21 Best Free WordPress Plugins {Essential & Useful}

Today WordPress has an incredible number of more than 48,000  plugins (and uploading) in the official repository. 

To this number, we must also add other unofficial or paid ones that make choosing the best free WordPress plugins for your website or blog an odyssey.

To simplify things a bit, I have decided to explain what are the best free plugins that every blog with WordPress should have.

These free WordPress plugins should be essential for any type of WordPress site, so if you do not have any of these or one that replaces it, you should think about installing it.

As you well know, having an excessive amount of plugins is counterproductive for the loading speed of your website, that’s why you should choose the essential minimums and that provide you with what you really need so that your online project goes from strength to strength.

To make it easier to locate them and know what each plugin is about, I am going to show you by categories.

Of course, this top is not in order of importance. It is simply a matter of bringing together in a single post all the best free WordPress plugins that every blogger or webmaster should have installed.

21 Best Free WordPress Plugins

So here you have the 21 best free plugins for WordPress blogs and websites.

WordPress security plugins

Making your blog as secure as possible should be your number one priority. If you still do not have a security plugin installed on your WordPress, install one of the following because your website is in danger.

1. iThemes Security (Formerly Better WP Security)

The now called iThemes Security is the quintessential security plugin. Its name may not even sound familiar to you, but Better WP Security will sound, which was its previous name and by which it was well known.

After installing and configuring this plugin, I assure you that you will have an almost bomb-proof WordPress.

If you have this plugin installed and activated you will not need another additional security because it has many functionalities that make this plugin the most complete in security (and on top of it for free).

2. Wordfence Security

This plugin is also well known when it comes to security. It is also very complete and keeps your blog protected with the default settings. If you want to configure it to your liking, it will be somewhat more difficult to understand than iTheme Security.

Among the free security plugins for WordPress, if I have to decide between iTheme Security and Wordfence Security, I’ll take the first one without hesitation.

The bad thing about Wordfence Security is that it is somewhat heavier and this will influence the loading times of your website, worsening both SEO and the user experience on your blog.

3. Backups with WordPress Backup to Dropbox,  BackWPup or UpdraftPlus – Backup / Restore

In addition to shielding your WordPress, it does not hurt to make backups for what may happen. 

I suppose that you have chosen a hosting that makes backups or backups.

But in addition to these copies, and as prevention is better than cure, these essential WordPress plugins will automatically make you extra backup copies in the periods of time that you indicate and will send them to Dropbox so that you have them at your disposal from any device.

It is always recommended to make backup copies before updating WordPress, the theme or any plugin. You can also schedule daily backups.

I used the BackWPup but recently I discovered the UpdraftPlus plugin that, in addition to making the copies and sending them to the cloud (like Dropbox) allows you to restore the backups from the same plugin. 

This feature is only included in this plugin so it has become my favorite for this.

The  WordPress Backup to Dropbox serves exactly the same and have evidence that many bloggers use it, but do not have the option to restore the backup.

Choose the one you like best.

4. Akismet – Free Anti Spam

Bye, bye, SPAM.

I’m sure you hate spam at least half of what I hate (damn SPAM!).

Well, here you have the best anti-spam plugin you can find. And not just because I say so, but because it has more than a million downloads and it usually even comes already installed with your WordPress the first time you install it.

Akismet is going to be your best ally for the control and elimination of any type of SPAM that they try to leave on your blog as a comment.

Akismet is an antispam plugin that is in charge of detecting any comment with a high probability of being SPAM and sending it to a folder for you to review and you can delete or accept as comments.

In all, absolutely ALL, the blogs and websites that I have created I have installed this free plugin. 

The best antispam plugin that will avoid spending hours and even days deleting SPAM comments one by one that they can publish on your blog.

Without a doubt, this plugin cannot be missing. Essential.

Optimization and loading speed plugins

As I said before, both for the reader’s experience and that it does not go to another website as for SEO, you must prevent your website from taking exorbitant times to load. 

You should prevent your WordPress from having load times over 4 seconds. These WordPress plugins will help you achieve this.

