Nick Schäferhoff
Editor in Chief

Best wordpress plugins

With the right suite of plugins incorporated into your backend, you can dramatically (and instantaneously) improve the functionality, aesthetics, and efficiency of your site both for yourself and your viewers.

However, with the myriad of options available to the average webmaster, the challenge of finding the best WordPress plugins can feel all but impossible.

After all, it only takes one janky line of code or installation gone awry to transform your formerly beautiful and sleek website into a jumbled mess of nonsensical code, wonky themes, and broken functionality.

Not to worry.

We’ve done all of the heavy lifting for you, installing and reviewing countless WordPress plugins to determine once and for all which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t.

So, without any further ado here is our list of the top 12 WordPress plugins for 2020.

1. Contact Form 7

Contact form 7

If you need a plugin that will allow you to seamlessly create and manage multiple contact forms, use reCaptcha verification, and ensure that all spammy submissions are filtered out with Askimet (more on them in a second), then Contact Form 7 is the last WordPress plugin you’ll ever need.

This simple plugin allows you to skip all of the extra codings so that you can quickly create and publish beautiful contact forms that will have your users blowing up your inbox.

With more than 5 million active installations, 1,100 5-star reviews, and the low low price of absolutely free, we can promise you that you won’t find a better contact form plugin anywhere on the interwebs.

Get Contact Form 7 from WordPress.org

Learn how to install & use Contact Form 7 on your WordPress website (step-by-step)

2. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO plugin

When it comes to on-page search engine optimization, few plugins can shine a candle to the efficacy and functionality of Yoast SEO.

Assuming that you’ve already conducted basic keyword research, the Yoast plugin will guide you step by step through the process of optimizing your new content for the search engines.

From the density of your target keyword to the optimization of your title and h2 tags, to basic readability and metadata, Yoast SEO makes on-page search engine optimization so easy a caveman could do it.

You can download the free version here or click here to learn more about the Yoast premium plugin.

3. Akismet Anti-Spam

Askimet anti spam plugin

Akismet Anti-Spam is the only plugin that you’ll need to keep the spammers at bay and maintain the long-term integrity of your site.

The plugin reviews and filters every comment that is shared on your website, providing a status history for each one so that you can determine which comments were found spammy by Askimet or the moderator.

You also have the ability to view the number of approved comments for each user, look at the URLs in the comment body, and remove any less-than-useful links you may find.

The best part? Askimet is free to download and use for all personal sites and the premium version cost pennies on the dollar, allowing you to keep your site beautiful and spam-free regardless of your budget.

Get Akismet from Akismet.com

4. WooCommerce

Woocommerce plugin

For those of you who opted to take a slightly less conventional route with your eCommerce adventures (a.k.a. not using Shopify), WooCommerce is the all-in-one open source eCommerce platform for WordPress webmasters.

With a plethora of features, extensions, and customizations built into the platform, WooCommerce makes selling on your WordPress site easier than ever before.

From their abundance of themes (all of which come with unrestricted customization) to the ability to sell physical, digital, and affiliate products, to the countless conversion optimization tools, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single plugin that can match WooCommerce in terms of usability or price (just $12.95/month for their most advanced package).

Get WooCommerce from WooCommerce.com

Learn how to install & use WooCommerce WordPress plugin (step-by-step)

5. TinyMCE Advanced

tinymce advanced plugin

If you ever wanted to track the real-time traffic details of your website without logging in and navigating to the Google Analytics website, then Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is the plugin you’ve been searching for.

This simple free-to-use plugin allows you to add, remove, and rearrange the buttons shown in the Visual Editor toolbar, giving you the ability to configure up to four rows of buttons that include (but certainly aren’t limited to) font sizes, font family, text/background colors, tables, and much more.

With the click of a button, TinyMCE allows you to dramatically streamline and simplify your backend WordPress experience, meaning that you can focus on what you do best and leave all of the“button searching” behind you.

Get TinyMCE Advanced from WordPress.org

6. WordFence Security

wordfence security wp plugin

With the proliferation of cyber attacks and website hacks in 2018, website security is more important than ever before.

