23 most popular WordPress plugins

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WordPress is one of the most common CMS in the world: data for 2016 indicate that more than 25% of all sites on the Internet use WordPress, and their number is steadily growing.

The popularity of this CMS is not accidental – this content management system provides a lot of opportunities, it is free, quickly installed, and the user can understand the management even with the most basic IT knowledge.

In order for the site to meet the needs of users, there are many plug-ins, each of which can be installed on your site. Plug-in is a software module, an addition to an existing system that extends its functionality and adds any new features.

At the moment, the choice of plug-ins for WordPress is huge – more than 44 thousand, and if you want you can create even your own plug-in and share it with the public. You can view plug-ins  in the administration panel of the site or at: Official Website of WP Plugins 
This article will help you understand the variety of the most famous and popular plug-ins and understand whether it is worthwhile to determine whether their functions are relevant at the moment.

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How to install the WordPress plugin

Go to the admin panel of your site and select the “Plugins” tab. On this page you will see all the plug-ins that are installed, and you can also perform various actions with them: activate, deactivate, update, delete, and so on.
To install a new plug-in, you need to click the “Add New” button next to “Plugins”.
You are on the page with the list of plugins. There are tabs “Favorites”, “Popular”, “Recommended” and “Liked”. The last tab will show all the plugins that you add to your favorite list on WordPress.org (which is convenient in principle, as you can view the list of plug-ins, select the ones you like and then download them via the admin panel).
From the list offered or in the name search, select the plug-in that you want to install, and click the “Install” button next to its name. Also, plug-ins can be installed using .zip file archives.
After installation, you can activate the plug-in immediately if it is distributed free of charge. With paid distribution for activation, you may need a key that you need to purchase on the developer’s website.
After installation and activation, the plugin can appear in the list of general site settings so that you can set the necessary parameters. If the plug-in does not appear in the list, then you can configure it by selecting in the list with other plug-ins in the Plugins tab.

Basic plugins

These plugins are either initially installed on your WordPress site, or you will find them in the “Favorites” section.

1. Hello Dolly – with this plugin meets every user who installed WordPress on their site. The overwhelming majority consider the plugin useless and immediately removes – you can follow their example, because the only purpose of the plugin is to show a random line from the song “Hello, Dolly!” By Louis Armstrong in the upper right corner of the administration panel. However, the plugin can change – and you can substitute the text of this song for some other – for example, write motivating quotes or just interesting facts. Naturally, all this will be visible only to you in the administration panel.

2. Akismet is the default plug-in, which is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. This plugin protects your site from spam – an extremely useful feature, even if you started blogging just yesterday. In the plug-in settings, you can choose one of the options: either Akismet will automatically remove suspicious comments from your site, or send them to the Spam folder where you can track the plug-in’s activity independently (by default). I recommend that you stop on the second option, especially if you just recently launched your site so that the comment of a normal user does not accidentally fall under the spam filter. To activate this plugin, you need to add the code that you can get on the official website. If you have a site without commercial benefits (for example, a blog), then you can get the key for free; Otherwise, you must select one of the tariff plans.

3. Jetpack is a multi-functional plug-in that allows you to increase security, increase performance and analyze traffic. The plug-in has additional modules, with which you can change the appearance of your site, add widgets or other useful functions. Jetpack is distributed free of charge, but it has paid tariff plans and additional functions (for example, backup and security checks). After installation, the plugin must be linked to your account on WordPress.com. In fact, this plug-in has incorporated many functions of other plug-ins, so if you just started to customize your site, carefully read all the features that Jetpack offers.

4. BuddyPress – thanks to this plugin you can turn your site into a community, forum or even a social network. How is this possible? On your site there will be users with full profiles that will be able to add other users to friends list, correspond with them, monitor their activity and much more. The popularity of this plug-in is due precisely to the fact that it has no analogues. In doing so, you can add other BuddyPress plugins (for example, BuddyPress Album, which will allow users to create albums with photos) to extend the functionality of this plugin.

