Which are the best WordPress plugins? In this article, we cover the top plugins for WordPress websites. The selected plugins are tested for performance, reliability, features, functions, and code quality.

Close to 50,000 maintained plugins are one of the reasons why WordPress is the market leader in content management software. WordPress CMS alone cannot run a professional website. Plugins are must for the smooth functioning. The selection of the right plugins, however, is tricky. Not every plugin is suitable for every WordPress website. Which plugin would function well in your WordPress Website is often hard to preempt?

A plugin is viral and has 4.5, and high ratings — do not guarantee that it is best for your website. There is no method to filter out a set of best plugins for a WordPress Website. It is basically a hit & trial method. Install and let it run, check the results, if satisfied, keep it active, if not, deactivate and delete.

One has to be very careful in the selection of the right plugins. When plugins make websites, plugins also break WordPress websites. Therefore, be entirely sure what is best for your website. Unwanted plugins can make your site sluggish, too. Plugins can create security holes, and plugins can plug the security holes. Therefore, selection of the right plugins is one of the key factors behind successful WordPress Websites.

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Never install a plugin just because it is in top demand. For instance, I see no sense in contact form plugin. However, contact form plugins are some of the best plugins in WordPress depository. Decide your priority for your website and then select the right plugins.

WP Performance by Ante Laca

The caching and performance optimization plugin is a Hundred times better than Autoptimize, WP Rocket, and a thousand times better than WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. You must not use Autoptimize if Google Ads runs on your website. Without file optimization, WP Rocket is as good as WP Super Cache. However, the WP Performance Plugin by Ante Laca comes with the advantage of WP Rocket, Autoptimize, and WP Super Cache. Moreover, it is super easy to setup. This all-in-one caching and performance optimization plugin will make your website blazing fast.

Send Images to RSS by Robin Cornett

By default, every WordPress website generates a static feed output. Static page gains less attraction. So, the daily feed delivered to your website subscribers will attract fewer clicks. Therefore, the best idea is to make your website feed output dynamic. For that American WordPress Developer, Robin Cornett coded a lightweight plugin. The Send Images to RSS plugin allows you to optimize and make your website feed output catchy. Therefore, it is a must-have plugin. Use the send Images to RSS plugin and gain more visits from your website subscribers.

Scriptless Social Sharing by Robin Cornett

There are hundreds of social sharing plugins in the WordPress repository. All the social sharing plugins at one side and the Scriptless Social Sharing by Robin Cornett is on another side. The reason is, this social sharing plugin does not use JS file. If I am not wrong, it is the only social sharing plugin presently available, which does not use any JS file. So, it will not degrade your website performance and speed. No JS file means no functionality. But it gets the job done. Your website will not have to take the burden of at 5 JS files If you use this social sharing plugin without any script file.

Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress

If you want a dynamic social sharing plugin, then I would suggest the Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress plugin. It is a $20 plugin. Yes, it worth it. It has the functionality and features to show likable social sharing buttons. Also, it has the functionality to combine the plugin files and load the buttons after content is being loaded. Yes, it is the best social sharing plugin: 100% safe and very fast.

Two-Factor by Plugin Contributors

You must set up two-factor authentication to secure your WordPress website login. Currently, the best two-factor authentication plugin in the WordPress repository is the plugin “Two-Factor by Plugin Contributors.” This is the official two-factor authentication plugin. Soon it will be a part of the WordPress core. Currently, it is in the development and testing stage. The authors of the plugin, however, have confirmed that the current version is stable and safe to activate on a live website. The best setting of this plugin is to use Google Authenticator as primary and email as a secondary two-factor authentication method.

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Whether it is a continuous server-based attack to crack your administrator account or someone trying manually, the plugin will prevent login until code matches. In case you cannot log in to your website due to two-factor authentication, then login to your website server, and delete the plugin. That will remove two-factor authentication security, and you will be able to login to your site.

WP-Optimize by Team Updraft

Database optimization is one of the recommended ways to make a website truly fast. And, the best way to optimize a WordPress website database is to use a database optimization plugin. It is better not to optimize database if you cannot do it as it should be. The database is the heart of a website. One mistake and your website is gone. Therefore, for database optimization, the right plugin for your website must be the best database optimization plugin in the WordPress repository. Presently, the best database optimization plugin is WP-Optimize by Team Updraft. I am not saying other plugins are not perfect. However, as you going to make a manual change in the database, trust only the best in the business.

I wouldn’t recommend running the auto-optimization feature of the plugin. Keep it on your website. Once in a week or month, activate the plugin and optimize your WordPress website database. Deactivate it again. Done! You must take a full backup of your site before a database optimization.

404 to 301 – Redirect, Log and Notify 404 Errors by Joel James

Google suggests websites to leave 404-Error as it is. Genuine 404-Error does hurt your site. And, Google system will remove it automatically after repeated 404-Error for the link. This is 100% untrue. 404-Error does hurt the ranking of your website. Google does not remove the 404-Error link of your website from its system. Google hasn’t remoted a 404-error of this website from last three years. Unlike what Google suggests, Google system even today lists the link under the 404-Error log in the Webmaster account of this website.

