WordPress Plugins

To help me keep track of WordPress plugins I find useful, I’m beginning a directory of plugins on this page. I hope it proves useful for others too. I am aiming to feature well ranked or respected plugins that are generally kept up-to-date, but there a few exceptions where there is no alternative or similar plugin. I have focused mainly on free plugins but have included some leading or good value pro ones.

PLUGIN BANNER

Plugin Categories

Fonts, Buttons, Icons, Columns and Tables.

Font types example

  • WP-Google Fonts, Easy Google Fonts and Google Typography – good plugins to help you add the use of the ever-growing collections of fonts available from Google’s font directory. Say goodbye to Arial and hello to Open Sans, or something more inventive!
  • Genericon’d – enables easy use of the rather nice Genericons icon font set.
  • Font Awesome – enables easy use of the rather nice Font Awesome icon font set.
  • TablePress – extremely well rated and user friendly plugin that helps you create attractive tables  without any coding.
  • Advanced WP Columns – simple way to add responsive columns to a whole page or post, or sections within, without using shortcodes which may be preferable to some clients and those that do not like shortcodes.
  • Tippy – add a tooltip or custom pop-up.
  • WEN’s Responsive Columns Layout Shortcode –  adds responsive ( BootStrap ) columns layout into posts and pages, though columns constrict rather than collapse in small screens which is not always ideal.

Shortcode Packs for columns, tabs, accordions, buttons and more …

  • Shortcodes Ultimate – create tabs, buttons, boxes, different sliders, carousels, responsive videos and more. Excelllent plugin with loads of options – one of the best.
  • GPP Shortcodes – add fashionable flat design and responsive buttons, boxes, tabs, toggles etc to your site from creative types, Graph Paper Press.
  • WP Canvas Shortodes – good set of shortcodes – columns, icons, testimonials, progress bars, pricing tables etc
  • Symple Shortcodes – add boxes, buttons, highlights to your site easily with this plugin from WpExplorer. To use shortcodes in your sidebar widgets, you will also need the Shortcodes in Sidebar Widgets plugin.

Sliders

water slide

  • Soliloquy Lite – good free responsive slider with full featured pro version also available
  • Slider WD – free and pro versions, looks useful – newcomer in late 2014 so check the reviews
  • Revolution – good value premium slider with plenty of effects, full screen options etc – $16
  • LayerSlider – good value premium plugin with plenty of layer and transition options for your slides – just $15
  • MetaSlider – 4 basic sliders in 1! Choose from Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider or Responsive Slides. Good free option.
  • Cyclone Slider 2 – good free slider with thumbnail navigation option, and pro version for extra features..
  • Gallery Carousel without JetPack – this is very good full screen carousel that comes with the JetPack plugin (which some consider bloated), but now you can have it without having to install Jetpack or having to connect with WordPress.com.
  • Full Screen Galleria – similar to Jetpack’s carousel, perhaps a little better.
  • WP-Supersized and Background Manager– these plugins allows you to display a resizable full screen background slideshow on pages/posts of your choice.
  • Portfolio Slideshow – free slideshow with thumbnails under slider
  • Shape 5 Image and Content fader – transition effects for images and text

Images and galleries

Gallery

Image Protection

  • Disable Right Click – disables the ‘save as’ option on a right click making it more difficult to download photos.
  • Image Watermark – place a watermark on your images. Plenty of choice to configure an appropriate watermark. Also options to disable right click, drag and drop.

Galleries

  • NextGen Gallery – With over 1 million active installs, this will help you make the most of your images including options for slideshows, galleries and much more. Depending on your requirements, it’s becoming less necessary as WordPress improves its own gallery features over time. It had a big awkward update in 2013, which created many problems, and remains buggy judging by the reviews (as at June 2016).
  • Foo Gallery – well reviewed gallery plugin with a lot of free features
  • Envira Gallery – fast solid gallery plugin with lite and premium versions
  • Nextcellent Gallery – NextGen Legacy – the 2013 NextGen upgrade led to this solid fork from the original, which remains an alternative .
  • Image Gallery – gallery with 6 viewing options – including justified grid, slider and thumbnails
  • Tiled Galleries Carousel without Jetpack – set up mosaic style galleries without the need for Jetpack, or get it with Jetpack.
  • jQuery Masonry Image Gallery – for a simple masonry gallery
  • Responsive Gallery Grid – Change the native WordPress gallery to a gallery that nicely fits your images into a jigsaw-like grid.
  • WP Flow plus – rotating image flow style gallery

Lightboxes

  • Fancybox – add a lightbox for your media
  • Responsive Lightbox by dFactory – very good lightbox which allows users to view larger versions of images and galleries in a choice of lightbox (overlay) effects with slideshow, optimized for mobile devices.

