Table of contents [Show]
- Benefits of Using a WordPress Plugin
- Extend functionality
- Time saver
- Flexibility and reliability
- What to Look for in a Best WordPress Plugin?
- Speed and capacity
- Reviews and ratings
- Security issues
- Support and update
- Best WordPress Plugins
- Jetpack by WordPress
- WP Rocket
- Rank Math SEO
- Best WordPress Plugins for Extended Functionality
You can think of a WordPress plugin as a small application that “plugs into” your WordPress site and adds new features to it or extends existing features to optimize them and improve user experience. Plugins can do quite a lot – from minor tweaks to massive optimizations.
Some plugins help you append payment gateways, while others add social media feeds. Depending on your needs, plugins can be vital in improving your site’s usability and performance.
Benefits of Using a WordPress Plugin
When it comes to your website, WordPress plugins make life easier. Here are some of the benefits of using a WordPress plugin.
With a plugin available for almost anything you can think of for your WordPress website, you can easily attain the desired functionality. From adding custom features to enhancing essential ones, plugins help you do it all. The right plugins can help you build a feature-rich website.
One of the main advantages a plugin offers is time-saving. With some 55,000 plugins available on WordPress, there’s one for virtually anything you need – be it adding complex functionalities like e-commerce or small ones like adding analytics. All of these plugins help you save time as you don’t have to code them yourself or invest in developers to help you.
Flexibility and reliability
The flexibility plugins offer in terms of adding, removing, and customizing functionalities is unmatched. Free and paid plugins make for different levels of flexibility and functionality. Even the biggest websites use plugins to keep their large systems running because of the reliability that plugins deliver.
What to Look for in a Best WordPress Plugin?
WordPress plugins are essential, but you should not install just any plugin. Before installing a WordPress plugin, you should pay attention to some factors. Here are some of them.
Speed and capacity
WordPress plugins can affect the speed and capacity of your website. Some plugins have longer loading times and high memory requirements. And even if a plugin offers you what you want in your website, if you choose the wrong plugin, you might end up installing an option that consumes high memory, decreases the website’s capacity, increases loading times, and downgrades your site. Before installing a plugin, check how it will affect your speed. Tools like Plugin P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) can help you in this regard.
Reviews and ratings
Two other factors that determine the best plugins for WordPress are the developer’s reputation and the plugin’s popularity. Installing a plugin means letting someone else’s code run on your site, so it’s a good idea to check if the plugin is trustworthy. And a great way to do it is to look at a plugin’s ratings and reviews instead of advertisements. Of course, nothing beats testing the plugin firsthand, but reviews and ratings are the next best thing as they come from those who have tried the plugins. Hence, look for plugins with good reviews (among a large number of reviews).
According to WPScan’s estimate (2020), over 20% of website security issues arise from WordPress plugins (number varies over time). So, if you don’t want your website to become vulnerable to attacks or threats, you need to check whether the plugin you are using has no or few security vulnerabilities. It is a subjective process to determine how secure a plugin is. Even some of the best WordPress plugins possess vulnerabilities. However, you need to make sure that the developer regularly brings out updates to minimize risk exposure.
Support and update
No WordPress plugin is problem-free. Sometimes, even the best WordPress plugin can have problems. But when it does, you need to be assured that you can get help and support from the developers or the user community. Those plugins that provide regular support and updates are indisputably better than those that don’t. Therefore, while looking for the best plugins for WordPress, check whether they are updated regularly and have good community support.
Best WordPress Plugins
Choosing from 55,000 plugins can be a bit overwhelming. To help you, here are some of the must-haves in the best WordPress plugins.
You can think of Jetpack as a collection of plugins or tools that provides several features in a single package that supercharges your website. With the capabilities of many plugins in one, Jetpack can dramatically improve your website overall.
Some of its features include security and performance improvement, backups, social media sharing, lazy loading, contact forms, and many more. And another noteworthy feature is that WordPress developed and hosted this plugin, which takes some of the load from your website, ensuring its smooth functioning.
However, not all the features it provides are free. If you are looking for a free solution, Jetpack may disappoint you.
Its free version offers all the core functions, while its Pro version adds backup, spam protection, and SEO tools. The Pro version starts from $7.95 per month and goes up to $79.95 per month.
WP Rocket is a great website caching plugin that helps you speed up your site load times. This plugin, when activated, creates cached copies of your dynamically loaded website pages so that the servers have to do less work and web pages load faster.
The only downside is that it is a fully paid plugin, and its plan can be more expensive when compared to similar plugins.
Paid plans start at $49 per year (which includes support and updates for 1 website) and go up to $249 per year for unlimited websites.
Rank Math SEO is currently the 2nd most popular SEO plugin despite being a relatively new SEO tool in the market. It comes with SEO modules that you turn on as required to integrate your site with search consoles, improving your local SEO.
Rank Math’s name comes from the game-like process it introduces to optimize your content for search engines. Each post gets a rank from 0 to 100 based on its optimization level. Rank Math lets you optimize your local, image, and global SEO.
An issue with Rank Math could be its intuitiveness. Compared to others, Rank Math requires beginners to spend more time getting used to it.
As for the pricing, it has both free and paid plans. The free version offers all the essential SEO tools, but you can do much more with paid. The paid plans start at $59 per year, which is best for individuals, while businesses can opt for the Business Plan at $199 per year.
Your website can sometimes have issues – best case, it may stop working due to minor glitches, or worst case, it may become a target of hacks. If either takes place, a simple solution can save your website – a backup. UpdraftPlus is one of the most powerful backup plugins, making it one of the best WordPress plugins.
UpdraftPlus lets you create backups with its 1-click interface. It allows you to choose from manual backups or schedule routine automatic backups. You have the option to store backups locally or on the cloud, such as on Google Drive or Dropbox. In fact, UpdraftPlus provides more cloud options than most similar backup plugins. And restoring your site is pretty easy, too; it only takes a click.
Despite its pluses, UpdraftPlus might let you down with its support. A few UpdraftPlus users have complained about its slow support system.
The base Updraft plugin is free, but you get extended features and priority support with its paid plans. Pricing starts at $42 per year for individual plans and goes up to $195 for enterprises. A full-featured Gold Plan costs $395 per year.
You can avoid website spam with a simple plugin, Akismet Anti-spam – the oldest and most reliable anti-spam plugin for WordPress. Akismet Anti-Spam is simple to use; you install it, and it does the rest – checking your contact form submissions and comments and preventing any spam content from getting through.
Akismet’s easy scanning helps prevent malicious or misleading links from getting posted and improves user security. And it works on auto-pilot; you don’t have to monitor it. However, it does let you review all that it has blocked so that you can block/unblock the spam content yourself.
To use Akismet, you will require the Akismet API-Key upon installation. Though free for individuals, it might be difficult for a beginner to get started.
Akismet has free and paid versions. The free version gives you standard spam protection. However, with the paid plans that start at $10 per month and go up to over $50 per month, you can get additional API keys for unlimited sites and priority support.
Best WordPress Plugins for Extended Functionality
WordPress websites are convenient to set up and robust in use, primarily due to the plugins available. Whatever kind of WordPress website you run, you can find plugins that can assist you. With the right plugins, you can also optimize your site and offer a fantastic user experience.
However, keep in mind that plugins, if you use them excessively or if you choose the wrong ones, can cause problems on your site. Therefore, before using a plugin, test it first and make sure you have only a single plugin installed to address a problem.