With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, not to mention thousands more plugins on third-party websites, it can be daunting for site owners to find just the right plugins to improve their WordPress websites.
Choosing the right plugins is crucial for the speed, security, and user-friendliness of your website. Luckily, there are some clear winners that benefit just about any type of WordPress site. The HubSpot WordPress plugin, for example, lets you capture, organize, and engage your visitors with free forms, live chat, email marketing, analytics, and a CRM.
Below we'll take a closer look at this plugin and 31 others.
Why are plugins important?
Plugins are the building blocks of your WordPress site. They bring in important functions to your website, whether you need to add contact forms, improve SEO, increase site speed, create an online store, or offer email opt-ins. Whatever you need your website to do can be done with a plugin.
There are thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins to download and add — here are the best plugins for WordPress, no matter what type of website you’re building.
Best WordPress Plugins
- All in One SEO
- Yoast SEO
- W3 Total Cache
- Akismet Spam Protection
- iThemes Security
- XML Sitemaps
- WP Rocket
- Contact Form 7
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
- ELEX Catalog
- Formidable Forms
- WP Notification Bar Pro
- Broken Link Checker
- WP Subscribe Pro
You simply can’t grow your business without marketing, and HubSpot makes it easy to do just that. The HubSpot WordPress plugin allows you to manage contacts, follow leads, track conversions, build email newsletters, engage with site visitors via forms and chat, and more. The plugin integrates your site seamlessly with HubSpot CRM.
Additionally, the dashboard and analytics allow you to gauge how well your efforts are doing to continue making informed decisions while growing your business.
Why we recommend: To grow your leads and customer base on your website, you need a plugin that smoothly syncs with a powerful CRM. The HubSpot WordPress plugin is the best tool for the job — it's easy-to-use, codeless, and completely free.
Want to sell products or services on your website? Yes, there’s an ecommerce plugin for that. WooCommerce is the leading ecommerce plugin for WordPress — it converts your WordPress blog into a fully functional online store.
Thanks to its virtually endless customization, you can sell everything from digital files to physical products, set currencies, show reviews and ratings, add sorting and filtering functions, set unlimited images per product, enable subscriptions and tiered pricing, and a lot more.
Perhaps best of all, the core functionality of WooCommerce is free. Plus it's made by the same company as the WordPress CMS (Automattic), ensuring you're using a high-quality, reliable plugin.
Why we recommend: WooCommerce is practically synonymous with WordPress ecommerce. It's trusted by millions of WordPress websites to run an online store, and its high level of customization means you can adapt the tool to your precise needs.
WPForms is one of the most popular WordPress form builders in the market. It’s a beginner-friendly tool that makes it easy to add forms to your WordPress website. Create forms with the code-free drag-and-drop builder, which lets you add just about any form field you would want in any order you wish.
The free version of the plugin comes with basic contact form features such as form fields, CAPTCHA, email notifications, and more. With the premium version of WPForms, you get even more functionality such as integrations and the ability to create multi-page forms and add survey functionality.
Why we recommend: WPForms is one of the easiest ways to create customized, flexible forms for a WordPress website. Use it to capture whatever user information you need, from contact information to in-depth surveys.
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is a popular WordPress plugin for managing comprehensive on-site SEO and making optimizations to make a site rank highly in search results.
With AIOSEO, you are able to conduct site-wide audits to see the health of your current site and better understand where to make updates. On each page, you’re given the ability to change things like meta descriptions, title tags, and more.
Plus, if you’re looking to get up and running quickly, AIOSEO includes a setup wizard to quickly adjust settings based on a unique industry’s needs.
Why we recommend: Learning how to optimize your website for search can be intimidating. However, All in One SEO provides a user-friendly, comprehensive solution to monitor and improve your on-page SEO. The dashboard and tools are intuitive, helping new and experienced site owners rank higher.
5. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress, making it easy to optimize your pages and posts to rank higher on search engines.
With Yoast SEO, you’ll get templates for titles and meta descriptions, so you can learn how to craft this information according to SEO best practices. Yoast SEO also analyzes your content for both readability and keywords, so you can balance high-quality content with SEO.
