Published by on June 14, 2019 • 0 Comments • Lire en Français

55 000. This figure represents the number of WordPress plugins available on the official directory.

And I'm not even talking about those on dedicated platforms, such as Code Canyon or independent shops.

Do you have a special need? I am convinced that there's a plugin to satisfy it.

Frankly, this abundance is great. But when you start on WordPress, it's so confusing. In fact, you can sometimes get lost into it, a little like a bottle in the sea.

Explosion au visage
I don't want the same thing to happen to you if you test an awkward plugin…

In this ocean of plugins, I bet you're wondering which ones are essential when starting any type of WordPress site? Not an easy question, is it?

To avoid wasting your day on time-consuming searches, WPMarmite has gathered for you what we consider to be the top 25 “generalist” best WordPress plugins.

That is to say, those that could appear on any type of site (blog, shop, portfolio, etc.).

Thanks to this selection, we'll address several crucial points: SEO, security, marketing, backup, performance, social networks etc.

Here is the summary:

I – Some things to know about WordPress plugins

1. What is a plugin?

What is the definition of a WordPress plugin?

A plugin is used to add new features to a WordPress site, without the need to code.

You can access free plugins in two ways:

Whatever option you choose, you will see the same plugins pop up.

Obviously, some plugins are more high-standard than others. In order to avoid any inconvenience (plugin conflicts, bugs, crash of your site etc.), I advise you to follow the instructions below when making your choice:

  • Look at the number of active installations. Generally, the more a plugin has, the more likely it is to work correctly. But be careful: it's not always the case. You can find more confidential plugins that remain high-performing.
  • Check user reviews. When the feedback is good, it's a positive sign. On the other hand, if a plugin faces many criticisms, think carefully before installing it.
  • Take a look at the frequency of updates. If a security plugin has not been maintained for 3 years, there is probably something wrong. Many extensions are designed by volunteers, that do not always have the time to take care of them regularly.
  • Check if the plugin you are interested in is compatible with your version of WordPress. That being said, don't focus on this criterion. Think of it as a bonus. Even if the version displayed is not yours, there is a good chance that it will work.
  • See if users receive answers to their support questions.
  • Beware of free plugins that are not listed in the official directory.

2. What are the differences between a paid and free plugin?

Why spend money on a plugin when there are tens of thousands available for free? Right?

Well, even if premium plugins have a financial cost, they also have advantages that their free counterparts do not have. We can mention:

  • The presence of dedicated support (assistance), usually for 6 months or a year. If you are a beginner, it can help you setup your plugin correctly. With a free software, developers are not required to do so.
  • Regular updates, which often go hand in hand with new versions of WordPress. For a free plugin, the developer is not required to update (he may have just created it on his free time).
  • Additional features. Many plugins are available for free on the official directory. And to get more options, you have to switch to their paid version.

At first, you may be reluctant to invest in plugins. But, when you look at the time it can save you, the choice is suddenly very simple.

And beyond all, going premium means supporting and encouraging a team to continue to take care of the product it develops.

3. How many plugins do you need to install on your site?

This is a question that comes up very, very often among WordPress users: how many plugins do you need to install, at most?

In fact, there is no specific number of plugins not to exceed, even if, as Alex says, “the more plugins you have, the more likely you are to have bad plugins”.

The most important thing is the quality of the plugins you use. In other words, it is better to have 40 well coded plugins, rather than 10 plugins that would cause incompatibilities and bugs.

If your site is slow, it is not necessarily because you have installed too many plugins, but rather because they are poorly coded.

II – Our list of the 25 best WordPress plugins

Before getting to the heart of the matter, please be aware that we have chosen the plugins below because we believe that they can/should be installed on any type of site (shop, blog, portfolio etc.).

Check our list over and over again but, of course, don't necessarily install all 25 plugins: if you don't need a slider or a multilingual site, keep our recommendations on the side ;-).

On the other hand, do not ignore the crucial ones, i.e. the plugins that concern:

  • Safety and security
  • SEO
  • Performances
  • Backups

Fyi, the order of presentation of the plugins is neither strategic nor hierarchical. So read carefully until the end to not miss any information.

You will see that we will talk about free WordPress plugins as well as premium plugins.

Ready? Let's dive right in.

