10 of the Best Essential WordPress Plugins

There are a wide range of website types built with WordPress. From personal blog, news portal, portfolio website, online magazine to online store. Each website needs different features and not all features are available on WordPress by default. Through plugins, you can get additional features that are not available yet on WordPress.

There are lots of resources to get WordPress plugins. From official plugin directory of WordPress to marketplaces like CodeCanyon.

As mentioned earlier, each website needs different plugins. There are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands plugins out there and surely you don’t need to install them all. You need to be very wise to install plugins because plugins also consume the resource of your server. If a plugin consumes too much resource, it can affect the performance of your website.

Following are 10 of the best essential WordPress plugins you can install on your WordPress site.

1. Best page builder plugin: Elementor

Elementor is a page builder plugin for WordPress. By the time this article is written, this plugin already has more than 2 million users. Elementor is a great plugin. You can use it to create specific pages on your WordPress site like pricing table, contact form, testimonial page to the home page of your website.

Elementor comes with a drag and drop interface. With this plugin, you can create a beautiful page without coding. Elementor offers lots of elements which you can add to the page you are creating. Like pricing table, buttons, social media icons, testimonial carousel, portfolio, form and, so on. Elementor itself is freemium plugin. This plugin also supports integrations with popular services like Mailchimp and MailerLite.

Another good thing about Elementor is that it offers ready-to-use page templates to allows you create a beautiful web page in minutes. Elementor works seamlessly on all WordPress themes. Even with a free theme, you can create a beautiful home page with Elementor. It offers option to remove header and footer of your theme. Following are the example of the home pages created with Elementor.

Elementor overview:

  • Author: Elementor Team
  • Active installations: 2,000,000+
  • WordPress version: 4.5 or higher
  • Ratings:  5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

2. Best Ads Manager plugin: Advanced Ads

Ads is the common income source of the vast majority of websites on the internet. If you have a large website with millions of monthly visitors then you need a decent tool to manage your ads units. Advanced Ads is one of the best ads manager plugins for WordPress (if not the best). This plugin allows you to pause ads units, display ads units on specific categories and tags, set the location of the ads units, set geo location, and so on. There are tens of conditions you can set according to your need.

Advanced Ads supports a wide range of ad formats. Be it in JavaScript (like AdSense), HTML or PHP. Advanced Ads is a free plugin. If you need more features, the developer offer add-ons. Selling add-ons is how the developer of this plugin generates money. All add-ons are paid add-ons. At the time of writing, this plugin already has over 100,000 active installations.

Advanced Ads overview:

  • Author: Thomas Maier
  • Active installations: 100,000+
  • WordPress version: 4.6 or higher
  • Ratings:  5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

3. Best SEO plugin: Yoast

Search engine is the common traffic source of websites, other than social media. To get a better position on the results page of search engine, you need to optimize your website. There are two popular SEO plugins for WordPress: Yoast and All in One SEO Pack. The two have over 2 million installations. We personally recommend Yoast as it has more comprehensive features. Yoast allows you to optimize every single post and page on your website. It has an indicator to let know if the article you write is SEO friendly or not.

When writing a new article, you can add meta description and specify the keyword that you target. Yoast has been integrated with social media. It supports Open Graph (Faceboook) and Twitter Card. This plugin also support integration with Google Search Console. Yoast will help you to optimize your on-page SEO practice. Yoast is particularly an ideal SEO plugin for dynamic websites.

Yoast overview:

  • Author: Team Yoast
  • Active installations: 5,000,000+
  • WordPress version: 5.0 or higher
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

4. Best anti-spam plugin: Akismet

Spam is the biggest enemy of all websites. Even a newly released website can’t be free from spam. You need to install an anti-spam plugin to protect your website from spam and Akismet is one of the anti-spam plugins you can install on your WordPress site. Akismet itself is one of the default plugins of WordPress so you don’t need to install it anymore. However, it is not activated by default. You can use this plugin for free for personal site. You have to subscribe to one of its monthly plans to use it for commercial site.

Akismet itself is developed by Automattic, the same company behind WordPress. This plugin works by checking your comments and contact form submissions against its global spam database to prevent your site from publishing spam contents. You can review the comment spam on the Comment page inside your WordPress dashboard.

Akismet overview:

  • Author: Automattic
  • Active installations: 5,000,000+
  • WordPress version: 4.0 or higher
  • Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

5. Best caching plugin: WP Rocket

There are several ways to speed up your website. In addition to technical configurations on your server, installing a caching plugin can help speeding up your website. WP Rocket is one of the caching plugins you can install on your WordPress site. One thing, it is a premium plugin. No free version is available so it is better suited option for a commercial website.

