The best 29 WordPress plugins 2020 (+ alternatives!)

Plugins can help you make your website faster and safer, make more money, increase your traffic, or save a lot of time.

The problem?

There are thousands of WordPress plugins on the market. There are over 54,000 plugins in the WordPress library alone!

There are many useful plugins among them. But also many that you don’t even need and that harm your website rather than be useful.

So that you can better separate the wheat from the chaff, I compiled this list with the best WordPress plugins in 2020, in my opinion. Plugins that I have tested extensively and have been using for years.

The fewer plugins are, the better!

Before I go into detail, I want to warn you. As with many things, the following also applies to WordPress plugins:

The less, the better!

Too many plugins can slow down your website or make it more vulnerable to hackers. Even famous and well-rated plugins that you don’t expect.

I, therefore, advise you only to install the plugins that are necessary.

Tip: For security reasons, you should not deactivate plugins that you no longer need, but delete them completely. Because even inactive plugins can be used by hackers to execute malicious code on your website.

1. SEO

There are some great plugins that you can use to make sure your website is found better on Google. Here are some of the best.

1.1. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the standard plugin for SEO.

It extends WordPress with essential SEO functions, such as. For example, you are adding meta titles and descriptions or XML sitemaps that it does not bring with it.

yoast seo

It is easy to use and, thanks to its keyword and readability analysis, is also suitable for beginners who have not yet had much experience in keyword optimization.

It also comes with some useful additional functions, such as Breadcrumbs or verification for the Google Search Console.

1.2 Easy Table of Contents

Easy Table of Contents is also one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs. It enables you to display a table of contents in articles or on pages automatically or via shortcode (similar to Wikipedia).

easy table of content

Tables of contents make it easier for your readers to jump to the content that interests them quickly.

Also, the jump labels are sometimes displayed in the meta description in Google search results, which leads to more clicks on your blog articles.

1.3 Broken Link Checker

Empty links are neither great for visitors nor Google.

That’s why I run the Broken Link Checker on my blogs every few months to make sure that all outgoing and internal links still point to the websites they should be pointing to.

The great thing about the plugin:

broken link checker

In contrast to external broken link checkers, such as B. Screaming Frog, you can replace or delete the links right inside WordPress.

Warning: Since the Broken Link Checker can use up your server resources during operation, I recommend that you only use it from time to time and delete it when you no longer need it.

1.4 Redirection

Redirection is a great plugin to quickly and easily create redirects in WordPress. This is very useful if you don’t trust yourself to edit the .htaccess  on your server, or you don’t have access to it.

redirection

Redirection also logs 404 errors, helping you to find old or broken internal links (and to create redirects for them).

Data protection note: For data protection reasons, it is recommended to switch off IP logging in the options (IP addresses are saved in the 404 and forwarding logs by default).

1.5 Yet Another Stars Rating

With Yet Another Stars Rating, you can include star ratings in your blog posts (own ratings and user ratings).

First, this is useful for getting feedback about your work. Second, the star ratings are also displayed in the search results, which significantly increases the click-through rate on your results and can bring you more visitors via Google.

yasr

Privacy notice: When a user gives a star rating, their IP address is saved in the WordPress database. You can do this in the plugin settings under Do you want to save ip address? Disable (is disabled by default).

2. Data protection & security

Data protection has become even more important since the GDPR. Here are some great plugins that can help you make your WordPress website more secure and data protection compliant.

2.1 Borlabs cookie

The integration of an opt-in for cookies has been mandatory for every website.

If you don’t adhere to it, you can receive warnings.

Problematic?

Nope, because this can be easily and quickly solved with the Borlabs Cookie plugin!

I also use it here on the blog and can unconditionally recommend it.

It allows you to opt-ins for any service, such as integrate Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, Matoma, or Google, AdSense into your website.

borlabs

Cookies are only set if the user has explicitly consented to them:

Also, it offers a practical reload function with which embedded content from YouTube, Vimeo, Google Maps, or Instagram can only be loaded after the user has clicked on a button.

How this looks can be seen in action on this demo page.

Further advantages of the plugin: It is actively developed further, have a nice and clean user interface, and the developer, Benjamin Bornschein, offers fast and competent support.

In short:

An absolute must-have for your WordPress website!

2.2 BackWPup

Especially if you can not set up backup routines through your hosting provider, I advise you to use a backup plugin, such as. BackWPup.

