Our List of Helpful, Useful WordPress Plugins

We were recently presenting a class on how to effectively install and use WordPress and plugins were an obvious part of the discussion.

Plugins add a world of functionality to your WordPress website. There are thousands of free and premium offerings – more than there are vegetables at a farmer’s market. Plugins are the third piece of the ever shifting WordPress software jigsaw puzzle (the first two being the core software and your theme), so add to your site with care.

Some words of caution:

  • Use these WordPress plugins at your own risk. Backup your website before installing or activating a plugin.
  • Not every plugin is suitable for every installation.
  • Do your own research. Just because a plugin is good today does not guarantee that it will be good tomorrow.
  • Just because no alternative is listed does not mean there is no alternative—there most likely is.

Listed in order of function importance (in our view; yours may be different). All plugins listed below are free to use; many may have a more robust premium version.


Better WP Security
“Hardening” your website from attack is a must. These two plugins can also be used, carefully, in tandem.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
Let us know
You have to keep backups of your site – database and content. Backup automatically!

W3 Total Cache
WP Super Cache
Tweaks your site to permit faster rendering. Visitors want fast.

Google XML Sitemaps
Let us know
Sitemaps tell search engines what’s on your site, and updates thereto. This automatically tells search engines when your site changes.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
All in One SEO Pack
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Very important to improve your on-site SEO

Avoid spam comments
Let us know
Spammers love to post bogus comments on websites. Make sure first that any comment must be approved by an administrator.

Broken Links
Broken Link Checker
Let us know
Keeps your site from looking like a repository of the dead web. Helps visitors.

Safe Redirect Manager
If you change permalinks (such as when converting a site to WordPress) you need to “redirect” visits to the old pages to the new pages where the relevant content exists. Otherwise visitors get the dreaded “404” page not found error message.

Jetpack by WordPress.com
Let us know
A host of functions – galleries, contact forms, stats and more. Just make sure to use with care. Can slow a site down. Some people don’t like it as a result.

All-in-One Event Calendar by Timely (We use this but no longer recommend it to most users until the developer fixes issues with respect to updating versions and crushing search bot problems)
Let us know
If you organize events.  

Disagree with our list? Have additions? What categories of plugins or plugins do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.