My Top 13 Wordpress Plugins

Last Update: April 28, 2019

When I first started using Wordpress I didn't know what a plugin was so I was too scared to use them.

Then I learned that plugins are like mobile apps in that they add functionality to your website so I started adding plugins like crazy....

Then I learned that adding too many plugins to your website is not good and that you must keep your plugins down to the absolute minimum, so I removed most of my plugins and only added plugins when I absolutely had to!

Then I learned that it is not necessarily the amount of plugins that you have, it is more that you need to ensure that the plugins you add are not heavy, slowing down your website, and they need to "play nice together". There are plenty of plugins that are notorious for clashing with others, so avoid those.

After all those ups and downs I feel I am not all over the place when it comes to plugins, I have a much better understanding of them and when to use them.

Here are some plugins that I have really enjoyed:

1. All In One SEO

Yes I know loads of people rave about Yoast but I had Yoast and it didn't play nicely with my other plugins... granted that was at the stage when I had loads of plugins but still I found it problematic for me.

All In One plays nicely, it is not heavy and it is super easy to use.

The fact is that you have to have an SEO plugin and my personal feeling is All In One SEO is the best option here.

How To Use All In One SEO Pack plugin

2. Simple Social Share

Another plugin that you just have to have is a social share plugin - social sharing is vital to your blog, so you need to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to share.

I have Social Media Feather on a few of my websites but I don't really like it much to be honest. I started using Simple Social Share on one of my newer websites and I like it so much more.

3. Really Simple SSL

When I had to get a security certificate for my main business website I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out why I was not getting the green padlock and then I found Really Simple SSL and when I added it my problems were solved - my green padlock was there!

4. EWWW Image Optimizer

It is so important that images are optimized so that your website is not slowed down and EWWW Image Optimizer does a great job.

How To Use EWWW Image Optimizer

5. Redirection

Broken links and pages that are not found will be damaging to your website. Using the Redirection plugin you can redirect traffic from broken links to another link - I have found this super helpful especially since I changed my website from an online store to a blog a few years back. I have added redirects from my store to blog posts on my website.

How To Create Redirects Using Redirection

6. Ninja Forms

There are many forms plugins that you can use, I know a very popular one is Contact Form 7 however I used that one previously and I had some trouble with it. It was not simple enough for me and I find it easier to use Ninja Forms.

7. Shortcoder

Oh how I love this plugin - I don't like dealing with scary looking code all the time and I don't like having to leave my website to go and find my code for example on Google Adsense. I rather add my Google Adsense code to Shortcoder and have a much nicer looking shortcode to use on my website that I can access from my website.

How To Use Shortcoder To Easily Add HTML Banners and Code To Your Posts

8. Pretty Links

Pretty Links is another nifty little plugin that has come in handy over the years. It is a way to make affiliate links prettier as well as having access to my affiliate links on my website, along with tracking information for each link that I add.

How To Use Pretty Links

9. Insert headers and Footers

Once again, I am not a fan of playing with code, especially when it comes to adding code to the header and footer of my website.

Insert Headers and Footers gives me an easy way to add code to my header and footer. In addition to this adding code directly to your headers and footers can sometimes lead to issues when you run updates - your code that you added could be removed. When you use this plugin that issue is resolved!

How To Add Insert Headers and Footers Plugin

10. Post Type Switcher

Tell me you didn't create a page instead of a post when you first started working on Wordpress and you will probably be the first person I have spoken to that hasn't.

In fact I did this myself again a few weeks ago by mistake.

Instead of copying your content and pasting it into the page/ post that you need and then deleting the page/ post you don't need you can make use of this plugin - so super simple and easy to use and much quicker!

How To Change Pages To Posts and Vice Versa - Quick & Easy

11. Classic Editor

This is a plugin I found and added just yesterday - I updated my website to Version 5 (Gutenberg) and found a new editor when I had to finish and publish a post urgently. I had no time to figure out how to use it.

So in comes this plugin which enables you to use the old editor.

Wordpress 5 - Classic Editor Plugin

12. Tablepress

I love this plugin - it enables me to make pretty tables on my website when I need to present information in a table format. It is also super easy to use and makes my content so much more presentable.

How To Create Tables On Wordpress Using Tablepress plugin

13. WP GDPR Compliance

This is such an important plugin that will make sure that your website is GDPR compliant! I don't enjoy legal stuff or complicated technical things and this just takes all the hassle out of it.