Because believe me:

Nothing is worse than a broken WordPress installation or a total system failure without having a backup of your database and files.

backwpup

To protect you even better, I recommend that you do not save backups on the server on which your WordPress installation is located, but to send them to a remote location, e.g., another FTP server or in the cloud (e.g., Dropbox). BackWPup can do both.

Alternative: UpdraftPlus is also a good plugin for automated backups of your blog and a little easier to configure for beginners.

2.3 Antispam Bee

Anti-Spam Bee is one of the best plugins to fight comment spam.

I have been using it on many of my WordPress websites for years and can unconditionally recommend it. It drastically reduces comment spam and can also delete it automatically.

antispambee

In contrast to the widely used Akismet plugin and many other anti-spam plugins, the use of Antispam Bee is also compatible with the GDPR:

The filters used by Antispam Bee either do not process any personal data at all, or they are anonymized.

3. Performance

Speed! Even more speed! For your WordPress website. With these 6 great performance plugins.

3.1 WP Rocket

WP-Rocket is one of the best all-in-one plugins for loading time optimization.

It not only offers a very good page caching function (with preloading) but also various other functions for which you would normally have to install additional plugins:

wprocket

  • Summary and minimization of HTML, CSS, and JS
  • Disable emojis
  • Disable embeds
  • Summarize Google Fonts
  • LazyLoading for pictures, videos, and iframes
  • Database Cleanup

Assuming you have a reasonably cleanly programmed theme, a good host and not hundreds of plugins installed, you can achieve loading times of well under a second and high PageSpeed ​​scores of 85-95 with WP Rocket:

3.2 Clearfy

Clearfy is a useful plugin for everyone who wants to free WordPress from all unnecessary ballast. It allows the deactivation of various features, such as Google Fonts, Google Maps, Embeds, Emoji-Script, Gravatar, or the comment function.

clearfy

Also, it offers some functions to make administration more comfortable, clean up the dashboard, and make WordPress more secure.

Warning: I only recommend using Clearfy if you know what you are doing. By deactivating some functions, your design may be shot or plugins no longer work.

3.3 Autoptimize

If you want to improve the loading time of your blog, you can’t avoid Autoptimize. I use it on almost all of my blogs.

The useful plugin combines CSS and Javascript files and compresses them. This not only reduces the number of files loaded on your website (server requests) but also the overall size.

autoptimize

Autoptimize alone can reduce the loading time for some WordPress blogs by half!

3.4 EWWW Image Optimizer

A common reason for long loading times on WordPress blogs is uncompressed images.

The EWWW Image Optimizer remedies this, with the help of which every uploaded image is automatically optimized and without loss of quality.

The optimization takes place on your own server, so there is nothing to consider in terms of data protection law.

3.5 Cache Enabler

Page caching is one of the most important, if not the most important, measures to optimize the loading time of your blog.

My favorite plugin to do this is the Cache Enabler.

cache enabler

The plugin works reliably, delivers top loading times, and does not need to be configured. Simply install, activate, and you’re done!

Alternatives: The WP Super Cache developed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress, or the premium plugin WP Rocket are available as alternatives.

3.6 Regenerate thumbnails

If you make changes to your theme or install a new theme, the image sizes generated by WordPress may no longer fit.

So they may be stretched or bigger than they should be.

regenerate thumbnails wordpress plugin

The useful plugin Regenerate Thumbnails, which creates all image sizes generated by WordPress, can help.

3.7 WP sweep

Over time, a lot of garbage collects in the WordPress database, which eventually causes it to swell to an unsightly size.

With WP-Sweep, you can remove this garbage, such as B. Revisions, spam comments, deleted posts, or transient options, simply delete from the database.

wp-sweep plugin

Attention: Please make a backup of your database before using it!

3.8 a3 Lazy Load

Is your website very image-heavy? Or are there pictures in very high resolution?

Then you should install a3 Lazy Load! The plugin ensures that all images on your website are only loaded when visitors scroll there (so-called lazy loading ).

a3 lazy load plugin

So only a few images are loaded when you visit your website, which can greatly improve your loading time.

3.9 Lazy Load for Comments

Comments are an often underestimated ballast for your loading time.

Especially if you have to blog articles with 100, 200, or more comments, and you want to display the gravatar images of the commentators.

The Lazy plugin Load for Comments remedies that only loads comments when a visitor is also interested in them.

In the plugin options, you can choose between two types of display. Either comment are loaded by scrolling or by clicking:

Simple but effective.

