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Free WordPress Plugins – What are Your Favourites?

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of August 2010 Reader Questions 0 Comments

It has been a while since we had a survey on the topic of WordPress plugins so today I’d like to kick one off. What are your favourite FREE WordPress Plugins?

Try to keep it to your top 5 so that things don’t get out of hand – but please share which free WordPress plugins are most useful to you in comments below.

If you have some premium/paid ones that you want to suggest – please hold off on sharing those as I’ll run a post later in the week asking for your feedback on those.

So – what are you favourite free WordPress Plugins – and Why? Over to you!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Markdown for WordPress and bbPress – I write in Markdown so transferring this to my site makes this plugin a must.

    Twitter Tools – I use this to push notification of new blog posts out to Twitter. It automates the process so I don’t have to do it manually.

    WPtouch iPhone Theme – This allows my blog to display well on mobile devices.

    Wibiya Toolbar – It extends the functionality of the site effortlessly.

  2. Hey Darren,

    Exclude Pages from Navigation
    WPtouch iPhone Theme

    Looking forward to see what others are going to show.

  3. For me the “must haves” are:

    Contact Form 7 or Gravity Forms
    Google XML Sitemaps
    Thesis Open Hook (for Thesis sites)
    Subscribe to Comments

  4. My top plugins are Akismet and WP-SpamFree to help control comment spam, Google XML SiteMaps, RSS Footer to add copywrite information to my RSS feeds, and All in One AdSense and YPN to add AdSense into my blog posts with the ability to customize, rotate, use channels and turn off on specific posts.

  5. Google XML Sitemaps has got to be my top favorite – notifies the major search engines when your blog and sitemap are updated automagically.

    I’m also liking the Wibiya Toolbar – just installed it, but it seems to be working well. It’s got more features related to blogging, sharing, and communication than you can shake a stick at.

  6. I like the WP Comment Auto Responder.

    It increases a lot the visits and comments at my blog.

  7. To begin, I must mention that I run a tech blog, so some of these may be niche plugins:

    – Advanced Most Recent Posts – with a little CSS tweaking you can get the perfect results.
    – SexyBookmarks – no tweaking needed. It’s perfect. I value a lot my website design, and this plugin is just perfect.
    – Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – it has a genius algorithm implemented, for searching the best results for your related posts. To bad it is not stylish, I would of appreciated something with post thumbs that works.

    The only thing missing from my collection is a plugin that ads a featured content bar, on the top of the website. One similar to that of Any help guys?

  8. My top FIVE free WP Plugins are:

    1) Easy Twitter Links – allows me to easily reference hashtags and people on Twitter by username using the @ or # sign with having the blog post automatically link to those specific terms. Such as @brandyellen if I placed that in my post it would automatically link to my Twitter profile.

    2) Greg’s Threaded Number Comment Numbering – allows me to see number of comments, which works great for a person like me who hosts a lot of giveaways. Easy to manage comments/entrants.

    3) Organize Series with Organize Series Publisher- allows me to easily link up a series and this plugin automatically creates a direct link to the series as would happen when you create a specific category. Makes it easier to do series for my readers & promote them.

    4) Platinum SEO Pack – easier to insert keywords, meta tags and descriptions into the posts to help boost SEO.

    5) ReplyMe – keeps the conversation going so that you can reply right in your WP dashboard to a comment & have it go to their inbox as well as on site to engage more with your readers/commenters.

  9. My favorites are:

    WP Greet Box

  10. I have musts and faves.

    All In One SEO
    FD Feedburner
    Google XML Site Map
    WordPress Backup (by BTE)

    Comment Luv

  11. Here are my favourites, not the most well known, but the ones I’ve found the most useful:- – WP DB Backup: a lifesaver on a number of occassions! – WP Email Capture: Helps me from day one to build an email list. – Google Sitemap Generator, simple set it & forget it. – BM Keyword link, saves time & improves internal ranking to sneeze pages etc. – ALMOST perfect. Needs a landing page option, but nice and simple contact form :)

  12. Here’s the top 5 plugins I use in all of the blogs I create. The list is organized by favorite, starting with my most favorite plugin.

    – WP Greet Box
    – All in One SEO Pack
    – WP Super Cache
    – Easy Privacy Policy
    – Contact Form 7

    Some of the plugins I just like because they’re useful and create less hassle than if you were to enter in the code yourself. Others I just love the function.

    I hope this list is helpful!


