documentation available for customization

Note: one million assessments may change at any time. Please refer to Google for up to date information.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate

SSL https - best wordpress plugins

SSL basically adds a security lock next to your websites name.

It helps search engines like Google understand that your website is secure. Additionally, it puts your visitors at ease as well. It is absolutely optional at the present moment. However, I would strongly recommend to have it installed considering you can get one for free.

Check out the article to find out how you can claim your free SSL certificate.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Shows the visitors that website is safe
  • Secure & encrypted transactions
  • Domain name validation with security lock
  • Google search ranking boost

Note: Paid and more secured SSL certificate subscriptions are available through various providers

#3 Enhancement

It’s quite obvious that you are looking to enhance the appearance and functionality of your website.

Some of the examples may include:

  • Newsletter subscription forms (To gain access to visitor email address, contact number etc)
  • Pop up form (To display special offers, cart abandonment recovery etc)
  • Contact form (To allow feedback, general enquiries etc)

The purpose of it is to engage with your audience and to allow them to get in touch with you.

This allows better success rate for sales and business growth.

Newsletter

Newsletter plugin - best wordpress plugins

Newsletters have been around for decades and serves a great purpose. You don’t need to go far looking for best WordPress plugins list because Newsletter has the basics covered for you.

How does it work?

Normally, you would create a box with heading and couple of input boxes to obtain visitors details. The details obtained then can be used to communicate offers and weekly updates with the visitor.

It keeps the user engaged with your business and they get the benefit of having information about your latest products.

Some of the features include:

  • Send unlimited newsletters
  • Tracking with stats
  • Incorporate with external SMTP service
  • Create sleek layouts with visual composer
  • Documentation support available

Additionally you can compare 14 newsletter plugins and choose the best plugin as you like.

Note: Some of the features may require upgrade to paid plans.

Popup Maker

popup maker

Popup Maker has earned the place to be in best WordPress plugins list with its 4.9/5 star rating.

The purpose of popup form is to drive sales, visitors engagement and promote offers. This is one of the most common used tactic by many companies for product sales and growth.

Some of the features may include:

  • Popups to obtain email addresses
  • Welcome popups to greet the visitors
  • Special announcements
  • Promote offers i.e. discounts, sales
  • Cookie notices
  • Different style popups i.e. slide in, floating, notification bar

Note: Some of the features may require you to upgrade to paid subscription.

WP Forms

WP Forms Main - best wordpress plugins

WP forms allow your visitors and customers to connect with you through form. The form works in offline mode and an email notification is sent to the website administrator. Hence, claims the spot in the best WordPress plugins list.

The form can be used to create different business requirements i.e. subscription form, contact form, registration form etc.

You can add as many fields as you like to gather visitors details.

Some of the features include:

  • Unlimited forms
  • Create unlimited input boxes or options
  • Option to include reCaptcha on the form
  • Add placeholders to each input box
  • Multi choice input fields
  • Visual editor to create stunning forms
  • Integrate with Mailchimp, PayPal

Note: Some of the features will require you to upgrade to paid subscription.

#4 Technical

Technically speaking these are the plugins that you would not come across very often. They work in the background and if setup correctly does your job effortlessly. In saying that utmost important to the overall functionality of WordPress website.

Some of the examples may include:

  • Analysis and tracking
  • Cron jobs (i.e. schedule posts to publish)
  • Security tasks (i.e. check vulnerabilities, log users behaviour, inactive logout)

Important things to remember that some times doubling up on similar type of plugins, can cause issues with functionality and appearance of your website.

Google Analytics

Source: Google

You can not go wrong with using Google Analytics on your website. In fact, this is the first plugin everyone should install. The most amazing fact about Google Analytics is that it is offered by Google itself for free.

There are two ways you can install Google Analytics on your website.

  • Through WordPress plugin
  • Through code snippet

The analysis helps identify the areas of concern regarding your business growth. Once you know about the core issues then you can work on a plan to fix it.

If you are considering to have the insights completely free, then you should learn how to install Google Analytics snippet on your website.

Did you know that Analytics can help you boost your web traffic?

I bet you didn’t, until now….

Let us show you how you can differentiate the insights drawn from Google Analytics to achieve growth.

Additionally, you can check out the 7 actionable tips to boost your website traffic with Google Analytics.

Now coming back to first option, through plugin you can gain insights to user behaviour.

Monster Insights WordPress Analytics Plugin
Monster Insights Plugin - best wordpress plugins

This plugin is offered by Monster Insights and is well known in the plugins market. To date it has 2 million plus active installation and nearing 2000 positive comments.

It means the plugin is good to use and potentially can help you achieve the same if not more similar to Google Analytics.

Some of the key features may include:

  • Easy tracking across various platforms
  • Analytics dashboard to gain insights
  • Track Woo-Commerce products
  • Report based on individual pages
  • Helps you keep track of external links
  • Setup tracking based on category, tags or authors
  • Integrate with plugins including Yoast, Woo-Commerce & many more

Note: Basic installation through WordPress plugins is quite limited. Therefore, paid options are available based on yearly subscription plans.

