Top 5 FREE Plugins to Install on Every WP Site

Noe Garcia the WordPress Developer
Noe Garcia ·
July 8, 2021 

Updated: 11/2/20

Here's a question that many business website owners using WordPress ask. What are the top WordPress plugins to use on my website?

As a WordPress web developer for over 10 years now, I've seen my fair share of plugins. Some I use for specific purposes such as extending functionality per a projects requirements but others I use on every single website that I build.

Here's the top 5 I use on all of my sites.

1. Duplicate Page

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This one doesn't make the list of top 5 plugins to add to every website you might have seen somewhere else but I find it incredibly useful so I install it on every website I make. It comes in handy when I want to take the content or layout from 1 page and use it as a starter for another page.

For example. I have a layout that I'm using in a page builder and I want my new page to be exactly the same but with new content.

Duplicate page would allow me to duplicate the page that I want to copy and then I can simply change the title, permalink, and copy for my new page.

This plugin is also useful if I'm updating a page with a new layout or something that is ongoing and requires approval.

I can duplicate the page I'm working on and keep the 2nd version of the page as a test page until it's approved and ready to replace the original version.

2. All in One WP Migration

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Every site needs a backup and migration solution. This plugin is my favorite tool to help me migrate websites and also serves a pretty decent backup solution for your website.

They do have a backup option feature but the export file itself works pretty much exactly the same.

I use this plugin when to move a website that I built on my local enviornment to the permanent hosting enviornment.

It's also great to have if you're making extensive edits to your site but you don't want to necessarily update the live site.

You can export a copy of the site and then migrate it to your development environment.

3. Yoast SEO

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I think all websites need a good all in one SEO plugin for WordPress.

Yoast SEO is a great plugin to have installed to follow a basic guideline for on page SEO and it gives you everything you need out of the box to configure basic SEO that all websites should have set up.

On top of all that I really like that it provides control over OG Data and page/post meta

This is to control how your page is displayed on google search results and social media when you share links from your blog or website to social media.

This plugin has a good little learning curve to it if you want to get into the more advanced features that it helps you manage but if you're looking for a solid guideline to configure your websites basic SEO, this is one of if not the best to do it.

4. Wordfence

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Like backups and SEO, Security is another basic focus every website should include. A great solution is Wordfence - they offer a free firewall that blocks malicious traffic, offers malware scans, and stops brute force login attempts.

This is pretty much a plug and play solution - there's not much confiration that needs to be done to have this up and going after you activate it on your website.

The only downside, the free version it's pretty much just a watch dog. If your site does get hacked and malicious code ends up on your site, you'll have to upgrade to the premium version to get it off.

Bonus Security Plugin to consider!

Akismet

This is an antispam plugin - if you don't have a blog with a comments section this could be skipped which is why I only included it as a bonus but it's very effective at blocking spam comments on your posts.

5. W3 Total Cache

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We got Backups, SEO, and Security covered - the only other must focus on area of your website is page speed optimization. W3 Total Cache is a fantastic, plug and play solution to handle basic page speed optimizations. This plugin, much like Yoast SEO has a pretty steep learning curve if you're going to start getting into the more advanced features of page speed optimization and this plugin has a TON of configuration options.

If you're just looking to do basic stuff like minimize your javascript and css and leverage browser caching, this plugin takes that off your plate.

You might be wondering what leverage browser caching is - When you visit a web page a whole bunch of stuff happens in the background. There are calls from your website to other servers going on to load things like javascript, css and download images and media.

With browser caching, your browser remembers all the stuff that happened the first time and keeps a copy of it so the next time you visit the page it doesn't have to go through all of that stuff all over again.

This is highly effective in reducing load speed which is a plus in googles eyes and supposedly gives your website a boost in search rankings.

There you have it

5 + 1 must install plugins for every website. With these 5 (or 6) plugins, you've covered the 4 major focus points every website needs as a baseline, backups, SEO, security, page speed optimization and a really useful tool that I'm sure you'll use very frequently in Duplicate Page.

Next steps

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