  13. HeadSpace2
    W3 Total Cache
    Google Analytics for WordPress
    Subscribe To Comments

  14. You’re going to see a lot of AIOSEO and YARPP so I’ll leave those out.

    My Top 5 plugins would be

    CommentLuv – puts a link to the commenter’s most recent post in the bottom of their comment.
    HyperCache+DB Cache Reloaded – caching plugins to speed up the site
    Redirection – manages 301 redirects and monitors 404 errors
    WordPress Popular Posts – to display the most viewed posts in a certain time frame on my sidebar

  15. My Must-Haves in descending order of importance:
    1. Askimet
    2. WordPress Backup
    3. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
    4. Sociable
    5. Google XML Site Map

  16. 38 different plug-ins on my blog (wow).
    The ones I love?
    > AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget
    > Akismet
    > Broken Link Checker
    > Exclude Pages from Navigation
    > Find Me On
    > NextGEN Gallery (when it works)
    > Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu
    > WordPress Mobile Edition
    > Yoast Breadcrumbs

  17. There are many excellent and free WP plug-ins out there! How great is it that we can find a plug-in for just about any functionality we want for our websites and blogs? A few of my favorites are:

    Exclude Pages from Navigation: This one provides a check box on the editing page which you can check to exclude pages from your primary navigation. Really handy for landing pages, sales pages, etc.

    Widget Logic: Allows me to customize what pages I want to put my widget boxes on.

    Pretty Link and Twitter Friendly Links: these two plug-ins are great for creating shortened URLs within your own domain (instead of using something like tinyurl). This is helpful because when someone clicks on the link, your site gets credit for the link, which is great for search engine optimization. TFL can also be set as the link shortener for the “Tweet This” plug-in.


  18. Musts for me are:

    Broken Link Checker
    Comment Reply Notification
    FD Feedburner
    Twitter Tools
    WPtouch iPhone Theme
    Ultimate Google Analytics

    Others I always install include:

    Social Slider
    TwitterLink Comments

  19. 1. All in One SEO – Helps with titles, keywords, and post snippets for improved search results.

    2. WP Super Cache – Speeds up your wordpress site and lessons the load on your server. Improves your customer(reader) experience.

    3. SEO Smart Links – Lets you choose keywords to link back to your posts with tags. Very helpful to bring more page rank to your post and for more pageviews.

    4. Linkwithin – Show related posts after your post. Provides readers with extra content to browse which increases your pageviews.

    5. Subscribe to Comments – Lets users get an email anytime a follow up comment is posted. Good for gaining more comments and debating a topic.

    Wow I could do a whole post on WordPress plugins, I use so many. It would be off topic for my blog but if any of you want a guest post let me know.

  20. Wow! Lots I’ve seen and used in the list, but no mention of my fave…

    1. Akismet
    2. WordPress Backup
    3. All in One SEO
    4. Sociable
    and… drum roll please…
    5. NexGen Gallery

  21. Hi to everybody!

    My choices are:

    1. All In SEO
    2. Contact Form 7
    3. WP Super Cache
    4. Google XML Sitemaps
    5. Ozh’ Better Feed

  22. All in One SEO Pack – great SEO results using this plug-in.
    Contextual Related Posts – increase in time spent on site by suggesting other postings to reader.
    Disqus Comment System – more features then the WP commenting system.
    Wibiya Toolbar – lots of great features and integration with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
    WPtouch iPhone Theme – best plug-in to make your blog mobile.

    DJ Smith – Promote Your Business or Cause using Social Media

  23. Akismet
    WP Backup
    All in one SEO
    Yet Another Related Post Plugin
    WP Greet Box

    These are my top 5….


  24. Hi Darren,
    The best plug-ins to have on your Word Press blog should be
    1. The Google XML Site Map – This is the most important because it helps the google bots find their way around your site to sniff around for fresh content.

    2. The Contact form is another important plug-in for those using wordpress templates that don’t come with a contact form

    3. Google analytics for WordPress – comes in handy to track your blogs/site’s stats

    Those are the best three for me.

  25. There are so many great free ones, but here are my top 8:
    1. After the Deadline
    3. All in one SEO
    4. SEO Smart Links
    5. YARPP
    6. WP-reCAPTCHA
    7. Comment Luv
    8. Get Recent Comments

  26. Akismet
    Contact Form 7
    Google XML Sitemaps
    Sexy Bookmarks
    Wordpress Backup
    All in One SEO
    Subscribe to Comments

    And now, thanks to Jonathan Gardner (first post), the WPtouch iPhone Theme :)

  27. These are my favorite free WordPress plugins:

    CommentLuv – lets commenters with blogs leave their latest post behind under their comment.

