WordPress Plugins: What would WordPress be without plugins? Better not think about it.
Those little tools and software help us achieve (almost) anything with the platform. Any important need or requirement can be covered with a plugin and if it does not exist, it can be created or developed. There are no limits.
Within the official directory of the WordPress plugins, we can find more than 54,000 plugins, in addition to some others that are developed by third parties.
But what are the best WordPress plugins?
We could define two main categories of plugins:
- The essential and universal plugins. They are the most basic and work for all types of blogs or websites, regardless of the topic, niche or industry.
- The special and specific plugins. They are the ones that adapt to a certain need and depend on the user and the niche or topic on which it is focused.
The best thing is to have the essentials installed and then focus on the specials we need for our blog or project on the Web.
The 50 Best WordPress Plugins of 2021 – Separated by Category
Update: How every year, we are going to see the list for 2020 with new plugins that have become more relevant and that offer excellent results. Every time it is worthwhile I will be updating the list.
In this guide, you will know the 50 best WordPress plugins, ordered by category and with a short description so that you know their functions and usefulness.
If you have questions about the installation, check the following tutorial: How to install a plugin in WordPress.
These are the plugin categories (click on anyone to go directly to that section):
- Security and optimization
- Statistics and Analytics
- Social networks
- Marketing, Sales and Electronic Commerce
- Email Marketing
- Extra Utilities
These are the universal plugins that I recommend you install in WordPress plugins regardless of the type of page or the theme or niche you are focused on. Check all and install them.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Without a doubt the best to do the internal SEO configuration in WordPress plugins. It offers everything you need to optimize the platform and also offers a very useful tool for creating search engine optimized posts and pages. These are its main advantages:
- Control panel with different options
- Change the titles of posts, pages, categories, files, etc.
- Breadcrumb options
- Change category URL
- Analyze pages and posts with suggestions to improve on-page SEO.
- Helps focus positioning on posts or pages based on the main keyword
- Automatic creation of XML Sitemaps
- Many other options
Overall, this is a very comprehensive plugin and “all-in-one” solution for setting up and optimizing WordPress plugins for SEO.
iThemes Security (Antes Better WP Security)
Security is one of the top priorities that any WordPress user should have. It is best to protect the platform from the beginning and not until we have been attacked or hacked.
The best and most complete security for WordPress plugins is undoubtedly iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security). Some of the most important features and functions it includes are:
- Change and protect admin URLs in WordPress, including wp-admin, wp-login.php, and more
- With the “away” mode you can disable the option to log in to WordPress for a certain time
- Rename the admin account
- Change the structure of the wp-content
- Eliminate error messages when logging in
- Quick tips with one-click solutions to improve security and protect WordPress in all aspects
- Much more!
Without a doubt an essential plugin that you cannot miss on your blog or website.
Gone are the days when you had to create a contact form with shortcodes and codes like Contact Form 7. Although this is still an important plugin, there are already many options so that you do not depend on a programmer to create any kind of contact form.
Without a doubt the best plugin to create simple and advanced contact forms in WPForms. With its interface “drag and drop” you can create from a simple form to surveys, quotes, subscriptions, and payments. It has a much more complete paid version that I recommend 100% if you are going to use something beyond the basics.
SPAM is common on the Internet and WordPress is not spared from it. Akismet is the best plugin to moderate SPAM and prevent it from becoming annoying and invasive. To start, you need to create an API key, then the plugin is activated and you will no longer have to deal with SPAM in your blog comments.
Check the installation tutorial here: How to configure Akismet.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization
Excellent tool to optimize and reduce the size of the images that are uploaded to WordPress. This helps to optimize the performance of the platform and improve loading times, which translates to various benefits in SEO and usability of the site.
It uses different algorithms and its API accepts JPG, PNG, and GIF formats up to 5MB.
WP Rocket has become one of the best cache plugins on the market. I allowed you to improve the performance of your website almost immediately without having to spend hours in a technical setup.
It has a cost but it is 100% worth it.
Elementor is a very popular, easy-to-use page builder that allows you to create almost any type of website. Without a doubt, among all the page builders such as Divi, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer or Thrive, Architect, Elementor takes the first place.
Best of all, it has a free version and you can use it in a few minutes. The PRO version includes excellent bonus widgets, templates, and other features that are 100% worth the investment.
