Essential WordPress Plugins you should have

Ever since I started using wordpress, I’ve been pretty amazed on the number of plugins it currently has and the numerous features that you can gain if you use those. I would like to share with you my personal list of Essential WordPress Plugins that you should have.

I’ve broken them down into five (5) different parts:

  1. For your blog’s visitors – This is to enhance the experience of the visitors in your blog. Make them happy and surely they will return to your blog.
  2. For your blog’s protection – With numerous people getting hacked lately, you need all the protection that you need.
  3. For search engines – In order to gain organic traffic (search engine traffic), you should make your blog look good in search engines.
  4. For your blog’s functionality – Although wordpress already offers a lot of features, there are still some that we crave to have.
  5. For your blog’s feeds -Not all your visitors read your blog by visiting the website itself. Sometimes, they just subscribe through your feeds and read them there. So you should also make your feeds presentable. Why don’t you subscribe to my feeds too?

Just a quick note: Most of the plugins mentioned in this post are just upload and activate. I will be telling you if you need to do something to make it work. I have personally tested and used each of these plugins. They work with the latest version of wordpress.

Update: (January 2009)

  • Replaced Brian’s Threaded Comments, Comment Email Responder and Subscribe to comments with WordPress Thread Comment (Republished for 2009)

WordPress Plugins for your blog’s visitors

  1. WordPress Thread Comment – I love this plug-in! It has enough features to replace three of the plug-ins I’m currently using. WordPress thread comment plug-in is able to thread your comments, allows subcribing to comments and send email notifications when their comment has a reply. Very nice. Very nice. ^_^
  2. In Series – Sometimes you would want to write a series of post so you can give your readers something to look forward too and avoid boring them to death with a 10, 000 word article. This plugin will do the trick. Installation and usage is easy. Just activate the plugin and when writing a post, you can specify what series name that post will go into. Do take note that when updating this plugin, you have to deactivate it first, update then reactivate. If you don’t you will get database errors.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  3. Live Comment Preview – From the name itself you would already know what this plugin does. Basically, it gives your commentators a preview of what they are writing. You can see it in action in this blog.
  4. Lucia’s Link Love – There had been talks on blogs that are do-follow and those who are no-do-follow. This blog is a do-follow blog but you have to make three comments first before getting followed. Just don’t spam me. Btw, how do I know that you have made 3 comments? Well, by installing this plugin I get to know that you have made 3 comments and it will automatically make your links do follow.
  5. Popularity Contest – A plugin that calculates which post is popular based on views. It’s something that you can easily show to your visitors which posts are must-reads because they are popular. It will also give you an idea which posts are bringing in traffic to your blog. To display the “most popular” posts, you need to add something in your sidebar template or sidebar widgets. The read me of the plugin provide examples and guides on how to do it.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  6. Show Top Commentators – This simple plugin will make your commentators happy. This will to recognize those who comment a lot in your blog by featuring them in your sidebar. Btw, make sure to add this to your sidebar template either manually or through a widget or this plugin is useless. Also, to edit its options requires you to edit the php file manually.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  7. Subscribe to Comments – This plugin allows you to subscribe to comments. Whenever a new comment is posted on a post, you will get an email notification.
  8. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – There are many wordpress plugins that offers the related posts feature. One of the most famous plugin is called, wasabi related posts. This plugin is a descendant of that since it has been based their. I’ve been testing this for a while and it really does well. You have to add this in your template to make this work, <?php if (function_exists('related_posts')) {related_posts();}?>
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have

WordPress Plugins for your blog’s protection

  1. Akismet – It has been said that 90% of the comments you receive are spam. So would you like to wade through these comments to find the legitimate ones or would you like it if someone will do it for you? Akismet is a plugin made to detect and quarantine spam so they won’t show up in your blog. The mere fact that it’s included in every wordpress installation makes it a worthy spam blocking plugin.
  2. Login Lockdown – This plugin is the answer to the brute-force attack on your log-in screen. What it does is to ban or deny access to someone who has made numerous failed log-in attempts on your blog. You can set the limits in its option pages.
  3. Spam Karma 2 – I was already satisfied with akismet but I also added Spam Karma 2 because of its interface. What makes Spam Karma 2 different is that I don’t have to wade through numerous spam comments just to see if something got marked as spam by mistake. Let us see it in this way, in Akismet, there’s heaven (accepted comment) and hell (spam comment), Spam Karma just added a purgatory (you judge their fate).
  4. WP-DB-Backup – What would you do if suddenly your blog gets erased from the World Wide Web or internet? Would your cry or would you search for a backup? This handy dandy plugin will backup your wordpress database. For more details about the usage of this plugin, please read this guide.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have dbbackup