Offering both free and paid version WordFence Security gives you access to an abundance of tools including:

  • WordPress core file integrity verification and repair.
  • Malware, virus, and backdoor scanning.
  • A firewall that includes rate limiting, blocking fake Google crawlers, IP whitelisting and IP blocking.
  • Real-time traffic that includes Google Crawlers, RSS feed readers and all other crawlers and bots. (Google Analytics does not include this data.)
  • Email alerts of warnings and critical problems.
  • Brute force hacking protection.
  • And a whole lot more.

If you’re concerned about the security and integrity of your website, WordFence Security will allow you to rest easy knowing that your website, much like the customers of Allstate, is in good hands.

Get WordFence Security from WordFence.com

7. Google XML Sitemaps

google xml sitemap wordpress plugin

Yet another useful SEO plugin for WordPress, Google XML Sitemaps helps search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! (people still use that, right?) to better index your website with a special XML sitemap.

As soon as you install and activate the plugin, it will automatically create an XML sitemap that makes it easy for search engine bots to view, crawl, and index your site so that you can enjoy a boost in your rankings and some extra “SEO Juice” for years to come.

Get Google XML Plugin from WordPress.org

8. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache plugin

In 2020, the speed of your website is everything. And with WP Super Cache, you can quickly and painlessly increase your website’s baseline speed.

This free and easy-to-use plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress site meaning that the webserver will use that file instead of processing the heavier (and slower) PHP scripts.

With its nominal price tag and ease of configuration, WP Super Cache is an essential plugin for any webmaster looking to increase their site speed and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it.

Get WP Super Cache from WordPress.org

9. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP by ExactMetrics

Google analytics dashboard for wp plugin

If you’ve ever wanted to track the real-time traffic details of your website without logging into and attempting to navigate the labyrinthine Google Analytics website, then Google Analytics Dashboard for WP by Exact Metrics (try saying that three times fast!) is the plugin you’ve been searching for.

This plugin allows you to monitor not only the real-time traffic stats and acquisition channels but also the:

  • Sessions, organic searches, page views, bounce rate analytics stats
  • Locations, pages, referrers, keywords, 404 errors analytics stats
  • Traffic channels, social networks, traffic mediums, search engines analytics stats
  • Device categories, browsers, operating systems, screen resolutions, mobile brands analytics stats

And, since it’s free to use for both personal and commercial sites, you have nothing to lose by clicking ‘download‘ and giving it a try.

Get Google Analytics WP from WordPress.org

Learn how to Install & Use Google Analytics WordPress plugin (step-by-step)

10. UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

updraft plus wordpress plugin

Nothing is more frustrating (or terrifying) for the average webmaster than the prospect of losing all of their hard work and content due to a faulty update or accidental coding fluke.

Luckily, with UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup, the world’s highest-rated (2,400+ 5-star reviews and counting) scheduled backup plugin, you can put those fears and frustrations behind you.

All you have to do is click ‘install’ and rest easy as all of your data is seamlessly backed up into the cloud.

Get UpdraftPlus from WordPress.org

11. Elementor Page Builder

elementor theme builder plugin

If the Divi Builder and BoldGrid had a brainchild that was converted into a WordPress plugin, the Elementor Page Builder would be it.

Elementor Page builder is one of the most effective and easy-to-use WordPress page builder plugins on the market today.

At only $50/year for a single website, Elementor is well worth the money and will allow you to quickly and professionally create gorgeous pages.

Get Elementor from Elementor.com

12. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

WP Smush compress images

Nothing will bog down your website or slow your load times faster than oversized and unoptimized images.

Luckily, with Smush Image Compression and Optimization, you can compress, resize, and optimize all of your website’s images in less than a day.

Just click here to learn why Smush Image Compression and Optimization is considered the best free image compression plugin in the WordPress marketplace.

Get WP Smush from WordPress.org

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  1. Avatar

    As we all know, 99% plugins do not incorporate an uninstall routine leaving behind db tables

    What is needed is a plugin cleaner to remove all previously installed plugins.

    Is there such a plugin tool?