    Compact Archives – helps you create nice format for the date based archives.

    Redirection – allows you to setup redirects in your WordPress dashboard and keeps track of how many times the original URL is hit.

    Thesis Openhook – makes customizing parts of your Thesis theme much simpler.

    WPTouch iPhone Theme – creates a good looking theme for your WordPress blog when viewed by mobile browsers.

  28. And I know, I totally broke the top 5 rules… but how can you say one is better than another when they’re all essential? :)

  29. I only have 5 plugins running (less processes, quicker loading times) so I suppose they can be my favourites too.

    Hello Dolly – NO, just kidding!!! Stats
    – quickly see where people come and go, like a simplified Analytics with less button clicking

    Advertising Manager
    – Easy to add code from a dropdown menu in any part of your post.

    – not as bad as the name appears, good to have at the bottom of the posts

    AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget
    – Another way for people to share the word. You can see the most popular posts linked to (saved etc) in your dashboard.

    FD Feedburner Plugin
    – It was easy to get the RSS feed up and running and going through feedburner

    And that’s about it.
    I use the THESIS theme so I don’t need a SEO plugin.
    I have been looking at installing a ‘Similar Posts’ plugins though am yet to decide which.

    Saludos from a Kiwi in Chile

  30. Here are five WordPress plugins that I find really useful, in no particular order.

    1. Tweetmeme Retweet Button – Doesn’t validate for strict xhtml but provides an element of social proof and makes it easy for people to share your content.

    2. Feedburner Feedsmith – Allows you to integrate your WordPress RSS feed with Feedburner and take advantage of the additional feed stats provided by Google.

    3. Google xml Sitemaps – Automatically upgrades your xml sitemap whenever new content is added to your blog.

    4. Popular Posts – Allows you to display the most popular posts on your blog which helps people to explore your site further.

    5. Cbnet Ping Optimizer – Control your blog ping mechanism so that it only notifies other networks the first time you publish a post. Great if you make frequent changes to your posts.

  31. Daren,

    It would be great to compile the stas and get a top 10 list of best plug-ins as recommend by ProBlogger readers.

    My favorite has to be All In One SEO pack. If you don’t get traffic, why bother blogging.


  32. One of my favorites is Ad-Slider. Its great for building out email lists. You can get it free at

  33. Hands down, Askimet. It does such a great job spam filtering I cannot think that anything else comes close.

  34. 1. GD Press Tools
    2. Google XML Sitemaps
    3. Contextual Related Posts
    4. Quick Adsense
    5. Digg Digg

  35. Has to be Askimet. One of these days I am going to do a post compiling my favorite spam comments because some are just hilarious!

  36. Hey Darren,

    Nice Idea.

    I think akismet, all in one seo, contact form and xml sitemap plugins are must.



  37. My users, so do not understand WP blog but thanks for information

  38. Besides the obvious must-haves:

    XML Sitemap
    All-In-One SEO

    I think these are fantastic:

    FD Feedburner (super-easy Feed redirection)
    After the Deadline (enhanced formatting)
    wp-Typography (to get rid of all those hyphenation nightmares)
    Posterous Importer (for posting by email)

    Maybe you should ask people by category what they use next time??? Like Spam as a category, etc. You will probably get a much better read on what people use, eh? Limiting to five out of thousands is kinda inefficiently wonky.

  39. I love this post, there are a whole bunch of ones I’ll be checking out.

    I use Auto Tweet to automatically send tweets of my posts, it occasionally barfs so I am looking for a new one.

    Blogger Importer, since I transfered from a blogspot account to my own domain which worked well.

    StatPress reloaded to get stats on my blog, much nicer then Google Analytics.

    TweetMeme Retweet Button for the social.

    WordPress Database Backup just in case.

    Yet Another Related Posts Plugin with nearly 2 years of archives this makes a great portal into the rest of content at the bottom of each post.

  40. I like (keeping the the 5 theme):

    1. WP Greetbox

    It has definitely increased RSS and email signups.

    2. Posts per cat

    Allows you display any number of posts per category and exclude any categories that you want. It eliminates the need for the exclude category plugin and it’s better than a plain category list.

