Top WordPress plugins every site should have

WordPress in itself is a decent system but plugins can really take it to the next level. Adding top WordPress plugins can make WordPress into the Swiss Army Knife of websites: just pull out whatever functionality you need for your specific site!

Top WordPress plugins

Many people have asked us for our list of top WordPress plugins. Of course, we’ve written quite a few WordPress plugins ourselves, but the list of great WordPress plugins is much larger than that. In the article below, we list the top WordPress plugins we use ourselves, on this site or other sites we build, analyze & optimize. This list changes over time; this is probably not the last time we updated it. Note: we listed the plugins in random order.

Let’s go.

WP Rocket

It makes the sites you build perform to your expectations, instead of slowly crawling. And yes, I think every site should be cached to get the maximum performance for each and every user, not just when you start hitting social sites. We recommend using WP Rocket for that.

On a side note: we really like WP Rocket, but if your site is hosted by a great company like SiteGround (like ours is) caching and more speed optimization is taken care of. This eliminates the need for a caching plugin.

Google Analytics by Monster Insights

Since we sold our Google Analytics for WordPress plugin to Monster Insights, they have actively developed and improved what we feel is the best plugin for adding and analyzing Google Analytics data right in your WordPress dashboard. Please check out Google Analytics by Monster Insights for yourself.

Nested Pages

If your site grows larger and larger, you might start to feel the need to move around some pages. A decent site structure helps Google to crawl your site in the most efficient way. Nested Pages uses a nice drag-and-drop interface to maintain that site structure.


We predict a vast increase in the number of sites that are built solely in AMP as a replacement for your regular website. It probably takes some years, but bottom line is that AMP makes your website more user-focused and faster. Prepare your website with this plugins: AMP.


Not having a backup isn’t an option if you rely on your website for your business. You can rely on Blogvault to create backups of your site, so you have one less thing to worry about. BlogVault creates incremental backups, so your site won’t be overloaded.

Sucuri WAF

It’s no secret that we really like Sucuri’s security solutions for WordPress. Awesome security monitoring and great service. At least install their Sucuri Scanner plugin. But I recommend checking Sucuri WAF and other products and decide what works best for you.

WP Google Authenticator

I wouldn’t even overthink adding this plugin to your WordPress site. It’s no hassle and will add an extra layer of security to your website. An alternative could be Rublon, which works in a similar manner, but we usually use WP Google Authenticator.

Login Lockdown

For an extra layer of security, we recommend installing a plugin like Login Lockdown, that prevents automated login requests from firing a gazillion login attempts. If some IP range does a surplus of attempts, the login function is disabled for all requests from that range. For more details, check Login Lockdown in the plugin repo.

Any image compression plugin

Yes, I would like to name just one. But the truth is that it depends on your website what plugin works best. We have used Smush, tried EWWW. has a plugin and ShortPixel has one. And has anyone tried the premium Imagify? I would really like to see a comparison for these plugins from an independent, image-heavy website. For now: pick one and use it.

Ninja Forms or Gravity Forms

Both are great plugins to create drag-and-drop forms. Both provide an option for conditional logic and are really easy to use. If you have a form on your website, and any website that has a contact page should have a form, I recommend using Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms.

Better Search Replace

Sometimes you need to do a search and replace in your database in order to make things work right, like after a domain migration. There are more plugins that can help you do a search and replace in your database, but we have used Better Search Replace and found it very helpful. As database actions shouldn’t be taken lightly, I recommend always performing a so-called dry run before doing the actual replacement. This plugin allows for that dry run.

No, we’re not leaving our own main plugin out here. Simply because you really need it.

Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

We believe this is the best SEO plugin out there, in our own humble opinion of course. Install it on all your websites, simply because it takes care of all the SEO hassle and guides your editors into better writing.

To date, this is the only SEO plugin that is developed by SEO experts, where all the others are made by friendly people that are first and foremost software developers. We stay on top of any changes in SEO and make sure these changes are implemented in the way we optimize your website. That is why we feel our Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin should definitely be in this list of top WordPress plugins.

Read more: 5 handy WordPress plugins for your blog »

25 Responses to Top WordPress plugins every site should have

  1. Freshlagu
    Freshlagu  • 4 years ago

    thanks for the tips, I’ll use a plugin to maximize the image plugins that are suggested.

