One of the great things about using WordPress to build and manage your website is that it’s very popular and comes with a thriving community of developers who can freely add to the platform using prebuilt addon modules, known as plugins.
There are multiple plugins for almost any function or feature you would want a website to have. This is great, but at the same time, it can be a hindrance.
Plugins can make or break (literally) a WordPress website. There is an overwhelming selection available in the WordPress plugin repository for free and choosing the right one can be daunting. You need to be sure it’s safe and that it does a good job.
A couple of tips when looking for plugins.
- Check if it has been tested with your current version of WordPress. There are frequent updates to the WP core and plugins need to be tested and updated to suit. You can see a compatibility answer in the search results.
- When was it last updated? You can see this indicated in the search results too. If a plugin hasn’t been updated in more than a couple of months, it’s not a good sign. Often plugins become abandoned by their developers. This means no more updates and will cause compatibility issues before long.
- How many active installs. It’s not always a key indicator because all plugins begin with 0 users and take time to build clout. But, there’s confidence to be had in a popular plugin, because they’re tried and tested.
- Reviews. Like anything, check the user reviews to see what (if any) are the common complaints. Are they serious issues?
Below are some essential and free WordPress plugins that I always use and are well established.
Wordfence Security Plugin
Security is important, and this free plugin offers you a super-simple way to protect and monitor for threats on your WordPress website. With very little (and well guided) configuration, you