22 most popular WordPress plugins

In order for the site to meet the needs of users, there are many plugins, each of which can be installed on your site. A plugin is a software module, an addition to an existing system, which expands its functionality and adds any new features.

Our article will help you understand the variety of the most famous and popular plugins and understand whether they are worth installing and whether their functions are relevant to you at the moment.

CMS WordPress

WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS in the world, with data from 2016 showing that over 25% of all sites on the Internet use WordPress, and that number is growing steadily. The popularity of WordPress is no coincidence – this content management system provides a lot of possibilities: it is free and quick to install, and a user can understand the management even with basic IT knowledge.

At the moment, the choice of plugins for WordPress is huge – more than 44 thousand, and if you wish, you can even create your own plugin and share it with the public.

How to install a WordPress plugin?

  1. Go to the admin panel of your site and select the “Plugins” tab. On this page you will see all the plugins that are installed, and you can also perform various actions with them: activate, deactivate, update, delete, and so on.
  2.  To install a new plugin, you need to click the “Add New” button next to “Plugins.”
  3. Next you will be taken to a page listing plugins: there are tabs “Featured”, “Popular”, “Recommended” and “Favorites”. The last tab will show all the plugins that you have added to your favorites list on (which is actually convenient, since you can view the list of plugins, select the ones you like, and then upload them through the admin panel).
  4. From the list provided or by searching by name, select the plugin you want to install and click the “Install” button next to its name. Plugins can also be installed using .zip file archives.
  5. After installation, you can immediately activate the plugin if it is distributed free of charge. For paid distribution, activation may require a key, which must be purchased on the website of the developer company.
  6. After installation and activation, the plugin may appear in the list of general site settings so that you can set the necessary parameters. If the plugin does not appear in the list, then you can configure it by selecting it in the list with other plugins in the “Plugins” tab.

The following plugins were either originally installed on your WordPress site or can be found in the Featured section.


This is a default plugin and is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It protects your site from spam – an extremely useful feature, even if you just started blogging yesterday. In the plugin settings, you can choose one of the options: either Aksimet will automatically remove suspicious comments from your site, or will send them to the Spam folder, where you can track the plugin activity yourself (by default). I recommend choosing the second option, especially if you have just recently launched your website, so that a comment from an ordinary user does not accidentally fall under the spam filter.

To activate this plugin, you need to add a code, which can be obtained on the official website. If you have a website without commercial benefit (for example, a blog), then you can get a key for free, but in other cases you need to choose one of the tariff plans.


A multifunctional plugin that allows you to enhance security, increase performance and analyze traffic. The plugin has additional modules with which you can change the appearance of your site, add widgets or other useful features.

Jetpack is free, but it has paid plans and additional features (like backup and security checks). Once installed, the plugin must be associated with your account. Essentially, this plugin incorporates many of the features of other plugins, so if you’re just starting to set up your site, take a good look at all the features Jetpack has to offer.


Thanks to this plugin, you can turn your website into a community, forum or even a social network. How is this possible? Users with full-fledged profiles will appear on your site, who will be able to add other users as friends, correspond with them, monitor their activity, and much more.

The popularity of this plugin is due precisely to the fact that it has no analogues. However, you can add other plugins from the BuddyPress series (for example, BuddyPress Album, which allows users to create albums with photos) to expand the functionality of this plugin.

WP Super Cache

This caching plugin will allow your website pages to load as quickly as possible. If you have a lot of visitors to your site, caching will significantly reduce the load on the server. This is good not only for your readers, but also, for example, for SEO promotion, since Google takes into account page loading time.

The plugin has many settings, but first of all, after activating it, you need to enable the caching function itself.


A plugin that adds forum functionality to your site. The positive aspects of this plugin: speed, simple and clear settings, RSS support, no significant load on the server. At the same time, you do not have to limit yourself to one forum – you can create several forums, and each of them has several categories or headings.

Theme Check

This plugin is used to check: does the theme meet modern WordPress standards? First of all, Theme Check will be useful to developers who want to understand how good the code they have written is. This is also important for webmasters who want their website themes to fully meet all the requirements of the WordPress CMS.

Similar functionality can be found on – I recommend checking all templates there (especially from unreliable sources) before installation for malicious code and hidden links.

You will find the following plugins in the “Popular” section, where all plugins are sorted from most downloaded to least downloaded. In this article, I will talk about all the plugins that have been downloaded more than a million times as of April 2016.

Regenerate Thumbnails

This plugin performs a small but extremely important function: it regenerates thumbnails of images that you have uploaded to your media library. This is especially important for those who decide to change the WordPress theme they are using, and the new theme has different markup, which means different sizes of embedded images are needed. Some developers believe that the functionality of this plugin should be added to the basic functions of WordPress; the high demand explains why this plugin is so popular.

Yoast SEO

This plugin can easily be called the most popular among plugins for SEO optimization. It is quite easy to learn, so it will be useful for both novice webmasters and professionals. The main function of SEO optimization is to improve your website for search engines, or rather, bring it to the top of the search results and attract as many visitors or potential clients to your website as possible (if your website is commercialized).

Yoast SEO has many different settings, including those related to security and the ability to flexibly customize your sitemap. By setting each of the parameters correctly, you can quickly get additional traffic to your site.

All in One SEO Pack

The functions of this plugin are similar to those of the previous one: although their number is less than in Yoast SEO, this plugin has its own advantages. For example, it immediately automatically generates descriptions and keywords based on the content of the pages, which is especially useful if you have many posts and it is not possible to add metadata to each of them.

Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack are two of the best plugins when it comes to SEO optimization. Choose based on personal preferences, but do not forget that installing both plugins on your site is highly not recommended.

Google XML Sitemaps

Speaking of SEO, we cannot fail to mention this plugin, which helps to quickly index your site by search engines. The way the plugin works is simple: it generates a sitemap.xml file in the root directory of your site, this file will automatically update the sitemap version, and then report changes to the content on the site to all search engines.

Even though the plugin contains the word Google in its name, it helps with indexing by other search engines. This plugin is an indispensable tool for all webmasters and blog authors.

Google Analytics by MonsterInsights

This plugin is the leader in the number of downloads among other plugins with similar functions, although the name may be unfamiliar to many. The thing is that the plugin used to be called “Google Analytics for WordPress”, which was developed by Joost de Valk, an employee of the Yoast company (one of the plugins of this company was described above).

Advanced plugin settings – for example, controlling the number of outgoing links and downloads – allows you to obtain a large amount of useful information about your visitors. If you are looking for a time-tested plugin that will help you track statistics, then I recommend paying attention to Google Analytics by MonsterInsights.

Contact Form 7

This plugin will allow you to add a feedback form to your website. It is indispensable if you run a blog or provide any service. Convenient and intuitive settings will allow you to create exactly the shape you want.

If you decide to add this plugin, I advise you to additionally install other plugins. For example, Contact Form 7 Style will allow you to edit the appearance of the form, and you can not only choose one of the ready-made cards, but also create your own unique design.

Really Simple CAPTCHA

This plugin can be a useful addition to Contact Form 7. It’s easy to guess that the main purpose of this plugin is to fight spam and bots. However, due to the fact that the plugin was originally developed as an additional module for Contact Form 7, it has a number of limitations and imperfections: for example, for many bots, its pictures with letters and numbers are no longer a problem, since the images are too readable.

Therefore, for reliable protection, I recommend using another plugin for creating captcha, for example No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA (for use with Contact Form 7 you need to use a special plugin No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA Plugin for Contact Form 7).

NextGEN Gallery

This popular plugin will give you the opportunity to create photo galleries and albums on your blog that can be beautifully placed on pages. NextGEN Gallery allows you to choose the style of viewing your photos, create a slideshow, add your own watermark to your photos, and much more. It is not surprising that with such great capabilities, the plugin has already been downloaded by more than 10 million people.


The most famous plugin for creating online stores based on WordPress. Many people choose WooCommerce precisely because this plugin provides great opportunities for customizing their project, and its functions have already been tested by many users around the world. This is a great option for those who want to launch their online store with zero investment, while the functionality of WooCommerce can be expanded using other plugins with which it interacts well.

Wordfence Security

This is another plugin that you will definitely find on the list of the most frequently installed add-ons. It’s not surprising – it is a kind of antivirus for your site, which will be useful not only for preventive purposes, but even when your site already has malicious code.

In addition to the fact that Wordfence Security monitors files on your server, it also analyzes all links on the pages of your site, protects against brute force hacking, notifies you of suspicious changes on the site, and much more. If you wish, you can also purchase a paid version, which has advanced features and enhances site protection.


This plugin is used to create page navigation on your website. Pagination is convenient not only for users, but also for search engines, so using this plugin will significantly improve your site. Naturally, this function is especially needed for sites with a large number of posts (for example, blogs), so if your site consists of only a few pages, there is no point in installing this plugin.

W3 Total Cache

This popular plugin will help ensure that your site loads quickly. Of course, this is not the only caching plugin that exists, but its popularity is due to the large number of settings, as well as its safety in use.

W3 Total Cache will improve site performance, increase conversions, speed up page loading, and also save traffic by minimizing and HTTP code compression. That is why this plugin can be safely recommended as one of the first that you install on your website.

WordPress Importer

The functions of this plugin are clear from the name: it is necessary for importing information (posts, comments, tags and other data) from one WordPress site to another. If you need to use this plugin, I recommend making a backup before transferring data, in case something doesn’t go as planned. This plugin is quite easy to use, which is why it has gained such popularity.

TinyMCE Advanced

This plugin is the most popular option that allows you to expand the number of buttons in the visual editor. At the same time, you can decide which buttons you need and which you don’t by adding the necessary settings in the plugin parameters. This is an indispensable tool for a blog, thanks to which your posts will look more accurate, beautiful and correct.

Advanced Custom Fields

This plugin allows you to add custom fields to site posts. This means that now, in addition to the main fields, you can add some other data to records and even choose their format. The feature is useful if, for example, you want to tell your visitors your location while writing a post, or you want each post to have its own thumbnail. In other words, the capabilities of this plugin are quite wide, and it will help you make the content of your site comprehensive and unique.

Duplicate Post

A convenient plugin for creating copies of posts and pages. It will not be useful to you if your entries are very different from each other, but it will be extremely useful if you have your own online store where you need to create several entries for very similar products. Or if your recordings have some kind of standard structure that can be used when creating new material. This is why the plugin is often used and is included in the list of the most downloaded WordPress plugins.


A huge list of plugins plays an important role in the fact that WordPress is currently one of the most popular information management systems on the site. Plugins allow you to create a site exactly the way you want it to be, so it is important to choose the optimal number of plugins that will improve your site, but at the same time the load on the server will remain within normal limits. In addition to plugins, you can also look into the template directory.

Select and install only those plugins that you need. As is obvious from this article, not all popular plugins are required to be installed, but some that affect the system part must be on your site, even if their work is invisible at first glance.

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