26 Best WordPress Plugins That You Should Install on Every New Site

WordPress is undoubtedly the best website and blogging in the world.

Heck, even the stats prove that it's the case, without a doubt.

However, given the numerous plugins out there, how do you differentiate the wheat from the chaff?

In this post, I'll share with you the best WordPress plugins that you should install on every new WordPress site you start.

Website/Blog Course: If you've not already set up your website or blog, learn how to set up your own WordPress site in the next 4 mins.

Given the numerous plugins (50,000+ & counting) out there, obviously I won't be able to list every one of them. I'll however highlight a good one for each category.

What are WordPress plugins?

WordPress plugins are simply "apps" on your WordPress site.

As simple as that sounds, these plugins are actually what makes WordPress the most powerful website and blogging platform in the world.

So how do I install and use WordPress plugins?

It's quite simple really.

There are hundreds of thousands of free and paid apps in WordPress.

To download a free app, simple go to "Plugins -> Add New"​ in your dashboard.

Search for it by its name, install and activate it. Don't forget to click activate!

If you bought a paid plugin (and some plugins are worth paying for), in the same section, click "upload".

Select the zip file on your computer, click "install now", and also remember to activate it.​

And that's all to it!

What are some of the best plugins?

That's precisely why I put together this page!

There's hundreds of thousands of plugins (both great and sub-par ones), and I wanted to put together ONE place to share with you my favorite plugins.​

Automate Daily Backups

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Updraftplus

This is one of the first things I do when setting up a new site.

Setting up automated daily backups allow me to sleep with peace of mind.

In the event anything goes wrong and you want to restore to a previous version of your site, you can easily manage it ​with a backup plugin.

Step 1: Search, install and activate "UpdraftPlus" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: Get a free Dropbox account (easiest)
Step 3: Configure the settings to automate daily (recommended) backups.

Website Security

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Wordfence Security

Hackers attacking WordPress sites large and small is a very real threat. (below is a snapshot) Why keep yourself unprotected when you can do so with a few clicks?

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Wordfence Security" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: The default security should be activated.
Step 3: Customize any settings in Wordfence.

Website Speed

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There's a lot to be said about website speed, and it goes far beyond just plugins. A whole article can be written on this subject.

But for the sake of this list, I'll share with you the great plugins that you ought to use to speed up your site.​

Caching

What websites usually do is when a visitor arrives at a page, it compiles the page based on the code on it EACH TIME. And this takes much processing power and causes delay in response to visitors.

What caching does is it "paints" ​each of your webpages once, so it can show all visitors that same "static" page.

Now if this sounds complicated, simply, this lowers the processing power needed and increases page load times dramatically.

Optimize Images

Most images on the web are PNG or JPG files.

Very often, the files you use are a lot larger than they need to be. And if you were to upload a large image file, your site takes a long time to load to each visitor.​

Optimizing images is simply a way of compressing images into a smaller file, with no noticeable difference to the naked eye.

Lazy Loading

Again, images are often the bottleneck of page loads.

If you were to load the images AFTER your page loads, it can majorly improve page load times if you use a lot of images.

This is called Lazy Loading, and all you need to do is install a plugin.

Step 1: Make sure your Permalinks is set to something other than the default . Go to Settings -> Permalinks and choose "Post name"
Step 2: Install a caching plugin like "W3 Total Cache". (how to install)
Step 3: Make sure you optimize your images. Personally, I go to TinyPNG and optimize the images on the web app. You can also try the plugin ""Compress JPEG & PNG images".
Step 4: Install a lazy loading plugin like "BJ Lazy Load"
Step 5: You've now taken the basic steps to improving page loads on your site.

Content Creation

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Broken Link Checker

Links that you add to your site (both internal links and external links to other websites) can change after you publish your post.

Broken link checker scans your site for broken links and alerts you in the dashboard area.

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Broken Link Checker" in your plugins area.
Step 2: Any broken links will be alerted to you in your dashboard, which you can easily fix.

Revision Control

By default, WordPress saves different versions of your webpages each time you save/edit/publish. Over time though, you can have so many versions it clutters up your space.

Revision control allows finer control (e.g. limiting to 10 revisions per page).​

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Revision Control" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: Make changes to the settings.

Pagebuilder by Siteorigin

Pagebuilder by Siteorigin is a great free option to building your page. For free, it does a lot in helping you build your site.

Step 1: Search, install and active "Pagebuilder by Siteorigin" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: (Optional) Install companion plugins like "SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle" to add more capabilities to this app.

Divi Builder

Divi Builder is an unbelievably great and easiest page builders that you can use and I use it to build some of the pages on this site. Especially if you're using the Divi Theme (which I love and using now).

Step 1: Get Divi Builder
Step 2: Upload the zip file in Plugins -> Add New. Be sure to activate it.
Step 3: On each page or post, click Use Divi Builder

Thrive Content Builder

Thrive Content Builder is my favorite content builder and it's the one I use on this page. Easily create buttons, boxes, and other related content.

Step 1: Get Thrive Content Builder
Step 2: Upload the zip file in Plugins -> Add New. Be sure to activate it.
Step 3: On each page or post, click Edit with Thrive Content Builder.

Email Marketing

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Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is an absolute godsend. I use thrive leads for all my websites. It's super powerful, and easy drag-and-drop customization. Totally worth every penny.

Step 1: Get Thrive Leads
Step 2: Upload the zip file in Plugins -> Add New. Be sure to activate it.
Step 3: Go to Thrive Dashboard -> Thrive Leads and add all sorts of forms, including pop-ups, screen-fillers, widgets, 2-step opt in and much much more...

