Top Ten WordPress Plugins You Must Have
At a recent meetup, discussions were held around how customers optimize their WordPress websites. WordPress is, of course, super powerful and flexible. But arguably, plugins are the true workhorses of the WordPress functionality. With so many plugins on the market, how do you know which ones to choose or where to start? These discussions led us to the top WordPress plugins we are recommending for every website.
Here’s the list shared with the WordPress round table. It was surprising to discover that most people didn’t know about these plugins they could be using to quickly optimize their sites. However, you will find out that about 75% of these plugins are relevant to any website.
So, here are our picks for the top 10 WordPress plugins to secure, maximize and optimize your WordPress website…
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin on the market. Yoast simplifies the task of configuring your SEO settings and crafting your metadata. With the Yoast plugin, it’s very simple to change the page title and metadescription for every page, directly within the editor of each post.
I like it because I don’t have to remember the latest standards for metadescription length. As I’m typing a metadescription, Yoast “highlights” the text in red, yellow, or green so I know the correct length and how well I’m doing on a writing the page description.
Yoast has both a free and a premium version. The free version of Yoast is very robust. In fact, we use the free version.
But, if you want a little more help, the premium version is only $89 per year and comes with extra insights such as keyword exports and internal linking suggestions.
My opinion? You’ll get along just fine with the free version and a little SEO education.
2. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a powerful plugin that can improve the load time of your website for returning visitors and increase your server performance.
This plugin will manage your caching – essentially keeping a “light weight” copy of your website readily available so the browser doesn’t have to download every bit of your website each time.
Ultimately, W3 Total Cache will help reduce page load times and frustration so your visitors view more pages and spend more time on your website.
3. Smush Image Compression
Large photos can be one of the most taxing things on a website’s load time. But, high quality, compelling images are often important to convey your brand message and deliver a certain “feel” to your website. If you’re a professional photographer, high quality images are of utmost importance to show off your portfolio.
This is where Smush Image Compression comes in. Smush will compress or reduce the download size of your photos without sacrificing image quality.
The free version of Smush will work for most websites, but photographers, web designers, or hosting resellers may want to take advantage of the paid version. At $49 per month for unlimited sites, it’s still a pretty good deal, especially if you’re responsible for multiple sites. Smush Pro will compress and resize images up to 32MB and use the Smush Pro CDN (content delivery network) to render the photos, taking even more load off your website.
We’ve said it before. But, you should never delete a page – always redirect your links.
I like Redirection plugin because it’s a simple, no coding necessary solution for how to manage 301 redirects.
It really is as simple as dropping the “old” link into one field and the “new” link in another field. It’s always easy to “undo” if you need to make an original link live again. We use Redirection on the Todhost blog to easily manage redirects without relying on a programmer to help us.
Ok, so, you won’t need this plugin if you aren’t selling products online. But, if you plan to have an online store, WooCommerce is our top recommendation for eCommerce on a WordPress website.
WooCommerce is an all-in-one solution for your online store. It comes with product, cart, and checkout pages, calculates taxes, and keeps product inventory.
Pro tip: in most cases, you need a design theme that is compatible with WooCommerce. I once had a client that launched a beautiful website. Their next step was to create their online store. By the time they got to me, I had to build their website again in a WooCommerce-compatible theme in order to set up their online store. Save yourself some time, and start with a compatible theme.
Top 5 Security Plugins
WebARX is mainly known for its advanced Web Application Firewall that updates automatically to prevent plugin and theme vulnerabilities and can be installed in less than a minute.
With WebARX you can block malicious bots and hacking attempts, prevent malware infections, secure your website from plugin vulnerabilities, and protect your website from brute-force attacks.
Different WordPress security monitoring options in the plugin keep you aware of what’s going on with your website so you can keep everything up to date and avoid any type of WordPress security vulnerabilities.
On top of these great features, here are other excellent features to keep your WordPress security at the top of its game using WebARX.
