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One of the first plugins I came across back in 2014 or 15 were Akismet and Hello Dolly. This was the time when I had just moved my sites from GoDaddy to HostGator Shared Hosting. Looking back, neither were great choices for web hosting, but we all have to start somewhere. Anyways, coming back to the topic… over the next few years, I read about, experimented with, and used several plugins. Many of these are paid subscriptions, others are freeware. Many are experimental or provided by third party providers like Storychief or Content Studio. Without further ado, let us look at the WordPress plugins most frequently used by me. The active links will take you to the Plugins site on WordPress, or the website for that plugin.
|Name of the Plugin||Type of Plugin and utility|
|1||Gumlet||Image CDN or Content Delivery Network|
|2||Content Studio||SEO optimised content and social media scheduling. Premium|
|3||Site Kit by google||Visitor analytics and data. Free|
|4||Web Stories by google||Creating Instagram story-like experience for blog. Free|
|5||HappyFiles||Organizing the images and files into multiple categories for better indexing, and search. Freemium|
|6||Metatags||Tags to posts for SEO. Premium|
|7||Minimal Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode||Showing the “Under construction” or “Under Maintenance mode” to visitors. Freemium|
|8||Security Ninja||Website security plugin similar to WordFence. Freemium|
|9||SEOPress (and SEO Press Pro)||Suggesting SEO optimised content similar to Yoast or Rankmath. Freemium|
|10||Shortpixel||Image compression and optimisation. Freemium (On a standalone site, I also use Shortpixel Adaptive Images )|
|11||Stencil||Images for posts, etc. Premium|
|12||Storychief||SEO optimize content and social media scheduling. Premium.|
|13||UpDraft Plus||For backing up the WordPress site to Google Drive.|
|13||Brizy||Pagebuilder plugin for WordPress. Premium|
|15||Elementor Essential Addons||Pagebuilder plugin for WordPress. Premium|
|16||Otter||Utilities plugin recommended for Hestia WordPress theme.|
|17||Neve Pro||Utilities plugin for WordPress theme. Premium|
|18||Gridpane Redis Cache||Cache plugin for sites that are managed by Gridpane. Premium|
|19||Inline Related Posts (and Pro)||Suggesting posts similar to current post. Freemium|
|21||Autoptimize||Optimizing page size for better speeds. Freemium|
|22||Play.ht||Converting Text to speech. Premium|
|23||WP Fail2ban||Website security plugin. Freemium|
|24||Others (experimental)||e.g Flying Scripts: currently testing for page optimisation; Siteorigin page builder; WP Fastest Cache|
Management of plugins: Problem of Plenty
If you run a search for a particular plugin on the WordPress plugins site, you will sometimes see more than one option for the same name or function. For example, when you search for backup, you might find All In One WP Backup, Updraft Plus, and so on. For Image Optimisation, you will see results ranging from Optimal, WP Smush, Tinypng, Shortpixel, and so on. Sometimes, you need to try a few plugins to find what suits your needs the most. For example I prefer Shortpixel, but I have a great respect for TinyPNG.
Update July 2021In addition, I have also used imgbot a lot, when that service was active.It was an excellent image compressor.
Management of plugins: Upgrades
The above list is in no way all-encompassing or exhaustive. Bit it gives you a fair idea about the types of plugins. One element to bear in mind here is, that often a single plugin may break your either site. Therefore, it is extremely important to take these bare minimal steps before installing or updating a plugin:
- a. Do your homework. read the reviews, check for any security issues. Stay away from scripts or plugins you are not familiar with.
- b. Make your backups before installing or updating the plugins.
- c.Turn off auto updates of plugins. This will also minimise the changes of sites getting broken.
- d.Create a staging site and test out your plugins on that site before installing on main site.
Summary: Plugins for WordPress sites
Plugins are a necessary evils for your WordPress site, in order to improve the functionality, user experience and your productivity while creating content. From pagebuilders to security, there are several thousand plugins in the WordPress ecosystem. Some are available on the plugins site of WordPress. Others, you have to download and install manually. The key is to find the right set of plugins to meet or suit your needs, and this will remain an evolving list as your blog grows.