How To Easily Make Your Website GDPR Compliant

So these are my top picks of plugins at this stage. What plugins do you use and why?

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Andrew-74 Premium
Hi there Lynne!

I have been having a bit of a sort out on my blog and have found a few issues with a couple of the plugins that I was using. I've been investigating my Page Speed as I know its a big ranking factor these days. What I found was that a couple of my installed plugins were causing my pages to load pretty slowly. I wrote a post about it here: Long story short... I am currently looking for a social media plugin that works well without slowing down the load time of my site. Everything that I have tried caused my page load time to slow down considerably.

Just wondered if you had encountered anything like this?
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LynneHuy Premium
Honestly Andrew I have not done a massive assessment of my site speed on any of my websites. I use Social Media Feather on some of my websites and there is nothing wrong with it but I don't particularly like it. I have started adding Simple Social Share to my new websites and I like it more :) I can't really give you much feedback on how they affect site speed though.

One thing I can say is that all of my websites have well more than 5 plugins on each one. I don't feel that having 5 or less plugins is viable if you want a website that has good functionality. I don't add plugins left right and center but if I feel I need a plugin I get one :)
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Andrew-74 Premium
I know that Social Media Feather is one of the best ones for not slowing down your website. I agree, I don't see how it would be possible to have less than 5 plugins. I'm down to 7 now but I don't have a social media plugin running at the moment as I'm testing them to see how it effects my Page Speed. It's quite an interesting experiment!
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YanFellow Premium
Great list, Lynne. It's always good to know what other WA members are using.

My only form so far is a Contact Us form which I produced with WP Forms. Have you tried it? Wondering how it compares to Ninja.

Use most of the others on your list but don't seem to have a need for a shortcoder (where do you use it?) or Pretty Links. Is it really bad to use the full Aff link?

Great info, thanks,
Ian
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LynneHuy Premium
Hi Ian

I use Pretty Links for most of my affiliate links - it makes it so much easier to manage everything and of course your links are prettier :) I just don't use it for my Amazon links!

Ninja Forms - well I find it much easier to use than Contact 7 but I haven't used Contact Us so I can't compare :)

Shortcoder I use quiet often, mostly to manage html banner codes that I use often, especially for Google Adsense :)

Kind regards

Lynne
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anusuya1 Premium
I have heard too many plugins slower the website speed. I have seen experienced people recommend different options based on their experiences.

I have read reports websites fall apart because of certain plugins.
I still consider myself inexperienced with respect to plugins. I only have all-in-one-SEO and the image optimizer so far. All-in-one has a social share. Not sure how it looks.

Kyle's training highlighted pretty link. I will use that. I would not exceed more than 4-5 as a rule of thumb and watch my site speed and then may add more.

Zed (Smartketeer) had a couple of posts here about plugins. I had a question about plugins and site speed in his previous blog and I believe he has addressed in the current one, I still have to read his last one.
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YanFellow Premium
Ah, got it, thanks, Lynne.

I guess I'll know it when I need it :-)

Not really had a prob with long links, either -just copy 'em and paste 'em. Maybe if visitors see a 'pretty link' they're they think it's safer than a convoluted one.

Thanks again,
Ian
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YanFellow Premium
So many suggestions, so many plugins... :-)

Apparently it's the 'quality' of the plugins that matters, not the 'quantity'.

Lots of trainings suggest using various plugins to solve a range of problem,s. If you used them all you'd have dozens installed.

Unfortunatley, the way WP works, you do NEED several plugins simply to get a half-decent site together. It might be the most popular site platform in the world but it has sooooooo many shortcomings....

Ian
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Jenna11 Premium
Thank you very much for this awesome list, Lynne!!

I have the seven bellow.
Yesterday I deactivated UpdraftPlus (used to back up the website) and wonder if I should deactivate one or two more.
In Zed opinion the amount of plugins doesn't matter so much as long the overall health of the website is good. So I feel ok. However, want to deactivate some more ...

Aloha, Jenna
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LynneHuy Premium
Hey Jenna

It is not necessarily the amount of plugins you have - it is more how nicely they play together and whether they are heavy or not. Using heavy plugins will slow down your website.
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Jenna11 Premium
Thank you, Lynne!

How do I find out which ones are the heavy ones?

I guess is time to say Merry Christmas!!!
I wish you wonderful holidays, Lynne!

