First: why use WordPress?
WordPress is currently at version 5.8 and powers over 40% of the world’s web. Can you imagine that? So, out of every 10 websites, 4 are powered by WordPress. WordPress is free, it’s easy to use, it’s available everywhere. These are just some reasons why WordPress is a choice of so many. The main reason for its popularity though is a fact that it’s open. Meaning, anyone can create his own version, building it from a standard download that’s free. And there are practically no limits on what you can do with WordPress, because there are so many extensions available. These extensions are built into themes and plugins, and here’s a list of 10 best free WordPress plugins that you should consider using.
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are little bits of software that can be utilized to enhance the functionality of any WordPress website. Additionally, these plugins can be activated or deactivated anytime, and mostly combined according to your present needs. There are some that don’t work well with others, but as long as the developers follow the standards, there should really be no problem. Anyway, I always suggest you test any plugin before you install it on your live site, because mistakes can be costly.
Free versus Premium plugins
Most plugins are free, because they follow the WordPress community rules. Nevertheless, if you want broader functionality or a completely specific functionality, you will have to look for a premium plugin. Usually the free plugins do what they are supposed to do, and most have their premium versions available which by rule offer better or additinaly functionality.
From backlink creation to security, these plugins are beneficial for a lot of features. Here are quick details of some of the best free WordPress Plugins of all time that can be downloaded and installed for free. I’ll only point out some that are more or less crucial to maintaining a healthy website with not too much effort. Please note that they are not sorted in any way.
1) WordFence Security
WordFence security is one of the best plugins that intensifies security with simple tactics. Be it changing login URL or malware scan, this tool is efficient for most security-related tasks. Because of this, your sites will be much more secure when live.
WordPress, being an open source platform, is vulnerable by design to many attacks via web. These can be only tests or serious attacks, aimed at getting your personal and other data from your databases on the server. As such, it is only logical that security solutions were developed that minimize these threats. WordFence is one of the best.
2) Duplicate Post
As the name suggests, Duplicate post is a plugin utilized when duplicating a post. It can be used to copy custom fields, titles, etc., for any upcoming posts. It also copies pages. So when you have a winning page layout figured out or just want to save some time creating a new post or page, this is a time-saver.
With a well-optimized website, renaming, deleting, and recreating posts is quite easy. It can be frustrating at some point, though. In such cases, plugins like Redirection can be used.
Redirection is the most popular redirect manager for WordPress. With it you can easily manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This can help reduce errors and improve your site ranking.
Redirection is designed to be used on sites with a few redirects to sites with thousands of redirects.
4) Really Simple SSL
Really Simple SSL is one of the most valuable plugins of WordPress. First, it is well-known for detecting the settings automatically. Following that, it makes the website run over HTTPS effortlessly.
SSL is a must these days, and if you haven’t already, take action and convert your site immediately.
5) Updraft Plus
There is no special need telling you about the importance of a good backup of your site, is there? Any day, your site may fall victim to an attacker, even a simple plugin upgrade might bring it down. In such a case, a reliable backup solution is what you’ll cherish.
Take a look at our post 7 Best WordPress backup plugins compared to see some more of backup plugins.
Updraft Plus is designed to make backups easy. It is considered the best of all plugins when it comes to WordPress backups. The files can be backed up into the cloud to Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. This makes restoring a site an easy process, thus making your life much easier in case of troubles.
It is by every definition one of the best free WordPress plugins that I really recomend using. It also has a premium version, which can only be recommended either, but definitely start with the free version first.
Unlike Duplicate Post, Duplicator is capable of migrating an entire WordPress site to a new location.
Duplicator is a popular plugin for migration. It permits you to clone the WordPress site and transform it within the domain with negligible downtime. Duplicator is another well-known plugin that is famous for backing up WP websites, this making it possible to re-use your content and design.
7) Yoast SEO
By itself, WordPress can do some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tasks, especially in the latest releases. But still, SEO is a long-term game and believe me, your sites can use all the help you can get.
YOAST SEO is one of the most preferred plugins in terms of SEO plugins. It is created with all the essential tools for SEO requirements. It includes previews, meta tags, sitemaps, preventing duplicate content, etc. Because of this, it helps Google and others rank your sites much easier.
Best SEO Plugins for WordPress are helpful extension modules that are utilized for browsers, content management, etc. It provides tools and features like sitemaps, audit checklists, content insights for website optimization.
8) Easy WP SMTP
WordPress Easy SMTP Plugin is a recognized and free WordPress plugin that helps users to connect to the website as per the SMTP server as per their preference. Since WordPress email capabilities are limited, this free plugin can be a life saver.
WordPress SMTP plugins are considered as an easy and alternative tactic to send emails. It is helpful to assure that the people receive the emails sent by WordPress websites.
With this plugin, you can turn your site into a working email marketing factory.
When it comes to the website speed, cashing and optimizing are the answers to look for.
Smush is the best plugin for image optimization. By using this plugin, you can speed up the website. Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugins are two famous and easy ways for better website speed. In addition, numerous valuable features like Bulk action, Lazy loading, etc., are present in the plugin. All this helps in retaining good-quality images.
10) W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a great free WordPress Cache plugin that enhances website performance. It is also recognized for better SEO, load time reduction, and user experience. The plugin is essential to render better speed to the website. It saves bandwidth and also surges the SERP rankings or Search Engine Result Page rankings.
If you want an even better solution (premium), take a look at the Viper Cache plugin.
The plugins described here are just some of the plugins available. The selection, of course, remains a subjective matter – I’ve listed the ones I’ve tested and liked most, so your list may be very different. Still, I suggest you give these free plugins a try and see whether they might be better suited to your needs.
Before all, I would take care of your website speed and a solid backup solution.
Of course, there are other plugins that will help you achieve specific solutions, like building a web shop or creating a membership site. I’ll cover those in another post.
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