Do you want to add more functionalities to your WordPress website without having to touch the code? If so then..… Welcome to the wonderful world of plugins! In this guide, we are going to tell you what plugins are, how to install them, and which are the best WordPress plugins for 2020.
What are WordPress Plugins?
Plugins are of all kinds, free, paid, and freemium, they are what make WordPress much more than a platform to create blogs. Any important need or requirement can be covered with a plugin and if it does not exist, it can be created or developed. There are no limits.
There are more than 57,000 plugins available in the WordPress repository. But we only need specific plugins that adapt to a certain need and depend on the user and the niche or topic on which it is focused. So, today we are just going to talk about the most essential WordPress, which work for all types of blog or website, regardless of topic, niche, or industry.
Before installing a plugin there are several things you should pay attention to:
- That the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress.
- Check the number of active installs and reviews.
- Access the details to verify that this plugin really interests you.
How to Install a Plugin in WordPress?
Installing a plugin in WordPress is super simple and you don’t need to have any kind of technical knowledge.
But you should know that they consume resources from your server and can slow down the loading of your website.
This does not mean that you cannot install the plugins you need. Some weigh more than others. So just check what are the size and how they can affect your website.
Now, let’s see it step by step to how to install a plugin in WordPress:
First of all log into your WordPress dashboard with a login URL like this: ‘www.example.com/wp-login.php’. Then, access the “Plugins” menu, which you will find on the left sidebar of your WordPress. Hover over or click to show the available options. Click on “Add New”.
Next, you will come across a directory of plugins. You can access the featured, the most popular, the recommended, or the favorites and you can also filter your plugin search by keyword, author, or tag.
After selecting the plugin what we need all we need to do is Click on the button «Install now».
The process takes a few seconds and we will be given the option to activate it. If we do not activate it, we will have it installed but it will not be operational.
Once installed, the plugin will automatically appear in your list of installed plugins (Plugins – Installed Plugins menu).
If you have not activated it before, you can also do it from here, as well as deactivate or delete it whenever you want.
You can also upload plugins from your computer to install them on your WordPress. Simply search for the plugin that interests you and download it to your computer.
From your computer you can upload the plugin .zip file to install it on your WordPress.
NOTE: Your essentials plugins will depend on your type of website and your specific needs.
25 “Must-Have” & Best WordPress Plugins
Now that you are clear about what a plugin is and you know how to install it, let’s see which are the essential WordPress plugins, those that should not be missing on your website, the best WordPress plugins of all time. We have compiled the best WordPress plugins and put them all together in one list. We ourselves use these plugins on our Zakra blog or at least, we have tested and we highly recommend for their usefulness, their quality, and their results.
1. Everest Forms (Freemium)
Without a doubt the best plugin to create simple and advanced contact forms in Everest Forms. With its interface “drag and drop” you can create from a simple form to surveys, quotes, subscriptions, and payments. It has a much more complete paid version that we recommend 100% if you are going to use something beyond the basics.
It is very intuitive and with many customization options. You can create complete responsive forms, use predefined form templates, connect with MailChimp, GetResponse, PayPal or Stripe, show or hide fields and sections of contact forms according to user behavior, etc.
- Create unlimited forms without any restrictions.
- Supports all commonly used form fields including radio, dropdowns, checkboxes, date, and more.
- 100% responsive form template.
- Supports multiple-column layout
- Shortcode support.
2. Yoast SEO (Freemium)
A classic among SEO plugins this plugin provides a good amount of SEO utilities for WordPress. Configuring it correctly you can carry out a large part of the on-page web positioning of your site: titles, meta tags, keywords, and social networks.
Yoast SEO is easy to use. You’ll see a series of instructions to follow to improve on-page SEO. The first thing is to choose the keyword you want to position for a certain page or article. As you meet these milestones, the iconic traffic light that indicates if you are doing it correctly will change from red to yellow and finally to green.
- You can easily create SEO titles and meta descriptions on all your content.
- This plugin automatically generates sitemaps or XML maps of your website and alerts search engines.
- It allows you to edit your robots.txt files and htaccess files (to do a 301 redirect, for example).
3. Redirection (Free)
Making the switch from old to new URL can be easy, but how does your traffic look? Because the URL is new it will go through the whole indexing process that works in the long run.
