There are thousands of plugins available in the official WordPress.org plugin directory. It’s difficult to know which plugin you should choose for your website, especially if you are just starting out with WordPress. We put together a detailed list of recommended plugins for WordPress beginners, to help you get started with your WordPress website. (We will update the list regularly to ensure it stays up-to-date).
1. Spam Protection and Security
By default, WordPress comes with Akismet pre-installed. Alternatively you can use Anti-spam Bee to protect you against comment spam. Anti-spam bee has the advantage that it offers plugin settings to make it compatible with EU data protection laws. To use the setting you need to deactivate the option “consider public spam database”.
The most effective way you can protect your WordPress site is to always use the latest version of all your plugins, themes and WordPress itself. Further you can also install a number of plugins to help you protect your website.
WordFence is a security plugin with lots of options like a firewall, blocking unwanted login attempts, Two-factor authentication, password checks and much more.
iThemes Security is another security plugin with a number of options (also in its free version). You can for instance limit the number of login attempts or change the URL of your login site.
Since both security plugins have a lot of settings, it’s worth taking the time to read their plugin documentations before getting started.
Next to security it’s as important to set up regular backups for your website. You can use the UpdraftPlus plugin or BackWPup to create regular, automatic backups of your database, settings and contents.
3. Database Optimization
You can clean and optimize your WordPress database directly from your admin area using WP-Optimize. Please be careful as to not delete anything accidentally here.
Anytime you need to work on your website and don’t want your visitors to see the changes you are making, you can set your website in maintenance mode and show a fancy maintenance note instead with the WP Maintenance Mode plugin.
6. SEO Optimization
7. Connecting to Social Media
To add sharing buttons to your posts you can use the Simple Share Button Adder plugin or Jetpacks sharing buttons (especially, if you have Jetpack already installed). Jetpack also offers a number of social media widgets. For example, you can connect your website to your social media sites, like a Facebook Like Box Widget, the Twitter Timeline Widget, Goodreads Widget or Social Media Icons widget).
To show a number of your latest Instagram pics in a widget we recommend the WP Instagram Widget plugin.
If you want to include a Mailchimp newsletter sign-up form on your website, Mailchimp for WordPress is your plugin.
TinyMCE Advanced improves your text editor options in your admin area.
To add your own custom buttons to the editor you can use the AddQuicktag plugin.
Duplicate Posts gives you the option to clone a post or create an additional draft from a current post for further editing.
To add an online shop to your WordPress site, we recommend WooCommerce. You can sell digital or physical goods and the plugin has a number of helpful extensions. To create a multilingual shop you can install WooCommerce Multilingual. Shops selling in Germany can also use the WooCommerce Germanized plugin to make their shop conform with German laws.
11. Extend WordPress
To build custom page layouts that are not offered by your theme already, you can use the Page Builder plugin.
If you need additional features like tabs, tables, quote styles or galleries for your website, you can install the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin and add these features via shortcodes.
Maybe not for beginners, but rather for someone setting up a WordPress site for a client, Advanced Custom Fields gives the option to add beautiful, more user-friendly custom fields to your admin area.
To translate a theme or plugin in your own language you can use Loco Translate.
Lightboxes help to show images in a bigger size. WP Featherlight is a great, light-weight lightbox option without any plugin settings. If you need more flexibility you can use the Responsive Lightbox plugin.
- To add a EU Cookie notice to your website you can install Cookie Law.
- If you need to regenerate all your Featured images after changing themes, we recommend using Regenerate Thumbnails.
- You can completely delete all comments options on your WordPress site with Disable Comments.
- To use your own Google fonts instead of the themes default fonts you can use the Easy Google Fonts plugin.
- WordPress can be made multilingual-ready by installing the Polylang plugin.
I hope you will find our plugin recommendations helpful in order to find all plugins you need for your own website. In general, you should make sure that you only install plugins that you will actually use for your website. If you don’t need a certain plugin any longer, you should always deactivate and delete it right away. As I said in the beginning, it’s also important to always use the latest plugin version.
There are many further premium plugins out there that we could recommend. But since this list is mostly for WordPress beginners in mind, we think that the free plugins will work just fine to get started. If you have worked with your website for a while or if you need anything very specific, you could always add premium plugins later on (most premium plugins also offer support, which you may find helpful).
Which plugin would you like to see on our recommendation list? Do you have further plugins tips or do you think we missed any important plugins? Please write us a comment, we would love to hear your tips and recommendations!