Effects

Video

Other useful plugins for images

  • Media Tags – tag your media files so you can find them more easily
  • Image Widget – a simple image widget that uses the native WordPress media manager to add image widgets to your site.
  • Smush.it and EWWW Image Optimizer– both optimise and reduce your image file sizes for faster sites with minimal fuss.

 

Keep it Social

bird talk

Testimonials and reviews

Review Stars

Contact forms, discussion and newsletter sign ups

cows head to head

  • Fast Secure Contact Form – established contact form plugin
  • Contact 7 Form – another established contact form plugin. You may also want Really Simple Captcha to add a captcha for this or Better WordPress reCAPTCHA.
  • Ninja Forms – forms created with a simple drag and drop interface, good free version, extra features with pro, a real contender to replace Contact Form 7 as the default form plugin choice.
  • Gravity forms – for the pro option
  • Disqus – For a fully fledged and secure discussion board and web comments manager, Disqus is the market leader across all websites, and replaces the standard
  • BB Press – add a forum
  • MailPoet – send newsletters, post notifications or autoresponders from WordPress easily, and beautifully
  • MailChimp for WordPress – integrate MailChimp subscribe lists with your WordPress site – a good combination!
  • Newsletter – add a newsletter to your site with unlimited subscribers
  • SendPress – easy to use Email Newsletter Plugin for WordPress to create, send, manage and track your Newsletters.
  • Jetpack also includes a newsletter module

E-Commerce

Shopping cart

  • WooCommerce – comprehensive and free eCommerce plugin, with premium plugins to extends its functionality if needed.
  • WP eCommerce – comprehensive and free eCommerce plugin
  • eShop – describes itself as an ‘accessible’ shopping cart plugin, which is a good description – not too complicated but with enough features to add ecommerce to your site or to create a modest online shop, without going over the top.
  • Simple PayPal Shopping Cart – basic shopping cart plugin
  • Easy Digital Downloads – free plugin to sell digital products, with add-ons also available.

Plugins for WooCommerce

  • WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips – Create, print & automatically email PDF invoices & packing slips for WooCommerce orders.
  • WooCommerce Poor Guys Swiss Knife – fine-tune your shop, customize your checkout forms, adapt your shop for country specific needs, set rules for cart operations and a lot more. Useful for adding text instead of a price too.  Sadly the developers no longer have time to maintain this plugin so it is no longer available from wordpress.org but is for now via GitHub.
  • WooCommerce Customizer – also provides an extra range of customisation options, such as the facility to change button and tabs text.
  • WP-Lister Pro for eBay – list and sync your WooCommerce products on your eBay store.
  • Booster for WooCommerce – a bundle of goodies for WooCommerce, but many features are premium.
  • YITH Essential Kit – bundles together the huge range of YITH plugins available for WooCommerce, including YITH WooCommerce Wishlist,  and many more. Basic free versions of plugins and premium upgrades.
  • WC Fields Factory – add custom fields to your woocommerce product page, to get additional information from customers.
  • WooCommerce DYMO Print – print shipping addresses on your DYMO label printer.
  • WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping by JEM – free basic plugin that will calculate shipping using country, weight and/or price. Also pro version – much cheaper than the expensive official Table Rate plugin.
  • WooDojo – general bundle of features including branded login, social widgets, custom code and HTML Term description. Adds a very useful visual editor for use with category descriptions. Now discontinued. Any alternatives?

