Essential WordPress plugins are those extensions that you must install on your website to make it work properly.
There is not a specific list of important plugins required to create the backbone of your website, actually you have to find out those essential WordPress plugins by considering the most important factors that are crucial for the effectiveness and good performance of your website according to its purpose.
The first step to figure out the most important WordPress plugins for your website is to categorize the reasons that a plugin must be installed on a website and then decide which categories are more important to you and can improve the performance of your website.
To make it easier for you, we have provided the list of reasons that the plugins may be essential to be installed on your website:
- Speed up your website for example by Clear catching or Compress images
- Improve SEO
- Improve security
- Change the function for example create an Ecommerce website
- Change the appearance of web pages or posts
- Share your content with Social media platforms
Definitely, this is not a complete list, there may be a lot more reasons that you may need to install a plugin on your website to fulfill them. iThemeLand, as WordPress and Woocommerce plugin development agency, just try to give you a hint for making your own essential plugins list and try to find the best one in each category.
- Why Are Plugins Important?
WordPress plugins are important because they can add important features or functionality to your website that are not on the WordPress by default. Actually, you can not handle or manage your website according to your requirements without installing them.
For example, consider than you want to create an ecommerce website to sell your products, it is not possible without installing important WordPress plugins such as Woocommerce.
In the following, we have tried to make a list of must-have plugins for WordPress which are more popular belonging to each category.
- What is the best caching/performance plugin?
To find the best “Caching/Performance Plugin”, first you need to know what is the purpose of installing a Caching plugin, then try to choose the best one that meets your needs.
Why caching plugins are a must-have WordPress plugin for your website?
The main purpose of Caching plugins is to speed up loading of your web pages by creating a static version of your contents and reducing the time needed for generating a dynamic page.
Caching plugins are essential because they can:
- Improve the performance of your website
- Boost your web pages loading speed
- Make your visitors have a better experience and engagement
Why is the speed up of your website important?
Speed up WordPress website is absolutely important when it grows and you have a high traffic of visitors.
Without installing a caching plugin, the quality of your website performance is reduced. So, your potential visitors have to wait a long time to visit your website.
This can have a huge effect on:
- Poor search engine rankings
- Low conversion rates
- Losing the potential customers
As a result, to improve SEO and performance of your website, installing a Caching plugin is necessary.
Which is the best WordPress caching plugin?
There are more than 100 caching plugins available to be installed on WordPress website. However, we consider the below factors to introduce you the best WordPress Caching Plugin:
- At least 4 stars from 5 for user review rate
- Good performance of free version
- Last update within the last year
- Published by a reputable developer
- Fast caching speed
WP Rocket – Premium option
WP Rocket is another free plugin useful for beginners who don’t have any technical knowledge about caching terms.
By installing this plugin, you can optimize the speed of your webpages, Google fonts, databases and simply cache your website just by one click.
The most capabilities of “WP Rocket”:
- Turn on recommended WordPress caching settings, automatically
- Improve the performance of your website by lazy loading images, CDN support, DNS pre-fetching, minification, and more
- Minify CSS files and remove jQuery migrates
Why do we recommend WP Rocket Cache as an important WordPress plugin?
- Review rate: 4.9 from 5 stars
- Regular updates
- More than 148,000 active installs
- Easy to use with just one click
- Active support team
WP Fastest Cache – Free option
WP fastest Cache is an easy-to-use plugin for speed up loading of web pages. It has a simple functionality with no extra customization options to make you confused.
“Wp fastest Cache” can easily do the below tasks for your website:
- Delete all cache files when publishing a post or page
- Using shortcodes to block cache for specific posts or pages
- Deleted all caches on schedule
Why do we recommend WP Fastest Cache as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Review rate: 4.8 from 5 stars
- Regular updates
- More than 100,000 active installs
- Easy setup with automatic modification of “.htacces” file
- Use “Mod_Rewrite” as the fastest method for caching process
- Enable Admin to delete all cache files from page options
- Provide Cash options for mobile devices or logged in users
- Support SSL, CDN, Cloudflare
- Combine multiple CSS resources
- What is the best SEO plugin to help your site rank?