The best and most popular plugin to convert WordPress is a virtual store immediately and easily. With WooCommerce you have access to different extensions that give more power and possibilities to the plugin and of course to all the functions of a professional virtual store (add products with different attributes such as size, color, and size, sell physical and virtual products, use different platforms payment, etc.).
To get the most out of the plugin, it is best to use a theme or template that is 100% compatible and has the appropriate interface and structure for a virtual store.
Broken Link Checker
Nobody wants useless links on their site that lead to the “fated” 404 error page.
With Broken Link Check, you can automatically check the links on your blog or page that is “broken” and do not work. It often happens that certain links are modified or deleted; With this tool, detecting and eliminating them becomes easy.
Redirection is very effective for handling 301 redirects, checking 404 (not found) errors, and fixing link errors or similar things that your site may have. It doesn’t matter if you need one or hundreds of redirects, this plugin will help you create and manage them easily.
Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Monster insights help you read and interpret the essential information of your website that allows you to get out of invisibility, increase your traffic and discover from the same WordPress Dashboard where your users come from, where they are, the devices they use, the average time that is on your website, the most visited pages, etc.
As its name says, it helps you optimize your WordPress site’s database and among other things too:
- Delete all the data you don’t need
- Compact and/or defrag MySQL tables with just one button
- Full control over all the optimizations you want to carry out
- Automate database cleanup every week (or in another period of time)
- Perfectly syncs with Updraft Plus to make backups
- Available and compatible on mobile devices
Safety and performance
Although we already saw that iThemes Security is the best option to protect WordPress, we are going to see other useful security plugins (some complement each other well).
W3 Total Cache
Helps improve WordPress performance, speeding up loading times on posts, pages, and other sections of a website.
For a faster, cleaner, and more efficient WordPress, this plugin is undoubtedly indispensable.
Vaultpress helps create automatic backups for your website automatically and in sync with Jetpack. It also helps you scan your website and detect malicious files or potential threats with just a few clicks. It has a paid version so that you have access to many more functions.
Wordfence Security offers free “enterprise-grade” security for your WordPress site. It helps on two main fronts:
- Prevent your site from becoming infected with malware or viruses
- Detect what an infected site has to take action from there and eliminate the problem
Along with iThemes Security, WordPress Security seems to me to be one of the best security plugins in recent months and one that will be a mainstay for many sites in 2016.
As in many plugins, they offer a very complete basic and free version, while for premium support, premium audits, scheduled scans, and much more, they have a paid version.
Limit Login Attempts Reloaded
Set a maximum number of attempts a user can log into WordPress. When the maximum is reached, the device’s IP is blocked, thus preventing massive or brute-force attacks on WordPress.
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
Backing up our website or blog should be a top maintenance priority. Today there are endless services with which we can make these backup copies that in case of emergency, save us from a terrible scenario! Nobody is in the disposition to lose hours and hours of work by an attack or error.
With UpdraftPlus, we can make manual or automatic “backups” in services such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, via FTP, SFTP, email, and more. Other services are included for the paid version.
Autoptimize is 100% dedicated to improving your website performance quickly and easily. You can add, minimize, and cache scripts and styles, inject CSS into the header, and optimize scripts that your site loads. You can also optimize your images with lazy-load, optimize Google Fonts, and much more.
It is the perfect companion to W3 Total Cache.
Sucuri is a service that helps remove all types of viruses, malware, or problems from a hacked site in a matter of a few hours. Obviously, it has a cost since its professionals do the work 100% manually.
In addition to the Sucuri service, it offers this excellent plugin that helps to scan, audit, and enforce security on several fronts.
Install it and rest assured that your blog or page is 100% secure.
Statistics and Analytics
Let’s see different plugins to insert Google Analytics and alternatives to monitor the statistics in WordPress:
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress plugins by MonsterInsights
Monster Insights is an excellent plugin that helps you save time and allows you to review your most relevant Google Analytics statistics within the WordPress dashboard itself.
Excellent for virtual stores that want to always have the most important metrics at hand.
Clicky by Yoast
Clicky is an excellent alternative to use as a complement or replacement for Google Analytics. It offers real-time visits, up-to-date statistics, and a large control panel that is easy to understand and interpret.
With this plugin, you can configure Clicky quickly and safely.