Aloha, Jenna
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LynneHuy Premium
Hi Jenna

Well I don't actually know LOL - but what I do is check how many active installs a plugin has and then I look how many stars a plugin has and I read the reviews. From reading what other people have said about the plugin it is quite easy to see whether the plugin is heavy or light, whether it conflicts with other plugins and any other relevant information. What is also good there is to check and see if the developers respond to any negative reviews or not and how fast they respond and how they respond.
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Jenna11 Premium
Thank you, Lynne!
This is a good advice! I'm still so fresh in these things :-)

Aloha, Jenna
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LynneHuy Premium
It's a pleasure Jenna :)
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jlclayton1 Premium
Great list! One that I can add that I use all the time is Easy Table of Contents. It's super easy to use, just set the parameters and forget about it. Every time someone clicks on a post, the table of contents automatically loads!
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LynneHuy Premium
Thanks Janelle that sounds like something I might love to make use of! I will check it out :)
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JillAlexaVA Premium
Hi Lynne, You know this old Ditz, can't take it all in but have bookmarked it as I shall have to go over it all again for it to sink in.
Know I must go back to Wordpress Classic as can't get my head around Gutenberg.Thanks so much. Hope to see you again soon.
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LynneHuy Premium
A star will do for now :) I hope you are well!
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NickSkellern Premium
Excellent recommendations, Lynne. Thank you!
Nick
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JohnnyMark1 Premium
Hey Lynne, Your post here comes at a perfect time as I'm reviewing my own list of acceptable plugins. I'm always wondering what others are using and why they're going with one over another. Your thoughts are appreciated.

In an effort to trim down the amount of plugins I use and only use good ones, I just read a good article explaining why to avoid some plugins. It recommended alternatives.

Just a thought, do you actually need to use 'Really Simple SSL' since WA already includes SSL? Because my sites are hosted at WA, they already have SSL and display the green padlock. Maybe some of your sites are hosted elsewhere.

I'm going to use 'Redirection' today as a matter of fact. I've used 'Simple 301 Redirects' with good success in the past, however.

I've used 'Contact Form 7' in conjunction with 'Really Simple Captcha', but now will be trying out 'Ninja Forms' based on your feedback and that article.

I might try the 'Simple Social Share' you recommend over the one I've been using, 'Tweet, Like, Google+1 and Share'.

'UpdraftPlus' has far more installs and a 5-star rating for backing up WordPress and files over the one I've always used, 'WP Clone'. I'm going to try it.

I've learned that 'P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)' plugin by GoDaddy that measures the load of plugins exert on a site, hasn't been updated for the last 2 or 3 years and is outdated. Many are now experiencing problems with it. I've found no recommendations on an alternative. Have you ever used it?
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LynneHuy Premium
I needed to use the SSL plugin since firstly that website is not hosted at WA, but also it was an already established website when I added the security certificate which meant that I had a lot of errors coming up and I was trying to fix them when I came along this plugin which fixed everything for me immediately.
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JohnnyMark1 Premium
Thanks great Lynne, what ever we have to do to get it work, right? Thanks for your thoughts on those plugins.
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CLandi Premium
Lynne
This is really valuable information. I need to come back and look at your plugin How Tos.

Chuck
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GlenPalo Premium
Thanks for sharing, Lynne. I use several of these plugins. And you've given me some new ones to consider!
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qrwizard Premium
Great post, Lynne!
I'm an experienced programmer, I created a couple of WP plugins some years ago but, believe it or not, you've saved me precious time.
Information overload is killing me! ;-)
So, thanks and keep it up!
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LynneHuy Premium
I'm glad you found this useful Richard :) These are the plugins that I have on all my websites!
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qrwizard Premium
I'm going to share mine as soon as I launch my first website to sell. I may also review one of my old plugin projects and publish it.
Cheers
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geoffharris Premium
Loved this post Lynne.
I am unable to add anything constructive, I just found it extremely useful and well laid out. Well done.
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Vickic3 Premium
This is brilliant, thank you so much, Lynne
I have a couple I need to add from this list
Great post
Vicki
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LynneHuy Premium
Awesome :)
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mergie1 Premium
Thanks Lynne. It's a good way to describe plugins as apps for your website. I am going to try redirection and tablepress on your recommendation.
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LynneHuy Premium
It's a pleasure :)
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