My favorite WordPress plugins to use on your Blog. All these plugins are clean-coded, super-fast, and best in class. I’ve also included thoughts on others that I don’t like…so you know WHY not to use them.
Optimization – Caching
- WP Rocket – is the Fastest full-featured cache plugin out there. Period! Easy to use.
- WP Fastest Cache – it’s a nice free cache plugin, easy to use, features don’t compare to WP Rocket though.
- W3TC – I hate it. Way too bloated and technical. Incompatible with many plugins and not the fastest even when it does work!
- WP Super Cache or WPMU Hummingbird – absolute garbage. Bloated and slow.
- PerfMatters – Gets that last 10% performance boost after you’ve already setup Caching, CDN, optimized images – allows you to selectively load scripts on a page/post level.
Optimization – Content
- Classic Editor – OLD Default WP Editor. Replace with the new Gutenberg and GenerateBlocks library to future-proof your site.
- Divi Builder – BLOATED & SLOW – replace with Gutenberg and GenerateBlocks
- Elementor – BLOATED & SLOW – replace with Gutenberg and GenerateBlocks
- GenerateBlocks PRO – from the makers of GeneratePress
- Gutenberg – Default WP Editor. Fast but incomplete in design capability by itself
GenerateBlocks PRO is like the Gutenberg version of a page builder, but better because it’s lightweight in code and delivers high-speed performance. It’s theme agnostic, so you can use it with any WordPress theme. This is the FASTEST Gutenberg blocks library made.
Optimization – Image Compression
- ShortPixel (free/paid) – SP has the best compression. Supports .webp images too!
- Imagify by WP Rocket – is 2nd place for me (in terms of quality). $$$ Too pricey.
- TinyPNG/JPG – can be good sometimes but ShortPixel is definitely better!
- WP Smush/EWWW – horrible compression quality/file-size ratio.
Optimization – Redirection
- Safe Redirect Manager – the best for DIY! High quality code, super fast redirects with the least speed impact.
- Redirection – Just say NO! Seriously slows your site down by 1-3 seconds.
- Yoast’s SEO redirect function – Don’t do it. There’s faster/better ways.
Optimization – SEO / Search Engine Optimization
- Rank Math – DIY-friendly and feature-rich SEO plugin. Guides you with required SEO information on every page and post of your site. Easy to use modular interface.
- Yoast SEO – only half the features of Rank Math, and honestly Yoast is rather bloated code-wise and slows down your backend Admin area. They’re working on this issue, but why wait, use Rank Math which is better in so many ways.
- Fluent Forms – my #1 favorite form plugin for both FREE and PAID. Easier to use than others and nicer design and extra features.
- Contact Form 7 – Just say NO! Slows your site. I hate how it loads on every page.
Image, Gallery, Slideshow
- WP Featherlight – simple plugin to display images in a lightbox. I use this with default Gutenberg for building image galleries.
- Meow Gallery – if you want a full-featured gallery.
- NextGEN, FooGallery, Envira – bloated super slow poorly coded.
- Metaslider (free/paid) – tied for the best. It’s good for super simple minimal sliders.
- Smart Slider 3 (free/paid) – tied for the best. Can do fancier things like showing different sliders on mobile, also more features (embedding video, changing button images, etc).
- Slider Revolution (REV Slider) – avoid it like the plague! Super bloated and slow.
Security & Backups
- Updraft Plus – Backup/Restore – (free/paid) Paid version is the bees-knees! Also, you can easily migrate sites to a new hosting or dev server.
- BackWPup – awesome free plugin that does FULL backups
- BackupBuddy – Pricey $$$ – Updraft is better and easier to use.
- Login Lockdown – Helps stop hacker’s brute-force attacks on your WordPress Admin login.