However, over 60,000 WordPress plugins are available, and more are released every day. Plus, installing too many plugins can cause slow website loading speeds, so you want to avoid adding too many of these plugins.
To help you limit your installed plugins to only the most worthy, I’ve compiled this list of the 29 best WordPress plugins categorized by what they’re good for.
This list comes from my more than 12 years of experience building WordPress websites and working closely with my WordPress developer.
First up, we have some plugins to help you design and add specific functionalities to your WordPress website.
Cost: Free ($59/year for premium)
- Building a website theme with drag-and-drop editing
- Easily creating custom landing pages
Elementor is awesome for anyone who wants a custom-looking website without learning how to code or being limited to a pre-built theme. But it also has pre-built themes you can customize to streamline the process.
Be aware that using any kind of drag-and-drop editor like this will slow down your site.
Useful for: Turning your WordPress website into an e-commerce store
You can combine it with WooCommerce Payments to easily collect customer payment information.
Advanced Custom Fields Pro
Cost: $49/year for a single site
Useful for: Creating custom widgets to use anywhere on your site
If you know how to code, Advanced Custom Fields Pro allows you to take full control over your WordPress edit screens and custom field data.
Cost: Free ($49–$399/year for premium)
Useful for: Inserting code into your headers and footers
Formerly called Insert Headers and Footers, WPCode is the easiest way for non-developers to add code snippets anywhere on their website.
- Creating forms for contact pages, newsletter sign-ups, and more
- Building surveys for your site visitors
WPForms is a drag-and-drop WordPress form editor. It’s super intuitive and easy to use.
Cost: €89/year (~USD 95)
Useful for: Translating your website into other languages
Cost: Free (varying premium plans starting at $19.99/month)
Useful for: Adding a live chat feature to your site
Formilla is a live chat plugin for WordPress. You can offer live chat support or use it to answer visitors’ questions automatically using a bot—although that may annoy them.
Next up, we’ve got a whole suite of plugins that help you make your website more secure and easier to manage. WordPress sites are often vulnerable to hacking, so these are important.
Cost: Free ($119/year for premium)
Useful for: Keeping your website safe from hackers and malware
Wordfence adds a robust firewall and malware scanner to protect your site from hackers and malicious software. You can also use it to add two-factor login authentication, have rate limiting, and run security diagnostics on your site—to name a few of the features.
Cost: Free ($119/year for premium)
Useful for: Backing up your WordPress website
It’s important to back up your website every so often to avoid losing your content in the event of a plugin clash, hack, or even accidental deletion. UpdraftPlus makes this easy for you.
Cost: Free ($50/month for premium)
Useful for: Uploading content from Google Docs to WordPress at the click of a button
Wordable makes it easy to upload content from Google Docs to your WordPress website (including images, formatting, etc., without any extra hidden code). It’s saved me a lot of time and money not needing to do it myself or having my virtual assistant to do it.
Cost: $129–$399/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Managing a team of writers and editors on your website
PublishPress makes it easy to manage multiple writers and editors on your site, with the ability to manage their permissions of what they can do and see. It also includes an editorial calendar, new blocks for the Gutenberg editor, and more.
Cost: $179.50–$399.50/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Creating a membership website
MemberPress makes it easy to turn your WordPress website into a paid membership site, allowing you to build and sell courses and forums and put them behind a paywall.
Cost: $149–$399/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Automating tasks on your website
Uncanny Automator is like Zapier but for WordPress. It can automate tasks like sharing a post to social media or in a newsletter when it’s published, track data in a spreadsheet whenever a product is purchased, and a million other things. Its only limit is your own creativity.
WP Simple Pay
Cost: $49.50–$299.50/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Adding a simple Stripe payment processor to your site
WP Simple Pay makes it easy to accept Stripe payments on your website. This is great if you only sell a few products or services and want to avoid the trouble of setting up the WooCommerce plugin and connecting it with a payment processor and your bank.
WP Mail SMTP
Cost: $49–$399/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Improving email deliverability
WP Mail SMTP allows you to set up SMTP and PHP mail servers to improve your email deliverability whenever you send customers or visitors an email from your site.
A quick-loading site is vital for audience retention, conversions, and SEO. To help you speed up your WordPress site, you can consider using these plugins.
Cost: $17.50–$146.67/month (depending on tier)
Useful for: An all-in-one tool to speed up your website
NitroPack is my favorite all-in-one speed enhancer, with smart caching, image optimization, a built-in CDN, and more—all without needing developer experience. However, it’s not cheap. If you need a more affordable option, look at the next two plugins.