WordPress Plugins for Search Engines

  1. All in One SEO Pack – Need to optimize your blog for search engines? All in One SEO pack is the only plugin you need. It enables you to provide a Meta description and keywords for your blog. It will also rewrite your titles so that the title comes first before the blog name. For more details about this plugin, please read my posts about it. Guide to All in One SEO Plugin and the effects of this plugin in my blog.
  2. Google XML Sitemaps – The sitemaps in a blog is similar to a table of contents in a book. The search engines looks at your sitemap to see if they have indexed all your pages. This plugin will automatically create a sitemap for you every time you publish a post or save a post. It creates two types of sitemaps, an xml sitemap and the compressed version of that xml sitemap.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have

WordPress Plugins for your blog’s functionality

  1. Dagon Design SiteMap Generator – This plugin was suggested by Todd. It basically adds a user friendly sitemap to your blog. Don’t confuse this with the Google XML sitemaps mentioned above which was built for search engines. It You can see this in action in my archives page.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  2. Exec-PHP – Allows you to add php codes in your blog. The php code starts with <?php and ends with ?>. Just a little bit of warning, if you want to add php codes in your post, do not use the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor but instead use the code editor.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  3. Maintenance Mode – I don’t know if you have encountered this page before in my blog but the content of that page tells you that Silkenhut’s World is currently undergoing maintenance. This is the time where I am trying out or experimenting with new themes or plugins and I don’t my users to see any bloopers I might have made. This plugin will simply add a splash page to notify your visitors that the blog is currently under maintenance. It’s better to see this than see to errors right?
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have maintenance mode
  4. MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer – Whenever you publish a new post or save an already published post, wordpress automatically pings websites such as technorati and ping-o-matic telling them that you have new content or updates. If you edit your post regularly, you might be sending unnecessary pings to these services and they can ban your blog for over pinging. What this plug-in does it to change the way pinging works. It will only ping the service once and that is when you publish your post.
  5. Redirection – Thinking of changing your permalinks or your blog location and afraid of broken links? Then this plugin is for you. You can set temporary redirects or permanent redirects using this plugin. You will also get to see a list of 404 errors that happened in your blog so that can fix them ASAP.
  6. Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form – Provide your blog with an easy to use Contact Form. You may see it in action in my contact me page.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  7. Sociable – Allows your users to submit your post to different bookmarking websites. If you think that this post was ok for you, please submit it too. Thanks. ^_^
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  8. SRG Clean Archives – Provides your blog with a simple and clean archive. It divides the post by month and each month can be clicked to expand. You can see it in action in my archives page.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  9. WP-Page Navi – One of the ways to navigate your blog is to click on the “previous entries” found on the bottom part of your blog. However, with this, you can only move one page at a time. What if you want to go to the 500th page? Would you want to click on “previous entries“, 499 times or would you rather install this plug-in? Instead of seeing, Previous entries and Next Entries, you can show them page numbers instead. To use, add this in your template, <?php if(function_exists('wp_pagenavi')) { wp_pagenavi(); } ?>.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  10. WordPress Automatic Upgrade – You don’t have to go through the tedious process of upgrading your wordpress everytime a new version comes out. With this plug-in, you can upgrade your installation in just one click and it will be finished in just a few seconds. Super duper helpful! Read more about it my experience with the wordpress automatic upgrade here.

WordPress Plugins for your blog’s feeds

  1. Feedburner Feed Smith – Redirects your feeds so that it is being handled by Feedburner. There’s a problem with this if you use it with the CommentLuv plug-in. Read more about it here, feedsmith and commentluv.
    Essential Wordpress Plugins you should have
  2. Feed Footer – Adds a customized message to your feeds. You can use this to add a copyright against scrapers, monetize your feeds or just write a secret message that only your feed readers will see.
  3. Full Text Feed – Do you use the <!–more–> feature in wordpress? Did you know that if you use that, your feeds will be cut off when being read in a feed reader such as Google Reader? If you are just like me and you don’t want to provide half-baked feeds to your readers, you should use this plugin.

Plug-ins that have been replaced.

