WordPress is a very easy to customize web publishing solution with a lot of flexibility. It has been downloaded around 70 million times since when it was launched in 2003. The popularity and flexibility of this content management system has resulted in a very active WordPress plugin eco-system which allows WordPress users to further improve their WordPress based websites related to SEO, articles, spam and commenting system and of course in a lot many other ways. In brief, you can customize your WordPress installation with exciting possibilities.
There are more than thirty thousand plugins available for WordPress. This huge number has its pros and cons. With this huge number of WordPress plugins, there is chance that there are many mediocre plugins also appearing in the plugins list along with some real gems, much like in the case of smartphone apps.
In this guide we are going to select and list down only the best of the best in WordPress plugins. One way for finding is to go to WordPress Most Popular Plug-in listing but this means you will not be digging really deep and may not be able to spot some really mesmerizing plugins hidden deep.
Beginners of WordPress often get confused when they are looking for best WordPress plugins out of this huge number. And these beginners too frequently ask the same question that what is the best WordPress plugin for security, backup, performance, Social Media, SEO and the list goes on. However, we are going to make this task easier for you by our review of best WordPress plugins. We perfectly understand that almost everyone does not like Top 10 WordPress Plugins list appearing on every other site. Therefore, we have extended the research to dig deeper and come up with the real gems that WordPress Plugins directory has to offer.
Note: Please note that fewer the plugins better WordPress will run regarding speed and optimization, so do not be tempted to install each and every WordPress Plugin you come across.
Best WordPress Backup Plugins
This is a bit expensive but at the moment it is the only WordPress Plugin that can ensure foolproof backups of both the installation files and database easily. The price is a bit high so may be only professional bloggers can afford at this price but once you get the license it will last a lifetime. It also supports site migration. With $75 price, you get a 2 site license.
This is another premium WordPress backup service which comes from no other but the persons behind the creation of WordPress itself which must give you the confidence that it is a rock solid offering. It costs $15 per month per site.
This will not generally work for each and every hosting environment but it is definitely a free solution which covers quite a lot of things. This is definitely one of the best WordPress plugins if you can somehow manage to get it working for your website. It supports full file, database backup and email backup as well. So it is not just the post export backup system.
This is a relatively easy and simple solution for owners of small sites and achieves perfectly what it claims which is that it backups your site to your Dropbox account.
You can easily migrate your website between domains or hosting with this plugin without any mess ups with your post and content database.
This is perhaps the plugin that offers the most extensive backup options but it also sometimes does not work for all hosting systems. However, if you get it to work, it can backup your files and database to Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, FTP, email, Rackspace Cloud Files and many other options.
Best WordPress SEO Plugins
This is widely reputed to be THE SEO plugin for WordPress. It gets excellent reviews and offers quite a useful array of features. Give it a try, though there are also other good options too. It also has an XML sitemap feature.
It is an plugin that offers an extensive list of features. It also has a feature which tracks 404 errors on your website. If your website is related to affiliate marketing, then it supports link cloaking out of the box. In addition, standard features are there which you would expect from a WordPress SEO plugin. This plugin can scale up or down as per requirement because it allows you to turn a module on or off for your site. It is a resource heavy plugin when you enable all of its features.
It is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin that optimizes your website for main search engines like Google and Bing. It just works out of the box in its basic form without any configurations by the site owner which is a good option for beginners. It supports XML sitemaps, meta tags generation, canonical URLs and other standard features.
It helps you add the important TITLE and ALT tags for images on your website which opens up the horizons of targeted Google images traffic for your website.
Best WordPress Security Plugins
This comes from the guys at WebSite Defender and provides you with options to thoroughly check your website and with a few little adjustments you can harden your WordPress installation for example hiding the version number of your WordPress installation.
This is a comprehensive and free WordPress security plugin which has a perfect feature set which includes malware scanning, firewall, enforcing strong passwords, theme and plugin file repairs. In short it is a complete WordPress security suite.
This is an excellent firewall which is based on heuristics principles and block most obvious hacking attempts at your website and blocks the hacker. It is a personally tested plugin and is an absolutely recommended one if you want to sleep peacefully at night without fear of your website getting hacked.
Our vote for the best WordPress security plugin goes to this plugin which offers some excellent features. Once you install the plugin it sets the basic security settings with a click. The advanced users can configure more detailed security settings if you wish too. This plugin also allows you to automatically backup your WordPress database and email you as per the schedule you set.
Best Site Optimization Plugins
This is the best WordPress caching plugin which offers a range of features starting from a basic page caching (which means storing a static copy of your posts and pages on server) to minification of HTML/JS/CSS to decrease page load times. It also can be coupled with a Content Delivery Network to further speed up your WordPress site.
If you find the options in W3TC too many for you then your recourse is SuperCache. It does the caching job simply by creating static HTML files of the content to serve to users with a lot less chances of breaking any settings on your WordPress install.
It is not a WordPress plugin but a free service which works seamlessly with WordPress to optimize your website performance in a number of areas. It cuts back on spam requests to your site, caches certain content of your site on its own CDN servers spread through out the world and keeps your site up even if your hosting is down. This brings in a significant speed improvement to your website. It can be a little difficult for the novice WordPress users because it involves changing the DNS servers on your domain.
This plugin optimizes your database by running certain SQL commands which result in deleting post revisions, unapproved comments and spam. If you do not optimize your database manually then this is an essential plugin. It also allows you to change the usernames on your WordPress site which is handy for renaming admin user.
Lets agree that with the passage of time, every site has broken links but if you keep waiting that your readers will report these to you then it can be a pain. However, with this plugin you can automatically check broken links and fix these before these start hurting your SEO ranking.
With this plugin you can monitor all 404 pages on your website and 301 redirect these so that your link juice remains intact on Google and other search engines. This will also keep your readers happy when they will not encounter any 404 pages.