Transparency point: This article contains affiliate links. If you buy one of the plugins, WPMarmite will receive a small commission. But don't worry: that doesn't stop us from remaining impartial and honest. There is no way in hell we're putting forward poor solutions to get commissions!

1- Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO directory

Active installations: 5 + million

Even if you've just dived into the world of WordPress, I'm sure you know Yoast SEO. This is the most popular SEO plugin, and one of the 10 most downloaded plugins of all time.

Famous for its red, orange and green traffic lights, Yoast allows you to optimize the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your site. That's compulsory if you want your site to try to display on the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.

The plugin allows you to define your title and meta-description tags, create an XML sitemap, or even configure your content types.

Alex is telling you all his secrets about that around here.

The free version of Yoast is more than enough to work on your SEO. Be aware that there is a premium version at 79€ (89$), for use on 1 site.

Download Yoast SEO on the directory

2 – Akismet

Screenshot of Akismet plugin

Active installations: 5 + million

If I say “Spiced ham” to you, what do you think about?

Well, it turns out that this famous spicy ham is said to be the origin of the word spam, which refers to unwanted email.

I'm telling you about this because Akismet allows you to filter comments that look like unwanted ones. For example, comments that have nothing to do with the content you have published.

And believe me: it saves a lot of time and energy.

The extension is free (Akismet becomes premium as soon as you create a commercial site), and available by default on any new WordPress installation. To operate it, simply activate it by entering an API key.

Akismet settings

Download Akismet on the directory

3 – WP Rocket

The WPRocket plugin

Active installations: 700,000

WP Rocket is a cache plugin, which means it speeds up the loading of your WordPress pages.

But that's not all, it also has multiple options to boost the performance of your site: page caching, cache preloading, GZIP compression, database optimization, minification of HTML code, minification and concatenation of CSS and JavaScript files etc.

Developed by Frenchies and maintained by a great team, it is only available in paid version (from 49$).

His great strength? Its ease of use. You install it, activate it and it already works without having to make any adjustments.

The official WP Rocket website

4 – Imagify

Imagify is a WP plugin

Active installations: 100,000+

On average, images represent 50% of the total weight of a web page. They take the longest time to load. So you can easily imagine that, if they're too heavy, you'll have to optimize them and reduce their weight.

As a slimming diet, I recommend the Imagify plugin. It will automatically compress the images you add to your media library. All this without losing quality. Not too bad, is it?

Imagify general settings

Designed by the same team as WP Rocket, Imagify is a freemium model: after a certain quota of images to optimize, you will have to subscribe to the paid offer (starting at $4.99/month) if you want to continue using the service.

Download Imagify on the directory

5 – Social Warfare

The best WordPress plugin for Social Sharing : Social Warfare

Active installations: 70,000 +

Social Warfare is a very easy to use plugin that allows your users to share your content on social networks. Warfare is a reference to one of the co-creators of this extension, who is a US Army reservist.

Even if the usefulness of sharing buttons is controversial, they can bring traffic back to your site.

The big plus of Social Warfare are the many customization options, its performance, and the ability to upload your images in the right format according to the social network.

The visuel options in Social Warfare

On the other hand, the extension only deals with sharing. We regret the absence of “Social Follow” buttons. But its creators are working on implementing this option in a future update.

The free version allows you to use 6 social networks. To enjoy all of the features, you have to switch to premium (starting at 29$/year).

Download Social Warfare on the directory

6 – Redirection

Active installations: 1 + million

A real stable that you have to install urgently, if you have not already done so.

This plugin allows you to create 301 redirections (redirection of a user from a URL A to a URL B). Each time you modify or delete a content (e.g.: modification of the structure of your permalinks), you must do a 301 redirection to report it to search engines and keep your SEO.

Free and easy to use, Redirection works without you having to touch a single line of code.

Thanks to it, you will be able to:

  • create different types of redirections.
  • manage the 404 errors that occur on your site.
  • import or export redirects.
  • create groups to organize them.

Download Redirection on the directory

7 – TablePress

TablePress screenshot

Active installations: 700,000 +

If you are familiar with HTML code, you know that creating a complex table takes time, and that it is easy to get lost in the middle of tags.

To do this quickly and easily on WordPress, turn to TablePress.

With a 5-star rating and almost no negative reviews, you can count on this plugin. His reputation is quite justified.