There are a lot of tips and tricks you need to consider on your website to improve SEO and get high rankings on Search engines results. It is obvious that without installing a professional SEO plugin that instructs you about what is needed for enhancing your website SEO, it is not possible to achieve this goal.
A remarkable and effective SEO plugin can help you to recognize the essential requirements for optimizing everything on your website according to the Search Engine especially Google standards including:
- Using proper keywords in your product pages and blog posts
- Compressing large image files
- Publishing readable content
- Finding posts and pages with high potential,
- Fixing broken links,
- Reorganizing site structure
- Conducting a complete SEO audit
Why is improving SEO of your website important?
SEO tools are best WordPress plugins because they can help you to have better rankings compared to your competitors.
By optimizing your website, you can definitely have success in getting high ranks on Google and increase the traffic of visitors which is essential for boosting your sales and gaining more profit.
Which is the best WordPress SEO plugin?
The Best SEO Plugins for WordPress equipped with awesome tools to help you find out the problems needed to be optimized and inform you about the recommendations which are useful for improving your website SEO.
Actually, the best SEO Plugins we are going to introduce you as the most essential WordPress plugins are able to:
- Audit all of your webpages and posts by their unique assets according to the SEO standards
- Show the required changes and recommendations for improving your website SEO
Yoast SEO – Free option
“YOAST SEO” provides the most useful advices for optimization of your website and a step-by-step guide for optimizing your new content according to the search engines standards by advising:
- The best keyword count and density
- The best title and h2 tags,
- The high adjustments for readability and metadata
Why do we recommend Yoast SEO as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Efficacy and functionality of free version of Yoast SEO
- Easy instructions for on-page search engine optimization
- High security and flexible compatibility
- Supporting Right to Left languages such as Arabic or Persian through its interface and metatag generation
The SEO Framework – More lightweight free option
“The SEO Framework” is the fastest free plugin that can recommend you the most proven SEO guidelines and rules imposed by WordPress and search engines to optimize your webpages and posts.
The top advantages of “The SEO Framework” that makes it a strong competitor for “YOAST SEO” are:
- Prefilling all critical meta tags automatically and intelligently
- Providing a real time-saver
- optimizing all your web pages, rationally
- Suggesting the best methods for your post optimization in a brilliant overview panel
- Generating titles and descriptions according to Google’s guidelines, automatically
- Providing a built-in sitemap for notifying Google, Bing, and all connected search networks automatically about your website’s changes
Why do we recommend The SEO Framework as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Support sharing your posts on other social media such as Open Graph, Facebook, and Twitter
- Optimize pages and metadata by an easy instruction and color-coded guidelines
- Active support team ready to answer your questions in the support forums
- Prevent you to make common SEO mistakes
- What is the best image optimization plugin?
Image Optimization Plugins are important for improving performance and enhancing speed of your WordPress website. Displaying high quality and attractive images in the product pages or posts are crucial when you want to impress your visitors, however, adding a lot of images with large sizes cause longer loading and slowing down of your webpages.
To solve this problem, you have to install a powerful image Optimization Plugin to help you:
- Compress the size of large images without loosing their quality, automatically
- Control the quality of all images by using various kinds of options and settings
- Speed up the loading of your webpages by optimizing size of images
- Save your time by editing all images directly on WordPress without any need to use photo editor software such as Photoshop
Smush – Free option
Smush is the most popular plugin with a lot of amazing tools for image Optimization. Installing this plugin along with a caching plugin can reduce the loading speed of your webpages by few seconds which will result in a better experience for your visitors.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin, has a lot of options for customizing images including:
Why do we recommend Smush as the most essential WordPress plugins?
- Provided multi-image Optimization options which means you don’t need to customize your images one by one.
