At the time of writing this article, the official WordPress plugins repository had 34,793 plugins that have been downloaded a total of 795 million times.
It is obvious that one can get lost in the vast selection of plugins, and you may end up with 15, 20 or even 40 installed plugins.
From a performance point of view, there is a rule that is almost always true: the more plugins you have, the slower your website will become. Besides hurting a website’s performance, it can also increase the number of vulnerabilities available to hackers (poorly written plugins, outdated, etc.)
There are however certain plugins that you absolutely must have, such as:
WordPress SEO by Yoast
First thing that you should do on a new WordPress website is install this plugin, which is arguably the best SEO plugin for WordPress. I have written a dedicated tutorial for this plugin. How to: Install and Set Up the WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin.
WP Super Cache
This plugin will make your website faster, as well as consume less resources in your hosting package. It is very easy to set up, just a couple of check-boxes. It should work fine for most WordPress users.
Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack is plugin that provides an always increasing number of features, such as contact forms, widget manipulation, content sharing, etc. Each “module”(feature) can be enabled/disabled, so that you don’t have to use all of them. Among my favorites are these modules:
- Extra Sidebar Widgets: Widgets for Twitter, Facebook, Image Widget, etc.
- Monitor: This module will keep an eye on your website. If it detects that your website doesn’t load properly, you will receive an email notification alerting you to the issue. That way you can react accordingly and fix the issue.
- Spelling and Grammar: Improves your writing by using artificial intelligence to find your errors and offer smart suggestions.
- Widget Visibility: This module lets you control which pages your widgets appear on.
- WordPress.com Stats: Displays traffic stats for your website in real time. It shows your main referrers, top content pages, etc.
This plugin takes care of both security and performance (caching). Multiple security options are available, but it takes a couple of minutes to set up, which might turn off people that don’t like tweaking things.
If you decide to go with Wordfence, you will have to deactivate WP Super Cache or other caching plugins that you might use.
Even though some theme developers enjoy integrating shortcodes directly into their themes, this practice is generally frowned upon, as it bloats your website with unwanted scripts and features. Additionally, it will be difficult to switch from that theme to another, as you will lose your integrated shortcodes.
This is why you should use a third-party plugin instead, as you can use it with any WordPress theme, and it won’t disappear once you switch your theme.
WPML for Multilingual WordPress Websites (premium, from $29)
A good deal of hotel websites decide to go with a multilingual website, especially when they target clients from a couple of specific countries. Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t provide an easy way to create a website with multiple languages, which is why you will have to rely on a third-party plugin. You can read more about this here: How to Make a WordPress Website Multilingual.
I have personally been using and recommending WPML for over 3 years now, and our themes are fully compatible with it right out of the box, so I’m very confident in suggesting this plugin as well.
Even though the desire to have all the best plugins is great, make sure that you actually use the plugins that you install, don’t just let them idle there. If you have installed a plugin but never got to using it, it is better to delete it from your website, just to be on the safe side.
Do you have any favorite WordPress plugins that you can’t live without? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.