Its big plus? You don't have to hack into the code. The interface is similar to an Excel document and you just have to fill in the columns with your elements.

Creating a table with the best WordPress plugin to do so: TablePress

You can insert links, images and even import data from Excel to save time. Once your job is done, just insert a shortcode wherever you want.

A great plugin, even if the responsive (adaptation on smartphones and digital tablets) sometimes can be ineffective.

Download TablePress on the directory

8 – Duplicator

Duplicator screenshot

Active installations: 1 + million

As Alex says, this plugin literally saves lives. Duplicator allows you to “migrate, copy, move or clone a site from one location to another”.

You'll use it, for example, when you want to transfer your local site online. Or when you want to change your hosting provider.

Duplicator copies your files and database and migrates them to the location of your choice.

The extension automates the migration process and saves you valuable time compared to manual migration.

You can even use it as a one-time backup tool. The premium version allows you to plan and migrate large databases.

Download Duplicator on the directory

9 – Elementor

Elementor is a WordPress page builder

Active installations: 2 + million

Used on the WPMarmite website, Elementor is one of the most famous page builders in the WordPress ecosystem.

If you are new to website creation, or don't know anything about code, I bet it will be able to help you, while saving you a lot of time.

Thanks to a wide choice of modules, you can build your pages' sections according to your tastes (or those of your customers). Everything happens thanks to instant drag and drop. You can immediately see your work in real time.

The free version allows you to specifically customize your content. But for a wider choice of templates and modules, you'll have to go with the premium version (from 49$ for 1 site).

Download Elementor on the directory

10 – SecuPress

SecuPress is a plugin to secure WordPress

Active installations: 10,000 +

On average, around the world, a site is hacked every second. You won't be able to completely protect your website against malicious attacks, But applying some best practices will help you be as secure as can be.

Using SecuPress will make your job easier. It's a kind of toolbox that applies several security settings to your WordPress:

  • Protection against brute force attacks
  • Blocking malicious IP addresses
  • Firewall
  • Security alerts
  • Malware scans etc.

SecuPress is a freemium model. The paid version (from 50€/year with decreasing prices thereafter) carries out a checkup of 35 security points and automatically corrects vulnerabilities.

Download SecuPress on the directory

11 – UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus : one of the best WordPress plugins you can't do without

Active installations: 2+ million

I just told you about the importance of security for your site. To do it right, you should also implement an automatic backup solution on your WordPress site.

You'll sleep better at night and, in case of issues (hacking, bugs during an update, your server crashing etc.), you can restore an old version of your content faster than you can think.

Among the many WordPress backup solutions, UpdraftPlus is one of the most effective. Even if its interface is a little bit complex (there's a lot of text), it allows you to back up your files and databases in the cloud on services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Amazon S3.

UpdraftPlus settings

In the premium version (from 84$/year), you can manage your backups on multiple sites, and an option allows you to migrate your sites.

Download UpDraftPlus on the directory

12 – ManageWP Worker

Active installations: 900,000+

Do you manage several sites? And are you tired of wasting a lot of time managing them, by connecting individually to each of them?

I have the solution: ManageWP Worker.

“ManageWP compiles data from all of your sites on one dashboard, so you can check up on your websites in a single glance.”

You will be able to do all updates at the same time (and in one click), clean up spam, databases, do security checks etc.

Réaction heureux
I bet you already love this plugin.

Another very interesting feature is the backup (free once a month and starting at $2/month for a site). Are you facing a bug? No problem: you can even restore the old version of your site with a single click.

Believe me, it saved me from having several heart attacks. It's just essential.

Download ManageWP Worker on the directory

13 – MonsterInsights

Monster Insights screenshot

Active installations: 2+ million

MonsterInsights allows you to connect your WordPress to your Google Analytics account.

Thanks to this, you'll have access to a lot of stats about your trafic, directly on the dashboard of your site:

  • Pages visited.
  • Number of visits.
  • Geographical origin of the trafic.
  • Which actions your visitors did on your website etc.

Download Google Analytics for WordPress with MonsterInsights on the directory

14 – User Switching

User switching screenshot

Active installations: 100,000+

How do I “swap between user accounts in WordPress at the click of a button”?

The magic wand is called User Switching. Right now, it may seem like a gadget of little interest to you.

