6 Best WordPress Plugins I Always Install

Each site is different, and a plugin that’s useful for one might be utterly useless for another. Still, a few best WordPress plugins have a permanent home on whatever installation I work on. The list is the same today as it was the year before. So here it is without ado!



Automattic’s Jetpack plugin is the single most crucial add-on you can have on your site. It wins out due to the sheer number of functionalities it can take on. Here are a few important things it can do for you:

  1. Create related posts (using Automattic servers!)
  2. Custom CSS based on the theme
  3. Free CDN for your images
  4. Sitemaps
  5. Subscriptions for comments
  6. Automated social sharing

Usually, I would require a plugin for every one of these tasks. There’s a lot of other stuff it can do as well, but these are just a few that I find invaluable. You can turn individual features on and off. The plugin used to have performance issues that have since been ironed out. And each of these functions is customizable with its own hooks and filters. If I had to pick just one plugin to have on my site, Jetpack would be it.

Bad Behavior

I used to have a somewhat lax approach to security until a few years back when my own site was hit with a massive DDoS attack, crippling it. One of the tools I used to get my site up and running was Bad Behavior, and it still finds a place on my site today. Bad Behavior goes way beyond merely using a list of banned IPs since It also checks user behavior and protects your site from certain cross-posting attacks.

In addition, it integrates with Project Honeypot (which you should sign up for), which keeps a constantly updated list of suspicious IPs associated with e-mail scraping, hacking, comment spam, and other undesirable activities. Here’s a screenshot of Bad Behavior’s statistics on my own website:

bad behavior statistics
Bad Behavior Statistics

Pretty useful, right?

iThemes (formerly Better WP Security)

ithemes wordpress
iThemes WordPress

While Bad Behavior merely blocks certain IPs from your site, iThemes covers all other aspects of WordPress security. Using this plugin, you can:

  1. Rename your login and admin pages to bypass brute force attacks entirely
  2. Enable failed login limits
  3. Secure important WordPress files from public access
  4. Change database prefixes

And patch many other vulnerabilities.

Along with Bad Behavior, this might seem like overkill. But trust me – spending a few minutes securing your WordPress site will save you headaches later on. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t wait for something to go wrong because, believe me – something will go wrong! It’s never too early to start thinking about security, and iThemes is one of the best WordPress plugins you can find.

Floating Social Bar

floating social bar
Floating Social bar

One of the problems with interactive social buttons is that they load a ton of Javascript and CSS on every page load, which slows down your site with dozens of external site requests. Some buttons are static icons – they don’t update with the latest share count.

The Floating Social Bar was developed by the team at WPBeginner and solved this problem by only loading the external scripts when someone hovers over them. Before that, it stores the current count of shares in the post metadata. This way, it provides interactivity and information without the expensive resource loading faced by other plugins. In addition, it gives a simple, clutter-free interface that “sticks” to the top of the page as you scroll down the article.

Elegant, helpful, and efficient. What more do you need?

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO

An SEO plugin for WordPress is a must. And after thinking long and hard, I’ve come down on the side of Yoast SEO. It has the all-important “on-page SEO” checkmarks when writing your article, so you don’t miss any critical steps. It allows you to change your title tags, meta keywords, and descriptions. All essential SEO functions are filtered down into one plugin.

For a long time, I used to recommend SEO Ultimate, which is still a strong contender for the best SEO plugin. It has many features that Yoast doesn’t have, like the Deeplink Juggernaut, which allows you to build up your internal links. However, the lack of a real-time “traffic light” system to tell you whether your current post is optimized or not makes me give it up in favor of Yoast SEO. That’s a killer feature not just for you but for any other author on your site. So till that’s added, I’m going to go with Yoast SEO over SEO Ultimate.

W3 Total Cache

w3 total cache
W3 Total Cache

No WordPress site is complete without a caching plugin, and W3 Total Cache is one of the best. There are a few other strong contenders, such as WP Super Cache and WP Rocket. But the latter is a paid tool, and the former might not have as many options as I’d like. If you want more of an “Install and forget” plugin, then WP Super Cache might be better, but for real fine-tuned caching, nothing beats W3TC. Still, this is a matter of taste, and any of the others can easily be a replacement for the best caching plugin. W3 Total Cache happens to be my personal favorite.

Ideally, though, you would choose a web host that has in-built server caching. This way, your site won’t have to dedicate resources to creating and storing the cached copies of your pages. Instead, the server will do the hard work for you. – it’s faster and reduces the wait time for your visitors!

Best Site Specific Plugins

As I mentioned earlier, these are “all-rounder” plugins that will help you regardless of your site design or content. But there are many indispensable plugins for specific types of sites. For example, if your site is commerce-oriented, you can’t live without WooCommerce. If you need social network features, then BuddyPress is an industry-standard. But they’re not applicable for all WordPress sites, so they didn’t make the cut in the list above.

But these 5 WordPress plugins should get you started well on your way to creating a fantastic site!

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!