Site Kit by Google
The official Google plugin to connect your website with Google Analytics, Search Console, Google Adsense, Pagespeed Insights, Tag Manager and Optimize. All within the WordPress dashboard for easy access.
One of the best ways to position yourself, create branding, and get traffic is through social networks, which have been growing exponentially in recent months and years.
Check the following list for the best plugins Social media plugins:
With Monarch Social Sharing Plugin you can add different formats of social media buttons with a modern design, which does not obstruct the content at all and offers an easy way for people who consume your content to share it on different social networks.
This is a premium plugin that has a cost depending on the plan you choose with Elegant Themes.
Getting the user who visits your blog to consume your content, stay a long time on the site, and also share it with their social network contacts is a very important aspect.
It also allows you to add a section of related articles at the bottom of each post, so they can spend more time and take advantage of all the knowledge that you share with them every day.
It includes its own dashboard to view statistics and performance reports.
WP Social Sharing
With WP Social Sharing you can add great-looking social media icons for users to share your content. More traffic is always available!
Click to Tweet
An excellent plugin that allows you to create a phrase or a tweet so that users who are reading your posts or any other type of content can publish it on their Twitter with a single click.
Example: I have a fitness blog where she posted a phrase that says “To lose weight you need discipline and determination” ← Click to tweet this!
The plugin allows clicking on the phrase to open a Twitter window where the user is allowed to send the tweet.
A very good plugin for traffic and branding.
AddToAny Share Button
Another very good plugin is to add buttons that allow you to share content from your blog on social networks.
Floating Social Bar
If you want to give your social media buttons a different style, Floating Social Bar is an excellent plugin that will allow you to add a bar at the top with Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus buttons.
The best thing is that as the user goes down the page, the bar automatically goes down as well, allowing it to always be visible.
Try this plugin alternating it with Digg Digg and see which one converts better.
Marketing, Sales and Electronic Commerce
WordPress is an excellent platform to do business, do marketing, sell products and create a complete and perfectly functioning eCommerce store in a few hours.
Check out the following plugins to have solutions in these aspects (in addition to Woocommerce):
Easy Digital Downloads
Excellent plugin to sell digital products such as eBooks or courses. When you install it, you will have access to a special control panel with all the functions and characteristics necessary to start accepting payments via Paypal.
A simple and very effective plugin for “info-marketing” within your own blog.
One of the main disadvantages of OptimizePress is the large number of pop-ups that we have to deal with to build our different Marketing sites.
With Thrive Architect you literally edit the page you are going to create, without extra menus, without pop-ups, everything is “live” and in the final design.
It is easy to use, intuitive, and also includes a large number of marketing page templates such as landing pages, lesson pages, download pages, webinars, home pages, and much, much more.
It works great for selling and promoting all kinds of digital or physical products.
Memberpress is a great option to create a paid membership for your website. You can create exclusive content for different levels and it is compatible with most of the major payment processors, plus it can be synced with Woocommerce.
WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart
A very simple and fast way to integrate Paypal into WordPress. It includes many options such as adding purchase buttons to tickets, selling any file (MP3, Videos, PDFs) with a couple of clicks, synchronizing with email, and much more.
One of the best traffic and marketing strategies is to create an email subscriber list. For this, you will need an autoresponder to be able to capture prospects and send messages.
In addition to this, there are excellent plugins to be able to get the most out of this marketing method. Here are the best email marketing plugins for WordPress:
Thrive Leads is in my opinion the best plugin to increase your subscriber list. It includes different formats and ways of displaying the forms:
- Popup Lightbox
- “Sticky” Ribbon
- In-line Forms
- 2-Step Opt-in
- Form Slide-In
- Opt-In Widget
Each one with different options to configure the times and places where we want them to be displayed. They also offer a great statistics function, a / b testing, first-rate designs, and adaptation to a large number of autoresponders.
It costs $67 for one site or $97 for unlimited sites.
WordPress Calls to Action
If you are going to do email marketing, WordPress Calls to Action will allow you to create a sales and subscription flow within your own blog where you can grow your email list by measuring conversions, doing split tests, creating pop-ups with different messages and calls to the action, create attractive banners and much more.
Direct marketing at its finest.
