19 of My Favorite Free WordPress Plugins and Why

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WordPress plugins enhance and protect the performance of your website in very useful ways. Each plugin has a specific function, takes literally seconds to install, and usually just a few minutes to configure.  Thanks to the WordPress community, I can share my favorite free WordPress plugins with you and tell you why I like them.

To be clear, there are free plugins, and there are premium plugins available for a fee. The paid or pro versions offer enhanced ways to use them. They are worth considering if the task you are seeking to implement warrants it. I always give the free version a try first as usually they are more than adequate.

Today the list I share with you consists of my favorite “no cost” plugins that I trust and recommend.

You can find literally thousands of plugins at the WordPress Plugin Directory, and also within your WordPress admin area itself. Hopefully these suggestions will make choosing your favorite free WordPress plugins easier.

Rather than send you on a wild goose chase looking for the best WordPress plugins for Internet marketers, I’ll share my top 19 favorite plugins that I use on my own account and on client’s websites with you here today.

I use these because they are reliable, help me save time, make money, and even give me peace of mind.

Basic things to consider when choosing WordPress Plugins

  • Be sure to complete a full backup of your site before you do either plugin updates or a core WordPress update to a new version. My favorite backup plugins are listed below.
    Every once in a while, after a WordPress core update, a plugin will have a conflict and interfere with how your site works, causing it to have errors or break. Having a complete backup of your site ensures you won’t be down long.
  • Use only the plugins that show they are updated frequently, updated recently, and have been tested with your version of your theme.
  • Use plugins whose numbers indicate they have many other users ensuring the plugins have been tested to do what they promise.
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The following is a list of my top 19 Free WordPress plugin recommendations:

  1. Elementor – A live page builder, with no limits of design. A page builder that delivers high-end page designs and advanced capabilities, never before seen on WordPress.
  2. Backup plugins –
    Both of these backup your entire website so that it can be reinstalled or migrated to another site. Backup files can be large files. I recommend you store them offsite, off of your hosting service. This reduces the amount of hosting storage you need and most importantly, provides access to the backup if you need to reinstall after a website crashes.

    All-In-One WP Migration
    If your site is large, you may need to purchase the additional Unlimited Extension to upload your files to your site.

    UpDraftPlus “is the world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over three million currently-active installs. Backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click!” There is also a paid PRO version.
  3. Security & Malware Plugins
    WordFence Security
    This peace of mind plugin is an anti-virus, firewall and malware scan plugin rolled into one. It is probably my favorite plugin of all time. It keeps my WordPress sites safe from hackers and even alerts me to whenever I need to update any other plugin as well as other issues on the website. The Free version has met all my needs. There is a paid version also.

    JetPack often comes installed on WordPress and has many bells and whistles including security and malware monitoring. Because it has so many uses included, I have avoided using it and prefer to use specific plugins for specific issues. That way should a plugin conflict cause trouble on the website, I am able to trouble-shoot plugins individually.
  4. Anti-Spam
    Akismet Anti-Spam
    Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against a global database of spam to protect you and your site from malicious content. For one website, you can use the free version however I recommend paying for the plugin if your site is a large commercial operation.
    JetPack also has an anti-spam component.

  5. Social Sharing buttons – choose what works best for you and your theme.
    My Sticky Elements

    I like this one because it is a floating form that can be placed on either side of your post and is mobile friendly. The free version allows two social accounts. The paid version allows more.

    Social Media Share Buttons
    This is one of the more popular choices.Custom Twitter Feeds
    Display completely customizableresponsive and search engine crawlable versions of your Twitter feed on your website.
  6. Contact Forms
    Contact Form 7
      reliable and easy to use as is

    WPForms Both get the job done – simply.
    There are others such as Gravity forms that are paid and give you considerably more options for your contact forms.
  7. Cache plugins – Because Site Speed is an issue for ranking.
    WP Fastest Cache
    Lite Speed Cache
  8. SEO – all three of these are good and will help rank your site. They all say they are the best! Choose the one that you find most useable.
    Yoast SEO
    This is an all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress that includes on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. It lets me easily check each post to make sure it is optimized well for Google and other search engines, and even makes simple recommendations for me to follow.
    All-In-One SEO
    SEOPress My personal favorite (inexpensive pro version is not free)
  9. Optin Monster for popup forms
    One form is free. More will need an upgrade.
  10. Monster Insights is a very popular Google Analytics plugin to view your numbers.
  11.  Free Images right on your site
    OpenVerse & Pixabay
    Download royalty free images/photos under CC0 public domain for your own blog. Select images/photos from 1.4 million royalty free stock photos.
  12. WordPress Easy Table of Contents – Adds a table of contents to longer blog posts!
  13. Wicked Folders – When your website grows, this will help you stay organized

This list of WordPress plugins is a list of my personal preferences. It is not intended to be exhaustive. I would love to hear from you about other free WordPress plugins that you can’t live without.

There are over 59,000 free plugins based on research done by WPBegginer.com. The article also addresses the number of plugins you should have on your site. Your choice is up to you and the quality of your site’s operations depends as it depends on many factors. The WPBegginer article will help you make that decision for your website.

What is important is to keep your website backed up as I mentioned before and maintain the updates for the plugins to avoid conflicts that might occur and keep hackers from gaining access through loopholes and broken plugins.

This free ebook takes the security issue deeper giving you 10 specific things to do to keep your site secure. Click the image to gain access to the report. Learn steps to prevent your site from getting hacked.

Leave a comment below with any thoughts you have on this topic. I am eager to learn about other plugins that may work better than those I recommend.

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