Why we recommend: Yoast is another leading SEO plugin for WordPress, full of features to optimize your website for organic search. Plus, on top of its automatic SEO improvements, the plugin provides tactical help to make your content shine in the SERPs.
Jetpack is a collection of awesome tools and features that supercharge your site with many useful functionalities. Jetpack offers the capabilities of many plugins in one. It’s also developed by Automattic, the team behind WordPress, so you’ll be getting exceptional developers behind the tool.
From improving site security to optimizing user engagement, Jetpack provides several features to keep your site running smoothly. With Jetpack, you can add social share buttons, contact forms, CDN services, email subscription forms, improve security, and many other services to your website.
Why we recommend: Jetpack acts like a one-stop shop for your website's needs. It handles lead generation, backups, security, and speed all in one tool, making it great for users afraid of plugin overload. Plus, Jetpack is modular, so you can purchase and install only the tools you need to grow your site.
Elementor is a leading page builder for the WordPress CMS — it allows you to place a variety of page elements with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. This way, constructing your ideal website is as easy as clicking and dragging your desired elements into the builder area — no coding necessary.
For its ease-of-use, simplicity, and compatibility with many WordPress themes, Elementor is a highly recommended plugin for beginner website owners and those less comfortable touching the back-end WordPress code.
Why we recommend: With Elementor, you can add expertly-crafted pages to your site without writing a line of code. This plugin provides a wealth of page elements that you can easily add to any page and craft a highly effective site. Elementor is the kind of plugin that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it.
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. Caching is the method of storing website content in the user's browser, in order to provide that data even faster the next time they access your website.
Essentially, W3 Total Cache reduces your website’s loading times. Because of the increased site speed, you’ll see a boost in your site’s search engine rankings, user experience, and perhaps even in conversion rates.
Why we recommend: Website performance should be one of your highest priorities as a website owner. If your pages are slow to load, visitors will simply leave for a competitor's site. W3 Total Cache helps ensure your pages stay fast and reliable, with minimal configuration needed from you.
Speaking of site performance, images are a key culprit on slow-loading websites. Because of this, it's important to optimize every image file on your site to help improve speed. However, doing this manually for every image can be a time-consuming, tedious task.
Thankfully, the Smush image optimization plugin comes to the rescue — it automatically compresses images across your site as you upload them to your media folder. With smaller image file sizes, your website will continue to load quickly for users, keeping them engaged and converting.
Why we recommend: Smush provides an easy way to compress and optimize your WordPress images. Since it handles compression as you upload your image files, you'll see improved performance with no interruption to your workflow.
Another Automattic-backed plugin, Akismet is the most popular anti-spam plugin for WordPress. It checks your contact form submissions and comments for suspicious submissions, keeping your blog clean, your forms spam-free, and your site professional-looking.
Using Akismet is as easy as installing and activating — the plugin will automatically handle the rest of the work. It also lets you review which comments are stopped or cleared by the plugin, so you can block or unblock comments yourself.
Why we recommend: Akismet is a quintessential "run-in-the-background" plugin. Simply install it and watch it work its magic, limiting spam and saving you heaps of time and busy work.
Weglot is a WordPress translation plugin that allows you to launch a multilingual website in minutes. You can add 100+ languages to your WordPress website without the need for a developer, professional translator, or any coding skills.
With Weglot you’ll get a fully translated website (including plugins and dynamic content) using a first layer of machine translation, full control over your website translations with post-editing features, translated metadata, language-specific subdirectories, automatically implemented hreflang tags, translated URL slugs, and much more.
Why we recommend: The Weglot plugin is a popular translator tool that can help you expand into new markets. The plugin leverages machine learning to provide high-quality translations to visitors.
12. iThemes Security
WordPress websites can be easy targets for hackers, unless you take the steps to protect yours. The security of your WordPress site shouldn’t be taken lightly, which is why we recommend iThemes Security, one of the most effective plugins for securing your WordPress website.
iThemes Security gives you more than 30 ways to protect your site and users, including password expiration, two-factor authentication, reCAPTCHA, and malware scanning. The plugin also provides security templates to work for your specific kind of site, whether it's an online store, a blog, or an online portfolio.
