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8 Best Essential WordPress Plugins

The open ecosystem of WordPress allows third-party developers to contribute in the form of plugins. A plugin itself is a set of scripts that can be installed to your WordPress website to extend the functionality of your website. The WordPress developer team offers an official plugin directory which hosts tens of thousands of free plugins. Third-party websites like CodeCanyon and Template Monster also exist for paid plugins.

A newly installed WordPress website needs some plugins according to the purpose of the website creation. But, there are some essential plugins you need to install first before you install other plugins. You need plugins like Yoast to make your website has a better ranking on the results page of a search engine. You will also need an anti-spam plugin to help to minimize spam comments from getting into your website.

So, what are the essential plugins for WordPress? We have collected some of them.

1. Best page builder plugin: Elementor.

Page builder is a plugin that you can use to create a beautiful web page without coding. In many cases, website developers use a page builder to create the homepage of the website they are working on. You can also use a page builder plugin to create beautiful specific pages like contact page, about page, pricing page and so on. Elementor is one of the most popular page builder plugins for WordPress. Recently, this plugin has just reached a milestone with over 3 million installations, making it the most-used page builder. Many WordPress users — web developers in particular — love Elementor because it has a very intuitive visual interface. With Elementor, you can create a beautiful web page without writing any single line of code. At all. You can even create a WordPress theme without coding as well.

The following are some of the key features offered by Elementor.

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Theme builder
  • Pop-up builder
  • Responsive editing

  • WooCommerce Builder
  • Over 90 design elements
  • Over 300 templates

Elementor is a freemium plugin. You can use it for free with an option to upgrade to the pro version to unlock more features. Features like theme builder, pop-up builder, and WoCommerce builder are only available on the pro version. Some design elements are also only available on the pro version. You can visit our Elementor review to compare the elements available on the free version and pro version of Elementor. You can also visit the Elementor showcase page to see the example of websites created with Elementor.

Elementor overview:

  • Author: Elementor Team
  • Active installations: 3,000,000+
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

2. Best maintenance mode plugin: SeedProd

If you install WordPress via a control panel app (cPael, CentOS Web Panel and so on) it takes you less than 5 minutes to have WordPress installed on your server. But, your job hasn’t finished yet. The are plenty of settings and customizations you need to make. From installing a new theme, making the basic settings, installing essential plugins and so on. While you are preparing your website, you can enable the “coming soon” or “maintenance” mode to let your visitors know that your website is not ready yet.

You can actually create a “coming soon” page without installing any plugin and set it as the homepage temporarily. But, SeedProd will make your job much easier. You can enable either the “coming soon” or “maintenance” mode by just ticking a radio button. SeedProd is especially a great plugin if you want to release a new brand. This plugin allows you to collect email subscribers and let your fans know by email once your website is completely ready. There are well-designed ready-to-use page templates you can use. SeedProd is also integrated with Unsplash, allowing you to select images for free. You can also integrate SeedProd with services like MailChimp, Aweber, and ConvertKit. Key features offered by SeedProd include:

  • Realtime page builder
  • Over 750 Google Fonts
  • Over 50 templates
  • Email marketing service integrations
  • Built-in contact form

SeedProd itself is a freemium plugin. You can use it for free with an option to upgrade to premium to unlock more features.

SeedProd overview:

  • Author: SeedProd Team
  • Active installations: 900,000+
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

3. Best anti-spam plugin: Akismet

In addition to cyberattacks, spam comments are also the worst enemy of website owners. If you run a dynamic website, dealing with spam comments is one of your jobs. You can actually block spam comments on WordPress from the Comments menu, but it’s not really enough. You need an additional tool to make your website free from spam comments. Akismet is a plugin you can rely on to get rid of spam comments. In addition to spam comments, this plugin also helps you to prevent spam submissions via the contact form or other forms you provide on your website.

Akismet is developed by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. This plugin is actually installed by default as you install WordPress. However, you need an API key to make it work. Akismet checks every comment and form submission against its global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.

Here are the key features offered by Akismet.

  • Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
  • Each comment has a status history, allowing you to easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet
  • URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
  • Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
  • A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam.