5. WP Super Cache – this plugin caching will maximize the speed of loading pages on your site. If you have a lot of visitors on the site, then caching will significantly reduce the load on the server. This is good not only for your readers, but also, for example, for SEO-promotion, since Google takes into account the time of loading pages. The plugin has a lot of settings, but first of all after its activation you need to enable the caching function itself.

6. bbPress is a plugin that adds forum features to your site. The positive side of this plugin: speed, simple and understandable settings, support for RSS, no significant load on the server. In this case, you do not need to be limited to one forum – you can create several forums, and each of them – several categories or categories.

7. Theme Check – this plugin is used to check if the theme matches the modern standards of WordPress. First of all, this plugin will be useful for developers who want to understand how good the code they wrote. It is also important for webmasters who want the themes of their sites to fully meet all the requirements of CMS WordPress. Similar functionality can be found at http://themecheck.org/ – I recommend checking all the templates (especially from unreliable sources) for malware and hidden links before installing.

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These plug-ins are found in the “Popular” section, where all the plugins are sorted from the most downloaded to the least downloaded. In this article I will talk about all the plugins that have been downloaded over a million times per month.

8. Regenerate Thumbnails – this plugin performs a small but extremely important function: it recreates the thumbnails of images that you uploaded into your media library. This is especially important for those who decided to change the theme WordPress used, and there is another markup in the new topic, which means that other sizes of embedded images are needed. Some developers believe that the functionality of this plug-in needs to be added to the basic functions of WordPress, namely the high relevance and explains the popularity of this plug-in.

9. Yoast SEO – this plug-in can be safely called the most popular among the plug-ins for SEO optimization. The plugin is fairly simple to learn, so it will be useful to both novice webmasters and professionals. The main function of SEO-optimization is to optimize your site for search services, or rather, to bring it to the top of the search engine sites and attract as many visitors or potential customers (if your site is commercialized) to your site. This plug-in has many different settings, including those relating to security and the ability to flexibly configure the site map. With the correct setting of each of the parameters, you can quickly get additional traffic to your site.

10. All in One SEO Pack – the functions of this plugin are similar to those of the previous one, their number is less than in Yoast SEO, however this plug-in has its advantages. For example, it immediately automatically generates descriptions and keywords based on the contents of the pages, this is especially useful if you have many records and it is not possible to put meta-data to each of them.

Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack are the two best plugins for SEO optimization. Choose based on personal preferences, but do not forget that putting both plug-ins on your site is highly discouraged.

11. Google XML Sitemaps – talking about SEO, you can not fail to mention this plugin. It helps you to quickly index your site by search engines. The order of the plugin’s operation is simple: it generates a sitemap.xml file in the root directory of your site, this file will automatically update the site map version, and then report changes to the content on the site to all search engines. Despite the fact that the plugin contains the word Google in its name, it helps indexing other search engines. This plugin is an indispensable tool for all webmasters and blog authors.

12. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights – this plug-in leads the number of downloads among other plug-ins with similar features, although the name for many may be unfamiliar. The thing is that before the plug-in was called “Google Analytics for WordPress”, which was developed by Joost de Valk, employee of the company Yoast (one of the plug-ins of this company was told above). Advanced plugin settings – for example, controlling the number of outbound links and downloads – allows you to get a lot of useful information about your visitors. If you are looking for a time-tested plugin that will help you track statistics, I recommend that you pay attention to Google Analytics by MonsterInsights.

13. Contact Form 7 – this plugin will allow you to add a feedback form to your site. It is indispensable if you blog or provide a service. Convenient and understandable settings will allow you to create exactly the form that you want. If you decide to install this plugin, I advise you to additionally install other plug-ins, for example, Contact Form 7 Style allows you to edit the look of your form, and you can not only choose one of the ready-made cards, but also create your own unique design.

14. Really Simple CAPTCHA – this plugin can be a useful addition to Contact Form 7. It’s easy to guess that the main purpose of this plug-in is to fight spam and bots. However, due to the fact that the plug-in was originally developed as an add-on to Contact Form 7, it has a number of limitations and imperfections: for example, for many bots, its images with letters and numbers are no longer a problem, since pictures have too good readability. Therefore, for reliable protection, I recommend using another plug-in to create captcha, for example No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA (for use with Contact Form 7, you need to use the special plug-in No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA Plugin for Contact Form 7 or on official CAPTCHA website).