Sometimes you need to redirect an old URL into a new one with losing your positioning. Therefore, so that you do not lose your positioning, it is necessary to do a redirect. It is that function that the Redirection plugin performs.
- Redirect plugin can handle 301 redirects.
- This plugin tracks 404 errors and fixes any loose ends of your site.
- All errors can be grouped together or can also be redirected in bulk.
- The redirect plugin is compatible with Search Regex, which allows you to mass update your redirects.
4. WooCommerce (Freemium)
Through WordPress, it is possible to create an e-commerce store using the WooCommerce plugin. This plugin is exclusively designed for eCommerce WordPress websites.
After downloading it, you will have access to the dashboard that allows you to register all the company’s products, insert stock, determine payment methods, among other functions necessary for visitors to buy your offers.
- Enhance the look of your store with attractive e-commerce web themes
- Space for product catalog, sales management, payment methods
- Pre-installed payment gateways
- Total control of the checkout process
- Add/Manage products on your site
5. User Registration (Freemium)
User Registration allows you to easily create effective frontend registration and login forms. This plugin is one of the best lightweight user registration plugins and the fact that most of the best features are included in the free plugin.
While the free version is a simple drag and drop builder which enhances your design by eliminating any complicated coding. It will also create a profile page for your users so that they can edit their data, change the password and other options.
- You can create an unlimited number of registration forms, even in the free version
- Premium tools include features like email marketing, file uploading, and content restrictions
- Shortcode support allows you to place your registration forms in columns, pages, and posts
6. WP Rocket (Premium)
WP Rocket immediately applies 80% of the best performance optimization practices. The functions appear as soon as you activate the plugin. WP Rocket caching ensures fast loading of your blog website, and this would be of great importance to improve SEO rankings and increase conversions.
The plugin settings are easy to use as well, which is another positive feature for any beginner in this field.
- Caching for mobile visitors
- Reduction of the number of HTTP requests to reduce loading time
- Decreasing bandwidth usage with GZIP compression
- Minification and concatenation of JS and CSS files
*All of the pricing plans include future updates and support for 1 year.
7. Customize My Account for WooCommerce (Premium)
Even though Woocommerce has an account page by default, but there are very limited features in it. To customize “My Account” page “Customize WooCommerce” extensions come handy.
You can add important information like payment methods, links, addresses, etc. Or you can also the account page by modifying the layouts, colors, and text styling. With it, you can easily change the options for groups, links, tabs, endpoints, and even the overall design of the account page.
- Add a custom avatar or enable or disable the endpoint icons
- Change endpoint icon position to left or right
- Add a new group, link, or endpoint.
- Live preview customizer to modify WooCommerce My Account page
8. wpDiscuz (Free)
This is a plugin aimed at inserting comments on your blog. Despite the fact that some templates already have this functionality, wpDiscuz is totally dedicated to it. In addition, it also works as a kind of social network, since wpDiscuz users can interact within the platform and check which blogs they left comments on.
This makes your blog visible to a greater number of people, especially those who belong to the network of contacts of the person who commented. This, by the way, is another advantage of the plugin: its users are real and not bots programmed to leave random comments in order to generate engagement.
- Create an attractive comment form and thread display
- Native integration with social network login plugins
- Users can sort older and newer comments
- Text breaking long comments with “Read More Button”
- Comment up/down voting
9. Better Search Replace (Premium)
Best Search Replace Plugin is here for you if you want to move your WordPress website to a new server or a new domain. It has outstanding functionality and features such as the great ability to run a “dry run” to see how many fields will be updated, serialization support for all tables, and many others that will be useful to you.
Replacing your database without any problem can be done with the Better Search Replace plugin. It won’t waste your time and it will give you the best results.
- Fast Backups and Imports
- Save unlimited search/replace profiles when migrating your database.
- Download a database backup with optional URL replacements
- Backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee
Pricing: $59 for 1 website
10. Broken Link Checker (Free)
Broken links always have a huge impact on the performance of a website. Not only do they confuse and diminish a search engine’s ability to crawl your website and rank its content, but they can also make a bad impression on your readers.
Broken links checker track all your pages to check for broken links and identify missing images. This plugin detects broken links in the content and warns you about it through email or dashboard. You can directly correct the URL, remove the link, etc. all without going to the post.
