Must Have WordPress Plugins Every New Website Needs – Complete list
How many plugins should I have?
When it comes down to installing plugins, the choices are endless. Often people start with only a few of them, and after a couple of months, they already have a really large library of WordPress plugins. Which they probably don’t use.
Having too many plugins is not only confusing and unnecessary but also bad for you overall website performance.
You are not the only one who is wondering which, and how many plugins to add after installing WordPress. However, adding ones you don’t need or you only heard they are good is not the right path.
On the question: How many plugins should I have? The simple answer is as less as possible. To be a little bit more specific, I would answer: Install plugins that add functions to your site that you are going to use.
Free Plugins vs Paid Plugins: What should I choose?
When something is free, this doesn’t necessarily means, that is not going to get the job done. Especially in the WordPress plugins market.
There are a lot of free plugins that are even better from some paid ones (some of them are included here). And of course, there is the other version: for some specific functions, you will need to purchase a plugin.
Most of the plugins I will include here are free ones, not only because they are free, but also because they add getting the job done.
You will also see a couple of premium plugins that you can go without in the beginning, but I personally recommend in a long run.
1. Must Have Dashboard Protection Plugin
Limit Login Attempts
Each WordPress installation has an administrator URL, which by default can be accessed by anyone who types wp-admin after your domain name.
To prevent hackers from cracking your password is highly recommended to limit the login attempts per user.
Limit login attempts plugin limits the number of login attempts for a person who wants to access the WordPress admin area. After a couple of bad passwords, the admin area will be locked for a period of time.
Free or paid?
Free WordPress plugin. You can see more information about it visiting this page: Limit Login Attempts
2. Must Have Security Plugin
Preventing people from accessing your website and wiping out all of your data is something you should take very seriously.
Sucuri plugin will help you protect your website by monitoring all security related events within your WordPress install.
This is important because it allows you, the website owner, the ability keep a good eye on the various changes occurring within your environment. Who is logging in? What changes are being made?
There are thousands of bots that will try to add bogus content and links to your site using the comment section. Which can easily ruin your online reputation.
Something you will definitely need to activate after installing WordPress.
Akismet plugin will filter the comments submitted to your site and block the ones that look like spam. Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by the plugin and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
Free or Paid?
Akismet is paid WordPress plugin based on monthly subscription, but it also has a Free version you can start in the beginning. See full description: Block Spam Comments
4. Must Have Plugin for Increasing Comments
By default WordPress will want an email, name, website and the actual comment from someone who wants to add their opinion to your website. It might seem like nothing to you, but there are lots of people who will prefer not to add their comments only because you asked for an email or site URL (probably they don’t have one).
Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.
Free or Paid?
Free WordPress plugin. You can find more information about this plugin visiting the official page: Disqus Comment System
5. Must Have SEO Plugin
Search engine optimization is the best-known way to attract new visitors and make more sales. And Yoast SEO is the best WordPress plugin for this kind of job.
Joost de Valk is one of the gurus in WordPress SEO and his plugin is probably one of the best ever created.
You will not only learn how to write better content, but you will also understand how to make it even better for the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
If you are looking for a free way to increase your organic traffic, this is the right tool.
If you’re a WordPress fan, there is no way that you didn’t hear about this plugin.
W3 Total Cache is really famous WordPress plugin for optimizing your website performance. Installing it will improve the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
Free or Paid?
Free plugin with an option to upgrade to a paid version. See more details here: W3 Total Cache
This is my choice for a caching plugin.
Super Cacher by SiteGround will optimize your site performance by purging your dynamic cache whenever your content updates.
Free or Paid?
Free plugin and available only when you host your site with SiteGround. Visit this link for more information: SG CachePress
7. Must Have Widget Plugin
I use Image Widget plugin in all of my WordPress sites. This is really simple to use plugin that will allow you to add media files inside your widget area. It may not seem like something really fancy, but you will understand how important and powerful this plugin is, when you need to add a banner or an image inside your widget section.
The most advanced contact form plugin ever created. Creating contact forms with Gravity Forms is only a fraction of what this plugin can do. MailChimp, AWeber, Mad Mini (and more) integrations. Take payments using Pay Pal, Stripe, Slack or other. On to of that you can also create online surveys.
Another WordPress plugin you can’t go without. After the installation you will be prompt to connect the plugin with your Google analytics account so you can easily see your visitor statistics inside your WordPress admin area. Really handy tool to keep eyes on your traffic.
The Google Analytics tracking code is fully customizable through options and hooks, allowing advanced data collection using custom dimensions and events.
Bounce rate is a crucial factor for your website rankings, this is why having a low percent in this area is really important.
Reduce Bounce Rate plugin will reveal the real on site and bounce rate in Google Analytics. Google Analytics calculates the time on site based on the length of time between a user entering your site and their last page view. Unfortunately, this won’t give you the real-tTime on site and bounce rate stats, unless you install this tool.
Every site needs quality images to attract visitors and to make the content easier to read. And of course, quality images have a certain size, which in most cases is quite large. WP Smush plugin will reduce the size of the pictures you upload without compromising on quality.
This significantly will increase your website performance which will be really appreciated from the search engines.
Free or Paid?
Free plugin that can be upgraded to a paid version. See more information here: WP Smush
12. Must Have 404 Plugin
404 to 301
Do you know how many people are redirected to your 404 page everyday? Well, this largely depends on the overall traffic your site receives, but the actual number will amaze you. Probably more than 30 request a day. Imagine all that traffic subscribing to your newsletter or purchasing a product.
With 404 to 301 plugin, you can redirect the traffic of all 404 request to a page of your choice. This will also remove the error inside your Webmaster tools account.
Free or Paid?
Free and really easy to use. You can download it from here: 404 to 301
13. Must Have Page Builder Plugin
Powering more than 1 million sites, Visual Composer is the best drag and drop builder, period. Build unique landing pages, add beautiful buttons inside your content, insert slides into posts, all of this and much more with this premium plugin.
Online stores are replacing the physical ones thanks to plugins like WooCommerce. Preferred choice from famous bloggers and website owners.
If you are planning to start an online store, I will suggest using this WordPress tool.
With WooCommerce you can easily sell your products, no matter physical or virtual ones. With endless flexibility and access to hundreds of free and premium WordPress extensions, WooCommerce now powers 30% of all online stores – more than any other platform.
Free or Paid?
Free plugin. However, there are add-ons that can be purchased at a certain price.
Super effective plugin for capturing leads and building a profitable mailing list. Thrive leads by Thrive Themes is complete WordPres solution for website owners to help them dramatically increasing their subscribers.
Probably the best WordPress plugin I’ve ever seen for creating opt-in forms.