WordPress is such a popular platform because of its nature. Because it’s open-source, the entire community can add to it and enhance it in many ways. Whether it’s replacing using code with a user-friendly interface for newcomers or enhancing an already available feature with new options, it’s all done through plugins. A WordPress backend dashboard can be wildly different from site to site because of the sheer number of plugins that can be implemented and the way those plugins change up the way your site operates and looks. Since there are so many plugins available within the WordPress repository, we’ve deiced to single out the best five to use regardless of your situation.
Every site needs an SSL certificate; its functions as the main way of authenticating and encrypting connections coming to a site and going from the site. WP Force SSL is a robust tool providing everything you might need related to SSL.
You’ll be able to obtain your certificate through the plugin (if you don’t have one already) and set up automatic monitoring that notifies you before the certificate expires and if any of over a hundred known errors pop up. Aside from automated functions, you’ll also be able to redirect HTTP to HTTPS pages, run tests that find and fix mixed content errors, etc.
WP Reset is a plugin you probably don’t know you need until you need it. However, you’ll certainly be glad you have it when something that isn’t supposed to happen, like hacks, system errors, compatibility errors, etc.
WP Reset lets you fully or partially (only certain aspects like uploaded content or themes) reset your site. You’ll also be able to create database snapshots as backup points, and there’s no point in emphasizing how important backups are. Finally, you’ll get access to the ERS Script – for all intents and purposes, your “get out of jail free card.” It’s a standalone PHP file that lets you access the backend without logging in, meaning you can reset to the last working configuration.
When you’re looking to monetize your site, i.e., turn it into a webshop, WooCommerce is the way to go. By default, it will provide you with everything a webshop needs like product creation, a customizable storefront, order and shipping management, all major payment options, etc. This integrates seamlessly with the default WordPress dashboard, so the adjustment period is instantaneous.
However, the best part about WooCommerce is its nature, much like WordPress itself. Some countless add-ons and plugins add to it in any way imaginable, from expanding shipping options to implementing new product attributes, making the potential endless.
Page builders have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, and Elementor is right at the top of the list. They’re so popular because they modify your user interface when creating pages, replacing the default page editor with a real-time drag-and-drop editor where elements can be added, removed, and customized all in one window.
Elementor starts with over 100 templates you can use for your pages, along with over 100 various widgets you can add (like social media icons, for example) and a plethora of themes to choose from. Everything can be further expanded upon within the various paying tiers or by using add-ons/plugins that enhance the core features.
You’ve probably seen Akismet in your plugin section because it comes preinstalled when you boot up your WordPress. The reason is simple – they’re both made by the same devs. If you have comments on your WordPress site, and a very high percentage of sites do, you’re running the risk of spam comments. Aside from being annoying to deal with, spam comments will reflect badly on your other users and, if left unchecked, could even lead to a decrease in traffic.
Akismet is designed to automatically check all the posted comments and flag the ones that seem like spam. They’re immensely narrowing down your work if you’re trying to filter through them manually. The best part about the plugin is that it requires no setup, works in the background, and doesn’t slow down your site – the integration is perfect because, as we’ve said, it comes from the same people behind WordPress itself.
Plugins represent the core reason WordPress is the way it is. Because the platform is open-source, anybody can make a plugin with some know-how; even if you never monetize it, you could make something specifically for your site. With such a vast community constantly contributing, it could be hard to find your way around the repository. That’s why knowing which ones are worth your time becomes so essential. We invite you to try any or all of the ones we’ve highlighted; each of them is sure to elevate your site somehow.