7 FREE WordPress Plugins Every Website Needs

Although I do some affiliate marketing, I am primarily a WordPress & SEO specialist who provides content that I would find useful myself.  I am proud to support and recommend products that I have personally purchased and used.

I do include referral links from time to time and I am very transparent about this BUT also want to be transparent when I don’t use any referral links and this ‘best of’ article is exactly that – the 7 Best WordPress plugins that I use on affiliate sites that are essentially, free. 

The plugins I have included in this list can be used for the capabilities I mention in a completely free capacity.  Some of them have premium options but I don’t use them myself and I am certainly not promoting the premium option either directly or indirectly.
 
Some of these free plugins I no longer use as I have purchased premium alternatives but each in their own right, hold their own, and would be the first I turn to if I needed a free alternative.  I still use four of the seven listed below on every site I have.
 

If you are not using any of these, I encourage you to give them a go.  I will also point out that these are not listed in any particular order.

 

Accelerated Mobile Pages Plugin

AMP FOR WP

AMP for WP adds Accelerated Mobile Pages functionality to your WordPress site. Why have AMP?  Well, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project aims to make your website faster for Mobile visitors.  So fast that pages load nearly instantly on mobile devices.  AMP pages look like a very stripped back, simple version of normal web pages, but still contain all of the important content.  AMP ultimately reduces page load thereby improving customer experience and reducing negative SEO measures like bounce rate and in turn improving your SEO.  Worth considering.

Premium Alternative: AMP for WP Pro

Image Optimization Plugin

Imagify

Imagify is my new bestie plugin.  I like the flexibility I have when optimizing images and I really like the 50MB quota they give you FREE each month.  I am yet to come to close to using it all (but I do resize my objects in Photoshop first).  Imagify also does a great job shrinking file size to improve load time and increase performance.

I also love the option to use either their web app before importing into WordPress or alternatively optimizing once your image is in the WordPress Media Library.  Definitely worth checking out.

Premium Alternatives: ShortPixel

SEO Plugin

THE SEO FRAMEWORK

The SEO Framework provides an automated,  unbranded and extremely fast SEO solution for any WordPress website whilst being completely ad free.  Best of all, the free version is incredible and feature rich without being bloated. 

The SEO Framework’s ultimate goal is to help your content rank better in search engines. It comes with many of the features you’ll find in other credible SEO plugins such as All In One SEO, Yoast & SEOPress.  However, the SEO Framework has an extendability option called Extension Manager, which helps you implement additional functionality to the parent plugin.

The SEO Framework also offers:

  • suggestions on how to improve your SEO efforts.
  • highly configurable settings.
  • customization of your title, meta description, and Open Graph settings.
  • custom post types integration.

Premium Alternative: SEOPress

Analytics Plugin

Google Analytics Dashboard For WP

This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using your Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view the key Google Analytics stats in your WordPress Dashboard.  This Google Analytics plugin also provides in-depth Page reports and in-depth Post reports to allow further detailed analysis of your data, providing performance details for each post or page from your WordPress website.  Incredible!  And this is FREE!
 

This Google Analytics plugin reports in your WordPress dashboard:

  • Real-time number of visitors
  • Real-time acquisition channels
  • Real-time traffic sources details

 

Premium Alternative: Monster Insights

HTTPS Security Plugin

Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL automatically detects your WordPress settings and configures your site to run over https. To keep the plugin lightweight and not impact site performance, the features are kept to a minimum. Really Simple SSL is a breeze to use and you can implement in three simple steps.
  • Get an SSL certificate (most hosts now offer the free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate).
  • Activate the ‘Really Simple SSL’ plugin
  • Enable SSL with one click
Then what does Really Simple SSL do?
  • All incoming requests are redirected to https.
  • The site url and home url are changed to https.
  • Your insecure content is fixed by replacing all http:// urls with https://, except hyperlinks to other domains.
Really Simple…

URL Redirection Plugin

Redirection

Redirection has been downloaded and installed on over 1 Million WordPress installations and is the most popular redirect plugin for WordPress. Not only can you easily manage 301 redirections, you can also  track 404 errors and take action on these. 

404s offer a poor customer experience and will hurt your SEO efforts if not attended to over time. Keeping your 404s in check can help reduce errors and also improve your ranking on Search Engines.  Redirection is completely scalable from small sites to sites with hundreds if not thousands of redirections.

Security Plugin

iThemes Security

iThemes Security is one of the most comprehensive free WordPress Security plugins on the market.  What makes it so great is that it is so easy to use and you can harden your site in a matter of minutes with little to no knowledge of WordPress security. 

WordPress sites can be an easy target for attacks because of plugin vulnerabilities, weak passwords and obsolete software.  Thousands of sites are hacked every day and one of the biggest misconceptions WordPress Owners hold is that because their site is not an eCommerce site then there is no risk.  Wrong!

 iThemes Security works to lock down WordPress, fix common holes, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials.  Give it a try.

Do you use any of these plugins?  Are there any other free plugins that you recommend?  Let me know in the comments.

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  • Danial Wilson says:

    I would like to suggest one plugin related to security which is User Blocker – WordPress Plugin. This is a free WordPress security plugin that provides the ability to block or unblock user accounts quickly and effortlessly. It has several features such as block user, role based block user, customizable message, etc.

    • Matt Power says:

      Thanks for the suggestion Danial. I have actually never heard of that plugin before – I will check it out! 🙂