  2. Avatar

    Great list! I would like to suggest a small wordpress plugin that AUTOMATICALLY hides admin menu items based on your using them – Useful Admin Menu.

  3. Avatar

    Hi Nick

    I am starting a blog and i have picked my theme. the blog is an informative, personal blog. I would like to add a “forum” section on the drop down menu for people to discuss etc etc etc. This would be a plug in correct? I was looking online and “bbpress’ came up as the plug in. I am VERY new to the blog thing so any help is much appreciated, thank you!!!

  4. Avatar

    Thanks for putting this list together. Very helpful. I like that you just included 12 of your favourites rather than a huge long list. Thanks again!

  5. Avatar

    Hello Nick,

    I’m glad to see that we are already using about half of the plugins you mentioned in your article, and will be looking into a couple more based on your recommendations!

    I was hoping you might have some insight into a plugin or other solution for integrating WordPress’ standard user account page with user account pages from other plugins. We have a couple plugins that require users to make an account on our website, but the account is for that specific plugin (separate from the WP user login account). For simplicity and convenience, I was hoping there was a way to add the plugin account content into the WP account content.

    I assume this would be plugin specific, and require customization. I am open to learning basics of code and playing around on a staging site to figure things out (which will take lots of time and tylenol due to the headaches). But maybe there’s a plugin out there that can accomplish this….? This is probably a naive/ignorant question as I don’t understand what is involved in the development side of things (yet!).


    1. Avatar

      Hey Stuart, I’m sure there is a solution for this but it is also above my level of skill, since I am more of a front-end guy. My best advice would be to get in touch with the developers of said plugins and ask them for advice. Or maybe someone else here in the comments section has a tip for you.

      1. Avatar

        There are some great RBS, SSO plugins for authentication and creation and management of users. As well as import/export. Originally, I (stupidly) used my export and imported my users into the plugins import tool. All turned out well and they were trusted but still NOT recommended and not best practice.

        Looking back now, I would be way better off linking to the plugin or customizing it myself to allow for Google, Microsoft, and My Company domain as OAuth providers. Look into auth0 or some of the others that offer this type of service for free. Depending on your level of development, I come from a shallow .NET background where Membership was included at project file creation so I had to learn all of that which was and still is quite a feat. What are you working with now? WP user membership? or are you using a plugin for membership?

  6. Avatar

    Bonjour Nick,

    This is a great list of plugins and we wish to thank you writing such an in-depth article.
    Can I suggest some script plugins too, which allows you to add scripts to WordPress. These are some great examples for your readers to look into:

    Header and Footer Scripts: https://wordpress.org/plugins/header-and-footer-scripts/
    CSS & JavaScript Toolbox plugin solution: https://wordpress.org/plugins/css-javascript-toolbox/

    I use these for my marketing and WordPress website development company. I only plan to install a minimum amount of quality plugins for clients and then use scripts where possible for performance.


    1. Avatar

      Hey Kym, thanks for the tip! I usually prefer to include my scripts inside functions.php but the plugins you mention are also a possibility. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Avatar

    Thanks very much for the great work you’re doing..I can’t say how much this your info has been to me and the public at large. I am building an online freelance WordPress site using the taskerr theme and in the payment option,my country’s currency(nigerian naira ₦) isn’t among the options)Please how do I go about it?

  8. Avatar

    Good day, how can i build a tracking web site that will allow me to be updating my shipment so my customer can track they parcel online

  9. Avatar

    Great post WebsiteSetup Editorial! Good list of plugins, have used most of them. I have mixed feelings about Yoast SEO, it sounds cool and seems to work fine, but I find that it does very little things, it seems like it only sets some descriptions and keywords, which are sent anyway automatically by WordPress and which can also be set manually.

    I would also add to the list some CRO/analytics plugins such as userTrack or Hotjar.

    Thanks for the list!

    1. Avatar

      Hey Miles, thanks for the plugin additions! I’m not aware of a way to set meta descriptions and titles in WordPress without an SEO plugin. Aside from that, I like Yoast SEO because of their content analysis and readability check. Though it can be a bit bloated and aggressive in their upsells.