15. NextGEN Gallery – this popular plugin will give you the opportunity to create in your blog photo galleries and albums that you can nicely place on the pages. NextGEN Gallery allows you to choose the style of viewing photos, create a slide show, put your watermark on the photo and much more. Not surprisingly, with such great features, the plugin has already downloaded more than 10 million people.

16. WooCommerce – the most famous plugin for creating an online store based on WordPress. Many choose WooCommerce precisely because this plug-in provides great opportunities to customize your project; Also its functions are already tested by a lot of users around the world. This is an excellent option for those who want to start their online store with zero attachments, while WooCommerce functionality can be extended with the help of other plugins with which it perfectly interacts.

17. Wordfence Security is another plug-in that you will surely find in the list of the most frequently installed additional modules. This is not surprising – it is a kind of antivirus for your site, which will be useful not only for preventive purposes, but even when your site is already infected with malicious code. In addition to the fact that Wordfence Security monitors files on your server, it also analyzes all the links on the pages of your site, protects against brute-breaking, notifies about suspicious changes on the site and does much more. If you want, you can also purchase a paid version that has advanced features and will strengthen the protection of your site.

18. WP-PageNavi – this plugin is used to create page navigation on your site. Pagination is convenient not only for users, but also for search engines, so using this plugin will greatly improve your site. Naturally, this function is especially needed for sites with a large number of entries (for example, blogs), so if your site consists of only a few pages, there is no sense in installing this plugin.

19. W3 Total Cache – this popular plugin will help to ensure a high load of your site. Of course, this is not the only existing caching plugin, but its popularity is due to a large number of settings, as well as security in use. W3 Total Cache will improve the performance of your site, increase conversion, accelerate page load, and saves traffic by minimizing and HTTP-code compression. That’s why this plug-in can be safely advised as one of the first ones that you install on your site.

20. WordPress Importer – the functions of this plug-in are understandable from the title: it is necessary for importing information (records, comments, tags and other data) from one WordPress site to another. If you need to use this plugin, then before moving the data, I recommend that you make a backup – in case something goes wrong, as planned. It’s quite easy to use this plug-in, that’s why it gained such popularity.

21. TinyMCE Advanced – this plugin is the most popular plug-in, allowing to expand the number of buttons of the visual editor. In this case, what buttons you need and which ones you do not have, you can solve it yourself, adding the necessary settings in the plug-in settings. This is an indispensable tool for a blog, thanks to which your entries will look most accurate, beautiful and correct.

22. Advanced Custom Fields – this plugin allows you to add arbitrary fields to your site records. This means that now, in addition to the main fields, you can add more data to the records and even choose their format. This is useful if, for example, you want to inform your visitors about your location while writing a message, or want each record to have a thumbnail … In other words, the features of this plugin are wide enough and it will help you to make the site content deployed and unique.

23. Duplicate Post – a convenient plug-in for creating copies of records and pages. It will not be useful to you if your records are very different from each other, but it will be extremely useful if you have your own online store and you need to create several records of very similar products. Or if your records have some standard structure that you can use when creating a new material. That’s why the plugin is often used and is included in the list of the most downloaded plugins WordPress.

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A huge list of plug-ins plays an important role in that at the moment WordPress is one of the most popular information management systems on the site. Plugins allow you to create a site exactly the way you want it to be, so it’s important to choose the optimal number of plug-ins that will improve your site, but the server load will remain within the limits of the norm.

Choose and install only those plug-ins that you need. As it is obvious from this article, not all popular plug-ins are mandatory for installation, however some that affect the system part must necessarily be on your site, even if their work is at first glance invisible. Also I want to note that the popularity of plugins is not always related to their superiority: a large number of downloads can be due to the fact that they were developed before others and were the best in their time. Therefore, if the plug-in does not meet your requirements, try to find a different, more modern and convenient analog. Good luck!

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