Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

Courtney Jones

Plugins can improve functionality, security, organization, purchasing, design, SEO and more. There are many to choose from, but these are the most essential.

These essential WordPress plugins include making your WordPress faster, more secure, and more user friendly. The following plugins are the best choices for users to get the best product to meet their website needs.

These free and premium plugins can provide the best products and services without having to install too many plugins to cover everything.

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WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

1) WP Security Audit Log

The WP Security Audit Log plugin automatically keeps a comprehensive activity log of changes logged in users do on your WordPress website and multisite network. The plugin is very easy to use and does not require any configuration. It also keeps a log of changes store managers do on your WooCommerce store, products and orders. This activity log WordPress plugin has free and premium editions.
WP Security Audit Log Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

2) Registration and Invitation Codes

The Registration and Invitation Codes plugin is an excellent tool for controlling the login and registration of your WordPress site. The plugin allows for popup registration boxes, ajax registration, and letting users stay on the same page after logging in. There are also more advanced features like reCaptcha, email verifications and more. Learn more on the Registration Plugin website.

3) Easy Digital Downloads

The Easy Digital Downloads plugin is a complete commerce solution for WordPress. Easy Digital Downloads simplifies the digital selling process with a user friendly cart system, manage payment gateway systems and much more. EDD is highly compatible with other plugins and includes features like data exporting, promotional code system, payment history and more.

EDD Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

4) Admin Tools

The Admin Tools plugin is essentially a “swiss army knife” of tools to improve your WordPress admin dashboard. These helpful tools include customizing the look of the dashboard, improve site performance, limit post revisions, control auto-save functionality, limit access to the dashboard, review your WordPress site health, and more.

This all in one plugin creates a place for administrators to find all the needed functionalities and controls easily.

5) Yoast SEO Premium

Yoast is a top rated seo plugin that allows users to choose a focus keyword for content, so that content can rank better in search engines. With preview mode, this plugin allows users to improve content while writing it for seo. Toast is also a very technical seo plugin, checking page functionalities and making sure every inch of your site is optimized for seo.

Yoast SEO - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

6) WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a very popular, free, ecommerce plugin for WordPress. The plugin integrates easily with WordPress, and offers both developers and store owners total control over their product. WooCommerce allows you to sell physical or digital goods from anywhere in the world, in unlimited quantities.

7) Site Access and Content Restriction

This new membership plugin allows admin to control what users see on each post or page on your WordPress site. Some pages are only accessed by logged-in users, while some content can be viewed by non logged-in users.

This plugin is highly customizable and has many unique features, such as controlling the categories and URL for your website.

8) Akismet

Akismet is an excellent comment filtering plugin that will keep your WordPress site free from comment spam. Users can view comment history to see what comments were flagged and removed.

All of the comments posted will be filtered through the Akismet web service, which includes millions of pages of real time data to keep up with new spamming tactics.

Akismet Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

9) iThemes Security

iThemes Security offers users the ability to have a completely secure WordPress site. This plugin users dozens of tactics to fill security holes. these holes include weak passwords, plugin vulnerabilities and out of date software. This plugin is very user friendly and includes many pro features like two factor authentication, malware scanning and scheduling, reCaptcha, and much more.

iThemessecurity Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

9) HTTPS SSL Plugin

The HTTPS SSL Plugin can ensure the safety of your WordPress site while moving from http to https. This plugin allows for an automatic re-direct to https, and install an SSL certificate. With this plugin users can check, convert and maintain https access in WordPress. There is also a built-in scanner to find unsecured content, URL filters and https connections.

10) Relevanssi

Relevanssi is a better search engine for WordPress, which allows for partial search matches based on relevancy. This plugin also indexes comments and shortcode content, is highly customizable and includes the ability to operate on multiple WordPress sites with the pro version. Users can also find documents and search for phrases in quotes for better results.

Relevanssi Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

11) W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is a plugin that exists to make your WordPress site move faster. The plugin reduces the download time of all pages, and increases the overall server performance. An increased page load speed not only keeps visitors on your site, it increases the chances they will return and increases your rank in search engine traffic.

W3TotalCache Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

12) Jetpack

Jetpack is a highly popular and user friendly WordPress management plugin. This plugin offers features like improved site performance, visitor engagement features and statistics, social sharing, anti-spam comment support, and much more.

