I am writing this post for those who are either planning to build a WordPress website or already have it.
I will be discussing the 10 best free WordPress plugins that every WordPress website should have. These plugins will help you maintain the security and performance of your website.
Also, they all are FREE!!!
So, let’s first discuss plugins,
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software which performs a specific task or function so when the plugin is installed and set up on the WordPress adds its features to the site. It is written in PHP programming language.
If you are new to WordPress read my post about What is WordPress?
Why do I need these essential plugins?
Once you have decided to go with self-hosted WordPress website apart from its unlimited benefits and options, there some responsibilities that will also come to you. One of the biggest responsibility is the security of your website and then the performance of your website.
It is not enough to get a website built by a developer and leave it unseen and untouched forever. There are lots of security breaches happening to the websites and after a period of time, you will need to remove the unwanted data from the database, cache etc.
So what will happen if you leave your website without installing or setting up any security features?
Slow loading website ….
Poor google ranking…
So then what’s the solution that every non-techy blogger/entrepreneur can also do it?
YES!! There is a simple solution that everyone can do.
10 best free WordPress plugins that I am going to list down below are one of the must have WordPress plugins for every website. I install and set up all these plugins for all my clients who get their WordPress website developed from me.
So, let’s discuss those plugins one by one here
Let’s Do SEO
- Yoast :- It is one of my favorite WordPress plugins!! Yoast is an SEO plugin that will help you make your website SEO friendly. It is very easy to install and set up Yoast plugin but making your web pages/posts SEO friendly requires some effort and SEO Knowledge. Yoast plugin will not optimize your website but it will tell you whether the page or post is SEO optimized or not. It will show you the hints to make your web page SEO friendly. It will let you add below SEO content on each page/post.
- Page Title
- Meta description
- Content readability score
- Social media share Title, Slug, meta description and Image
Enter the keyword below and find out the top 10 keywords to rank your page higher.
2. Wordfence Security :- Wordfence is a security plugin that will protect your website from getting hacked or any Malware attack. It quickly alerts you via email in case of the website is compromised. Alone Wordfence cannot always protect your website but still having something monitoring and safeguarding your website is better than having nothing.
- Wordfence Security has the ability to Scan your files, block IP’s, automate scanning, filter spam, and more.
- You can choose to enforce strong passwords, limit the number of login failures and forgot password attempts before locking a user, set the duration for tracking the login attempts, prevent registering the ‘admin’ username, block people trying to log in with specific usernames, etc.
Stop Spam Comments
3. Anti-spam :- There are so many bots out there on the internet that will bring the spam comments. Recently I have one client she was worried as she started receiving spam comments recently and didn’t know what to do. It was taking her lots of time to remove the spam comments. So, I suggested her to have an anti-spam plugin since then she is so happy, never received spam comments. So, don’t wait for things to happen start now having protection for your website from spams.
Back Up Website
4. UpDrfatPlus :- This WordPress plugin will make the backup and restoration process for your website very easy. Schedule weekly or monthly back-ups this will help you to restore your website to any previous version in case of any website hacking or malware attack. Back up plugins are like the insurance of your website if in case anything happens to your website you are covered with a back up of your website files to restore the website. UpdraftPlus provides you following functionalities and features,
- Schedule back-up on manual, hourly, weekly, Daily, fortnightly or monthly basis.
- Choose remote storage like Google drive,drop box, email, Microsoft OneDrive.
- Select what do you want to include or exclude in the backup files
- Email report on backup taken
- Migrator add-on will let you migrator your website from one host to another
- Export the current website settings
- Import saved website settings
Compress Heavy Size Images
5. Smush Image:- Smush Image plugin will resize, compress and optimize any image. Now you must be thinking that why do you need this plugin? So the reason is every image has its own size and when you upload an image to the WordPress it occupies some of the same on the server. If you are uploading high-quality images then remember that they are huge in size as well. So if you keep on uploading heavy size images regularly soon you might run out of space on the server and might end up buying additional space.
- This recently happened with one of my current clients she came to me with an issue that she is not able to upload any image to her website and also she cannot update anything like theme, plugins, WordPress or add any new plugin to her website. When I investigated I found out that she was running out of space on her hosting server because all the images she has uploaded were too big in size like 1 to 2 MB.
- The developer who built her website didn’t add any image compression plugin on her website. So she has to pay to get more space on her hosting and fix the issues.
- So, if you want to space on your hosting install an Image compression plugin. I will also recommend tinpng for image compression plugin.
Easy To Set Up Form
6. Contact Form 7 :-It is one of my favorite contact form among all the other contact form plugins available. Contact forms are required to capture the queries from the website visitors or newsletters sign up’s. The Contact Form 7 will give the following features
- Easy to install and set up
- Use the shortcodes to insert a form anywhere on the page.
- Customize the look of the form the way you want
- Connect with most of the email marketing service providers like Mailchimp,Aweber,convertkit,MailerLite etc
- Get all the details from the contact form on your email.
Clean Up Database
7. WP Optimize :- WP Optimize plugin will help you clean up your database. As the time passes there are many unnecessary files that get piled up in your database which just occupies the unnecessary space of your database. This also affects your website load time and performance.
Speed Up Website With Cache
8. WP Super Cache :- WP Super Cache plugin will help speed up your website by caching your web pages as a static html files. In simple terms ” It will generate a static file i.e copy of your page and show it to the users every time they try to access this page rather than sending a new request every time to the web server to generate the page.” This will load your web pages quickly.
Share Your Content
9. WP Social Sharing :- This plugin enables your website users to share the content over Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit and over 100 more social sharing and bookmarking services.
http:// to https://
10. Really Simple SSL :- It make sure all the request to your website must run on secured version i.e https. It performs a scan on all the content on your website and replace all http:// url’s to https:// . As Google has announced that it will show only secure (https://) website in the search results, make sure sure your website is having https:// in all the url’s.
Take Away: Install these important plugins to boost the performance and security of your website. Also, Don’t keep unnecessary and unused plugins in your WordPress. If you have any plugin already installed but you are not using it currently, DELETE it. These unused plugins occupies unnecessary space and slow down your website.