- Monitors external links and internal links in your posts, pages, comments, and custom fields
- Detects links that don’t work, missing images, and redirects.
- Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
- Makes broken links display differently in posts
11. WP Smush (Freemium)
WP Smush is an image compression plugin that optimizes your images by resizing them to perfectly fit your needs. In this way, you no longer have to worry about what the images you upload weigh or stop weighing and the result does not affect the dimensions or the quality of the images.
The WP Smush plugin automatically takes care of reducing the size, optimizing, and compressing the images you upload to your website to improve its performance and that the loading speed does not suffer from this.
- Bulk Image Optimizing
- Backup original images.
- Optimize huge photos up to 32MB
- Automatic resize and scale
12. Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin (Free)
With Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin you can have the Google Analytics tool integrated into your website, without the need to touch code. Google Analytics Plugin by Monster Insights helps you read and interpret the essential information of your website that allows you to get out of invisibility and increase your traffic.
You can easily discover about your users, where is your site visited from, also about the devices that you are getting traffic. Not only that, but this plugin also keeps the track of the average time spent on your site along with the most visited pages, etc.
- Included EU Compliance addon
- Universal tracking tracks your users across devices and platforms
- Track affiliate and Ads links
- Google Analytics Dashboard within the WordPress Dashboard
As an alternative, you can try a similar plugin in its functions, with very good references: Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
13. RestaurantPress (Free)
RestaurantPress is a niche-oriented food menu plugin. This free WordPress restaurant menu plugin that lets you add awesome restaurant menus in your restaurant, food, hotel, and café websites.
This plugin is indeed awesome which provides the simplest way to create enticing and luscious food menus in your WordPress website. In addition, it is fully responsive that adapts well to any device, desktops or mobile phones.
- The plugin offers three restaurant menu layouts
- Can add multiple menus easily using short-codes too
- Allows to showcase special sales price
- Supports images with gallery
14. Akismet (Freemium)
Akismet is another great contribution from the people behind WordPress to prevent spam. To start, you need to create an API key, later the plugin is activated and you will no longer have to deal with SPAM in the comments of your blog.
A very interesting alternative that has very good references is Titan Anti-spam By Creative Motion in which you will not have to configure anything, just activate it and test if any unwanted message sneaks in.
- Automatically filters out spam comments
- Cleared comments are stored in status history so you can easily see which comments were removed by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
Pricing: $5/per month
15. Wordfence Security (Freemium)
Wordfence is one of the most used WordPress security plugins which has more than 3 million active installations. This plugin is robust and you have everything you need at the security level within this great plugin.
Among its most important features, you can find the malware scanner that checks the main files, themes, and plugins. As well as wrong URLs, SEO spam, malicious redirects, and code injections.
- Ability to block attackers by IP or create advanced rules based on IP range
- Provides Functionality similar to Limit Login Attempts
- Includes Web Application firewall without any cost
- Malware removal included on the premium version
16. Jetpack (Freemium)
Jetpack is a plugin dedicated to managing websites, blogs, and virtual stores. Thus, when you install it, you have access to a complete dashboard dedicated to this type of management.
Jetpack is actually a set of 20+ plugins with all kinds of functions from the company that created WordPress, Automattic. It contains a series of tools and solutions that make the WordPress experience and functions even more complete.
- Traffic statistics including page views, traffic sources, number of visits, and much more.
- Email subscription for users when commenting on posts or pages
- CSS editor included
- Different content and social media widgets
- Image carousel
- Backup and Scan with VaultPress
You can install Jetpack Lite which is a minimalist and lighter unofficial version of JetPack that has been reduced to statistics plugins and the URL shortener.
17. Updraft Plus (Freemium)
With UpdraftPlus, you can make manual or automatic “backups” to services such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, via FTP, SFTP, email, and more.
You can schedule your copies and make restorations at any time. It has more than 1 million active installations, and excellent resource consumption. There is a PRO version, but with the free one, you will have more than enough.
- Incremental backups
- Easily duplicates or migrates websites (with Migrator)
- Multisite/multi-network compatible.
- Backs up non-WP files and databases to multiple remote destinations
18. Shareholic (Freemium)
With Shareaholic, you can get your own dashboard for viewing statistics and performance reports of your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other major important social networks.