But as the developer of the extension explains (and I agree), it's sometimes very convenient to switch from one user to another without having to log in and out, every time.

If you have several administrator accounts and/or first create your sites on a local environment, you probably know what I mean.

Download User Switching on the directory

15 – Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms, one of the best WordPress plugins to create forms

Do you want to create complex forms without having to pull your hair out?

The solution is called Gravity Forms. This premium plugin (from 59$ for use on 1 site) is characterized by its simplicity of use, while allowing you to create very advanced forms with advanced fields (website, password, captcha, file download etc.).

And there's more. Gravity Forms can connect to third-party services such as Paypal, Mailchimp, Stripe or Slack. You can also create purchase orders and sales forms, quizzes, or show and hide fields in some cases.

Gravity Form's official website

17 – Replyable

Replyable for comments on WordPress

Active installations: 1000 +

This extension allows your visitors to be notified as soon as comments are posted on your blog.

For example, they may choose to be notified as soon as a comment appears on a specific article, or when somebody replies to their own previous comments.

Replyable also allows you to continue chatting with your visitors, by responding to notifications directly from your mailbox.

To do this, you will need to upgrade to the premium version (starting at $2.99/month).

Download Replyable on the directory

17 – Duplicate Post

Duplicate Post : the best WordPress plugin to save you time

Active installations: 2+ million

How to duplicate an article, a page, or any type of Custom Post Type content on WordPress?

By default, it's impossible to do this on your favorite CMS. Fortunately, there is a very handy plugin to do this: Duplicate Post.

Although you may not have to use it on a regular basis, this feature is very useful when you need to use it.

Easy to use, Duplicate Post allows you to choose the elements of your content to copy (title, date, ID, format, comments, etc.).

Be careful, though: duplicating content is harmful in terms of SEO. Remember not to publish the same content twice on your site.

Download Duplicate Posts on the directory

18 – Mailchimp for WordPress

Mailchimp for WordPress enables you to create newsletters

Active installations: 1+ million

Mailchimp is the most famous marketing tool in the world for creating an e-mailing campaign. Free for up to 2,000 subscribers, it is ideal for beginners who want to get started in marketing.

As you might expect, to tell your subscribers your best stories and make your mailing list grow, you will need to collect their email addresses. To do this, yo'll need to install registration forms on your WordPress.

This is what this plugin allows: it'll connect your site to your Mailchimp account.

Once created, your forms can be displayed in your articles, pages, widgets etc.

Note that the free version is a little old-fashioned in terms of interface – but this is (voluntarily) fixed in the premium version.

Another plus of this plugin: its addons, to integrate perfectly with other plugins such as Gravity Forms, WooCommerce, Contact Form 7 or Easy Digital Downloads.

Download Mailchimp for WordPress on the directory

19 – Coming Soon Page by Seed Prod

Coming Soon Page is known as one of the best WordPress plugins to put your site in maintenance mode

Active installations: 900,000+

This the most popular plugin of the WordPress repository to create a Coming Soon page (to tell people your website is under construction or maintenance).

You will use it to “hide” your WordPress from your visitors before it is launched, to make changes on a live site, or before making important updates.

Packed with options and easy to use, Coming Soon Page features a real-time page builder in its premium version, and also offers you the creation of a secret URL for your customer to access his website while it's being built.

Coming Soon Page et son menu de réglages

Download Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd on the directory

20 – Admin Columns

Admin Columns directory screenshot

Active installations: 100,000+

The admin columns within your Articles and Pages menus, in particular, are used to display information about each content.

You will find, for example, the title, the author's name, the number of comments, or the post date.

This is not bad, except that it is not always relevant to the user. It's also quite limited.

The good news is that it is possible to customize all this. You can either stick to it through the code.

Or, even simpler, use the Admin Columns plugin. The latter is highly praised by its users, who give it an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

And frankly, it's well deserved. Very easy to use, this plugin allows you to:

  • add your own custom column fields (e.g. Featured image, estimated reading time, ID, word count etc.)
  • change your columns width
  • use icons to make it all more visual

Not to mention the hierarchy of your columns, which can be configured with a simple drag-and-drop. Look at this:

Admin Columns settings

The free version is already very extensive. But if you want to go even further, you can get Admin Columns Pro (from $49, use on 1 site).

