Security, Backup and a way for visitors to make contact are essential for every website, large or small. At the very least, make sure your wordpress site is covered from the beginning.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, There are hundreds of plugins and I have a separate page with links to those. This is intended as an aid to starting quickly with everything you need to make your site safe and functional, however simple your theme.
These plugins were up to date and supported at the time of writing - Please check for yourself and choose another if they are no longer actively supported.
NOTE: Some of these plugins also offer additional functions in a PAID 'Pro' Version. The free versions do all you actually need when starting out. You must be the judge of whether or not you want the extras, and when.
The search engines are your friends. If in doubt search for
'wordpress [plugin name] alternative'.
You should be able to find something.
This is the List of Names and Their Purpose:
The individual WordPress pages give details and instructions where necessary. Links open in a new Tab or Window
- Duplicator by Snap Creek: Backup and Clone if you want to develop your site elsewhere or make a copy to use again ( perhaps you make many similar small sites).
- UpdraftPlus - Backup/Restore: Backs up to a location of your choice on a regular basis.
- All In One WordPress Security and Firewall : Keep the Baddies away and more, protect against hacking.
- iThemes Security : (Alternative Security) You might want to Add a fire wall
- All in One SEO Pack : Search Engine Optimization
- Fast Secure Contact Form : Includes Google reCAPTCHA and Akismet support to block spammers. NOTE: This plugin was closed on March 7, 2019 and is no longer available for download. Reason: Guideline Violation.
- Contact Form7 : Does not require Akismet. Extra modules can integrate with Woocommerce if your site is a shop.
- Really Simple SSL : To use after you have installed a certificate.
This is the list of urls you can copy and paste:
Tip: You can copy this into a text file. I advise keeping a list of the plugins you use in your working folder for your site on your computer. You do have such a folder, don't you?
You can also use this to enter the plugins into a quick setup plugin, discussed elsewhere.
Secondary Non-essential Plugins
Some Secondary Plugins you might need, depending on your Theme. Some Themes (or plugins) have functions included that already do what these plugins do. There are some Themes that already do what some of these and the above do.
- XML sitemap: is included in both SEO pugins. You might need it if you decide not to use a plugin for SEO.
- Bad Behaviour - Control comment spam.
- Widget Context: Show or hide widgets depending on the section of the site that is being viewed. Thrive themes includes it but it is a paid option.
- No Category Base (WPML) : Remove the category in the URL of your posts.
- Tablepress : Make searchable tables of information or images, much like a spreadsheet.
You Can Stop Using These
Default plugins are often installed with automatic installations of WordPress, especially if you started some time ago. Some have been neglected or superceded by WordPress core, and may now be a security risk. Others have better alternatives.
- Limit Login Attempts - superceded and no longer developed. There are better solutions within other security plugins.
- Login Lockdown - Development appears to have stopped. May not work well with latest versions of WP
- Akismet - You can use it, but it Requires registration and possibly payment depending on volume of use, for all the features. The same goes for
- Jetpack - Again this requires registration at WordPress.com. You might like all the jobs it does and it helps you do a lot - but if you don't like being tracked, you might decide against it.
- Hello Dolly does no harm so you can leave it there if it amuses you. Otherwise, delete it.
There is no such thing as 'The Definitive List'
Every set-up is different and every type of site and person has different needs. This page is intended to help someone starting a blog or information site and will suit such a site adequately.
Deal with extras as and when desires or issues arise and do your own research.
- Always backup your site before making major changes.
- Deactivate and then Delete plugins you do not use or no longer need.