Extensive Roundup of the Best WordPress Plugins You’ll Ever Need: Year 2012 Edition

Besides being a beautiful, easy to use and powerful platform by itself, WordPress is also loved because of it’s high level of customization and optimization. Plugins are the best way to optimize and enrich your WordPress blog. And it’s not limited to performance only. The plugins WordPress offers range from page speed optimization, user engagement, advanced backup, full theme modification to social sharing and search engine optimization.

No matter what kind of website or blog you own, you’ll definitely find something that will make your site better. Just like with clothes some plugins are one size fits all, and other are quite specific. Almost every blog will encounter spam, security concerns and will want to expose their content to the largest audience possible. This two article series focuses on the most essential and useful WordPress plugins every blog will find useful. Whether you’re bored with the default comments platform, want to try custom fonts or just add neat social sharing options, continue reading to find the best WordPress plugins out there. The plugins are sorted into categories and only a few of them have the same features so you can find the very right ones for you.

The first part will cover optimization, forms, comments, site backup, posts, security, design & theme customization and media. Stay tuned for part 2 which will contain even more specific and targeted WordPress plugins.

The second part will cover ecommerce, SEO, social media, marketing and lot of great miscellaneous plugins.


1. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is a very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.

2. WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize is a WordPress 2.9++ database cleanup and optimization tool. It doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to optimize your database tables. It allows you to remove post revisions, comments in the spam queue and un-approved comments within few clicks.

3. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.


1. Contact Form 7


Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail content flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

2. Fast Secure Contact Form

A super customizable contact form that lets your visitors send you email. Blocks all automated spammers. No templates to mess with.

3. Gravity Forms (Premium –  $39)


Gravity Forms is hands down the best contact form plugin for WordPress. Build and publish your WordPress forms in just minutes. No drudgery, just quick and easy form-building.

4. AJAX Contact Forms (Premium – $10)


This is a jQuery based AJAX powered HTML / PHP contact form with Twitter Direct Messaging, easily integrated into WordPress via shortcodes and functions.


1. Disqus Comment System

Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.

2. GD Star Rating

GD Star Rating plugin allows you to set up an advanced rating and review system for post types and comments in your blog using single, multi and thumbs ratings.

3. Wizzart – Recent Comments

This plugin offers a highly customizable widget to show recent comments of your visitors in your sidebars.

4. Facebook Comments

Full Facebook Comments moderation and management for your WordPress site. Quick and easy to set up. Insert automatically or via a shortcode.

5. Thank Me Later

Automatically send a ‘thank you’ e-mail to those who comment on your blog. This plugin engages visitors by reminding them to check back for new comments and interesting content.

6. Disable Comments

Allows administrators to globally disable comments on their site. Comments can be disabled according to post type.

7. WP Customer Reviews

WP Customer Reviews allows your customers and visitors to leave reviews or testimonials of your services. Reviews are Microformat enabled (hReview).

Site Backup

1. WP-DBManager

Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of back ups, optimizing and repairing of database.

2. BackUpWordPress

BackUpWordPress will back up your entire site including your database and all your files once every day.


1. Editorial Calendar


The Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.

2. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin


Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site.

3. SimpleReach Slide


The Slide recommends related posts from within your site on a widget that “slides” in at the bottom of the page.

4. WordPress Popular Posts

WordPress Popular Posts is a highly customizable sidebar widget that displays the most popular posts on your blog. You can use it as a template tag, too.

5. Raw HTML

Lets you use raw HTML or any other code in your posts. You can also disable smart quotes and other automatic formatting on a per-post basis.

6. Auto Post Thumbnail

Automatically generate the Post Thumbnail (Featured Thumbnail) from the first image in post or any custom post type only if Post Thumbnail is not set.


1. Akismet


Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

2. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam


Adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress on the forms for comments, registration, lost password, login, or all. For WP, WPMU, and BuddyPress.

3. Secure WordPress

Secure WordPress beefs up the security of your WordPress installation by removing error information on login pages, adds index.html to plugin directories, hides the WordPress version and much more.

