There are thousands of free WordPress plugins in the official WordPress.org plugin directory, and plenty of premium plugins as well. This makes choosing the right plugins for your own website difficult, especially for WordPress beginners. To give you an overview of which plugins we use and recommend ourselves, we have put together a detailed list of our WordPress plugin recommendations (we will update the list regularly).
1. Spam Protection and Security
The anti-spam plugin Akismet is installed by default in every WordPress installation. Alternatively, you can also use Antispam Bee. The big advantage of Antispam Bee is that you can set the plugin to be compatible with data protection rules in EU countries. To do this, the plugin option “Consider public spam database” must be deactivated.
First of all, you should always update all plugins, themes and especially your WordPress installation to the latest version to keep your website as secure as possible. In addition, there are plugins that help you to secure your website additionally.
WordFence offers firewall protection, blocks unwanted logins, offers two factor authentication logins, checks password security and much more.
With iThemes Security you have a number of setting options (also in the free plugin version), among other things the plugin ensures that the number of possible, unwanted login attempts is limited or it changes the URL of your login page. Since the plugin offers a lot of options, you should definitely read the plugin documentation before you get started.
In addition to taking steps to keep your WordPress website secure, you should definitely set up regular backups. You can set up automatic backups with the UpdraftPlus plugin or with BackWPup.
3. Database Optimization
With WP-Optimize you can regularly clean your database directly from the admin area. But please be careful and read the plugin options carefully in advance so that you don’t accidentally delete something unintentionally.
During the maintenance of your website you can activate the WP Maintenance Mode plugin to give visitors an indication of the current website maintenance.
To increase the loading speed of your website, you can use a cache plugin such as Cachify or WP Super Cache.
6. SEO Optimization
For SEO optimization of your WordPress site, we recommend either All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO.
7. Social Media Linking
To add share buttons to your website, you can either use the Simple Share Button Adder plugin, or use Jetpack’s share buttons (especially if you already have Jetpack installed). Jetpack also offers a number of widgets (Facebook Like Box Widget, Twitter Timeline Widget, Goodreads Widget, Social Media Icons) to link your website to your social media pages.
You can use the WP Instagram Widget for an Instagram image preview in one of your widget areas.
To show a Mailchimp newsletter form in a widget, you can use Mailchimp for WordPress.
8. Write posts
With TinyMCE Advanced you can extend the buttons in your WordPress admin area editor.
With AddQuicktag you can even create more custom buttons for your editor.
With Duplicate Posts you can save an additional draft of an existing post or clone a post entirely.
You can create forms with the Contact Form 7 plugin or with Jetpack Contact Forms if you are already using Jetpack and you do not need any more complex forms.
To implement an online shop with WordPress, we recommend the WooCommerce plugin. With WooCommerce you can sell digital products or mail order products. To use WooCommerce multilingual, you can install WooCommerce Multilingual. WooCommerce Germanized is also recommended for shops in Germany.
11. Theme and WordPress Extension
With the Page Builder plugin you can build individual page layouts beyond the theme’s own functions.
If you want to use additional features on your pages you can use the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin to add tabs, tables, quotes or galleries.
Not necessarily a plugin for beginners, but especially suitable if you set up WordPress websites for customers. Then you can use Advanced Custom Fields to manage WordPress custom fields and create lots of your own beautiful custom fields.
For your own additional theme and plugin translations, you can use the Loco Translate plugin.
12. Light boxes
WP Featherlight is a lightweight, responsive lightbox plugin with no customization options. A larger plugin with a number of customization options for your lightbox is Responsive Lightbox.
- To integrate an EU Cookie Law Notice on your website, you can use the Cookie Law Plugin.
- You can use Regenerate Thumbnails to regenerate all featured images (e.g. after a theme change) and thus optimize them for new image dimensions.
- Disable Comments is helpful if you want to disable the comment function on your entire website.
- With Easy Google Fonts you can replace your theme’s fonts with your own Google Fonts.
- To set up a multilingual WordPress website, we recommend the Polylang plugin.
I hope our plugin recommendations are helpful for you to find the plugins you need for your website. In general, you should make sure that you only install plugins that you actually use on your website. And as already mentioned, it is also important to always keep all plugins up to date.
Of course, there are also a lot of recommendable premium plugins that are not included in this list. Since we created the list primarily for WordPress beginners, these free plugins are sufficient for the beginning in my opinion. If you have been working with your website for a little longer or you need something special, you can of course also look at premium plugins for even more optimized performance (and above all with support).
What are your WordPress plugin recommendations? Do you have any plugin tips that we haven’t listed here yet? Let us know which plugins you think should be on this list!