WordPress is both the world's most popular blogging platforms and the most widely used CMS. One of the reasons for its popularity, is that it happily supports templating and plugins, making it highly flexible and customisable to suit different website needs.
That's the good news. The bad news is that sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a real challenge. So check out our choice list of the best Wordpress plugins available below, to add functionality to your website. And the best part? They're all available for free!
If you're building a website, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best web hosting. Many of the services offer WordPress-specific plans.
WordPress ships with some limited abilities to host image galleries, but for a truly customisable and flexible solution, a plugin such as Modula offers a far better experience for both the web designer and website maintainer, and for the visitor to your site. This WordPress plugin offers a host of different options that allows for true customisation rather than forcing you to adopt a visual style that matches every other gallery on the web.
Website visitors have always been reluctant to hang around for a slow-loading website, and as the primary consumption platform has moved from desktop and laptop computers towards smartphones accessing over 3G and 4G, this has only increased. If you want your visitors to stick on your website, you need it to be quick to load as well as engaging and useful.
Speed Booster Pack helps with the loading speed by automatically minifying your scripts, removing blocking scripts, optimising database calls and loading assets asynchronously. The results can be quite dramatic, giving the impression of a huge loading-speed boost.
If you’re a web designer, setting up your 100th WordPress site can feel like a real chore. Most designers will have a typical base-build that they use because they’re familiar with the configuration, plugins and options, and they know what works well for their customers. This plugin helps to reduce the installation pain by allowing you to migrate, copy, clone and move a site. Set up a core build, then use it as the source for a clone operation to simplify deployment and automatically generate a new site with the basic environment already configured.
There are loads of different event plugins available for WordPress, but one of the best (and most popular) is The Events Calendar. This module extends the WordPress post types with a new Event class, allowing you to quickly create events and adding functionality such as the ability to render a list, calendar view, search events and integrate maps. If you're running a club or society, or designing a WordPress-powered website for a client that regularly runs events, this plugin will save you a huge amount of time.
06. AMP for WP
Whether or not you feel that Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is a good thing, one thing is clear: Google is deliberately showing websites with AMP pages higher up the search results page than those without. With this is mind, this plugin makes it easy to add support for AMP automatically. Grab it, plug it in to your WordPress environment and that’s about it; you’ll find AMP-specific versions of each of your pages, which in turn should lead to more mobile-based traffic.
07. Page Builder
Page Builder is a plugin that allows your content editors to get involved with controlling the page layout, in an intuitive, WordPress-like environment. It works with all themes and plugins, making it simple to generate flexible responsive layouts without the need for any coding knowledge at all. This is ideal for websites that will be managed by a less-technical user, who wants more flexibility than a pre-set list of page templates.
Security is a massive issue for WordPress websites, just as it is for any site on the web. One of the biggest issues is that as WordPress is such a popular CMS, there’s a lot of knowledge out there about how to compromise it, and exploit security holes. While this WordPress plugin wont solve all of these for you, it does allow you to monitor attempts to maliciously access your site, and adds in support for the likes of two-factor authentication, which is a security must-have in the modern era.
JetPack brings some of the functionality of WordPress hosted blogs to self-hosted WordPress installations.
The features are wide and varied, and include cloud-hosted stats for your site, email subscription to your site, a built-in URL shortener service, social network-based commenting, inline spelling and grammar checking and an enhanced gallery system.
10. Everest Forms
Practically every website out there features a form of one kind or another, whether it’s a simple Get in touch form, or an online registration form, there’s a definite need for a simple way to create, maintain and manage form construction and layout. This plugin makes it a breeze to create forms using a simple drag-and-drop interface to craft a layout that works just as well on smartphones as the desktop. It even includes options to support multiple languages!