5. Lazy Load

This plugin weighs very little and is quite useful. Especially if you use enough images on your blog.

Lazy Load is in charge of controlling the loading of your web images so that they are not loaded all at once (increasing the web loading time). 

It makes them load at the same moment that the reader reaches the area where the image is by scrolling (go down the web with the mouse wheel).

In addition to generating a pretty cool visual effect when loading the image, the loading times are much shorter because not all images are loaded at once.

6. WP Smush

The WP Smush – Image optimization, as its name suggests, is also referred to as images.

In addition to optimizing on your own the images that you are going to upload to your blog so that they do not weigh as much, this plugin further reduces the number of bytes of each image. 

And all this without losing image quality, which is what matters.

Without exaggerating this plugin can save you half the capacity in bytes of the images that you upload to your WordPress totally free.

7. WP Super Cache

If what you are looking for is to decrease the loading speed of your website as much as possible, you need to install a cache plugin for WordPress

The best known are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. The difference between using a cache plugin and not using it is very noticeable.

If you are not sure which one to choose, you can check with your hosting provider to avoid configuration problems. 

I use the WP Super Cache because I see it as something more powerful and faster. Another essential plugin.

8. P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

This is something special since I do not recommend having it always active but it is installed.

The P3 plugin analyzes the loading time of all the plugins you have activated in your WordPress so that you can detect which plugins are the ones that consume the most resources. 

So you can determine if you are worth having them, if you uninstall them, or if you are looking for another plugin that consumes less.

The best WordPress plugins for SEO and Web Analytics

We delve into what you were wanting: to be visible in the search engines. Here are the two free WordPress plugins  that use a lot of SEOs and professional bloggers.

9. Yoast SEO

Formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast, this plugin will be your right hand to rank each page and each article in the best possible way.

It is very complete. So much so that it has been the subject of numerous analyzes, guides, and tutorials that demonstrate its full potential in SEO optimization.

With this plugin you will have many options to optimize each text: modify the title that will appear in Google, its meta description, optimize the URL, design your text according to a keyword, etc.

For me it is the best seo plugin for WordPress .

10. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights

With more than a million downloads, Google Analytics by MonsterInsights plugin is one of the most used.

Mainly it serves to link Google Analytics with your WordPress and even allows you to see some graphics from the same plugin.

The best free WordPress plugins for design and editing

11. TinyMCE Advanced

Small but bully. This simple plugin creates a widget called «Visual Editor» that allows you to create and modify any type of content through HTML so that you can customize everything to your liking and integrate it into the sidebar of your blog.

I have to admit that this is one of the best free WordPress plugins for widgets and for the sidebar of your blog. It takes up very little and allows you to put any HTML code and enter it in any Widget on your website.

As you can see, it is very simple and it is convenient to know some code to further personalize your design, but the functionalities are unlimited.

12. Shortcodes Ultimate

This plugin is one of the most useful if you don’t know any code.

Shortcodes Ultimate has more than 50 predefined shortcodes so you can install almost anything without knowing any code.

The shortcodes are small codes in brackets-for example: [ejemplodeshortcode] – simulating HTML and CSS that are significantly longer, so you can implement many features alone putting this shortcodes.

Among some of its functionalities we can find shortcodes to insert: buttons, tables, icons, videos, columns, boxes, accordions …

Interaction with readers

Let’s be clear. If you have a blog or a website it is because you want to have readers and establish a relationship with them, whether it be to share hobbies, sell something, learn, etc.

Well here are two essential WordPress plugins for free that you should have.

13. Magic Action Box

I am sure you have seen some of the subscription boxes that I have scattered around the blog.

Well, that’s what the Magic Action Box plugin does, although I do it with a paid plugin (but I used this one before). Create attractive boxes so that your readers can subscribe.

It is capable of creating subscription boxes and connecting them to your email marketing service simply and quickly.

It has several default designs but you can also create your own design according to your preferences.

Indispensable if you want to increase the subscribers of your blog.