  1. WP AJAX Edit Comments – Sometimes your readers make mistakes in their comments and there’s no way for them to edit it. Either they post another comment telling you that they made a mistake or they just leave it that way. Now with this plugin, you give them the power to edit their comments after they have written it. Very helpful!
  2. Brian’s Threaded Comments – Think of this situation, what if there are 20 comments in a post and I want to reply to what comment # 3 said? Well, this plugin will make it possible for you to reply to that comment. This plugin will make it easier for you and your readers to have a flow of conversation. I used this in my previous blog theme but I did not install this in the new theme. The only drawback is that you have to replace your theme’s comments.php file with the one included in the plugin.
  3. Comment Email Responder – I learned about this plugin from Jaypee. Basically, this plugin allows you to reply on a comment and it will automatically send an email to the commentator that you have replied to his/her comment. This is very useful to gain returning visitors as they will get informed that you have replied to them.

Conclusion

There are literally hundreds of wordpress plugins currently available today and more are being created each day. I hope that this list has helped you decided what plugins you may want to use in your blog.

If you want to suggest a plug-in that I can include in this list, just drop me a comment.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe to my feeds.

36 thoughts on “Essential WordPress Plugins you should have

  1. Nice list of plugins! I like the way you divided the plugins into their different uses. I’m sure your readers would find this post very useful.

    For backing up my db, I use WP DBManager by GamerZ. I’ve used WP DB Backup before but DBManager is better and has more options.

    A friendly reminder to those who plan to install some of these plugins, make sure you check for any incompatibilities or conflicts with other plugins that you might already have on your blog. You can do that by visiting codex.wordpress.org

    Btw, can you please edit the URL that links to my blog? Mine’s .net and not .com. Thanks! :)

    Jaypee’s last blog post..WPDesigner’s $5 Themes Club

  2. Hello Jaypee, sorry about the typo on your URL. It has been fixed. I see, I’ll have a look at that plugin that you suggested.

    Btw, I have checked these plugins and they work with wordpress version 2.3.2. In they don’t work, I won’t use them. hehe

  3. It’s all good. Thanks for editing it.

    I know these plugins work with WP 2.3 and I know you check them first before posting it. What I was trying to point out to your readers is that before they install a new plugin, they have to make sure it’s compatible with the plugins that are already installed in their blog. :)

    Jaypee’s last blog post..Permalinks Migration Plugin Vulnerability

  4. How helpful. Once again, Many Thanks Allen.

    Blogoloco’s last blog post..PinoyUnited Online Raffle Promo – Win as much as $250

  5. [...] of Silkenhut made a compilation of essential plugins that most WordPress users should have. A good resource list for WordPress [...]

  6. hey nice list. I admit that i am a plugin addict. my plugin count is growing every week lol

    Hugo santos’s last blog post..Worpress Plugin: Commentluv

  7. @Hugo – Hello there, you should compile a list of plugins you use. It will be a good resource list. :)

  8. Great list of plug-ins. Very useful. I found this in a google blog search for the threaded comments plugin, but I also see a few others here that I’ve been meaning to check out.

    Of the ones on your list, redirection is the one I really like, that I don’t hear too much about. I especially like the log function. I use to redirect my affiliate links, and then I can see exactly how many times, when, and where from each link was clicked.

    Another one that I didn’t see on your list is the DagonDesign sitemap plugin. It makes it real easy for readers to dig deeper into your content.

    Todd

    Todd Morris’s last blog post..Confessions of a WordPress Theme Junkie

  9. @Todd – Hi Todd, I’m glad you liked this list. These are a result of trying out a lot of wordpress plugins. As you know, there are a lot of wordpress plugins out there but some just repeats what others have done already.

    The redirection plugin is indeed a nice plugin. I used it before when I changed my permalink structure.

    Hmm DagonDesign sitemap plugin? What exactly does this plugin do? Is it similar to an archive plugin? or the Google XML sitemaps?

    Thanks
    Allen

  10. Hi Allen,

    The DagonDesign site map was recommended to me by Frank at Optempo.com when he did a review of my blog. It’s very easy to install, and basically just presents your archive in an nice easy to read format, broken out by category. I just link mine in the top menu bar of my blog.

    You do still want to run the google xml site map plugin too. One is for search engines, and the other (Dagon) is for humans.

    Todd

    Todd Morris’s last blog post..Confessions of a WordPress Theme Junkie

  11. @Todd – I see, so it’s like another way of presenting your archives. Let me try it. Thanks for the suggestion Todd. :)

  12. A useful list of plugins, thanks – I’ve just installed the SRG Clean Archives plugin and it seems to do exactly what I wanted – even if the neat collapsing function is not working too well – maybe a clash with the other caching plugin I have.

