WordPress is the most widely used CMS platform with more than 25% Websites across the World-Wide-Web running on it. And for websites using CMS, this figure is much more impressive at 59%. And the heart of WordPress according me is the Plugins, which significantly enhance the functionality of the already feature rich WordPress.
However, with over 40,000 plugins available for download in the WordPress Plugin Directory itself, for a beginner, choosing the right WordPress plugin can be quiet a tough task. Also, as a beginner one may not want to spend too much money for buying required Plugins.
So in this guide am going to list out the Top 15 most essential WordPress plugins which are free to use.
15 FREE WORDPRESS PLUGINS YOU MUST INSTALL
1. WordPress SEO By Yoast Plugin
WordPress Seo By Yoast is one of the most downloaded WordPress plugin. It takes care of most of your On-Page SEO Optimization needs. Apart from this, it also generated XML sitemap for your blog and integrates the Google Search console to keep track of any 404 errors or other issues with your website
I have written a detailed review of WordPress SEO by Yoast which you must check out.
2. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack is one massive plugin developed by Automattic which contains 35 free modules within it to enhance your WordPress experience. You can always disable the modules which you do not require. The ones which I use at Blogging Ocean are
- Jetpack Comments
- Contact Form
- Extra Sidebar Widgets
- Gravatar Hovercards
- Site Stats
For rest of the functions, I use different widgets which provide better functions than Jetpack corresponding Jetpack modules. You may however use Jetpack for everything.
With more than 1 Million Current Installations, Akismet is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. Akismet, filters out spam comments from good ones. It is very essential because a lot of people, in order to get back-links and more traffic, spam comments section in other blogs. If not moderated, it can drive your visitors to their blog increasing your bounce rate and in case you are using do-follow links, it can even lead to Google Penalizing your blog.
Akismet is by default downloaded along with a standard WordPress Installation, so you just have to activate it from the plugins option in your WordPress dashboard.
4. Contact Form 7
If you are not a fan of Jetpack’s contact form Widget, Contact Form 7 is a must download plugin for you. It is the most popular Contact form WordPress Plugin and is very simple to use. You can customize it the way you want. It also supports Akismet and CAPTCHA filtering.
5. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is one of the best Caching plugin for WordPress and is used by the likes of AT&T, Mashable, Yoast and mattcutts.com among others. You can drastically reduce your Page load times by tweaking advanced settings in W3 Total cache which includes browser, page, object & database caching, minfying CSS & JS and integrating Content Delivery System.
6. Contextual Related Posts
Contextual Related Posts allows you to display your visitors, posts that are related to the one they are reading. This ensures better visitor engagement and lower bounce rates. Once you activate the plugin, related posts are displayed at the bottom by default, though you can turn it off completely or for individual posts.
You can also display the Related posts using the sidebar widget or use Shortcode to display related posts within the content. It has a nicely written algorithm, which correctly detects the related posts by comparing keywords in your current post with other posts at your Blog.
GetSiteControl is a web-based service, which provides Visitor engagement tools for your Blog. The Tools include
- Subscription Form
- Social Share Widget
- Social Like Widget
- Survey Widget
- Contact Us Form
- Promotional content widget
- Live chat
All the above widgets can be set at 9 different locations including Pop-ups, top bar and bottom bar which greatly helps you Improve your visitor experience. The best part of GetSiteControl is, unlike most other social widgets, it is very light and the script loads in few micro seconds. For more information, you can check out my detailed Review Of GetSiteControl
8. Post Thumbnail Editor
How often do you find that your images get skewed or cropped wrongly? Post Thumbnail Editor helps you to just overcome that problem. With this plugin, you can crop the images manually for using it at your blog.
9. Force Regenerate Thumbnails
Force Regenerate Thumbnails helps you to regenerate all your Thumbnails, whenever you change the size of Image thumbnails you use at your blog. This is especially useful, when you change your Theme, as the new theme may not have same sized thumbnails.
10. WP Smush
Since we are talking about pictures, it wouldn’t be fair if we skip WP Smush. This is a simple to use plugin which automatically compresses the images you upload, to reduce its size without affecting quality. A lighter image can greatly Improve your page loading time, which is one of the On Page SEO factors for ranking. With over 3 lacs total downloads, this is one plugin you should not miss.
Spam Referral visits can be a nightmare for most bloggers. Not only do they affect your Google Analytics data, they also eat up your Server bandwidth. SpamReferrerBlock is a tiny little plugin which you can use, to block those Referral spam which actually visit your website.
Please note this plugin or any other Plugin cannot block Ghost Referral Spam as they never visit your website.
12. Thirsty Affiliates
Thirsty Affiliates plugin is an affiliate link management plugin which lets you save your affiliate links and then allows you to quickly add them from your WordPress Post Editor. It also lets you cloak an affiliate URL using your website URL. For example
This plugin also allows you to add no-follow attribution to all affiliate links.
13. Limit Login Attempts
By default, WordPress allows unlimited login attempts. This makes your WordPress account prone to Brute Force attacks. As the name suggests, Limit Login Attempts limits the number of login attempts from an IP Address to a specified number and for a specified period of time. It also logs the IP address of the person who tried to break in to your account.
14. Copy Link
Whenever someone copies text from your blog for sharing through email or posting on Social websites, Copy Link plugin automatically adds a link to your blog post at the end of text thus creating easy links for you, to generate more traffic.
UpdraftPlus is the most popular WordPress Plugin for backing up data. It backs up your data to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google drive and many more. Restoration too is very simple with a single click.
There are variety of Free and Paid WordPress plugins for you to download. While it is not possible to generalize usefulness of a particular plugin for everyone as everyone has different needs , the above plugins will be useful for most of the people.
Hope you enjoyed my article. Do share your views about the above list of Plugins and if there’s anything I can add to it.