4. BulletProof Security

WordPress Website Security Protection. Website security protection against: XSS, RFI, CRLF, CSRF, Base64, Code Injection and SQL Injection hacking att

Design & Theme Customization

1. Widget Context

Widget Context allows you to specify widget visibility settings – you can choose to display them only on certain posts, front page, category or tag pages etc.

2. WP Google Fonts


The WP Google Fonts plugin allows you to easily add fonts from the Google Font Directory to your WordPress theme.

3. WP Maintenance Mode

Adds a splash page to your site that lets visitors know your site is down for maintenance. Full access to the back- & front-end is optional.

4. Genesis Simple Sidebars

This plugin allows you to create multiple, dynamic widget areas, and assign those widget areas to sidebar locations within the Genesis Theme Framework

5. Shortcodes Ultimate

With this plugin you can easily create buttons, boxes, different sliders and much, much more. Turn your free theme to premium in just a few clicks.

6. All In One Favicon

Easily add a Favicon to your site and the WordPress admin pages. Complete with upload functionality. Supports all three Favicon types (ico,png,gif).

7. Font Uploader (Premium – $10)


This plugin lets you upload your own font files and apply them to any element of your website without requiring a knowledge of html or css.

8. WPtouch


WPtouch: A simple, powerful and elegant mobile theme for your website. WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress website into an application-like theme.

9. Widget Logic

Widget Logic lets you control on which pages widgets appear using WP’s conditional tags. It also adds a ‘widget_content’ filter.

10. WP Content Slideshow


WP Content Slideshow is the perfect Slideshow for WordPress. It displays up to 5 Posts or Pages with Tile, Description and Image for every Post.


1. Easing Slider


The Easing Slider comes with various options that allow you to choose different sources to get the images from and also multiple styling options so that you”ll never have to edit any files directly & with ease. Create your own unique elegant slider.

2. NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with dozens of options and features.

3. flickrRSS

Allows you to integrate Flickr photos into your site. It supports user, set, favorite, group and community photostreams.

4. WordPress Video Plugin

A filter for WordPress that allows easy video embedding of supported sites. Support for 65 different video sites.

5. oQey Gallery


oQey Gallery is a premium grade plugin for managing images and video, creating photo slideshows with music, photo & video galleries that works fantastic.

6. uBillboard (Premium – $20)


uBillboard is a Premium Slider for WordPress. It is a jQuery based slider with a multitude of transitions and options so you can customize it all you want without being overwhelmed with options you never wanted or needed.

7. WP Lightbox 2

This plugin used to add the lightbox (overlay) effect to the current page images on your WordPress blog.


1. WP e-Commerce


WP e-Commerce is a free WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin that lets customers buy your products, services and digital downloads online.

2. Jigoshop


Jigoshop is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress developed by professionals with years of experience delivering online shops for global brands.

3. WooCommerce


Transform your WordPress website into a thoroughbred online store. Delivering enterprise-level quality & features whilst backed by a name you can trust.

4. uPricing (Premium – $15)


uPricing is the ultimate and unique solution for all your WordPress related pricing page needs. Creating pricing tables has never been easier. uPricing comes with easy to use jQuery powered admin interface that lets you create and edit your pricing tables.

5. PayPal Donations

Easy, simple setup to add a PayPal Donation button as a Widget or with a shortcode.


1. All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack is the best SEO plugin out there which will automatically optimize your WordPress blog for search engines.

2. WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress SEO is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.

3. Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently.


1. Add Link to Facebook

Automatically add links to posts or pages that are being published to your Facebook wall, pages or groups. Simple one time setup and forget. The way links appear on Facebook can be customized.

2. WP to Twitter

Posts a Twitter update when you update your WordPress blog or post to your blogroll, using your chosen URL shortening service. Requires PHP 5 and cURL

3. Digg Digg


Digg Digg allows you to integrate popular social buttons into WordPress easily.

4. ShareThis


The ShareThis plugin seamlessly enables users to share your content through Email,Facebook,Twitter, Google +1, Like, Send and many more.

5. BuddyPress

BuddyPress lets users register on your site and start creating profiles, posting messages, making connections, creating and interacting in groups and much more. A social network in a box, BuddyPress lets you build a social network for your company, school, sports team or niche community.

6. bbPress


bbPress is forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress.

