Four WordPress Plugins I Always Use

Person using WordPressWordPress is a great content management system for simple to moderately complex websites. I’ve been building WordPress sites since 2007 for everything from candidates running for local office, to a property development company, to a national franchise system.

Over the last decade, WordPress has substantially evolved, and my development skillset has become more sophisticated. Today, four WordPress plugins make their way into every build. If you’re not using them, I’d recommend checking them out.

  1. Wordfence – Keeping your site secure should be top-of-mind for anyone building in WordPress. In addition to following best practices for securing your website, I recommend using Wordfence. This powerful free plugin defends your site against brute force attacks, provides a web application firewall and has a handy malware scanner built-in.
  2. Gravity Forms – Every website I’ve built needs some a contact form, and Gravity Forms makes it super simple to create With conditional logic, advanced form fields and a ton of add-ons, Gravity Forms is by far the most advanced and easy-to-use form plugin for WordPress.
  3. Backup Buddy – When I started building WordPress websites in a local development environment with MAMP, I went looking for a migration solution. After looking at a number of backup and migrate plugins, I landed on BackupBuddy. In addition to being a great migration tool, BackupBuddy’s backups have saved my ass on a few occasions. These days, I never recommend building a website without having some type of backup happening automatically.
  4. Really Simple SSL – Way back in 2014, Google announced it would begin using HTTPS as an SEO ranking signal. Since then, Google has continued to increase the weight it gives to sites using SSL in its ranking factor. Back in August, cPanel announced it would be rolling out free SSL to everyone (provided you’re using a cPanel host). Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as installing an SSL certificate on your domain when it comes to WordPress. In my experience, a lot of themes and plugins make non-HTTPS request causing your site not to be fully encrypted. Really Simple SSL is a free, lightweight plugin that I’ve had excellent success getting insecure moved over to HTTPS.

Did I miss a WordPress plugin you find essential? Tweet me your favorite plugins @ZacharyNelson.

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