  2.  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for a great list.

    We posted a comparison of image optimizing plugins a couple of weeks ago, where we had a closer look at WP Smush, Imagify and ShortPixel.

    You can find it here

  3. Ryan Burchey
    Ryan Burchey  • 4 years ago

    Regarding “Google Analytics by Monster Insights” I am in two minds about adding it to your site.

    On the one hand, Google Analytics displays important information about your visitors etc, but on the other, it appears to slow your website down – whenever I do a page speed test it is almost the last thing to load and on average adds up to half a second to the page speed load time.

    But overall I think it is worth adding, thank you for the post.

  4. Multimeta Directory
    Multimeta Directory  • 4 years ago

    Great list!! I have used some of them and I think all are free plugins

  5. Riens
    Riens  • 4 years ago

    A great article to get business rolling!

  6. Jitendra Dabhi
    Jitendra Dabhi  • 4 years ago

    I love wordpress becuase its give me power to do my work easily and wordpress plugins help me to boost my SEO. I recently posted one post about WordPress Plugins for Blogging.


  7. Stephen
    Stephen  • 4 years ago

    This article is priceless for WP users. Thanks!

  8. Roy
    Roy  • 4 years ago

    Great post.
    Regarding images, I am getting best rsults by using imagify with the ultra option turn on.

  9. Leo
    Leo  • 4 years ago

    Great article. Helps a lot.

  10. Ngan
    Ngan  • 4 years ago

    What about Akismet? Gotta control those spams comments.

  11. Gerva Sharma
    Gerva Sharma  • 4 years ago

    As always found a new thing to test.

  12. Max Smith
    Max Smith  • 4 years ago

    Great plugin list… Btw – I always install firstly Yoast SEO. :) I also recommend WP Super Cache and Shortcodes Ultimate.

  13. Fathi Arfaoui
    Fathi Arfaoui  • 4 years ago

    Thanks Michiel, 2 years ago, the majority of bloggers recommended Smuch, So, I wanted to give it a try, it worked, however, when I discovered Imagify, I found the difference in Image compression, so, I wanted to test it and it outranked Smush in a few minutes. It saved almost 40% of the disk space used for media. I used the premium version and I highly recommend using the aggressive mode.

    Best of all, WP Rocked is the team behind the plugin. Also, I’d like to recommend Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP, at least for now as it’s not in the default plugin core.

  14. Andrew Miller
    Andrew Miller  • 4 years ago

    I’ve used Smush and now using Imagfy. Both premium versions. The Imagfy is way better imho – compress the images faster and with much less compression artifacts!

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Thanks for that addition, Andrew!

  15. Florian
    Florian  • 4 years ago

    Hey Michiel, thanks for your plugin list. I will definitely check out blogvault! I use Imagify Premium on our Image -heavy foodblog and it works out really good. The image compression is fine, the quality stable and it saved us a lot of time and gave the website more speed. YAY! Cheers, Florian

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Np, Florian, glad you like it. And thanks for your Imagify recommendation. I’m sure it’ll help other readers wondering what to use.

  16. Max
    Max  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for provide really use full plugins. But is case of SEO, yoast is no.1 plugin. Any thing more details about WP Rocket?

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Hi Max, not sure what you mean? All the details are on their website :)

  17. Yoast Seo
    Yoast Seo  • 4 years ago

    I use Yoast SEO premium 4.3.0 and I very satisfied thank you.

  18. robert
    robert  • 4 years ago

    Thanks for this list of plugins. What do you think about Jetpack? Another musthave plug-in or not?

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Depends on what you are looking for, Robert. Jetpack is packed with features and has a dedicated team that is improving these all the time. If one of these features fulfills your website’s needs, use it. I can only recommend to test-drive it for yourself. I do think there are little people that need all its features, that’s why I did not include it.

  19. Thierry
    Thierry  • 4 years ago

    Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress plugin is one of the first I install on a new WP site. should be even part of the WP core.

    • Michiel Heijmans

      Thanks for that compliment, Thierry!

      • leased line costs
        leased line costs  • 4 years ago

        Great list. WP Rocket wins for me as the ultimate plugin!