These are our “go to” plugins — the ones that we install on every site, or simply find ourselves using again and again. Remember, when it comes to plugins, quality is more important than quantity — here’s more info on what to look for in a plugin.
Speed and Optimization
Our favorite caching and speed optimization plugin. Works great “out of the box,” but configuring it for further performance is easy. We include this premium plugin in all of our WordPress support plans.
Our favorite image optimization plugin. It’s easy to use, can scale down large images, had an undo function, and — best of all — the image quality is great.
A lightweight plugin that removes the built-in WordPress emoji functionality, speeding up your page a little bit. Needs no configuration–just install and activate.
Cleans up database “bloat” to help keep your site running quickly. It’s especially helpful if your site’s been around for a while. Be sure to schedule it to run regularly.
Security & Backups
One of the most popular backup plugins, and for good reason. It’s reliable, flexible, and even the free version will do a great job. (We use the premium version for all our clients.)
The Sucuri plugin includes basic security hardening for WP, and adds audit logs and other important notifications. It works best in conjunction with the Sucuri Firewall and CDN, which is included in all of our WordPress support plans.
It’s a good idea to change the prefix on your database tables from the default “wp_”. This little plugin makes it easy to add randomness, such as “wp_87cH_”. Remember to uninstall the plugin after you make the change.
Most of the plugins that stop brute-force attacks only look at the IP address of the attacker—but LSS also considers the username being guessed, so it protects against distributed attacks, too. It also requires users to choose strong passwords and has a tool to reset all user passwords at once.
Very handy for moving widgets from one WordPress site to another, or simply backing up your widgets before making changes. It’s especially useful because changing themes sometimes loses your widget settings. Remember to uninstall once you’re done.
SEO and Social Media
If you care at all about being found in search engines, or making sure your site looks good when shared on social media platforms, this is the plugin to install.
This plugin logs hits to broken pages on your site. I especially like it because it shows you the “hit count” for each URL, so you can prioritize which links to fix. (Then use the Redirection plugin to fix inbound links.)
Easily redirect broken inbound links with this plugin. It also can monitor for changes to existing pages (when you change the “slug” on a post or page), and automatically add a redirect.
BLC scans your site for broken outbound and internal links, and makes it easy to fix them. You can fix them from within the list of links, rather than spending time to load each post or page in the editor, which really speeds the process, too.
Analytics & Tracking
Google Analytics is the gold standard of site tracking—and it’s free! Monster Insights makes it easy to set up the Google Analytics tracking code on your site.
This plugin adds the Facebook tracking pixel to your site easily, including event tracking. If you’re doing any Facebook advertising, this plugin is a must-have.
More Great Tools
If you need to make a site-wide change, such as your domain name, this plugin is a lifesaver! As always, be sure to do a database backup first.
When you change themes, you might need other image thumbnail sizes available for your older images – that’s where this plugin saves the day. We especially like it because it is compatible with Shortpixel. (Once you regenerate thumbnails, be sure to uninstall the plugin.)
This plugin gives every widget an extra control field called “Widget logic” that lets you control the pages that the widget will appear on. The text field lets you use WordPress’ Conditional Tags.
Lets you control visibility of menu items based on your desired condition. You can show items only to logged in users, or only on certain pages – it’s incredibly flexible because it allows PHP and WordPress functions (just like Widget Logic).
Actively developed and supported, WPRM makes it easy to include all the Recipe metadata that makes both Google and Pinterest happy.