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How to manage 404 Error in WordPress website? There are hundreds of plugins and ways to manage 404 error. However, the best among them is the plugin “404 to 301 by Joel James”. This plugin provides the most straightforward user interface to manage 404 error in the easiest way possible. This plugin has the feature to boost the reputation of your WordPress website in the AI brain of Google search machine. By default, it redirects all 404 errors to the home page. Manually you can update each link to the relevant link.

Comments – wpDiscuz by gVectors Team

No! Disabling comment just for security is stupidity. The number of comments suggests users’ engagement with the article. That signals Google to rank the piece high in the related search results.

The native comment system of WordPress and the comment box of 99.99% WordPress theme, whether free or paid, are not that secure and lack the features to encourage users to engage in the comment section. If your website is famous, and you stick to the default comment management of WordPress and your website theme, spam attack will compromise it very soon. Therefore, you must use a powerful comment solution to secure your website and to attract the article visitors to engage in the comment area.

Comments – wpDiscuz by gVectors Team is the best comment plugin in the WordPress repository at present. This plugin replaces the native comment system with its own comment box. So, you must take a full backup of your website before you activate it.

This comment plugin will place all its resources in your website footer by default. So, it will not affect your website loading speed. Also, it comes with a useful caching system and anti-spam protection.

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The Comments – wpDiscuz by gVectors Team plugin has all those features you could dream of having in the comment system on your website. Yes, this plugin comes with the features and options to engage the article readers in the comment section. Moreover, it is super easy to set up thanks to helpful documentation by the theme develops.

CAOS | Host Google Analytics Locally by Daan van den Bergh

Google Analytics is awesome! But its tracking code will slow down your website for sure.

Insert Headers and Footers by WP beginner is the top favorite to implement Google Analytics tracking code for those WordPress administrators who do not want the big data in their website dashboard. This plugin has 8 Lakhs active installation at present.

I do not advocate having Google Analytics data on your website dashboard. Keep your site as lite as possible. Your website is for your website readers, not for you. Do not forget this hard fact.

The lightweight plugin by WP Beginner is not the right solution to add Google Analytics tracking code in your website header. In fact, inserting raw Google Analytics tracking code in website header by any means is not the right thing to do.

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The most appropriate plugin for the job is Host Google Analytics Locally by Daan van den Bergh. This plugin hosts the required assets for Google Analytics tracking code on your website storage. So, every time your website page is requested by a website visitor, the tracking code assets will load from your site server, not from the Google server. This will eliminate round-tripping and your website speed will not be affected by Google Analytics tracking code.

The Host Google Analytics Locally by Daan van den Bergh plugin is super easy to setup. Add tracking code and save — you are done!

WP Last Modified Info by Sayan Datta

The WordPress plugin is lightweight, super-efficient, the most rated in the “Date Modified” Category. Last Modified Timestamp by Evan Mattson is another useful plugin from the category. However, it is limited to showing just the last modification date of each of the articles to the Website admin. The gross weight of this plugin is 224-KB. Besides, it has not been updated from more than 2-Years. On the other hand, the Wp Last Modified Info by Sayan Datta” is just 120-KB, but it has all the features that you would wish to have. And, it is regularly updated.

A few years before Google used to consider only about article creation date. Old articles used to rank lower than the newly created article for a particular keyword. That is not the case anymore. Google search algorithm system can now read your content to check how relevant it is, and considers the last modification date to decide to the final rank. There are other ranking signals, too.

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Many articles on this website that was created in 2014 and 2015 rank in the top 3 for the related keywords. That is the outcome because we regularly modify those articles.

WP Last Modified Info by Sayan Datta will show the latest modified date for each article in the post-panel of your website. Besides, you can decide to show the last modified date information to readers and search engine. Google will show the previous modification date of your website articles because of this plugin. The most exciting feature of this plugin, however, is to allow search engine bots to get the last modified date but do not show it to the readers. Moreover, this plugin is compatible with all the top-rated SEO management plugins.

Google XML Sitemaps By Arne Brachhold

How to submit WordPress sitemap to google webmaster? First, you need to create a profile with Google Website. Link your website in your google webmaster account by adding an auto-generated verification code to your website header. After that, add the XML sitemap of your WordPress website in the sitemap section of your Google webmaster account.

This entire process is pretty easy, straightforward. However, the difficult task is to find a reliable plugin to auto-generate your WordPress website sitemap without any error, and with auto-update feature to reflect the newest changes in your website content.

All the top WordPress SEO plugins have the feature to generate and maintain an XML sitemap. Using that to generate a WordPress XML sitemap may not be the best ideal, though. Your website sitemap is one of the most critical factors anytime to rank better in Google Search Results. Therefore, you must install a more professional and dedicated XML sitemap plugin on your WordPress website.

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Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold is undoubtedly the best WordPress plugin to generate an XML sitemap for Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, and others. It is a lightweight WordPress plugin. So, no negative impact on your website performance. Its latest version weighs only 616-KB.