It also allows you to add a section of related articles at the bottom of each post, so they can spend more time and take advantage of all the knowledge that you share with them every day.
- You get notified when the user shares your content.
- Offers ability to insert affiliate links and ads banners
- Share Buttons are automatically enabled
- Choose which social media networks to include
- Add individual or total share counts
19. Smartcrawl (Freemium)
Having great content on your site is definitely the key to ranking high in search results, but if search engines are having a hard time finding your content, then what’s the point? That’s where the Smartcrawl comes in. It is an SEO plugin that optimizes your site so that your content and your site are easy to find.
Smartcrawl also has an easy-to-use setup wizard that helps you set it up in no time. Make sure your content reaches to a wider audience, by installing Smartcrawl.
- Title and meta customization
- Auto-link keywords
- Moz integration
- Direct interaction with Google and Bing
Pricing : $49/month
20. WPML (Premium)
WPML plugin was developed, capable of managing the translation of your website for more than 40 different languages without damaging SEO. This is the reason why it is the most used plugin of this genre in the world.
WPML is a premium plugin whose investment is very worthwhile to facilitate the translation in all the necessary languages and thus, obtain more and more business opportunities.
- One WordPress Installation available in various pricing plans
- Can be used to translate e-commerce site
- Translation for Theme and Plugin Texts
- Affordable Professional Translation
21. Elementor (Freemium)
Elementor with its free version covers all the functionalities among visual editors. In addition, combining it with other WordPress plugins you will be able to cover the gaps of that version and thus achieve the results you want.
One of the most interesting things is that if in the future you decide to stop using it, the plugin keeps the content for you and can reuse it, a situation that does not happen with other layout designers, being tied to them.
- Can build Contact Forms
- Offers professional templates for a stunning website
- Pro version includes some vital widgets and features
- Can build Animated Headlines for impressive headline design
22. Admin Customer Login (Free)
This cool plugin gives you the ability to customize your WordPress admin login page according to your tastes. It allows you to change the background color and image, the login form colors and position, the font size, add social media icons, and much more.
Customizing these details gives your WordPress site a really cool style. Don’t miss the opportunity to give your website a professional touch.
- Change/Add/Remove your own custom logo on the login form
- Change the background colour of login page
- Allows you to change background with an image slide show.
- You can change the login form position and colour
- Fonts details and colours can be changed
23. 404page – your smart custom 404 error page (Free)
Many times we overlook that we can style the page that shows the 404 error or perhaps better known as “page not found. With this plugin, you will be able to create your custom 404 error page just like any other page on your website using the WordPress page editor or any visual layout of your choice.
Within the plugin configuration, you can go to ‘Appearance’> ‘404 Error page’ and select the created page said and voila! You have a 404 page molded to your liking.
- Track 404 errors and manage your redirects
- Keeps a log of 404 errors on your WordPress site
- Easy user interface to edit the 404 page
24. Easy Table of Contents (Free)
Implementing an index or table of contents in your article to make browsing much more user-friendly for your users. You can do this by installing ‘Easy Table of Contents’ plugin. This plugin has over 200,000 active installations.
Automatically when activated it will take all your titles and order them hierarchically. Among the most prominent options are to be able to choose which titles not to include, on which page we do not want the table to appear, give it styles, position within the content, etc.
- Users can fully customize the table of contents
- This plugin can also be inserted into a sidebar with a widget or placed on pages or posts.
- Automatically collects all the headings from the content to create a table
- You can use to position the ‘Table of Contents’ anywhere in the content that you prefer
25. Simple Author Box (Freemium)
Very useful WordPress plugin that adds a fully responsive author box at the end of each of your posts, where it shows the name of the author, the gravatar image, and the description.
It will also give you the possibility to choose between 30 different social profiles below the text, which will allow you to show all the social icons of the author. Plus, it’s fully customization to match your theme design (style, color, size, and text options).
- Shows author gravatar, name, website, description (author bio) and social icons
- Automatically insert the author box at the end of your post
- Option to manually insert the author box on your template file (single.php or author.php)
- Simple Author Box has RTL support and AMP Support
And these are the list of best WordPress plugins that are essential to every website. All of these listed plugins have different functionalities. Installing them helps you to optimize your site, secure your site, and also improve the site’s SEO.