7. The Google+ plugin

The Google + Plugin integrates WordPress with your G+ Profile and Page – now with BuddyPress and Post Format support.

8. Twitter Widget Pro

A widget that properly handles twitter feeds, including parsing @username, #hashtags, and URLs into links.


1. Newsletter

This plug-in lets you collect subscribers on your blog with a single or double opt-in subscription process. Double opt-in is law compliant and it means the user has to confirm the subscription following simple standard instructions sent to him via email.

2. WP125

Easy management of 125×125 ads on your blog. Ads can be run for a specified number of days, and will automatically be taken down. Track clicks too.

3. s2Member

s2Member (membership with PayPal) offers powerful membership capabilities. Protect members only content. The s2Member Framework integrates with PayPal very easily and fully supports recurring billing.

4. MailPress

The WordPress mailing platform.

5. Subscribe2

Subscribe2 provides a comprehensive subscription management and email notification system for WordPress blogs that sends email notifications to a list of subscribers when you publish new content to your blog.

6. MailChimp Widget

Adds a widget that allows your users to sign up for your MailChimp mailing list.

7. Simple PopUp

A simple, attractive, extremely fast and non annoying pop up box for your WordPress Blog. It’s power lies in its ease of use.


1. WP-PageNavi

Want to replace the old ← Older posts | Newer posts → links with some page links? This plugin provides the wp_pagenavi() template tag which generates fancy pagination links.

2. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Jetpack-best-wordpress-plugins-every-blog Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com.

3. Exclude Pages

This plugin adds a checkbox, “include this page in menus”, which is checked by default. If you uncheck it, the page will not appear in any listings of pages (which includes, and is usually limited to, your page navigation menus).

4. Broken Link Checker

This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.

5. ManageWP Worker


ManageWP Worker plugin allows you to remotely manage your blogs from one dashboard. You can read our review here.

6. Redirection

Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections and keep track of 404 errors without requiring knowledge of Apache .htaccess files.

7. FD Feedburner Plugin

Redirects the main feed and optionally the comments feed seamlessly and transparently to Feedburner.com.

8. Hotfix

Provides unofficial fixes for selected WordPress bugs, so you don’t have to wait for the next WordPress core release.

9. Google Analytics for WordPress

Track your WordPress site easily and with lots of metadata: views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and page views.

10. WP-Polls

Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can also easily add a poll into your WordPress’s blog post/page.

11. Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

The lazy and the productive will love it : all admin links available in a neat horizontal CSS driven drop down menu. No need to click on “Manage” then “Pages” to edit pages. And plenty more space on your screen.

12. Pretty Link Lite

Shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website. Create links that look however you want using your own domain name.

13. 5sec Google Maps (Premium – $8)


Integrate Google Maps into your WordPress blog easily without using API or any code.

14. Advanced Access Manager

Advanced Access Manager is a new way of controlling access to your single blog or multi-site setup. This easy to use interface is a very helpful tool for experienced WordPress users.


Do you know and use any other plugins besides the ones we suggested here? We would really appreciate your feedback here, but we are pretty sure this list will be very comprehensive for you and will satisfy most peoples needs!

Daniels Mekšs

Works at 1stwebdesigner, studies photography at ISSPand seeks to enjoy life. You can check out his photography blog and follow him on twitter.

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  1. rohit says

    wow..i dont understand why didnt i find this content before.
    super show.
    it has improved my website quite a bit!!

  2. says


    I’m the WangGuard developer.

    WangGuard is a WordPress plugin than protect the registration form from sploggers, users spam and unwanted users and It remove them from the database (the old ones).

    Works on WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress and bbPress 2.0

    Is an unknow plugin, but many important websites uses it.

  3. Warren says

    Ok that’s great. According to my knowledge The WordPress Maintenance are .Back Up,Checking Plugins,Updating etc..WordPress,Check Your Links,Improving Security etc..1) Backup your database and your files. You can use a number of plugins (Backup buddy is a good one) to do this, or if you trust your hosting company, there is often a file and database backup utility within your cpanel.2) Update plugins. This one is easy. Go to your plugins and look for any that need to be updated. All you need to do is click the update button and you’re done.3) Make sure you have the latest version of WordPress. WordPress will tell you on your dashboard if you need to upgrade. Simply follow the instructions – it’s not difficult.4) If you’re not using the akismet plugin, you can get it here – AKISMET . This will protect your site from spam.

