At the time of this writing, the official WordPress repository contained an overwhelming 58,703 plugins. Needless to say, the selection is seemingly endless when it comes to ways you can extend the functionality of your WordPress web site or blog.
In this article, I want to share a handful of what I believe are excellent plugins for the typical website running WordPress. Of course your mileage may vary depending on the type of site you have and your specific needs, but these plugins are great additions to most setups.
Before we get to the list, many WordPress developers will say it’s important not to have too many plugins. You should try to use only essential plugins for your site. I would agree with that recommendation. The more extraneous plugins you have, the more memory, resources, and potentially the more open to attack if the plugin is poorly written or not updated often. It’s good practice to streamline any web site and utilize only essential code and plugins.
That being said, here three of my favorite “must have” plugins for WordPress sites.
Without a doubt, Updraft Plus is on the top of my list for backup plugins. It makes backing up your entire site (files and database) a breeze. You can setup automated backups or perform manual backups. In addition, it has an optional add-on called Migrator that makes migrating an entire WordPress site quite easy from one host to another.
Making regular backups of your WordPress site is essential. If your site is hacked or if there is a problem with your server, you can use the Updraft Plus plugin to quickly restore your entire site or certain parts such as the database quickly and safely.
If you are a developer and use MAMP to develop sites locally, you can use the Updraft Migrator to quickly launch your site to a production server.
WordPress is well written and the WordPress team does a good job releasing updates and fixes on a regular basis. However, it can be slow if the hosting provider isn’t up to speed or your hosting plan is not optimized for WordPress (memory, cacheing, disk speed, database, etc.) Even the best hosting may need a little help if your site is not where you’d like it to be with load time. If you are after SEO optimization, page speed is quite important!
WP Rocket is an excellent cacheing plugin. It is a premium plugin with a small cost. (For a free option, W3 Total Cache is quite popular.) I’ve seen WordPress sites that scored poorly on GTmetrix get a substantial page speed boost after installing WP Rocket using the default settings.
As a side note, multiple cacheing plugins running at the same time is usually a bad idea. (At least that is the case with WP Rocket.) Just choose one that works best for your site and disable any other cacheing.
The web is a playground for hackers. It is important to implement security protocols to help prevent nefarious people from breaking into your site. A simple approach can be to limit failed logins before being locked out for a while. This approach helps to combat brute force attacks.
The Limit Logins Attempts Reloaded plugin does just that. It detects if someone is trying to break into your site by tracking incorrect logins. If a certain threshold is met the plugin will lock out the individual and block them for a set amount of time.
If your site requires more security, you may need a plugin that offers more features (another popular one is Wordfence) or you may want to work with a third party service like Cloudflare or Securi. However, Limit Logins Attempts Reloaded is an excellent plugin that provides a baseline security wall to your site.
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