- Compress all images uploaded to your website automatically by keep their quality unchanged
ShortPixel – Freemium option
ShortPixel is definitely the most supportive image compression plugin providing optimization tools for resizing both images and PDF documents automatically in the background. This plugin is compatible with:
- Other gallery, slider and ecommerce plugins
- Shared, cloud, VPS and web hostings
By installing ShortPixel plugin, you are able to:
- Compress all images on your website even in the galleries other than Media Library of WordPress
- Rescale all types of images including JPG, PNG, GIF and WebP
- Exclude your preferred thumbnails from optimization
- Have a better speed and GTmetrix results which means better Google PageRank and more visitors
Why do we recommend ShortPixel as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Using a professional optimization algorithm for bulk editing all images at once
- Being installed on more than 200,000 WordPress website
- Providing convert options for animated JPEG, PNG or GIF to WebP
- Activation on multi website just by purchasing one API Key
- What is the best backup plugin to keep your data safe?
Back up plugins are absolutely the most important WordPress plugins that you have to install on your website to make redundant backups, regularly.
To choose the best Backup Plugin, you need to look for a plugin with below options:
- Being able to backup all types of files including media, posts, theme, plugins, etc.
- Providing tools for your database backup, manually or automatically
- Enabling you to set a schedule for regular backup
- Having options for Incremental backups which means only the last changes are backed up
UpdraftPlus – Free option
UpdraftPlus as the most trustable backup plugin of WordPress has a lot of incredible features for backup, restore and clone of your website database and files. By installing UpdraftPlus, there is no need to worry about being hacked or encountering server crashes or dodgy updates.
Why do we recommend UpdraftPlus as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Compatible with almost all servers
- Enable you to move to another host by using migrator clones
- Secure and safe
- Authorized Access by setting password
VaultPress – Premium option
VaultPress offers you a lot of useful plans for backup and secure scanning to save all of your WordPress files and database on the server with unlimited storage space. Installing this plugin can protect your data against accidental damage, hackers or malwares.
Why do we recommend VaultPress as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Choosing flexible plans for backup schedule
- Protecting as many websites as you need by purchasing additional subscriptions
- Manage all websites just in one panel
- What is the best security plugin to keep your site safe?
The best WordPress security plugins offer you powerful features to keep your website secure against malware and hacking attempts. Installing a Security plugin considered as the most important WordPress plugin because hackers, security breaches or malwares can cause malfunctioning and some serious damages to the websites such as:
- Losing data
- Losing access to the admin panel
- Destroying or damaging data
- Affecting the SEO ranking
Wordfence – Freemium option
Wordfence is the most comprehensive security plugin that we recommend you to install on your website as one of the most essential WordPress plugins due to:
- Offering an endpoint firewall and malware scanner and Defense Feed arms
- Keeping your website secure according to the newest firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IP addresses
- Checking you contents such as posts and comments regularly to find dangerous URLs and repair or delete suspicious files
- By purchasing the premium version, you have
Why do we recommend Wordfence as an essential WordPress plugin?
- Provided by a professional and reputable developer
- Have no side effect such as breaking encryption, being bypassed or leaking data unlike cloud alternatives
- Supported Two-factor authentication (2FA)
- What is the best social share plugin?
Social Share Plugins help you to increase traffic and engagement of visitors by enabling them to share your posts or pages to other social media just by one click.
The most important factor that you have to consider for choosing the best Social Share Plugin is the amount of additional stylesheets and scripts adding to your website after activation.
As we mentioned before, loading additional stylesheets and scripts can slow down the speed of your website resulted in poor experience of visitors.
So, you need to install a social share plugin with the minimum stylesheets and scripts as well as maximum productivity.
AddToAny – Free option
AddToAny as one of the best WordPress plugins supports sharing your posts and pages on more than 100 social media sites and apps including:
By installing AddToAny you can add below SHARE BUTTONS to your posts and pages:
- Standard share buttons
- Floating share buttons
- Follow buttons for getting links to your social media pages
- Image sharing buttons
- Official buttons such as Facebook Like Button, Twitter Tweet Button, Pinterest Save Button, and LinkedIn Share Button
- Universal email sharing button sharing ant content via Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com (Hotmail), AOL Mail, etc.
It is worth mentioning that there are a lot more plugins that you can install on your website as the most important WordPress plugins. Actually, you have to find out the best plugins that work well according to your requirements.
So, as the final word, we just recommend you to first list the functions required on your website then try to find the most powerful and trustable plugins that can cover those functions for your website perfectly.