The plugin creates a centralized dashboard on WordPress to easily manage multiple sites all from one location easily.

Jetpack Essential WordPress plugins - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

13) Tooltip Glossary

This responsive Tooltip Glossary plugin lets users create glossary of terms and definitions on it site, which can be viewed when the mouse is hovered over the word. Each term can be linked to a term page and related terms are linked through central index page, which improves site SEO.

Each term also supports synonyms, abbreviations and different variations of each term. These tooltips can appear on any page of post on your WordPress site.

14) Download Manager

The Download Manager plugin is the ultimate file directory plugin for WordPress. Users can easily upload or download files, images, videos and more from a file sharing directory. Each download generates a unique landing page that includes a file preview, support, links and more.

This plugin supports translation and localization, user content restrictions, embedding downloads with shortcodes and many more helpful features.

15) EWWW Image Optimizer

The EWWW Image Optimizer plugin is an excellent image optimization plugin. Images are automatically optimized while they are uploaded, so feels sizes for images already uploaded are instantly converted. With this plugin the pages with these image compressions will load faster, use less bandwidth, backup faster and more.

EWWW Image Optimizer - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

16) CM Answers

The CM Answers plugin is a great questions and answers forum plugin for WordPress. Users can create a powerful discussion forum with moderation, voting for the best questions and answers, private messages using shortcodes, uploading files, and commenting on existing topics. There is helpful statistic tracking, restriction capabilities, multiple forum categories and much more. This plugin easily integrates with the micropayments plugin, and supports translation and localization for various countries.

CM Answers - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

17) WP YouTube Lyte

This plugin is a high quality Youtube video tool that makes it easy to embed videos on your WordPress site. Users can add playlists, videos, or audio embeds to any post or page, and it will have no effect on the loading time. This plugin is also mobile responsive and has the ability to add a sidebar widget to embed videos easily.

18) MicroPayments

The Micropayments plugin adds a layer of virtual currency to your WordPress site. With this plugin, you can easily support in-site transactions without the need for third party payment processing.

Every user is given an electronic wallet, which they can load with virtual currency to make purchases.

Users can also earn points by doing certain actions, like answering a question in CM Answers, and those points are added to their wallet every week.

Micropayments - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

19) Google Analytics

Easily display Google Analytics tracking reports on your WordPress site with the Google Analytics plugin. This plugin allows users to embed tracking code on their WordPress pages to better track visitors and log statistics on their products or services. Users can also get in-depth reports and performance details for individuals posts or pages.

GA - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

20) SmartCrawl

SmartCrawl is a great choice for an SEO plugin for WordPress. This plugin creates a sitemap, customizes titles and descriptions on pages, adds automatic keyword linking and much more. The main difference with this plugin is that it informs search engines when there is new content to be indexed, instead of waiting for the search engine to find it.

SmartCrawl - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

21) Duplicator

Duplicator is an easy way to duplicate, backup or transfer your WordPress site from one location to another. The plugin can manually backup a site, duplicate a live site, and move a site between domains and hosts. This plugin also creates a bundle of the site’s theme, content, files and more that can be easily used to restore a site when needed.

Duplicator - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have

22) WP Smush Pro

WP Smush Pro is a top quality image compression plugin. This plugin easily compresses and optimizes images automatically, to save storage space without reducing image quality or site speed. The plugin supports bulk image compression and is an ideal choice for photographers who want crisp, clean images.

WP Smush Pro - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have
23) Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 makes it super easy to create and manage contact forms in WordPress. The form and mail settings are very user friendly and fully customizable for any WordPress site. This plugin also has features such as reCaptcha and Akismet spam comment filtering.

Contact Form 7 - Essential WordPress Plugins Every Website Should Have


There are many essential WordPress plugins that fulfill many essential WordPress functions, but the key is to find the best products that work for your site. These essential WordPress plugins fulfill basic needs for any WordPress site, and come complete with a variety of helpful and advanced features to make your WordPress experience even easier.

Instead of having a bunch of different WordPress plugins to complete basic functions, try some of these essential WordPress plugins and you will get much more for your money while using fewer plugins. All of these essential WordPress plugins are top rated with amazing features and great support. Essential WordPress plugins are constantly being created or updated so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest and greatest options.

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