    Cheers,

    Alex

    Alex’s last blog post..Italian Paragraphs

  13. Alex – Hi Alex, I’m glad you liked this list. You may want to contact the plugin author if you have problems with the plugin. I usually contact them and they reply asap. If not, I just look for another plugin. :)

  14. @Todd – Hi again Todd, I just tried the DagonDesign sitemap plugin and I really liked it. In fact, I’ve replaced my current archive plugin with this one. Thanks for the mention. I’ll include this in the list of plugins. :)

  15. Hi Allen,

    Glad you liked it. Frank gets the credit though, I wouldn’t have known about it if hadn’t have told me … just “paying it forward”.

    Todd

  16. just got a brand new domain allen.. and after setting WP, i immediate searched this post of yours.. i know it will come in handy.. :)

    will install some of it.. thanks for sharing btw!

  17. @Eli – Hi Eli! Thanks! and I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

  18. great tips for someone who just moved to WP! thanks for all these..

    Showbiz Intriga? Get It From Boy!’s last blog post..Hollywood’s Not America by Ferras

  19. Thanks for this list! I especially like the In-Series and PageNavi plugins, they seem to be gr8 ;)

    Lucia’s Link Love looks quite good also. We’ve been using the DoFollow Plugin but this seems like a worthy upgrade.

    Vibr8′s last blog post..Free Photoshop Template: Page Peel for any Image

  20. @showbiz – no problems! I’m glad you enjoyed the list. :)

  21. @virb8 – Hello vibr8,
    Ah yes, in-series and pagenavi does help simplify browsing through your posts. It makes it similar to a book. :)

    I choose lucia’s link love over other do follow plugins because on its options. You can customize it to your liking. :)

    If you want to suggest a plug-in that’s not here, feel free to do so. Thanks

  22. @Jaypee – Hi Jaypee, I just tried Lester chan’s db plug-in and found it to be similar to the WPDB manager. The only difference I found is that it has more options when scheduling. Other than that, it’s just the same. Maybe I’m missing something? :)

    Thanks.

  23. [...] CommentLuv is a plug-in the will get the title of your last post from your feeds and then add it to your comment when commenting on a blog that has enabled this plug-in. The purpose of this blog is to give backlinks to your latest posts. It’s a great plug-in and I should remind myself to add this to my list of essential plug-ins to add to your wordpress blog. [...]

  24. hi…is it ok for me if i translate this articles into my language (Bahasa Indonesia) and post it to my blog??. But of course i will put a love link ;), a backlink to this page as original source of my translated article.

    i’ll follow this comment, wish to get your answer soon ;)

    Haris’s last blog post..Basuh segera LENDIRmu!

  25. @Haris – Hi Haris, will you translate it word by word? It’s ok for me as long as add a link back to this post. :)

  26. sure…i’ll translate it word by word and don’t worry i’ll add a link back as many as you like hahahaha :D thanks before Allen ;)

    Haris’s last blog post..Basuh segera LENDIRmu!

  27. @Haris – Thanks and happy blogging. :)

  28. Hey, I found this article amazing. Only wonder if you could post about the compatibility of these plugins with the latest WP2.5.

    xytheme’s last blog post..xytheMe presents Free Web Directory

  29. @xythme – Ok sure! Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check each one of them and edit if they don’t work for wordpress 2.5 :)

  30. Nice list. I’ve been planning to install the threaded comments plug-in on my blog. Kinda diffcult now to respond to every comment seperately, and without threads, peopel don’t continue the conversation. Its just you and one commenter.

    • @Ling, I really like the threaded comments plug-in. It makes replying to comments easier. As of writing this comment, I’m not even at the post. I’m just at the comment page and I can reply to each of your post easily. And it becomes threaded too. :)

  31. Great List :) There were many that I hadn’t heard of, but seem to solve some common problems or make recurring tasks easier. I can’t wait to give them a try. I might start with the contact form one, because this is something I wanted to add for a while now, but never got around to it.

  32. missouri loan modification says:

    Great list. May I add 1 more plugin to the list. That is “Platinum SEO pack”. I have been using it for my blogs and found it is a good plugin in SEO wise.

    missouri loan modifications last blog post..Missouri Loan Modification Help: How To Get a Loan Modification

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