Features of WebARX WordPress Security Plugin
- Up-time and SSL Monitoring
- PDF Security Reports
- Automatic Off-Site Backups
- WordPress Hardening
- 24/7 Security Monitoring
- 2 Factor Authentication
- 2 Factor Authentication
WebARX is used by more than 3000 developers and digital agencies worldwide and has a 95% 5-star rating on its Trustpilot page. While WebARX is also available for other CMSs like Magento & Drupal, developers say that it works the best with WordPress, so you can’t go wrong with this security platform.
2. MalCare – A Complete WordPress Security Solution
MalCare was developed after analyzing over 240,000 WordPress sites, so they did their research and understand deeply the kind of security a website requires.
What MalCare really does is that it offers layered protection and finds hidden and complex malware at the earliest so that you can clean your site before it gets blacklisted by Google.
- Bulk Website Updates
- Website Hardening
- Login Protection
- Generate Client reports
- White-Label MalCare
- Team Collaboration
The pro version is more effective in cleaning and protecting your site, of course. It allows you to update plugins, themes, and WordPress core of several sites from a single dashboard; hardens your website to keep unauthorized personnel from gaining access to your site; makes real-time regular backups with up to 365 days of access.
Apart from all these security measures, MalCare also has white-labeling and client reporting options if you manage websites for other people. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best WordPress security plugins out there and is a great option for better WP security.
3. Wordfence – WordPress Security Plugin
If you’ve been through other lists of best WordPress security plugins, I can guarantee that the Wordfence probably made an appearance on the top of many such lists, and for good reasons.
Wordfence is one of the most popular (an argument can be made for ‘the most popular’) security plugins for WordPress. With over 2 million active installs, this plugin continues to gain the trust of millions of WordPress users worldwide.
The plugin has a nifty live traffic view that allows you to see traffic updates in real-time and any hack attempts being made on your website. It comes with blocking features that block attackers in real-time and also blocks entire malicious networks that can be a threat to your website, and once of the reasons why it is used by government militaries worldwide.
Wordfence Features of This Powerful Security Plugin
- Leaked Password Protection
- Advanced Manual Blocking
- Country Blocking
- Repair Files
- Two-Factor Authentication
Wordfence scans signatures of over 44000+ known malware variants and is active on more than 3 million secure WordPress sites. Can you refute its popularity? Of course, not.
So if you want to up your security game, Wordfence is a great choice of security plugin for WordPress.
4. Sucuri Security – Auditing, Monitoring, Malware Scanning & Security Hardening
Sucuri is a globally recognized authority that specializes in website security, is best known for taking of any WordPress security issues.
The Sucuri Security is a free security plugin for WordPress users, which you can use as a complement to your existing security measures. However, this does not mean that it’s not a robust security plugin because, in fact, Sucuri has plenty of features that overhaul your security measures like.
Features That Make Sucuri Security a Perfect Choice:
- Security Activity Auditing
- File Integrity Monitoring
- Remote Malware Scanning
- Blacklist Monitoring
- Effective Security Hardening
- Post-Hack Security Actions
- Security Notifications
- Website Firewall (premium)
Sucuri is one of the best free WordPress security plugins out there with 500,000+ activations. And even though the numbers don’t match Wordfence’s number, it’s still considered one of the most essential WordPress website security plugins to have.
5. All In One WP Security & Firewall
All In One WP Security & Firewall is a comprehensive, easy to use, stable, and well-supported WordPress security plugin as stated on their WordPress description page, and I tend to agree.
Basically, All In One WP Security & Firewall is a 360-degree security solution for your website that will take your WordPress security to a whole new level. The plugin focuses heavily on brute force attacks and has a range of other functionalities to help you fight off the most common website attacks.
Features of All In One WP Security & Firewall
- Protection Against “Brute Force Login Attack”
- Configurable Time for Force Logout
- Monitor/View Failed Login Attempts
- Monitor/View Account Activity of All User Accounts
- Add Google reCaptcha to the WordPress Login Form
800,000+ people trust their websites with All-In-One WP Security so you’ll be in a great company of people who value their WordPress’s security if you install this plugin. It is certainly one of the best WordPress firewall plugins.