Want to improve your website in 2021 with some of the best WordPress plugins? Great decision! But in this large pool of options, which plugins should you choose?
You might wonder: why choose at all? There are more than 50000 WP plugins out there, so why not download all the ones you want? The answer is because it will hurt your website.
You might think having hundreds of SEO, security, backup, and caching plugins will only make your WP boost its performance. But the complete opposite is true. Having too many plugins significantly decreases your website's performance.
It also makes it harder to keep your website secure. If you have many plugins, it will become harder to manage them and make sure they are all updated. However, you can't really miss the updates either. One of the ways hackers leak into your account is through old plugins.
The good rule of thumbs is not to get more than 20 plugins for your website. This number lowers down even more if you host your website on shared or low-budget cloud hosting. In these cases, you should not go over five plugins.
All of this makes it extremely hard to choose the right plugins. That is why we have collected the best WP plugins of 2021 to make your job a little easier.
But before we jump to our list, as usual, let's have some terms explained for the complete beginners:
What are WordPress plugins?
WordPress plugins are downloadable extensions to your website that add up its functionality. They are written code that helps to expand the existing functions or add completely new ones.
There are different plugins that you can download for your website. From SEO plugins to security and caching ones, WordPress offers both free and premium plugins for any aspect of your website.
Where do you find WordPress plugins?
One of the most popular places to find a WP plugin is the official WP plugin directory. It is the official WordPress website for getting open-source and free plugins. If you are a developer, you also can add your plugin to the WP plugin directory.
Another great platform to find WP plugins is CodeCanyon. It is a place where you can find a large pool of premium and exclusive plugins. Here you can find many high-quality plugins, but do know that none of them are free. So this option is a good one if you have enough money to purchase your plugins instead of downloading them for free.
In addition to this, you might also find plugins in the personal websites of developers. Many developers have started to contribute to the community by adding their plugins. However, sometimes they choose to offer them not in the traditional WP plugin directory but on their own websites.
So this might be an option too! However, beware that not all of these plugins can be trusted. Read some reviews, and make sure the plugin is secure before downloading it. If the website looks quirky and gives you a bad feeling, it might be better to avoid it. Now that we got all the main concepts cleared out, let us rush straight to the:
Must-have plugins for WordPress in 2021
To make your job a little easier, we have divided our article into main parts: the free WordPress plugins and the premium ones. Assuming that most of you will be more interested in the free plugins, we will start there.
Best Free WordPress Plugins
Here are our best picks among the free WP plugins:
Yoast SEO's chief mission is to make SEO available for everyone, no matter big or small. That is why even their free Yoast SEO version has many helpful features that will push you upper on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
One of the ways Yoast SEO makes your website more SEO-friendly is by optimizing your text. Yoast SEO conducts an SEO analysis and readability analysis. They point out the ways you can improve your text.
Yoast SEO helps you with your keyword research by suggesting focus keyword options. After you enter your focus keyword, the plugin analyzes the text and tells you how to improve your keyword usage.
The best part about Yoast SEO is that their feedback is visually simple. You get a red color if you are doing poorly on the SEO. A yellow is when you are somewhere in the middle, and green is for good.
The readability analysis tells you how easy your text is to read. Yoast SEO might suggest you shorten some of the sentences or write with more simple words.
In addition to the text analysis, you also get to preview how your page would look on google, add meta tags and descriptions, do some technical configurations, and much more.
Here, you can find all of the features for both Yoast SEO-free and premium versions. Although the premium version comes with many additional tools, the free version is also pretty good at SEO-optimizing your page.
From SEO to Caching. Before we start talking about the plugin, let us first of all figure out what caching is.
The WordPress core sends a PHP query to the database, which then sends back the requested information. Later on, WordPress uses this data to create an HTML page for the user.
This entire process takes a lot of time, and it influences your site's load speed. Not to make your visitors wait so much for the data to be displayed, you can use caching plugins.
The caching plugin creates a copy of your HTML site which is called anytime the web user enters your page. It makes the rending time faster, decreasing the time your users wait for your page to load.
