WordPress is an extremely powerful and expandable base of software. Using WordPress as a base, others have built more than just the traditional blogs. They’ve built forums, social media sites, and even entire blogging networks. However, regardless of the front end system, there are a few plugins that are a must-have for all WordPress sites.
#1 – Limit Login Attempts
No one wants to deal with a hacked WordPress blog, and it is easy to secure your blog. One great step to secure your WordPress blog is to install and activate this plugin. This plugin will limit the amount of login attempts that people can use, and it is designed to stop brute force attacks.
Brute force attacks occur when a malicious user attempts to log into an account using every conceivable combination of characters for a password until they are able to access the back-end of the website. The simplest way to solve this is to give users a certain number of login attempts, and this is exactly what Limit Login Attempts does.
#2 – WP Super Cache
Everyone can benefit from a faster website. WP Super Cache achieves this goal by saving a local copy of your website on your server, instead of fetching the content dynamically each time the page is requested.
To understand how WP Super Cache works, it is beneficial to have a little bit of background on how WordPress operates. Every time a web page is requested by an end user, WordPress dynamically fetches all of the content—from the post information to images to videos. This process can require a lot of time, especially on a busy site where WordPress is fetching multiple pages per second. To speed up the process, rather than fetching the content dynamically, WP Super Cache saves a copy of the site locally. This has the effect of speeding up your website, and making it more resilient to high amounts of traffic.
You can even take it a step further with WordPress optimized hosting. WordPress hosting allows your site to be even faster and never face downtime or slowness with high amounts of traffic. This hosting works because the servers have been purpose-built for WordPress and have plenty of resources to handle numerous database transactions and page views.
#3 – Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
Every website needs to know how it is doing. Google Analytics acts like a report card for a website, showing in-depth traffic information, visitor waterfalls, average time spent on the site, and thousands of other useful metrics. Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress lets users easily install Google Analytics.
While installing Google Analytics without writing a line of code is great, the true power of this plugin can be seen when you log into WordPress. Once you log into your WordPress dashboard, you can see your analytics without even leading the page. Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress provides a full view of everything you need to get a good idea of how your site is performing.
#4 – Yoast SEO
It is well-known that SEO is extremely important for websites, and Yoast is a great plug in to help you start writing content that ranks well. Yoast SEO reviews your post’s content on-the-fly and quickly grades it on a traffic light (green is good, yellow is okay, and red needs improvement) system that allows you to easily understand how you can improve your content to rank better.
Take it a step further. Once you’ve installed Yoast and used it to improve some of your own posts, learn how to get your new content quickly indexed by Google.
#5 – Akismet Anti-Spam
Spam blog comments are not just annoying, they’re also bad for SEO. It is no fun to go through your blog comments and sort through the spam, so Akismet provides a unique and extremely effective solution.
Akismet creates a honeypot of thousands of different WordPress blogs, and upon signing up, your blog becomes part of the honeypot too. All of these blogs share information with one another about sources of spam comments. When a spam comment is reported on one site, the same commenter or IP address is sent to thousands of other sites which allows Akismet to build a profile for the spam commenter and automatically flag the comments.
Honorable mention: Backup Plugins
It is always important to keep a backup of your site, even if your web host keeps backups for you. There are many great ways to back up your WordPress site via a plug-in, but every site can benefit from one. Some great plugins include UpDraftPlus, backs up to Dropbox and other cloud storage solutions, and BackUpWordPress.
Justin Smith is a veteran webmaster and web hosting professional. With over 5 years of industry experience, he has seen all kinds of website set ups and is an expert in optimization. He regularly writes for the YourLastHost Blog, covering content for beginners all the way to advanced techniques.