Why we recommend: Don't wait until you're hacked to install a security plugin. iThemes is one of the best options available, with dozens of ways to harden your WordPress site against cyberattacks.
The Monarch plugin from ElegantThemes is one of the best social sharing plugins for WordPress. This plugin has modern social sharing buttons, which you can strategically place on your web pages, to encourage users to quickly click and share your content on their social media feeds.
Monarch integrates with over 20 social media platforms to help you reach new audiences on valuable channels. There are also advanced pop-up triggers to place CTAs at just the right time.
Why we recommend: Social media is a key marketing channel for scaling businesses, and the Monarch plugin helps channel website visitors toward your social media accounts, whether that's Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or beyond.
14. XML Sitemaps
WordPress sitemaps make it easier for search engine crawlers to find the important pages and posts on your WordPress site and retrieve them more efficiently. The free XML Sitemaps plugin supports various types of WordPress-generated pages and custom URLs, which you can submit to search engines for better indexing and ranking.
XML Sitemaps is also adaptable, accommodating for different kinds of WordPress pages and custom URLs. It will also notify search engines when you publish new posts to ensure your site's information is consistently up-to-date.
Why we recommend: XML Sitemaps is free, simple, and effective at helping search engines understand your website and index it more efficiently. This ultimately helps your search ranking for no cost and minimal work from you.
WP-Optimize is an important plugin for any site that has an extensive WordPress database. This plugin cleans up any unnecessary contents of your database, such as auto drafts and spam comments, that don’t add any value to your site but may slow performance.
WP-Optimize will also compress images and enable caching to improve site speeds. Although it sounds complex, WP-Optimize can do all of this with just the click of a button.
Why we recommend: WP-Optimize is a hands-off way to keep your website high-performing by deleting unnecessary database contents, compressing images to load more quickly, and caching content. All of these combined are enough to see general improvements in load times, especially on mobile devices and over weak internet connections.
16. WP Rocket
Given the importance of load time in user experience, this robust plugin is worth the extra investment for many business websites and online stores. It’s also worth noting that WP Rocket is ecommerce-friendly, and won’t cache cart or checkout pages.
Why we recommend: For website owners who want to get the most out of a premium optimization plugin, WP Rocket provides extensive features, an intuitive interface, and top-notch support to make things run smoothly and quickly.
17. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the most popular free contact form plugin for WordPress. With Contact Form 7 installed on your website, users can reach you via streamlined contact forms that also have reCAPTCHA and Akismet functionality to help prevent spam. It's also Ajax-compatible, so your forms can fetch information and update their appearance without reloading the page.
Why we recommend: Contact Form 7 is best for WordPress admins in need of a free and easy way to grow their contact lists. The plugin makes it simple to build and deploy simple forms with all essential features available.
If you’re an avid blogger, a related posts plugin is an excellent way to keep visitors on your site and engaged with content they enjoy. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is one such plugin, considered one of the best of its kind.
YARPP places a display of relevant posts, pages, and custom post types on your WordPress pages and posts. Recommended posts are presented based on a combination of post copy, categories, and tags to provide the best recommendations. Insert your list anywhere on your site with a simple shortcode.
Why we recommend: A related posts module serves visitors more blog content they enjoy, which keeps them on your website for longer and increases the likelihood of a conversion. YARPP compiled related posts from across your site, eliminating the need to manually curate content for readers.
Here’s another tool to drive leads on your website — the OptinMonster plugin adds pop-up forms for lead generation and email signups. First, create your pop-ups with the native builder. Style your messaging and visuals to fit your brand.
Then, place your popup on your website, and set triggers for when you want them to appear in front of visitors. OptinMonster lets you deploy a range of popup types, from exit intent forms to lightboxes to countdown timers — whatever you need to prompt users to take action.
Why we recommend: OptinMonster is a leading solution for WordPress popups, letting you customize their appearance and display them at key moments in your visitors’ journey.