Once you installed this plugin, it will automatically turn on recommended caching settings such as gzip compression, and page caching. It also comes with other features to lighten up your website to be loaded. You can turn on features like CDN support, DNS pre-fetching, minification and so on. WP Rocket is easy to use, even for beginners.

If you have a non-commercial website and want to install a caching plugin, another plugin you can install is WP Super Cache. This plugin is also developed by Automattic.

WP Rocket overview:

  • Author: Jonathan Buttigieg and Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier
  • Active installations: 695,000+
  • WordPress version:
  • Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

6. Best backup plugin: UpdraftPlus

No one wants to lose their asset. If you use your WordPress website for business, then your biggest asset is your website. If this is the case, there is no reason not to backup your website. While you can manually backup your WordPress site, there is a better way you can opt to: using UpdraftPlus.

UpdraftPlus is a popular and one of the best backup plugins for WordPress. This plugin allows you to set scheduled backups. You can, for instance, set a monthly backup. UpdraftPlus supports a wide range of backup desninations. From Dropbox, Google Drive, Azure, Amazon S3, One Drive, FTP, and so on. UpdraftPlus itself is a freemium plugin. You can use it for free. Premium version offers more features and priority support.

UpdraftPlus overview:

  • Author: UpdraftPlus.Com, DavidAnderson
  • Active installations: 2,000,000
  • WordPress version: 3.2 or higher
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

7. Best maintenance mode plugin: SeedProd

There will be a time where you want to make changes to your website, like changing its theme. If you want to make changes to your website, you can turn your website into maintenance mode to let your visitors know that something new will be coming. SeedProd allows you to set your website into maintenance mode while you are making changes or fixing an issue. In addition, you can also use this plugin to set your website into coming soon mode.

There are lots of maintenance mode plugins out there. We recommend SeedProd because it comes with lots of features and extremely easy to use. This maintenance mode plugin comes with a page builder to allow you create a better maintenance or coming soon page. There are about 500,000 images you can choose from. Also, you can integrate your maintenance or coming soon page with services like Mailchimp or Awebber.

SeedProd itself is a freemium plugin. You can use it for free, but premium version offers more features. Following are some examples of maintenance and coming soon pages created with SeedProd.

SeedProd overview:

  • Author: SeedProd team
  • Active installations: 900,000+
  • WordPress version: 3.5.1 or higher
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

8. Best image optimizer plugin: Smush

One of ways to speed up your website is by optimizing the images on your website. Smush is a plugin that will optimize the images on your website. Once you activated this plugin, it will start working to optimize the existing images on your website. To optimize your images, this plugin removes some unnecessary elements like EXIF data so the image size can be reduced.

Once you have this plugin installed on your WordPress site, it will automatically reduce the image you upload by removing unnecessary elements. Smush itself is a freemium plugin. The pro version of this plugin comes with advanced features such as CDN and integration with Amazon S3 and NexGen Gallery.

Smush overview:

  • Author: WPMU DEV
  • Active installations: 1,000,000+
  • WordPress version: 4.6 or higher
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

9. Best social share buttons plugin: MashShare

Social media is the integral part of today’s society. Adding social media buttons on your website will make it easy for your visitors to share the contents on your website. MashShare is one of the social share buttons plugins you can install on your WordPress site. You can add MashShare whether before or after the article. The social buttons offered by look pretty. It features share count to allow your visitors get to know how many times the article they are reading has been shared.

MashShare itself is a free plugin. Add-ons are available in case you need more features. You can install this plugin if the theme you use doesn’t have social share buttons.

MashShare overview:

  • Author: René Hermenau
  • Active installations: 70,000+
  • WordPress version: 3.6 or higher
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

10. Best form builder: WPForms

There will be a time where you need to create a form on your WordPress site. The most common form type found on a website is contact form. WPFoms is a plugin you can use to create a form. Not just contact form but also other form types like registration form, subscription form and so on. It comes with a drag and drop interface to allow you create a form even if you have no coding skill at all. There are also form templates offered by WPForms.

WPForms offers a bunch of field types you can add to your form. WPForms also supports integration with services like MailChimp and AWeber. You can also integrate WPFforms with PayPal to collect payments or donations. You can manage the submissions via directly via WordPress dashboard. Submissions can exported into CSV file for further processing. WPForms works through shortcode so you can also integrate it easily with, for instance, Elementor. WPForms itself is a premium plugin.

WPForms overview:

  • Author: WPForms
  • Active installations: 2,000,000+
  • WordPress version: 4.8 or higher
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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