Want to add more features to your website without having to touch the code? So…. Welcome to the wonderful world of plugins! In this guide I will tell you what plugins are, how to install them, and which are the best plugins for WordPress.

Lets start!

1.- What is a plugin and what is it for?

Plugins are programs that are installed in WordPress to improve its standard features. Its aim is to make your life easier by adding the features you need and customizing your website without having to touch the code.

You’ll find them of all kinds, free, paid and fremium, and they’re the ones that make WordPress much more than just a platform for creating blogs. If you can help, here is a complete and updated tutorial to help you master WordPress.

The installation of the plugins, as you will see below, is very quick and easy, but you should know that they consume resources from your server and can slow down the loading of your website.

This doesn’t mean you can’t install the plugins you need. Some are heavier than others. So just check what they weigh and how they can affect your website.

When you see the huge supply of plugins that exists and all you can do with them, you can go crazy. You want this, you want that… You want it all! So a word of advice:

2.- How to install a plugin in WordPress

Installing a plugin in WordPress is super simple and you don’t need to have any technical knowledge.

Let’s see it step by step:

Go to the “Plugins” menu, which you will find in the left sidebar of your WordPress. Hover your mouse over or click to see the available options. Click’Add New’.

Next, you will find a directory of plugins. You can access the featured, most popular, recommended or favorite plugins and you can also filter your search for plugins by keyword, author or tag.

Let’s assume that we are going to build a TSA-commerce and we want to install the Woocommerce plugin.

Before you install a plugin there are several things to look for:

  • Make it compatible with your version of WordPress
  • Number of active installations and reviews are a confidence factor
  • Access the details to see if you are really interested in this plugin

Okay, we already know we want to install the plugin. Then click on the “Install Now” button.

The process takes a few seconds and we will be given the option to activate it. If we don’t activate it, it will be installed but not operational.

Once installed, the plugin will automatically appear in your list of installed plugins (Plugins – Installed Plugins menu).

If you have not activated it before, you can also do it from here, as well as deactivate or delete it whenever you want.

You can also upload plugins from your computer to install them on your WordPress.

HERE: Don’t install plugins that you haven’t downloaded from official or trusted sites

If you go to wordpress.org, you will find a directory with more than 50,000 plugins.

From here you can search for the plugin that interests you and download it to your computer.

Let’s assume we want to download the Yoast SEO plugin (we’ll talk about this plugin later).

From here you can access all the information about the plugin: active installations, ratings, latest updates, compatibility with WordPress versions, etc., and download it directly to your computer.

There you go. From your computer you can upload the.zip file of the plugin to install it in your WordPress.

3.- My essential plugins

Throughout this mega guide we will see which are the best WordPress plugins in their different categories, but before that I will tell you which are my essentials. The ones that I myself currently have installed on my website.

WARNING: Your essentials will depend on your type of website and your specific needs.

Yoast SEO

A classic among SEO plugins. Yoast SEO integrates a series of SEO functions that make your life much easier.

This plugin is especially famous among those who don’t know SEO for its iconic traffic light that tells you what you have right, wrong or regular in each of your posts or pages. The staff can go crazy trying to make everything green.

And here I have to tell you something: when it comes to writing, go beyond what the traffic lights tell you. Don’t let those lights get in the way of writing about keyword density, etc. Focus on writing for your readers.

That said, this SEO plugin is very good and fantastic for many other things, like for example:

  • Allows you to easily create SEO titles and meta descriptions in all your content
  • Automatically generates Sitemaps or XML maps of your website and notifies search engines
  • Allows you to edit your robots.txt and htaccess files (for example, to do a 301 redirect)

WP Smush

The WP Smush plugin automatically reduces the size, optimizes and compresses the images you upload to your website to improve its performance and that the loading speed is not affected by this. It’s 100% free.

This way, you no longer have to worry about how much the images you upload weigh or stop weighing and the result does not affect the size or quality of the images.

WP Force SSL

The WP Force SSL plugin automatically redirects all HTTP to HTTPS traffic on all pages of your website without having to touch code.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is another classic among the best WordPress plugins. It is a basic but very flexible plugin that allows you to create and customize contact forms on your website. I’ve been using it for a long time and I’m not changing it for the moment.

The Contact Form 7 forms are adapted to Akismet’s spam filtering, which is the plugin we will see right now.

Akismet

The anti-spam plugin par excellence. Akismet is a very popular and extremely useful plugin, as it filters and blocks all the spam that comes to you through the comments and the contact form, and it can be a lot!

Any suspicious comments it detects are sent to the spam folder and can be managed from the “Comments” menu on the left side bar of your WordPress. There you can review, delete or accept them in your case.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

This plugin adds AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support to your website pages.

AMP is a system, promoted among others by Google itself, to try to ensure that the content shown on mobile phones loads at the speed demanded by users when they are browsing from this type of device.

When you activate this plugin, AMP-compatible versions of all pages of your website will be generated. However, the plugin is in charge of generating AMP content but not of showing it by default to your mobile users. This will be a Google thing.

Glue for Yoast & AMP

The Glue for Yoast & AMP plugin allows you to ensure that the AMP plugin uses the appropriate Yoast SEO metadata by default. That is, it integrates Yoast SEO into your AMP pages. And it also allows you to modify the design of your AMP pages.

Table of Content Plus

The Table of Content Plus plugin is pretty cool, because it automatically generates a table of the contents included in each of your entries, based on the labels of the titles H2, H3, etc. that you have used in each entry.

It’s a way of presenting your readers with an outline of all the information they’ll find in the entry, which makes especially good sense in long articles (like this XD).

In the plugin you can configure the table to be displayed in articles with a minimum number of title tags, so that the table of contents is not generated in the shorter posts. Users can hide the table if they wish.

Better Click To Tweet

Not that it’s a must-have plugin, but it’s cool. Better Click To Tweet lets you break the monotony of the text of your WordPress entries by creating boxes with highlighted phrases that your users can tweet directly.

When you have it enabled, the blue Twitter bird will automatically appear on the toolbar to edit your WordPress entries.

Clicking on the little bird, a box will appear where you can write the phrase you want to highlight and you can add your Twitter user. A shortcode will automatically be generated and inserted into your entry. And your readers will be able to tweet that phrase.

Comment Redirect

With the Comment Redirect plugin, developed by the Yoast team, you can automatically send people who have left you a comment for the first time to a specific target page.

On this page you can thank them for their contribution and suggest that they subscribe to your blog, your Youtube channel, follow you on your social networks… Whatever you want!

Force Regenerate Thumbnails

The Force Regenerate Thumbnails plugin allows you to remove the size of your old highlights and force their regeneration to give them the size you need.

This plugin can be very useful if, for example, you change your WP template and the size of the images you had in your previous version does not adapt to the new design. This way, you can automatically regenerate your thumbnails.

Crazy Translate

The Loco Translate plugin allows you to translate plugins and themes directly in your WordPress control panel.

Search & Replace

The Search & Replace plugin allows you to search your WordPress database for the items you want (text, categories, tags, URLs, authors, etc.) and replace them with others.

With this plugin you can also back up, import your database or migrate your domain to another domain.

So much for the plugins I’m currently using in this blog.

But since the important thing here is not my essential plugins, but which ones are going to be yours, we’ll soon see a compilation of the best WordPress plugins in different categories.

Of course, it’s just a compilation. There are many more and we will be updating this list with interesting news.