14. Contact form 7

The Contact Form 7 plugin comes by default with the installation of WordPress in most cases and even then there are many blogs and websites that do not have a section or way to contact their authors.

It allows you to create a contact form (or several) and implement it wherever you want.

Well, thanks to this plugin the contact forms are very easy to do and quite customizable.

Free community and WordPress plugins for social networks

15. SumoMe

The all-in-one plugin to give you visibility on social networks .

Although it has some payment options, its free version is the one that I have used and I assure you that it is worth it. 

It is one of the most widely used recommended blog plugins.

It has a lot of functionalities but the most outstanding are:

  • Floating left sidebar to share on social networks (like the one on this blog).
  • Highlighter: allows the reader to share any text they select from the blog (do not hesitate to try it).
  • Creation of Pop-ups and upper or lower subscription bar.
  • Analyze hot spots and clicks on your blog.
  • Allow your readers to share your blog images with a single click.

Download link: SumoMe.

16. Click to Tweet

It allows you to easily post a phrase highlighted by the author on Twitter.

It is very likely that you have seen in some blogs the typically framed phrase that says « Click to Tweet «. 

Well, that’s what this plugin does.

I do not consider it essential, much less having the SumoMe, but I have decided to include it due to the number of blogs that use it.

This plugin is much less heavy and your website will go faster than with the SumoMe plugin.

Bonus: The free Social Warfare plugin

I want to make a special mention of the Social Warfare plugin .

This free WordPress plugin is an alternative to SumoMe and Click To Tweet more than recommended.

It is the one I use and the reasons are very clear to me:

  • It’s very light.
  • You save having SumoMe (a plugin that spends a lot of resources).
  • Integrates the Click To Tweet function with various styles.

The downside is that it doesn’t include all the SumoMe functions, but to incorporate the buttons for sharing on social networks, the floating sidebar and the Click To Tweet is more than enough.

17. Social Icons Widget by WPZOOM

An alternative that creates a widget for your sidebar.

Through this widget you can implement buttons to your social networks so that anyone who clicks them can follow you.

It is important that you do not confuse them with the share buttons. This plugin is not used to share your articles on social networks, but to take them to your profile and follow you on them.

Link to download this free plugin:  Social Icons Widget by WPZOOM.

Adapt your blog to current regulations

If you want to avoid possible fines, you should create a legal notice page and notify your readers that you use cookies.

For this we have:

It allows you to install and customize a small bar to notify your readers of the use of cookies.

Get rid of the trouble and install it.

Other essential WordPress plugins

19. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Known by many as the WordPress blog plugin since in one you only have many (37 currently).

You can activate and deactivate the plugins that you want, but even so, it is one of the most resource consuming and if you are going to use only 2 or 3 of its features, it may not compensate you.

Analyzing the  Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com  here would make this eternal post so I’m going to explain what are the most interesting options that this plugin can offer you:

  • Carousel: gives the option of putting all the images on your website in full screen.
  • Share buttons on social networks.
  • Distribution: will automatically share the new articles from your blog on social networks.
  • Related posts: Show links to other related articles on your blog at the end of each post.
  • Statistics of the site fairly comprehensive statistics of your website (visits, page views, users …).
  • Widget Visibility – Lets you select which widgets you want to show or hide on certain pages.

If you generate income with affiliate programs, you may be interested in changing the default url that the affiliate links bring (which are quite ugly) for the url that you configure.

You can only put one new url per affiliate link, logical, right?

It is a plugin that consumes few resources and gives your links a better appearance. It is not essential for many but I do recommend it.

Here’s the download link to Pretty Link Lite.

21. Q2 W3 Fixed Widget

Another plugin that takes up little and uses few resources.

In this case, the Q2W3 is responsible for setting a widget for your sidebar so that it stays on the screen even if the user scrolls.

If you use this plugin, activate the last widget in your sidebar.

If you activate the first one, when scrolling it will pass over the other widgets that you have configured in your sidebar.

Believe me, that looks pretty ugly.

And here are the best free WordPress plugins that you can’t miss.

Now it’s your turn: What WordPress plugins do you consider essential that are not listed?

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