 

Events & Bookings

Calendar

  • Events Manager – comprehensive events registration and management plugin, good free version, with enhanced pro version available.
  • Events Made Easy – free events manager with PayPal integration
  • Quick Event Manager – excellent free plugin with lots of features yet simple to use
  • Event Calendar WD –  newcomer plugin in mid-2015 with free and  good value pro versions, and impressive early reviews
  • Booking Calendar – established plugin, may be a bit limited for the free version and expensive to go pro
  • Appointments and Appointments+ – from WordPress specialists  WPMU DEV, Appointments is a good lite (free) appointments plugin offering a good deal of functionality but with certain limitations (e.g. maximun 2 services) whilst the good value + version offers the full works. You can always try the free version first and see how you get on.

Site Coming Soon and Splash Pages

under construction graphic

  • WP Maintenance Mode – very good plugin which displays a holding page whilst your site is created or updated, with some good quick options, or use your own CSS to style it.
  • Ultimate Coming Soon Page – customisable look and feel with an email collector.
  • Maintenance Mode
  • WP Splash Page – create a splash page with age verification option
  • Content Warning – provides a neat little warning and denial box to warn your users of possibly offensive content.
  • ITRO PopUp – add a fully-customizable and perfectly centered popup, with “Age restricted site” option.
  • Alligator Popup – enter a shortcode to add links to pages/posts which will be opened in a popup window.
  • Popup Builder – versatile pop up plugin (if you must).

Security, backup, cloning and caching

lock

  • iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) and WordFence – good security plugins offering tweaks and enhancements to improve your site’s security. Pick one of these for your site.
  • Anti-Malware Security and Brute Force Firewall – Anti-Malware scanner searches for Malware, Viruses, and other security threats and vulnerabilities on your server and it helps you fix them
  • Sucuri Security – Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening
  • BackUpWordPress – good free plugin
  • Updraft Backup and Restoration – backup and restoration made easy. Complete backups; manual or scheduled (backup to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email + others). Very well reviewed.
  • BackupBuddy  – best premium back up plugin
  • Limit Login Attempts – blocks repeated login attempts from same internet address
  • Theme Authenticity Checker – reassure yourself and check a theme for malicious code.
  • Akismet – activate it and stop all that spam!
  • WP Spam Shield – helps eliminate comment spam, trackback spam, contact form spam & registration spam.
  • W3 Total Cache – If your site is loading slowly, these plug ins speed it up – good for your visitors and popular with Google too. Check the latest reviews and pick this one or …..
  • W3 Super Cache
  • Duplicator – well rated plugin to migrate/clone a site from one location to another location
  • WP Clone – easy way to clone a site

Analytics & SEO

seo graphic

Membership and Page Restriction

private sign

  • Members – gives greater control over your site’s users by adding a role management function
  • Private Content – provides a shortcode to display a portion of a post content only to users of a specific role
  • Restrict Content – restrict complete posts / pages to logged in users only, with fully featured Pro version also available
  • S2Member – protect members only content with roles/capabilities, with Pro version avalable
  • Page Restrict – restrict all, none, or certain pages/posts to logged in users only

Plugin Packs

wooden crates

  • JetPack – JetPack claims to ‘supercharge’ your WordPress site. An impressive bundle of assorted plugins, it  provides you with extra stats for your site, social sharing buttons, automatic posting to your social media accounts, contact forms, a carousel for your images and much more. With this plugin you are unlikely to need as many of the above! 
  • Slim Jetpack – not everyone likes Jetpack – overbloated say some, slows your site down say others, and you need to register with WordPress.Com to use it. Slim Jetpack may be the answer.
  • WooDojo – general bundle of features including branded login, social widgets, custom code

Page Builders, Sidebars and widget control

  • Page Builder by SiteOrigin – build responsive page layouts using rows, columns and  widgets using this simple drag and drop page builder, good for flexible pages.
  • Beaver Builder – promising looking page builder that could rival the above
  • WooSidebars – control which widgets appear in the sidebar for specific pages or categories.
  • Responsive Column Widgets – Creates a custom responsive column widget box in posts and pages.
  • Dynamic Widgets – control which pages widgets appear on
  • Black Stdio TinyMCE widget – adds a WYSIWYG widget based on the standard TinyMCE WordPress visual editor.
  • WordPress Ad Widget – add an ad image and ad code to a sidebar
  • Widgets on Pages – Add Widgets or Sidebars to Posts and Pages by shortcodes or template tags, not updated for a while as of May 2014.
  • Jetpack also includes a widget visibility module.