Cost: $59–$299/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Adding website caching
WP Rocket adds caching to your WordPress website, allowing you to improve your loading speeds and Core Web Vitals score. However, it doesn’t have image optimization or a CDN, so it’s missing features compared to NitroPack. That’s where the next plugin comes in.
Useful for: Adding website speed optimization features like image compression
Autoptimize fills in the gaps left by WP Rocket. It can aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, inject CSS in the page head by default, optimize and lazy-load images, and much more. However, it does require some learning and tweaking, so it’s not very beginner-friendly.
Traffic is what makes your website valuable. Here are some of the best WordPress plugins to help you promote your site.
Cost: Free ($9–$49/month for premium)
Useful for: Adding push notifications to your website
PushEngage is the best push notification plugin I’ve found. It lets you easily advertise push notification services to your visitors and sends the notifications in a way that is well designed and easy to use.
Keep in mind that push notifications can be extremely annoying to visitors if you’re not cautious about them.
Cost: $39.50–$499.50/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Running viral raffles and giveaways
RafflePress makes running raffles and giveaways on your site easy by giving visitors single-click options to earn entries. They can follow, subscribe, like, and comment just by clicking each button on your giveaway and get extra entries for each task they complete.
Cost: $9–$49/month (depending on tier)
Useful for: Creating beautiful opt-in forms and gamified wheels
OptinMonster is a form-builder plugin that helps you optimize conversions to grow your email list. It also has gamified wheels, which I’ve never used. But it seems like a fun thing to test for e-commerce websites.
Thrive Quiz Builder
Cost: $99/year (or $299/year for the entire Thrive Suite)
Useful for: Creating quizzes on your site that are easily shareable
Thrive Quiz Builder makes it easy to, well, build quizzes. You can use it to make one of those viral Facebook quizzes moms love to take and share their results.
Cost: $49–$299/year (depending on which feeds you want)
Useful for: Adding social media feeds to your website
Smash Balloon makes displaying feeds from your social media profiles on your WordPress website easy. This is helpful if you want to showcase your photography or video services or rely heavily on social media for sponsorships.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of growing your website. In my experience, the following plugins are the best WordPress SEO plugins.
Yoast SEO/Rank Math/SEOPress
Cost: Free (various paid options)
- Basic on-page SEO
- Creating a robots.txt file and sitemap
- Easily editing metadata
These types of plugins are essential for a WordPress website. They allow you to edit important SEO options on your pages and make implementing SEO on your site much easier and more streamlined.
Of these three, my personal favorite is Rank Math. I have used Yoast SEO and SEOPress, but I like the team behind Rank Math the most and find the plugin to be easy to use with a solid UI. They’re all great, however, and do pretty much the same things. Just pick one.
Ahrefs’ WordPress SEO Plugin
Useful for: Suggesting ways to better optimize your content to rank higher in search results
Our SEO plugin makes it easy to automate content audits, monitor backlinks, and grow organic traffic to your WordPress website. It’s free, so try it out.
Cost: $99.50–$399.50/year (depending on tier)
Useful for: Gathering helpful insights into your site traffic
MonsterInsights is a WordPress analytics plugin that shows you insights into how much traffic you’re getting, which pages people are visiting, and what they’re doing. It also provides e-commerce insights like goal conversions and also integrates with Google Analytics.
Last but not least, the following plugins are excellent to help you make more money from affiliate marketing.
Cost: $39–$299/month (depending on how many sites you want it for)
- Tracking, managing, and automating your affiliate links
- Creating product display boxes and comparison tables
- Getting suggestions for new affiliate programs
Lasso gets my favorite plugin of the year award. It makes tracking, managing, and automating your affiliate links easy. Plus, you can create conversion-optimized product display boxes and tables, get suggestions for affiliate programs for products you’re mentioning but not affiliated with, and more.
Cost: $39–$299/month (depending on how many sites you want it for)
Useful for: Adding an affiliate program to your website
AffiliateWP allows you to create and manage your own affiliate program so you can have affiliates promote your products for you.
Cost: $59–$179/year ($499 for lifetime access)
Useful for: Managing ads on your WordPress website
AdSanity makes it easy to manage ads on your site and add them using widgets, shortcodes, or template tags. It also gives you publishing options to create start and end dates, analytics reporting to see your ads’ effectiveness, and more.
There are a lot of WordPress plugins out there. Many are unnecessary, and having too many can add code bloat and drastically slow down your website.
Hopefully, you’ve found the right plugins in this list to install only the ones you really need and avoid others you don’t.