WP Control

WP Control Cron Jobs - best wordpress plugins

This plugin is suitable for advance level users and should be handled with extreme care. It is suitable for people with programming knowledge and wealth of experience in WordPress.

Cron jobs are essential and integral part of your website.

Let’s have a look what they are use for:

  • Scheduling of post to publish automatically
  • Update plugins, themes in the background
  • Ease the pressure on the core systems
  • Helps avoid exhaustion of server resources
  • Execute a certain task at set time
  • Can run in a loop infinitely

If you feel intrigued by the idea of cron job and core system functionality, then you should definitely read beginners guide to cron jobs.

Simple History

Simple history let’s you keep track of almost any changes made by admin on your WordPress website. It has been super beneficial in our case because now we don’t need to keep track of changes we made to posts, plugins and themes etc.

The plugin does it all…..

More importantly you can download the excel spreadsheet with the log of changes made.

Cool, right?

Some of the features may include:

  • Find out which admin made change to your post and when
  • Know which plugin was removed and added
  • Keep track of taxonomy changes
  • Comments moderation and removal
  • User profile and logins
  • Export the data log

Note: Plugin is free, however you can support the team with donation.

#5 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is commonly known for boosting your website’s search engine ranking.

Having your website listed is one thing but putting it above others requires a lot of skills. It is recommended to perform SEO audit regularly to stay ahead of your competition.

We have done some research and found the #1 tool to do SEO audit for beginners to advance level users.

However the combination of tools listed below can help you achieve greater goals in less time.

Let’s take a look at our first pick……

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO Plugin - best wordpress plugins

Yoast is great for SEO regardless of your understanding about optimization i.e. beginner, intermediate, advance.

It does not require anyone’s appraisal to be in the list of best WordPress plugins for SEO because it’s that good.

Beginners can follow some colour codes such as green, amber and red to ascertain if their content is good.

Intermediate users can work on the areas of improvement following amber and red code.

Advance level users can add in personal touch to fix the errors in content and optimize to be in front of millions of users.

SEO expert and digital marketing entrepreneur Neil Patel explains “how to setup Yoast SEO correctly“.

Some of the features may include:

  • Optimize keywords
  • Page title and description
  • Keeps track of outdated content
  • Helps with indexing
  • Readability check
  • Breadcrumbs setup
  • Avoid duplicate content

Note: Yoast does offer premium version of plugins that includes some advance features for paid subscription.

SEMrush

Mostly every SEO out there during their time have heard and used SEMrush. It is a combination of online tools to suit beginner to most advance SEO’s requirements.

You can not only improve your website ranking in search engine like Google but also keep an close eye on your competiton.

Sounds great, right?

The keyword magic tool is my personal favourite tool to gather insights about top ranking keywords. That’s we have listed it in the best WordPress plugins category.

Some of the features it may include:

  • Perform keyword analysis
  • Track your rankings daily with reports
  • Keep an eye on competitors through analysis
  • Check any domains backlinks
  • Create SEO titles to create unique content

Note: Free version only offers 10 search queries per day with 10 results per query.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs tool - best wordpress plugins

Ahrefs is a direct competitor of SEMrush. It also offers similar tools to do analysis of your website as well as your competition. So, how can you differentiate one from another is the difficult question to answer.

The best way I can put this for you is to “try both” tools and pick the one based on your findings.

I prefer SEMrush over Ahrefs simply because it offers free search queries. However, you have to pay $7 for 7 days to try Ahrefs.

You can see my point, right?

If you are a beginner and most likely trying to create your website keeping expenses to minimum, then SEMrush is your best bet.

However, if you are curious to learn about Ahrefs features, most definitely $7 won’t break your bank.

Some of the features it may include:

  • Optimize your website with site audit tool
  • Analyse your competitors data with site explorer
  • Keyword explorer can help you learn about your customers
  • Know about industry’s top content with content explorer
  • Check your ranking improvements

Note: $7 trial only lasts for one week and it will charge you automatically for one month afterwards

# Bonus Tool:

Elementor page builder

Elementor page Builder - best wordpress plugins

This tool can help you improve your website’s appearance in no time.

You might ask, why would you want to use Elementor for appearance?

I agree with you, you don’t have to use Elementor page builder plugin as there are so many themes available for WordPress websites.

However, the free themes that are available out there does little to impress your visitors and the paid themes may cost fair bit.

Hence, Elementor page builder’s free version can do wonders for your website’s appearance. Thus, claims one of the best WordPress plugins title as bonus tool.

Some of the features may include:

  • Create professional templates
  • Visual editor
  • Integrates with most common plugins
  • Create responsive websites
  • Animated headlines
  • Image and video sliders

Note: Some of the features may require you to upgrade to pro subscription plan.

Conclusion:

WordPress has tons of plugins and you can choose whichever plugin you like!

There are no hard and fast rules about choosing the one plugin over another.

All the plugins are best WordPress plugins in their own way.

Tell us in a few words, which plugin are you going to use for your website?

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