A question I often get asked and one I ask other IMers is: ‘Which essential plugins do you use and why?’
There are many opinions and no absolute or definitive answers to that question.
Here then is a list of the ones I use or have used recently.
Some of these come with both a free and paid version but as most folk start off looking for the free plugins I am only listing the free ones or free versions.
These are what I regard as essential or the bare minimum.
There are hundreds of others that do a myriad of specific jobs. If you want something specific, search Google and the WordPress Plugin site and you will probably find it.
A word of Advice – Several actually!
Don’t bloat your blog with unnecessary plugins it will slow it down.
Keep all you plugins up to date. Older versions are a security risk.
Deactivated plugins can be a security risk so if you are no using them delete them.
Kicking off with Security of one sort another –
This is probably the first plugin that most people install on a blog. Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam.
Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall
This plugin searches for Malware and other Virus like threats and vulnerabilities on your server and helps you remove them.
Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner and Hardening
The Sucuri plugin provides the website owner the best Activity Auditing, SiteCheck Remote Malware Scanning, Effective Security Hardening and Post-Hack features. SiteCheck will check for malware, spam, blacklisting and other security issues like .htaccess redirects, hidden eval code, etc.
Anti-virus, Firewall and High Speed Cache. Note: This does away with the need for a separate Caching plugin
Note. There is no such thing as a 100% secure site. It is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ you get hacked. Accept that you are going to get hacked and learn how to fix it quickly. Keep Calm and work your way through the options. Enlist the help of your Service Provider and / or a paid expert if necessary.
Security of a different nature – Backing up your blog – Essential!
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
Backup and restore: take backups locally, or backup to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, (S)FTP, WebDAV & email, on automatic schedules.
Manages your WordPress database. Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up, optimizing and repairing of database.
Other Essentials or almost essentials
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site, adding lots of features, e.g. error page, search result and automatic outgoing links and download tracking.
The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. (I do not believe in getting bogged down or even serious about SEO. Write for your reader not Google and then use this to do a basic SEO check and tweak where you can).
NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster – (ONLY if you plan on linking and posting to FaceBook etc.)
This plugin automatically publishes posts from your blog to multiple accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles and/or pages.
AddToAny Share Buttons
Share buttons for your pages including AddToAny’s universal sharing button, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WhatsApp and many more.
Pretty Link Lite
Shrink and hide some of those, long ugly URLs. Track and share any URL on the Internet from your WordPress website!
That’ll keep you going for a while.