My must have WordPress plugins

Even though it’s been the holiday season, work on Using WordPress hasn’t slowed down only a wee bit. Several of the initial chapters are now in the loving hands of my editors and I’m proceeding full steam ahead. Since crowd sourcing works pretty darn well for getting feedback, commentary, and information, I’m looking for a bit of help with the next chapter in the book: WordPress Plugins.

Us WordPress.org/DIY install users know that there are thousands of WP plugins out there to try. Lots of plugins do the same thing and while there are some standout awesome ones, I’m sure there are some real dogs as well. I have my set of core favourite plugins (even if I don’t have them active at the moment for various reasons), but I want to know which plugins you’d add (or remove) from the list.

In the book I’ve (for the time being) grouped plugins into the following bins:

  • Interface tweaks
  • Comments
  • Caching and optimization
  • SEO
  • Metrics and stats
  • Multimedia
  • Theme related
  • Administration
  • Social Media integrations
  • Mobile
  • Search
  • Miscellaneous (you always need miscellaneous).

I know that there is overlap among the categories. A plugin for a Flickr slide show could be multimedia or social media or Akismet could be administration or comments. Regardless of how I bin them in the end, I want to have as complete a list as possible. To that end, here are my “must-haves” and “I wouldn’t mind recommending them” plugins:

  1. Akismet
  2. All in One SEO
  3. Blubrry PowerPress
  4. FD FeedBurner
  5. Google XML sitemaps
  6. Postrank
  7. Reveal IDs for WP Admin
  8. RSS Cloud
  9. Search Everything
  10. Simple Pull Quote
  11. Subscribe to Comments
  12. Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)
  13. Theme Test Drive
  14. TweetMeme Retweet
  15. Tweet This
  16. Ultimate Google Analytics
  17. W3 Total Cache
  18. WP Super Cache
  19. Woopra
  20. WordPress exploit scanner
  21. WordTwit
  22. WP-Cumulus
  23. WP-DBManager
  24. WP-PageNavi
  25. WP-Polls
  26. WP Smush.it
  27. WPTouch
  28. Registered Users Only
  29. Private Files
  30. WP-ecommerce

No, I don’t have all of these active (only 21 of them in fact) nor have I listed all 66 plugins I have loaded on my blog, but like I said these are ones I don’t have a problem recommending or using myself.

Now it’s your turn. Are there plugins that should and shouldn’t be on the list? I can’t include every plugin under the Sun, but I would like to make sure who ever reads the book will have a solid list to start with and work from.

Okay, let’er rip!

Update: Thanks to @leonardipaolo for suggesting/prodding me to include links to all the plugins.

Update 2: Speaking of plugins, I was trying one today to check for bad links and while it worked (I think) it also brought this blog to a crawl. Disabled the plugin and everything is back to normal. So, word to the wise, overloading with plugins is just as bad as overloading your sidebars with widgets—it very likely will negatively affect your blog’s performance.

Update 5/30/2010: I’ve started culling the list of plugins here. There are 30 right now that have made the cut not to be removed from the list. I’ll be updating the list with some additions in a bit.

Comments

  1. says

    Great job on this list. Like you, when we go over 10-12 plugins we find that we get into conflict problems with some of them. Thanks for this Blog post – We RTed as well…..

  2. says

    Great job on this list. Like you, when we go over 10-12 plugins we find that we get into conflict problems with some of them. Thanks for this Blog post – We RTed as well…..

  3. says

    Great list of plugins. There’s some I haven’t used before, so will check them out.

    I see you use the Thesis theme – it’s pretty much all I use now. Do you use all-in-one-SEO with your Thesis themed blogs? I though I read somewhere the theme is SEO optimized and extra plugins aren’t necessary? Your thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Bonnie, great observation! You’re bang on, I don’t need All in One SEO when I’m using Thesis, so it’s turned off here, but I have it turned on for non-Thesis blogs.

  4. says

    Great list of plugins. There’s some I haven’t used before, so will check them out.

    I see you use the Thesis theme – it’s pretty much all I use now. Do you use all-in-one-SEO with your Thesis themed blogs? I though I read somewhere the theme is SEO optimized and extra plugins aren’t necessary? Your thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Bonnie, great observation! You’re bang on, I don’t need All in One SEO when I’m using Thesis, so it’s turned off here, but I have it turned on for non-Thesis blogs.

  5. says

    How do you feel about the Google XML Sitemaps plugin? It seems superfluous if you have good SEO (considering that bots crawl blogs rather easily), but I’ve added it anyways just in case :P

    Also, for anybody that wants to work with images, I highly recommend the Yet Another PhotoBlog plugin, and the YAPB sidebar widget is pretty cool too.

    • says

      I’m a huge fan of Google Sitemaps. One of the suggestions from Google is to have an XML-based sitemap, and that plugin just makes it painless.

      YAPB, I’ve heard good things about that one too. I’ll have to check it out again! Thx!

  6. says

    How do you feel about the Google XML Sitemaps plugin? It seems superfluous if you have good SEO (considering that bots crawl blogs rather easily), but I’ve added it anyways just in case :P

    Also, for anybody that wants to work with images, I highly recommend the Yet Another PhotoBlog plugin, and the YAPB sidebar widget is pretty cool too.

    • says

      I’m a huge fan of Google Sitemaps. One of the suggestions from Google is to have an XML-based sitemap, and that plugin just makes it painless.

      YAPB, I’ve heard good things about that one too. I’ll have to check it out again! Thx!

    • says

      LOL! That Kevin happens to be the plugin I just tried today that I think brought my blog to a crawl! Might be because I have so much content. I agree, however, that it looks like a great plugin and I’m going to give it another shot.

  7. says

    I have to say if you’re planning on making a more advanced website using WP-eCommerce you’ll find that if you move anywhere outside of the standard configurations you’ll run into some pretty serious issues. And their support isn’t all that great. It’s a good eCommerce solution but it has very little room for advanced customization and has a lot of “interesting” code that is hard to work with.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. says

    I have to say if you’re planning on making a more advanced website using WP-eCommerce you’ll find that if you move anywhere outside of the standard configurations you’ll run into some pretty serious issues. And their support isn’t all that great. It’s a good eCommerce solution but it has very little room for advanced customization and has a lot of “interesting” code that is hard to work with.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • says

      Steve I like W3 Total Cache myself. It gives me the ability for minifying and caching more than just the pages, but the database, Javascript, and CSS as well.

      It is the geekier of the two caching plugins, but I think it’s a strong choice.

    • says

      Steve I like W3 Total Cache myself. It gives me the ability for minifying and caching more than just the pages, but the database, Javascript, and CSS as well.

      It is the geekier of the two caching plugins, but I think it’s a strong choice.

  9. KennyTheMap says

    My recent experience of WP e-commerce would have me swap it in your list for Woo Commerce. In terms of  response to queries and issues these two are chalk and cheese. I now understand why WP e-commerce rates only 3 stars despite huge downloads.

    I paid $195 for priority support from WP e-commerce and got no response to a simple question after 1+ biz days. Then installing their plugin commandeered 2 of my static pages.  I couldn’t report that because they operate a token system for priority support i.e. my previous query had to be answered before I could submit my issue. Uninstal worked fortunately.

    Checked around more and Woo Commerce seemed to be a good fit. Sent same simple query and got an answer next day without having paid anything. Documentation looks good and best of all I can try out the product in their demo environment. I’m buying today.

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