Mailchimp for WordPress
If you are going to use Mailchimp to create your subscriber list, this plugin will make your life easier with different tools to create forms, send messages, synchronize everything with your content, and much more.
If you are looking for a plugin that can display a subscription form in the form of a “pop up”, OptinMonster is all you need and much more. It offers attractive designs, with modern colors and fonts, and with the possibility of customizing the designs as you like or need them the most.
Besides pop-up, it also offers different ways to display the shapes. Highly recommended.
Read more: Free image banks for your blog or website
Although WordPress includes a very good WYSIWYG editor, with TinyMCE Advanced you can customize your content to a higher level with more options, tools, and different functions.
Excellent to give more style and originality to your entries.
One of the best advantages that WordPress offers are shortcodes, small lines of code that allow you to add new design features and special functions to your content.
With this plugin, you will be able to add different icons, buttons, highlights, colors, notes, tabs, and much more through shortcodes.
It’s great for design purposes and for adding premium graphics.
Add different types of image galleries to WordPress. Excellent for people who upload their own photos or for professional sites that show photo galleries on a specific topic.
It also offers different options to add watermarks, labels, edit images, and much more.
One of the most complete plugins out there in terms of photographs and galleries.
It contains a series of tools and solutions that make the WordPress experience and functions even more complete. These are some of the features of this excellent plugin:
- Traffic statistics including page views, traffic sources, number of visits, and much more.
- Email subscription for users when commenting on posts or pages
- CSS editor included
- Be able to publish entries from any email client
- Different content and social media widgets
- Set Widgets to only appear on certain pages
- Image carousel
- Backup and Scan with VaultPress
- Many other things
Jetpack contains excellent options to improve WordPress in all aspects and give you access to a series of very useful tools.
To use it, you will need to link your site with a WordPress.com account.
As its name says, the plugin is responsible not only for duplicating pages but also for entries and custom posts.
This plugin has saved me a great deal of time when I create websites with a certain template or specific Framework (eg Visual Composer, Thrive, Architect, etc.). Instead of creating everything from scratch, I can duplicate the page (or post) and only modify text and images.
Very useful for any type of site with many pages.
If you are going to monetize your blog and have affiliate links or any other that has a structure that makes its purpose clear (sell and advertise), then Pretty Link will be very helpful to create personalized links and “hide” your affiliate link.
Q2 W3 Fixed Widget
With this plugin you can create a fixed widget, that is, it does not disappear when a user or reader of your blog is consuming your content and lowering the bar of your browser with their cursor. In this way, the widget (it can be an image, a banner, a list of links, or a subscription form) always accompanies it in its reading, which increases the possibility that it will click and thus have better conversions.
Related Posts by Zemanta
If you have a blog and publish content frequently, then you need a related articles plugin to increase engagement and the time your readers spend browsing and consuming information.
To prevent them from reading an entry and then going to another site or closing the sale, use Related Posts by Zemanta, an excellent plugin that places links with similar content at the end of the entries. The best thing is that it offers several formatting options, modifying the number of links and a control panel with statistical information such as CTR and impressions. Very complete, useful, and superior to the other plugins of related articles.
In my opinion, MemberMouse is the most complete WordPress membership plugin. Perhaps it is a little more complex than other options, but at the same time, it is much more powerful, complete and offers you all kinds of statistics about the users you have and how much they engage with your content.
As with any membership plugin, you can create different levels of members, create different products, access privileges, and much more.
With Buddy press, you can transform your WordPress site into a whole social network where you can create a community that shares content, makes your personalized profile, and interacts with a reliable and well-designed platform.
An excellent option for schools, study groups, communities for courses or digital products, or any other group of people where a type of social network is required.
Disqus Comment System
Although WordPress comes with a built-in commenting system, some alternatives offer great features. One of the best is Disqus, where they promote interaction and community building. Its system offers personalized profiles and a great design that will surely help improve the aesthetics of your blog.
Not all plugins are necessary
Each of these plugins fulfills a specific task and function, so you only have to install them when they are really necessary for your blog or website. What I recommend is to install all the plugins from the Essentials section, since those are the universal ones that are required on all sites regardless of the theme or purpose.
Later review each section and choose the ones you want and need. Some fulfill the same task, so it is only necessary to install one (example: Digg Digg and Sharebar).
Save this page well to have it as a reference when you need a specific plugin.
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