Menus

London signs

  • Shortcode Menu – display your menu anywhere in simple and quick steps
  • Ubermenu – best megamenu plugin for WordPress, worth the low-cost, but two newcomers below may now provide good free alternatives
  • Max Mega Menu – very good and free mega menu plugin.
  • WR Mega Menu – create mega menus with drag and drop ease
  • Menu Icons – neat little plugin to add icons from Font Awesome, Genericons etc to your menus. (to replace the text entirely, add the icon and simply replace the navigation label with   (code for a space).
  • Nav menu Images – Display image as a menu item content instead of text
  • JQuery Accordion Menu Widget – creates vertical accordion menus from any WordPress custom menu. Add menus using either widgets or shortcodes.
  • WP Responsive Menu –  add a mobile menu to your site

Posts and custom post types

post box

Customisation, favicons and Child Themes

css graphic

  • Child Themify – quickly creates a  Child Theme.
  • Simple Custom CSS – useful for small CSS changes so you can update your theme without losing your code changes.
  • Custom Favicon and All in One Favicon – both provide a simple way to add a favicon and Apple Touch icon to your site. A Favicon is also known as also known as a shortcut icon, Web site icon, URL icon, or bookmark icon
  • What the file? – adds an option to your toolbar showing what file and template parts are used to display the page you’re currently viewing so you can identify where to make changes
  • Real Time Find and Replace – make changes to other files without creating a child version. Allows you to dynamically (i.e. at the time when a page is generated) replace code and text from themes and other plugins with code and text of your choosing before a page is delivered to a user’s browser, therefore no changes are needed to plugins or themes which means upgrades remain easy!

Accessibility

Accessibilty sign

  • WP Accessibility — provides features that fix accessibility issues in your site.
  • Accessibility Widget — add a sidebar widget to change text size in your site.
  • Zoom — enable site visitors to resize the predefined areas of your site.
  • Accessible External Text Links – display an image to warn visitors that a link will open in a new window.
  • Accessible Tag Cloud — a replacement for the default tag cloud that includes text-based indication of the tag’s size.
  • Accessibility Language — add language-tags via the WordPress Visual Editor to support the pronunciation of foreign text.

BuddyPress

cartoon circle of people

  • BuddyPress – Create your own social network for your company, school, team or local organisation with this ‘social network in a box’. Plenty of plugins to add functionality.
  • BuddyPress Groups Extra – gives group creators the ability to to create extra custom content.
  • BuddyPress Activity Plus – attach photos, videos, and even share web links with everyone on your network
  • BP Group Documents – BP Group Documents creates a page within each BuddyPress group to upload and any type of file or document.
  • BuddyPress Groups TinyChat – add a chat group
  • rtMedia for WordPress, BuddyPress and BBPress – Add albums, photo, audio/video encoding, privacy, sharing, front-end uploads & more. Works with mobile/tablets devices.
  • Private Community for BP – makes BP pages private and only accessible to logged in users with the exception of the pages you set.
  • BP Resume Page – members can “Education”, “Professional Experience”, and “Skills” to their profile
  • BuddyPress Security Check – this plugin will add a field to the BuddyPress registration form where the user will need to answer simple math sum before registering
  • BUAT Lite – this plugin allow you to categories users and create individual members directory page according to user type e.g. students, teachers
  • Invite Anyone – makes BuddyPress’s invitation features more powerful. The plugin creates a tab on each member’s Profile page called “Send Invites”, which contains a form where users can invite outsiders to join the site. 
  • Personal Welcome – Personal Welcome is a WordPress plugin that allows site administrators to create and send personalised welcome messages to new users. Not just for BuddyPress.

Specific Niches – radio, cookery, real estate, bookshop

on air sign

Best New and Most Popular Plugins

And if that’s not enough, check out:

The best new WordPress plugins and upcoming stars – a very useful list maintained by Vladimir Prelovac

Most Popular WordPress Plugins – the wordpress.org lists of most popular plugins

 

 

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