Akismet overview:

  • Author: Automattic
  • Active installations: 5.000,000+
  • Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

4. Best SEO plugin: Yoast

The vast majority of websites generate visitors from search engines, especially Google. Yoast is a must-have plugin if you want to optimize your website to get a better ranking on the search results page of Google or other search engines. Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin with over 5 million active installations. This plugin allows you to optimize every single post on your article. Yoast will let you know whether your article has been SEO friendly or not via an indicator. The green indicator means your article has a great SEO score. Key features offered by Yoast in terms of SEO are:

  • Advanced XML Sitemaps functionality
  • Site breadcrumbs
  • Canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content
  • Social media integration

When creating a new post or page, you can set a focus keyword. The free version only allows you to add one focus keyword, while the pro version allows you to set multiple focus keywords.

Yoast overview:

  • Author: Team Yoast
  • Active installations: 5.000,000+
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

5. Best Ad Manager plugin: Advanced Ads

The vast majority of websites generate money from ads. Some websites rely on Google Adsense, some sell something via an affiliate program. There are also websites that sell their own products or services. Whichever the type of website you are running, you need a capable ad management plugin to help you manage the ad units on your website. Advanced Ads is second to none when it comes to ad management. It allows you to display ads based on certain parameters. For instance, you can use Advanced Ads to display an ad unit on certain categories and tags. You can also set an ad unit to be displayed only on specific regions/countries if you want to run a campaign that targets specific regions.

Advanced Ads itself is a freemium plugin. It supports a wide range of ad formats. From JavaScript (like AdSense), HTML or PHP. To get the most out of Advanced Ads, the developer offers add-ons. In terms of ad management, Advanced Ads comes with the following capabilities:

  • Create and display unlimited ad units
  • Rotate ads
  • Schedule ads and set start time and expiration date
  • Target ads by content and user groups
  • Inject ads into posts and pages automatically without coding

Advanced Ads overview:

  • Author: Thomas Maier
  • Active installations: 100,000+
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

6. Best caching plugin: WP Rocket

A good website is not only the one with a beautiful interface and design, but also the one with fast loading speed. Your visitors expect your website to be loaded in about 2 seconds. The technical configurations on the server might help fasten the loading speed of your website, but not all website owners have advanced knowledge of server configuration. Besides, you won’t be able to make further server configuration if you use a shared hosting server. Installing a caching plugin can help your website has a faster loading speed. WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins for WordPress.

WP Rocket itself is a premium plugin, no free version is available. Once installed, this plugin will turn on the recommended caching settings such as gzip compression, and page caching. You can also turn on features like CDN support, DNS pre-fetching, minification and so on to lighten up your website.

Some key features offered by this plugin are:

  • Page caching
  • Cache preloading
  • GZIP preloading
  • Browser caching
  • Database optimization

  • Google Fonts optimization
  • Lazyload
  • Defer JS loading
  • CDN
  • CloudFlare compatibility

WP Rocket overview:

  • Author: Jonathan Buttigieg and Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier
  • Active installations: 800,000+
  • Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

7. Best backup plugin: UpdraftPlus

There are some planning you need to make before you release your website. One of which, you need to plan the backup scenario of your website. Having a backup plan is one of the most crucial things to make. Backup is crucial because you will be able to restore your website if something bad suddenly happens to your website, be it internal error such as server crash or external error such as cyber attack. While you can backup your WordPress site manually, installing a backup plugin can ease your job. If you have a dynamic website, you ideally backup your website daily. UpdraftPlus allows you to set daily backup, as well as other options. Whether weekly or monthly.

About the backup destination, UpdraftPlus allows you to set the backup files to be sent to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, FTP, and so on. UpdraftPlus itself is a freemium plugin. To unlock all features, you need to upgrade to the pro version. The following are some key features offered by the pro version of UpdraftPlus:

  • Incremental backups
  • Migrator
  • Multisite/multi-network compatible
  • Database encryption
  • Advanced reporting
  • Supports WP-CLI
  • Free dedicated expert support
  • More storage destination options

UpdraftPlus overview:

  • Author: UpdraftPlus.Com, David Anderson
  • Active installations: 2,000,000+
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

8. Best social share buttons plugin: MashShare

Today, the vast majority of WordPress themes already have social share buttons feature, especially paid themes like Newspaper. If the default social share feature of your theme doesn’t suit you, you can give MasShare a try. It is a social share buttons plugin with an elegant interface. The social buttons offered by look pretty. It features share count to allow your visitors to get to know how many times the article they are reading has been shared. MashShare itself is a free plugin. To get the most out of this plugin, add-ons are also available (paid).

MashShare overview:

  • Author: René Hermenau
  • Active installations: 70,000+
  • Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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