The ELEX WooCommerce Catalog Mode plugin is a WooCommerce plugin that allows you to apply the catalog mode to your whole ecommerce store. You can use this plugin to hide or remove the ‘Add to Cart’ button and substitute it with an HTML placeholder text, customize buttons by assigning a title and redirecting to the correct page, hide product rates from the website, and hide the cart and checkout pages as a whole.
You can also exclude specific user roles like the website administrator from the Catalog mode configuration. The plugin also enables you to apply Catalog Mode settings to specific products in your store, and it works with simple, variable, and grouped products. By giving a custom URL to products on the Shop page, you can route visitors to third-party or affiliate websites.
Why we recommend: The ELEX plugin WooCommerce businesses to manage their customer’s experience and inform their shoppers about technical issues, updates, or website downtime with customized CTA and button messaging.
Nobody wants things to go wrong on their website, but accidents are often inevitable with WordPress. That’s why it’s important to create regular backups of your WordPress site, letting you can recover lost data or revert to an older version in the event of an accident or a glitch.
With over 3 million downloads to date, UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress backup plugins out there. With it, you can create and restore backups with a click, schedule routine backups, and push your backups to cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Why we recommend: Better to install a backup plugin now than wait until you have a data incident. UpdraftPlus backs up your website on a tight schedule, so you'll always have a recent version of your site on hand if something goes wrong.
Email is another crucial marketing channel for nurturing leads and keeping your customer base engaged. To help you out, try installing Bloom, a top email list plugin for WordPress.
To get subscribers onto your list, Bloom has options for email opt-in forms to place on your websites. There are more than 100 email subscription templates to pick from, all of which can be easily customized to match your brand. You can even target specific posts for your email opt-in pop-ups, fly-ins, and forms.
Why we recommend: Bloom's email engagement forms set a new standard for quality and visual appeal, with over 100 form templates to make your opt-in CTAs look professional and on-brand.
23. Formidable Forms
Looking for form builder alternatives? Formidable Forms is a solid contender — it enables advanced form building for contact forms, quizzes, polls and surveys, calculators, and registration forms, then track your form results in your WordPress dashboard.
Also notable is this plugin’s range of integrations. It works with WooCommerce, PayPal, Stripe, Mailchimp, and more. For developers, the plugin can be extended and customized further with its available API integrations.
Why we recommend: True to its name, Formidable Forms is a highly capable and flexible builder for any type of form you could want. Whether you’re a developer or you'd prefer to go codeless, this plugin is worth a try.
A well-designed notification bar is one of the best ways to capture the attention of your visitors. With WP Notification Bar Pro, you can create a text link, buttons, or countdowns to show any special offers on your website.
You can also use this plugin to show social shares and encourage your users to follow your brand on social media, or use this plugin as an opt-in email form.
Why we recommend: Notification bars draw the eye to any content you want visitors to notice, be it a CTA, a countdown, an announcement, or a link to a product page. WP Notification Bar Pro is a popular solution for adding this element to your site.
Maybe your website has a few links that lead to missing websites. So what? Every broken link can negatively impact your site ranking on search engines because it is deemed untrustworthy to have broken links. Also, broken links return 404 errors to users, which brings their visiting experience to a screeching halt.
Broken Link Checker is the best WordPress plugin to scan for broken links across your website and alert you when they appear. From there, you can easily amend those issues and regain your SEO standing.
Why we recommend: This simple plugin efficiently scans for broken links, preventing 404 errors, lost visitors, and negative effects on your search engine rankings.
If you don't know how to code, you don't have the skills to build an attractive website from scratch. However, hiring a professional web designer to help can be expensive.
DragDropr is the perfect solution to this problem. With this plugin, you can create pages for your site by simply dragging and dropping the elements you want on each page. There are over 200 pre-designed and fully customizable content blocks to choose from. It allows anyone to create a professional website at a fraction of the cost of hiring a designer.
Why we recommend: Like Elementor, DragDropr lets you build custom WordPress pages using pre-built modules. This means you don't need to code your interfaces — instead, just drag and drop items into place to construct the exact interface you want.