    3. better nearby post navigation

    Allows readers to read adjacent posts one right after the other without having to hit the back button, visit the sidebar, scroll down, or anything. If they click on a post and decide it’s not want they wanted, they can easily go to the next post.

    4. Get social

    Another floating share box but better because it collapses on smaller screen resolutions. You can easily add additional social sites that are not part of the default.

    5. YAARP- it rocks.

    I’ve thought about adding LinkWithin, but I think the images distract from the titles.

    Has anyone noticed if it’s better to use LinkWithin, YAARP, or both?

  41. I use the following on Car Throttle that are really useful in serving our audience:

    1. Akismet (we get a crapload of spam daily)
    2. WP Super Cache (we sometimes get a bucketload of traffic all at once)
    3. Picbox (provides a nice interactive overlay for all images – and we serve a lot of images)
    4. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (simple, and helps increase pageviews)
    5. Redirection (manages all 301 redirects and 404 errors)

  42. “WP to Twitter”
    plugin that tweets new posts.

    “Sexy Bookmarks”
    allows to add “sexy” share buttons under a post…

    “WordPress Related Posts”
    adds list of related (based on tags) posts under the content

    some others as well, but those above are worth mentioning here

  43. Great idea for a post! I am browsing through other comments, and already picked up few ideas.

    As this is not a photographic community, I made a list of my top 5 general plug-ins:
    Akismet – spam fiter
    Google Analyticator – no need to go to Google Analytics, I have all info on my blog Dashboard
    Poll Daddy – to engage readers with polls
    Wordbooker – shares my content on Facebook automatically
    Yet Another Related Post Plug-in -generates a list of similar posts

    For those interested in photo related plug-ins, I have a full list on my blog:

  44. Hi Darren:
    Here is the free plugin list:
    1. Akismet
    2. Google XML Sitemaps
    3. Live Comment Preview
    4. Sexy Bookmarks
    5. Supr by StumbleUpon
    6. Twitter @Anywhere Plus
    7. Stats

    I’ll look forward to what others are using and have to suggest!

  45. Oooh now then plug-ins are my very own form of drug and though this addiction looks set to spin way out of control I couldn’t resist throwing my oar in and adding my very own list of favorites…

    Much of the ones I consider most useful have already been listed repeatedly, ( I love you Commentluv) because they do the job and they do it well, but those listed below are the ones I’m also truly grateful for…

    1. Meet Your Commenters pulls up the social networking and blog details of those who take the time to comment on your blog, and presents them to you in a list on your dashboard so you can thank them by following their tweets or leaving a comment or two on one or more of their blogs.

    2. Postalicious makes quick work of turning your Delicious bookmarks into blog posts, doing the hard work so you don’t have to

    and finally…

    I truly love 3. NextGen gallery, because after conducting an extensive search for a gallery plugin I could both fathom and fiddle about with, Nextgen meets both criteria in scrumptiously lovely, understated style.

    Happy days!

  46. Comment Luv and the related Keyword Luv are two of my favorites.
    I especially like the idea of Keyword Luv allowing me to have name to reply to in comments vs. some stupid keyword.
    I also like WordPress HashCash as a method of cutting down the spam I need to go through. I haven’t yet even activated Akismet on my current blog.
    I think plugins are a favorite subject with bloggers and there are always new ones as well as the old favorites everyone uses.

  47. My favourite free wordpress plugins are:

    1. SRG Clean Archives (builds an HTML sitemap)

    2. All in One SEO Pack (the #1 SEO plugin)

    3. Contact Form 7 (the same says it all)

    4. Digg Digg (social bookmarking buttons – you can choose which you want to display)

    5. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (related posts below your post)

    Plus some extras:

    RSS Footer, Google XML Sitemaps and WP Super Cache – awesome add-ons! WordPress plugins are so useful.

  48. I’ve got so many, I’m sure I could pare them down a bit!

    My must haves are:

    1. Broken link checker
    2. Sexy Bookmarks
    3. Subscribe to Comments
    4. Who’s Online – fun to watch!
    5. Polldaddy Polls – fun again!

    Considering I’ve lots to choose from I was hard pushed to make up my mind!

  49. I think my favorite plugins are MaxBlogPress’ Ping optimizer & Woopra’s Analytics plugin. Makes it easy to keep my sites off the blacklist & watch people visit in real time.

  50. My Favorites:
    All In One SEO
    Share This
    Intense Debate
    Sexy Bookmarks

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