With the Pro version, you can search, bulk edit, sort or filter any content.

Download Admin Columns on the directory

21 – Regenerate Thumbnails

Regenerate Thumbnails on the directory

Active installations: 1 million+

For design and aesthetic reasons, you may need a custom image format on your site (WordPress only offers 3 image sizes by default).

And you may know that images already uploaded to your Media Library will not be applied the new size set you'll assign in WordPress settings.

To update those images, use Regenerate Thumbnails. This plugin is particularly useful when changing themes. It will automatically regenerate all your thumbnail images, so you don't have to do it one by one.

Download Regenerate Thumbnails on the directory

22 – Cookie Notice

Cookie notice plugin

Active installations: 1+ million

Recently, there's been a lot of hype about the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Our article on this subject is even the most shared on the French blog!

Since May 2018, GDPR ensures that all individuals have control and protection of the personal data they disseminate when surfing the Internet.

One of its components takes into account the improvement of the user's consent, in particular regarding cookies (a small piece of data sent from a website and stored on the user's computer by the user's web browser while the user is browsing).

Normally, the visitor must be informed that he/she is sharing his/her data, and must know explicitly for what purpose. You must ask him for his consent.

Cookie Notice
The consent banner generated by Cookie Notice

To remain in line with this, you can install the Cookie Notice plugin. It will tell users that your site uses cookies, and you'll finally comply with the EU cookie law GDPR regulations.

Download Cookie Notice on the directory

23 – Relevanssi

Relevanssi: the best WordPress plugin for a better WordPress search

Active installations: 100,000+

By default, WordPress has a search form. But if you have already used it, you may have noticed that it does not always display the most relevant results.

And it's not going to get any better as you add more content…

The Relevanssi plugin is a more complete search engine that will improve your visitors' user experience.

As explained in its description on the official repository, it will sort the search results “by relevance, not by date”, or search for “match partial words, if complete words don’t match”.

The plugin is free but a pro version (from 107.04€ to use it on an unlimited number of sites) is also available with more advanced features.

Download Relevanssi on the directory

24 – WP-PageNavi

WP Page Navi

Active installations: 800,000+

Did you know that, by default, the pagination of articles on WordPress gives you two choices:

  • Previous.
  • Next.

You can see how it doesn't make it easy for your readers to navigate, especially when you have multiple pages of content on your blog. This is also not so good from an SEO point of view.

WP-PageNavi allows you to set up a navigation with page numbers. This will help search engines and your visitors to find their way around better.

Here's what it looks like on WPMarmite's blog:

La navigation du blog de WP Marmite

Download WP-PageNavi on the directory

25 – Really Simple SSL

Active installations: 2+ million

Come on, one last one for the road: Really Simple SSL.

Since the end of July 2018, the Google Chrome browser has been sanctioning HTTP sites by telling Internet users that they are browsing an unsecured page.

Knowing that Chrome is used by 49% of people in the USA (February 2019 figures), you understand the need to switch to HTTPS without further ado.

The HTTPS is a protocol that you find at the beginning of your URLs (ex: https://wpmarmite.com). It ensures that the data you exchange with a site is encrypted, which increases security.

To install HTTPS, you can proceed manually – but the method is not easy for a beginner.

For your peace of mind, I recommend Really Simple SSL. The plugin “automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over https”. It's simple, and everything is done in a single click.

Really Simple SSL is particularly useful for managing mixed content. Sometimes, when a site has switched from HTTP to HTTPS, some of its resources (images, CSS files, JavaScript etc.) will always load into HTTP, instead of HTTPS. And, by the way, the page will not be completely secure.

Last precision: for Really Simple SSL to work, you will first need to activate an SSL certificate, via your hosting provider.

Download Really Simple SSL on the directory

III – To sum it all up…

Congratulations, you have reached the end of this article presenting you what we believe are the best WordPress plugins in 2019. Those that can be described as essential.

Security, performance, SEO, backups, marketing: you are equipped to turn your WordPress website into a war machine.

Throughout these lines, we have tried to be as objective as possible. However, you may also have your own favorite plugins.

If you said to yourself when you read this post: “What the heck, WPMarmite didn't even think about this plugin?”, please share your feedback with us in the comments.

Finally, if you have enjoyed this content and think it may be useful to others, share it on social networks.