WordPress is the leading Content Management System in the world today. 500 new sites come online each day using the software, which is available in 46 languages. As an open-source project, WordPress is constantly growing. The software interacts with a wide range of plugins and themes, developed by software companies and by individual enthusiasts looking to improve their favorite software. As a popular CMS, you can install WordPress on any standard web hosting package, from a shared service to virtual private server hosting. Once you’ve set up the basics of the software, you’re ready to get into one of WordPress best assets: the vast plugin directory that enables site owners to add unique, useful and interesting plugins to shape the display and the organization of your site.
There are over 44,000 plugins available for WordPress today. While there are excellent commercial plugins available for your site, we’ve highlighted some free choices that can have a great impact on your WordPress site.
Akismet is free for personal blogs and websites. This powerful spam filter checks all of your comments and filters out the spam. You can easily review the filtered comments, discard the worst spam and protect your blog from predatory spammers, malware distributors and bots. Akismet will automatically check incoming comments and keep spam from infecting your quality content, maintaining a great user experience for your visitors. Until you’ve run a WordPress site that allows comments, you may have no idea just how much spam is out there. Akismet has powerful technology that shuts down spam before it can appear and disrupt user discussions.
2. JetPack by WordPress.com
It may seem like a “no brainer,” but JetPack, which transfers some of the most useful features of WordPress.com to your self-hosted website, is an indispensable plugin. From its comprehensive statistics, to its subscription support, to its content delivery network for fast image display to its beautiful gallery layouts, JetPack is a not-to-be-missed free addition to any WordPress site.
3. Page Builder by SiteOrigin
Page Builder is the most popular drag-and-drop page creation plugin for WordPress; the plugin allows you to have custom-designed homepages, unique buttons, columns and tables that highlight your data and make it stand out. You can integrate Page Builder into your existing theme. And unlike most drag-and-drop layout plugins, Page Builder is completely free. There’s a special Widgets Bundle that accompanies Page Builder that provides you with many more interesting display options.
4. WP Super Cache
When your site has large amounts of content and runs many plugins, it can seem to slow down a bit. WP Super Cache is a caching program that provides site visitors with a speedy, responsive experience and improves user experience greatly. This plugin can be used with any type of web hosting, from shared hosting to virtual private server hosting; a VPS can allow you to take advantage of more caching features for the best user experience at your WordPress site.
5. Contact Form 7
When you need a more powerful contact form solutions than the basic form available through WordPress or JetPack, Contact Form 7 is an excellent, and totally free, solution. You can customize the form and mail contents to meet your needs in a simple, easy-to-use form; this plugin allows you to create fully flexible forms that go far beyond a simple “Contact Us” box. The PayPal add-on allows you to make Contact Form 7 an order form – again completely free, a particularly important perk when many competitors charge for PayPal integrations.
Another perennial favorite, WooCommerce is an excellent gateway to eCommerce on WordPress for small and medium-sized businesses. The plugin works for physical goods, digital downloads and affiliate products, and the plugin includes shipping calculations. There are a number of payment options, including credit cards, bank transfers and PayPal, as well as a great visual display theme, Storefront, which helps to create the look of your online store for WordPress.
While you may be planning to stay with one web host forever, you might plan to upgrade to virtual private server hosting, need to move to a higher-capacity host or otherwise need to transfer the WordPress site you’ve built. Duplicator is a plugin that helps any site owner to move or back up your WordPress site.
8. Contact Form DB
This flexible and free plugin works with a wide range of contact form plugins and WordPress options. Maintain a database of all of your contacts in a file that you can store on your site or download to your computer in a number of formats. Contact Form DB is a powerful, free tool for managing and tracking your customer and visitor communications.
Do you love online forums and communities? bbPress gives you the opportunity to create your own Web community as part of your WordPress website. This plugin installs light forum software that promotes conversation and communication, and allows real discussion to develop. Easy to use and widely accessible, bbPress helps you to create a real community as part of your site and encourage user-to-user and customer-to-customer discussion.
10.Quick Page/Post Redirect
This plugin allows a site owner to create any URL or web address as part of their WordPress site and redirect it anywhere else. You can create new URLs on the go – for a discount code, a special customer, or a quick mnemonic – and just enter them into the plugin to produce a shareable link. Quick Page/Post Redirect can help to clean up old links and create one-to-one forwarding for sites transferred from non-WordPress environments.
All of these completely free plugins can help to make your life as a WordPress site owner more comfortable and creative. If you have a question or are facing a technical challenge, don’t hesitate to head over to the Plugin Directory; you may find exactly what you need!