The Greatest WordPress Plugins Ever Created

As the world’s most popular content management system, WordPress is a flexible and comprehensive website hosting tool. However, its founders knew they wouldn’t be able to create a single package capable of doing everything customers might need or expect. That’s why they developed additional pieces of code known as plugins. These can be downloaded and instructed to perform specific tasks alongside the main WordPress platform.
Over 53,500 WordPress plugins have been launched during this portal’s 15-year lifespan. Some perform a single task, while others combine several functions into a unified piece of software. Most are free to download and use, though some of the more advanced ones command a fee. However, the sheer diversity of plugins may seem daunting to WordPress beginners. How do you know what to look for, or which functionalities are essential?
To help industry newcomers (and refresh the memories of seasoned users), WestHost has compiled a list of the greatest WordPress plugins ever created. These are all available to download today, and like the best things in life, our choices are free – though some require a subscription to access their full range of services:

#1. Yoast SEO

Installed over five million times, Yoast is surely the greatest WordPress add-on ever created. It reviews each web page’s content with a traffic-light reporting system. A red item needs attention, amber is okay and green is optimized. Beginners can master SEO in minutes, from meta descriptions to keywords and image tags.

#2. Jetpack

Like SEO, web analytics soon becomes complex. Among its many functions, Jetpack offers a simple graphical interface for analysis. However, there’s plenty more under the hood. Jetpack now includes BruteProtect, which repels automated scripts. The premium version of Jetpack isn’t free, but it incorporates important security tools.

#3. WooCommerce

This does for ecommerce what the two plugins above do for SEO and analytics. WooCommerce is the world’s most popular tool for shopping, shipping, transactions and taxes. Compatible with real or digital goods, it can even be used to sell affiliate goods. There are Membership and Multi Currency plugins, too.

#4. Akismet

Another entrant in the five million-installs club. Akismet combines user comments and contact form submissions with a comprehensive spam protection system, weeding out inappropriate or irrelevant comments. It’s free to private users, but companies have to pay for the API key that unlocks Akismet’s services.

#5. Google Maps Builder

Google Maps is one of the greatest gifts the internet has bequeathed us, with detailed 3D modeling and absorbing Street View footage. If your business involves real-world premises, you need Google Maps Builder to identify where you’re at. It’s possible to add markers, polygons and traffic layers to each map.

#6. Foo Gallery

One of the less heralded WordPress plugins, Foo Gallery has been installed over 100,000 times. It simplifies image galleries, bringing any web page to life. Retina-compatible, responsive and easy to customize, the latest version has video support and album functionality. Lazy loading accelerates page display times, too.

#7. Wordfence Security

Remarkably, 93% of reviews give Wordfence five stars. Despite being free and open source, it’s backed by a team of security experts constantly fettling its firewalls and 2FA login functionalities. It may conflict with Jetpack, but Wordfence is great for repelling malware, bots and hackers.

#8. MailChimp for WordPress

This leading email marketing tool is a freemium plugin, but there’s no charge for lists of up to 2,000 subscribers. MailChimp helps firms send, track and manage emails to subscribers. It also creates bespoke opt-in and checkout forms, dovetailing with WooCommerce to improve transaction levels.

#9. Cue

This is a niche plugin, but a hugely effective one nonetheless. Cue creates audio playlists, from podcasts and voiceovers to songs and demos. Eliminating the technical complexity of rival plugins, it also downloads metadata for playlisted files. The premium version tracks insights and supports purchases, playlist sharing and more.

#10. WP-Optimize

Few WordPress plugins achieve customer reviews as impressive as this database optimization tool. And if that sounds rather dull, consider how important databases are to ecommerce sites. WP-Optimize automatically cleanses databases, removing unnecessary data and accelerating loading times – great for SEO!
Obviously, the nature of your website influences which plugins are advisable or essential. If you’re a blogger, YARPP links to related content, while Floating Social provides customizable and responsive links to social media accounts for sharing. If your services are paywalled, Simple Membership Plugin or WordPress eMember are flexible tools for preventing unregistered visitors seeing protected content. The WordPress user forums are full of people ready to recommend specific plugins for particular industries or niches.
If you disagree with our selection, let us know which plugins would make it onto your ultimate WordPress shortlist…