Landing Pages

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Thrive Landing Pages

Thrive Landing Pages is the landing page software I use, and it's really a joy to use. Use it build build your email list, thank you pages, sales pages... and a lot more!

Step 1: Get Thrive Landing Pages
Step 2: Upload the zip file in Plugins -> Add New. Be sure to activate it.
Step 3: On each page or post, click Edit with Thrive Content Builder.
Step 4: On the page, look for Thrive Landing Pages -> Choose Landing Page and select from a whole range of landing page templates.

Image Gallery

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NextGen Gallery

For those of you who want to display images like galleries, NextGen gallery is a good tool to use.

Step 1: Search, install and active "NextGen Gallery" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: Start creating image galleries and display them using shortcodes.
Step 3: Consider getting additional features with NextGen Gallery premium.

Sidebar Widgets

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Social Stickers

This is just a great simple way to add social media icons to your sidebar.

Step 1: Search, install and active "Social Stickers" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: In Appearance -> Widgets, drag Social Stickers to your sidebar.
Step 3: Configure the social media platforms that you use and display them.

Display Widgets

Sometimes you just want different widgets to show/hide on different pages. This widget allows you to do just that.

Step 1: Search, install and active "Display Widgets" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: In Appearance -> Widgets, in each of the widgets, there's now an option to show/hide that widget on selected pages.

Q2W3 Fixed Widget

This is a cool tool that you can use to make your sidebar widgets "sticky", and follow you as you scroll down the page.

Step 1: Search, install and active "Q2W3 Fixed Widget" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: In Appearance -> Widgets, in each of the widgets, there's now an option to make the widget "sticky".

Image Widget

Often, you just want to display images in your sidebar.

Step 1: Search, install and active "Image Widget" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: In Appearance -> Widgets, drag the Image Widget into your sidebar, and configure the image to display.

Social Sharing

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Facebook Like Box (Jetpack)

Many sites like to put a Facebook Like Box to show its social following and also to get likes.

Jetpack (which is pre-installed) comes with a Facebook Like Box which you can use.

Step 1: Install "Jetpack" (if not already pre-installed with WordPress)
Step 2: Sign up for free WordPress.com account or log in
Step 3: Connect your site to Jetpack.
Step 4: In Jetpack Settings -> Appearance, make sure Extra Sidebar Widget is turned on.
Step 5: In Appearance -> Widgets, add the Facebook Like Box to your sidebar, and configure your Facebook page.

Share (Sumome)

Sumome comes with a bunch of tools, and one that I like is Share, which allows you to add share buttons to your site.

Step 1: Search, install and active "Sumome" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: Create free Sumome account.
Step 3: Enable Share and customize it to appear/hide on various pages.

Monarch

If you're already an Elegant Themes member (like me) and use their themes or plugins, Monarch is also a great social share plugin that integrates really well in your WordPress site.

Step 1: Get Monarch. (comes bundled with other themes, plugins)
Step 2: Upload the zip file in Plugins -> Add New. Make sure to activate it.
Step 3: In Tools -> Monarch Settings, customize the display settings of the plugin.

Blogging

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Duplicate Post

WordPress doesn't come with a way to easily duplicate one post. This simple plugin allows you to do just that.

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Duplicate Post" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: You can now see a setting to duplicate any post or page.

Site Stats (Jetpack)

When you're running a website, it'll be helpful for you to have some analytics information. Such as how many visits to your site, which pages they are visiting, where your visitors are coming from.

Jetpack comes inbuilt in with a tool to display site stats.​

Step 1: Install "Jetpack" (if not already pre-installed with WordPress)
Step 2: Sign up for free WordPress.com account or log in
Step 3: Connect your site to Jetpack.
Step 4: In Jetpack Settings -> Engagement, make sure Site Stats is turned on.
Step 5: Your site stats will be tracked and displayed from now on.

Google Analytics by Yoast

If you prefer to use Google Analytics to tell you more about your site stats instead, it's also really easy to set it up.

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Google Analytics by Yoast" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: Sign up for a free Google Analytics account.
Step 3: Configure the settings in the plugin, and you're good to go.

Misc

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Email Address Encoder

Often, you want your website visitors to contact you via email.

By listing your email address on the web, it'll be picked up by a lot of spam bots, who will spam your email address (this you want to avoid).​

This plugin scrambles your email address into meaningless text for automated bots - yet it still displays normally for human beings. Works like a charm.

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Email Address Encoder"
Step 2: Freely write your email address anywhere on your site - no bots can find it!
Step 3: For a 1 click into your email address, add "mailto:email@address.com" (replace with your email)

Contact Form (Jetpack)

Instead of displaying your email address, you can also easily set up a contact form for visitors to write to you via the form.

Step 1: Install "Jetpack" (if not already pre-installed with WordPress)
Step 2: Sign up for free WordPress.com account or log in
Step 3: Connect your site to Jetpack.
Step 4: In Jetpack Settings -> Writing, make sure Contact Form is turned on.
Step 5: In each page/post, there's now an option to insert a contact form.

Nested Pages

This is just a great tool to manage your WordPress pages, instead of using the default option.

Step 1: Search, install and activate "Nested Pages" in your plugins area. (how to install)
Step 2: When you now click on Pages, it'll show you a new way of organizing your pages. A real time saver!

Share the goodies

Hey, the world becomes a better place when we all share and care.

Did this list help you with your WordPress site? If so, do take 1 second to share this so your friends and the world can benefit from it.​