That said, let us take a look at one of the most popular caching plugins: the WP Super Cache. With WP Super Cache, you can improve your website performance and speed significantly.
If your website is having too much daily traffic or is too slow, WP Super Cache will solve it. By creating HTML files coming directly from Apache, it lightens your website. You can read how to set up the WP Super Cache here.
We talked about SEO and performance so far, but it all fades away if your website is not secure. You need to keep your page safe for your users, especially if they trust their credit card credentials, login passwords, and any other personal information to you.
And even if your clients do not share this type of information, you still cannot afford to have your website hacked. That is why we suggest downloading one of the best free WordPress plugins, the Wordfence Security.
Wordfence Security comes with a WP Firewall, Security Scanner, Wordfence Central, Login Security, and other security tools. The firewall helps to find and block all the attacks. It also identifies which IP addresses are the most suspicious and automatically sends them to the blacklist.
With WordFence Security, you can also conduct security checkups that will check your plugins, core files, URLs, and the website in large to find if there are any malicious codes added.
The login security enables you to add Captcha to your page to protect you from bots that try to log in. You can also add two-factor authentication (2FA) to make sure only the trusted members log in.
These are only a few of WordFence Security features. It provides much more, and the good news is for free! Of course, WordFence Security also has the premium version for more advanced tools, but the free one still has a lot covered
Best Premium WordPress Plugins
Now that we have discussed some of the best free plugins, it is time to look at the premium ones. If you have some money to spare, then this section is for you! Of course, all of the plugins we mentioned above also have their premium versions, but we won't talk about them here to not bore you out.
Instead, we have created a new list of exciting and fun WP plugins for you to take a look at! Let's start with the:
One of the essential parts of your website is the contact us section. If your visitors want to connect with you somehow, they should have a clear understanding of how to do so.
If you leave your email and phone number somewhere at the end of your website, most of your visitors will simply give up on the idea of contacting you. Moreover, writing an email requires a lot of hassle, and many of the visitors will skip that part.
So, what should you do instead? Create user-friendly forms, which will make contacting simple. Here is where the WP Forums plugin comes in. With its drag-and-drop builder, you can easily create forms, and embed them in your website.
It also comes with pre-built templates that simplify your work even further. You get instant notifications when users respond to the forms, and the forms are also 100% mobile-friendly.
With WPForms, you can create contact us forms, surveys, registration forms, and even payment forms. It's all simple and easy! If it seems interesting for you, check their pricing page to learn about their plans.
Regularly backing up your website is a must. You must be sure that you have a saved version of your WordPress in case the worst happens. What if your page gets attacked by hackers? Will you have a backup version just in case? Well, you should. And the BackupBuddy will help you with it.
With BackupBuddy, you can back up your entire website in no time. It collects all the data needed to run your website and wraps it up in a zip file. This way, when wanted, you can restore your website from scratch.
The BackupBuddy also allows you to schedule your backups. You can set up automatic backups that will run daily, twice a day, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and so on. When the backups are finished you get notified immediately, so that you can take care of them. You can learn more about the plugin and purchase it here.
We end our list with a builder WP plugin. A builder plugin simplifies website building and helps you to create pages easily.
The Beaver Builder allows you to experiment with your creativity and build professional websites with no coding. The simple drag-and-drop feature makes building pages fun and gives you total control over your website.
With Beaver Builder, you can easily design your page how you want it to look in the front-end. The live, front-end editing feature allows you this. The way you build it is the way you will see it: all simple.
The Beaver Builder works with almost all of the themes and is also mobile-friendly. It has Woocommerce support and is SEO-optimized: what else do you need?
So if you want to build your websites fast and easy, get the Beaver Builder plugin and enjoy the process. By the way, if you need the free alternative for this plugin, you can also try Elementor, which is also a very popular WordPress builder.
That was it for today.
We listed the best free and premium WordPress plugins for 2021. However, even with the plugins, website creation and management can be tiring for absolute beginners. If you think you don't have enough time for that, hire a freelance WordPress developer, and let him do the work for you!