In most cases, the functionality offered by the WordPress installation and a particular theme is not enough to meet all the standards of modern web design. Aware of this fact, the creators of this CMS, as well as enthusiasts from a broad circle of its users, have throughout the years devised a large number of plugins with the aim to provide this lacking functionality. The installation and activation of a WordPress plugin is very simple, especially in case of downloading it from a directory at www.wordpress.org; select the Plugins → Add New option in the main WordPress menu and it will take you to a page where you can search this directory. When you find the desired plugin, click Install and after some time WordPress will offer you to activate the plugin you have just installed. Some plugins need additional configuring, and once-installed plugin can be deactivated and subsequently deleted. If you have chosen a commercial plugin, you need to install it manually – a process very much similar to the installation and activation of a WordPress theme. Below we will list some of the most popular and most used plugins.
ALL IN ONE SEO PACK
The importance of good optimization cannot be overstated, and with All in One SEO Pack plugin you get the maximum of visibility of your website in search results (more precisely, the maximum that can be reached without hiring an SEO expert). Among other things, this plugin enables you to add various meta information to your content and thus improve its ranking, which you can verify through tests. The alternative and almost as popular Yoast SEO plugin provides similar functionality. One thing is sure – you need to make a choice and under no circumstances should you install both these plugins because they will be conflicting each other. This is generally true for any two plugins that do the same thing.
DROPBOX BACKUP AND RESTORE
Creation of backup files is one of the most important lessons in web design and programming in general. Because your WordPress application is located on a server, any problems with the latter can imply irreversible loss of your files if you have not timely stored them in some other place as well. WordPress’ Dropbox Backup & Restore plugin does the largest part of this job instead of you by automatically creating the backups of your database and files in time intervals of your choosing. Of course, it is important to keep these backup files in a safe place, either in your Dropbox or some local file.
VaultPress is the most popular commercial backup plugin. For your money (the initial package amounts to about 5$ a month) you will get a software component that does the whole process automatically and according to a certain schedule. In addition, VaultPress also monitors the security of your website. The advantage of this plugin is the fact that it is fully compatible with WordPress, having in mind that it is produced by Automattic, the same company that maintains the most used CMS in the world today.
Anyone with an email address gets boring spam messages from time to time, and if you have a popular website with a lot of traffic, this situation can pose a real challenge. In order to relieve you from spam, WordPress offers Akismet plugin – actually, this is one of a couple of plugins that is a part of every new WordPress installation. There is also a paid-for version you can choose if you want to help improve Akismet further.
W3 TOTAL CACHE
Downloading of web pages goes a lot faster if they are static, i. e. if a browser can download a ready version of a page from cache instead of dynamically creating the look thereof every time through communication with a server. W3 Total Cache plugin is made for this purpose; on one side, it enables WordPress to display pages in the aforementioned way, and on the other, it updates the cached version of a page whenever a change occurs.
Jetpack brings along a large number of software components packed in one plugin. In time it has grown so much that today it takes more memory space that WordPress itself. Some of the functionalities offered by Jetpack are the possibility to monitor web statistics, contact forms, adding a Twitter widget, responsive slider and many others. Despite its size, Jetpack is a plugin worth considering if you want your WordPress site to stand out among the others.
If you intend to start an online business, WooCommerce is the right thing for you. To utilize its functionality to the fullest, you need a WordPress theme that supports all the options offered by this plugin (such as WPZOOM). According to some data, WooCommerce supports almost 40% of web stores, which indicates that a seemingly complicated process that includes sale of goods and/or services, online payment and updating the store status can be greatly simplified with the aid of this plugin.
Although a little bit outdated, bbPress is still irreplaceable when it comes to managing online forums. This plugins enables quick and easy implementation of all the activities related to creation of categories and access levels, creation of threads, posting comments and the like. In this sense, BuddyPress goes a step further, enabling you to create your own private social network with all the attributes you are certainly accustomed to if you are an active user of Facebook or Twitter.
Aside from the aforementioned, there are literally thousands of plugins for every functionality you could possibly imagine. Their number, variety and compatibility are certainly one of the things that make WordPress so powerful.