  4. Andi says

    Hi Daniels, very nice collection – must have been a piece of hard work – think this will increase the amount of Plugins on our Sites, there were a few I was serching for since weeks, since the WordPress ‘collection’ has too many results meanwhile and the serch function is very ‘basic’ – so thanks for this good and timesaving job

  5. Sean says

    Thanks for this awesome post. I would like to include another one called Login LockDown. It’s a great one to make your site more secure.

  6. John says

    I can see how SimpleReach Slide plugin is very useful, because on this site it has already prompted me to read related posts and I have read 5-6 posts recommended by this plugin. Very useful to keep the user engaged on your site. I will use this on my site

  7. Karl Craig-West says

    That is a brilliant list. Glad to see that I’m using some of the prescribed plugins for my blogs.
    The Yoast SEO plugin is great and would not be without it, I use a few others in this list too.
    However, I will start using the thank me later one since that adds an extra dimension to engagement that I’d not considered.
    Many thanks for this post.

    • Wade says

      I too am using some of these plugins. I am interested in the “Newsletter” plugin, however, am not savvy enough to moderate it properly. I do find that Yoast is a powerful tool. Got me on the front page for one of my keywords in less than a month! Good info.

  8. Jeremiah says

    Incredible collection of plugins Daniels, I agree with 95% of them, and usually I don’t even agree with half the plug-ins most people consider “good” for wordpress. I really like your suggestions on the “mobile apps” as well as the on site optimization tools (W3 Cache, WP Total Cache, etc..) Nice list again Daniels, keep these coming bud!!

  9. Jon says

    Brilliant! Thanks for compiling all of these really useful plugins. Most of them I’ve noticed here on 1st Web Designer and others that I couldn’t figure out what the names where. #commencedownloading lol

  10. Kulwant Nagi says

    Really awesome list of plugins… this is really wonderful… all the good plugins you have listed are very useful…

  11. Nick Soper says

    Redirection is a good plugin, but it adds a log table in the database which can get very big (50mb), very quickly (couple of weeks) if you have as little as 15 pages being redirected permanently on a fairly busy site.

    Thought that was worth sharing.

    Thanks for the article.

  12. Tim says

    I am curious about WP Super Cache. After it generates html files, what happens if you at some point want or need to turn off the plugin? Search engines have indexed all the pages on your site. Do you need to make 301 redirects for everything?

  13. Cosmin says

    Brilliant list, Daniels! All of them are amazing. Akismet+License, W3 Total Cache and Contact Form 7 are vital though! I simply can’t imagine a WordPress blog running without them. Akismet is definitely the best spam blocker, W3 Total Cache makes your website lightning-fast and Contact Form 7 helps you created 100% customized forms that can become quite handy in all sorts of activities.

  14. Saket Jajodia says

    Wow, Huge list, I use around 30 plugins and in that more then 26 are mentioned here.. :P There is a plugin for your Facebook like button by GB-World its a good plugin and have lots of features in it..!!

  15. Brandon says

    Excellent list, thank you. I see a number of plugins that I use on every single site without fail: OZH admin menu (I love this plugin), Yoast SEO, Google XML site maps, and of course good ol’ Akismet.

    The marketing list was very interesting for me and I shall be trying a number of plugins from your list. Once again, many thanks for compiling it.

  16. Jack Sander says

    Great list, mate. What can we say after seeing such a complete list of plug-ins? Just a plain thank you! I will bookmark it, as to consult it anytime I have an issue with WordPress.

  17. Ellis says

    Much better than Digg Digg = Slick Social Share Buttons

    Other than that, great job! Love the list.

  18. Butch says

    Have just started my blog using WordPress. Thanks for all the information about some very useful plugins. As a new blogger, I can see that several qof them will be very useful.

  19. Ken says

    Ohhh man … I was looking for something like SimpleReach plugin for ages … thanks a lot for the list … some I knew already, but many plugins I need to check out :)

  20. Shikeb Ali says

    Very Good list… but you missed one… the “Simple reach slide” Plugin, 1WD is using it and I will recommend it too.