SeedProd is another reputable WordPress page builder plugin. In particular, this plugin specializes in landing pages. If you need help making high-converting landing pages that make an impression, SeedProd helps you do it with ease.
This focus on landing pages means that SeedProd offers certain page elements specifically made to convert visitors. In addition to landing pages, there are page template options for webinars, product sales, thank-yous, as well as for 404 pages, coming soon pages, and maintenance mode. SeedProd knows that these are all opportunities to convert, and provides features accordingly.
Why we recommend: SeedProd serves a very specific purpose: to help you build high-converting landing pages. If you want to wow visitors with an excellent first impression, leverage this plugin.
28. WP Subscribe Pro
An email subscription plugin is a must-have plugin for any site, and WP Subscribe Pro is another excellent choice thanks to its customization options.
You can choose exactly where to place the email subscription widget on the page, acutely adjust the colors, set pop-ups to capture user attention, and even set the trigger timing to alert users at the optimal time.
Why we recommend: WP Subscribe Pro allows you to place email enrollment CTAs that grab visitors' attention and encourage sign-ups at the right moments.
Community websites are another way to build a loyal following surrounding your content. If you want to create a community site on the WordPress platform, BuddyPress has the most effective and easiest tools to create a social networking site.
With BuddyPress, your site users can create profiles, chat with one another, interact in groups, view activity streams, and more. Additionally, the plugin supports Akismet and bbPress (which we'll discuss next) for spam control and forums, respectively.
Why we recommend: Want to add social media functionality to WordPress. BuddyPress is the best way to do it, at no cost to you. Best of all, the plugin is free to use and highly customizable.
To provide a space for your visitors to discuss your content and/or your product, bbPress can make that happen. This plugin adds a simple forum to your site with no manual code tweaking necessary — users can sign up for accounts and make posts about related topics.
You can also segment discussion threads by category and moderate your contributors through the plugin. This makes your forums a great support resource for new users, allowing them to post questions about your product and have them answered by your team or by fellow customers.
Why we recommend: Like BuddyPress, bbPress is a free plugin for creating a community on your website, this time with discussion forums. bbPress's forums are lightweight and highly configurable to easily incorporate with the rest of your site's content.
So, you’ve published a new blog post on your website, but how will anyone know? With the WebSub plugin, you can automatically notify subscribers when your WordPress blog is updated.
After your blog has been updated, the plugin will notify hubs like Google Reader and Google Alerts that new content is available, and these hubs will, in turn, let subscribers know to check out your site.
Why we recommend: WebSub pings your subscribers automatically through RSS feeds with minimal configuration on your end, keeping readers in the loop and coming back for more content.
We mentioned 404 errors earlier, and the harmful effects they can have on your website. One common solution is creating a redirect, which sends traffic from one inactive URL to another active URL.
Redirection is a free WordPress plugin that manages 301 redirects as well as other kinds of redirects, keeps track of 404 errors, and tidies up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, changing the directory of your WordPress installation, or updating your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
Why we recommend: Redirection lets any site owner create and manage their permanent and temporary redirects. You can also log redirect activity and get alerted when 404 errors occur on your site.
Who doesn’t love a giveaway? Giveaways are a great way to reach new audiences, connect with current users, and deepen engagement. The RafflePress plugin offers a drag-and-drop campaign builder, so you can set up your giveaway in no time.
You can create a landing page specifically for a certain giveaway, plus prevent fraud with one-time entries. Users can also easily refer your contest or share it on social media.
Why we recommend: Want to do a giveaway to promote your business? Use a plugin like RafflePress to manage sign-ups, referrals, tracking, fraud protection, and more.
Improve your website with WordPress plugins.
It’s nearly impossible to run a WordPress website without adding functionality through plugins. Whether you want to engage users through email opt-in forms, add social sharing buttons, compress images to improve website speed, or optimize your content to rank in search engines, there’s a plugin for just about anything you can think of on your website.
Plus, plugins greatly improve the user experience, meaning higher engagement and better chances of reaching wider audiences.
If you're stumped on which plugins to add first, these popular, trusted plugins will help you get started.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Nov 8, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated May 10 2022