4. Useful tools

Here you will find practical plugins with which you can do very time-consuming tasks or settings in WordPress in no time:

4.1 WordPress Advanced Bulk Edit

WordPress Advanced Bulk Edit is an almost unknown plugin with just 300 downloads from CodeCanyon (in contrast to the sister plugin WooCommerce Advanced Bulk Edit, which has sold over 8,000 copies).

But wrong! Because it has saved me an incredible amount of time and effort in many situations.

Why?

It allows the mass editing of WordPress posts. And that much more efficiently and comprehensively than the multiple actions in WordPress:

The plugin outputs posts, pages, and custom posts in a table that can be sorted and filtered according to defined criteria. Each post property can be changed individually or in bulk. For example, you can reassign the categories or tags of hundreds of posts at once.

Also:

With the plugin, you can also change custom fields, such as Yoast SEO meta title and description:

4.2 Better Search Replace

With Better Search Replace, you can search your WordPress database for specific words or strings and replace all instances if necessary.

That has saved me days or even weeks of work!

better search plugin

This is useful e.g., For example, when you change your domain, change WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS, make changes to a single permalink or your entire permalink structure, or when renaming shortcodes and CSS classes.

Alternative: Search & Replace, which can also be used to replace words or strings in the entire database. In addition, you can create a database backup with one click.

4.3 WP Add Custom CSS

WP Add Custom CSS allows you to easily and quickly insert your CSS instructions into your blog and thus adapt the design of your theme.

wp add custom css plugin

What I like best about it:

In addition to CSS for the entire website, you can add each post individually.

Alternative:  If you only want to insert CSS globally and not for each post individually, you can confidently do without the plugin and integrate your CSS via the customizer

4.4 Duplicate Post

Do you want to write a contribution or design a page that should be structured like another?

No problem!

duplicate post

With Duplicate Post, you can create a copy of any page or post with just one click. Without having to copy the entire content or specific post settings manually.

4.5 Simple Image Sizes

WordPress offers under Settings> Media the possibility to define dimensions for images uploaded to the media library.

WordPress themes and plugins, however, often use their own image sizes, which you cannot change with the media settings. In addition, some themes and plugins do not allow you to change the image sizes in the respective theme or plugin settings.

So what do you do if you want your post photos to be 4: 5 instead of 2: 3?

simple image sizes plugin

You use the plugin Simple Image Sizes!

It complements the media settings with a list of all image sizes generated by the theme and plugins, in which you can specify their height and width:

4.6 Enable Media Replace

Do not get me wrong.

I am a big fan of the WordPress media library.

However, there is one thing that I find really annoying:

If you want to replace an existing image from the media library, you have to delete it first. Because if you upload an image with the same file name again, the existing file is retained, and a new one is created (with a number as a suffix, i.e., image-2.jpg).

But thanks to Enable Media Replace, the snow is yesterday!

enable media replace plugin

The popular plugin supplements the media library and individual media with the QuickEdit link file. You can easily and quickly replace a picture, a video or another file with a new one:

An absolute must-have for me, since I have to replace existing images in my tutorials quite often!

5. Affiliate marketing

Plugins that can help you integrate your affiliate links more easily and beautifully and increase your affiliate income:

5.1 AAWP

With the Amazon Affiliate WordPress Plugin or AAWP for short, you can integrate Amazon products, including pictures, price, and ratings, into your blog articles using a shortcode.

This significantly increases the conversion rate compared to standard Amazon advertising materials or simple text links!

Products can be inserted in the form of product boxes as well as leaderboards or comparison tables. Prices and other product data are updated automatically.

Data protection notice: It is recommended to deactivate the geotargeting in the settings and to activate the data protection proxy for Amazon images, so that product images are loaded via your own server instead of via Amazon server.

Alternative:  ASA 2 Pro, which works similarly to AAWP, but offers even more setting and adjustment options and a repository, which you can use to see which products are still available and which are not.

5.2 Pretty links

Affiliate links often don’t look so nice and are also difficult to remember.

Remedy Pretty links that allow you can set up a redirect from a separate URL for affiliate links.

pretty link plugin

From an ugly link, such as:

https://clix.superclix.com/cgi-bin/tclix.cgi?did=64118&linknr=24

It will then:

https://www.digitalgarg.com/empfiehlt/superclix/

I also really like Pretty Links because it makes it much easier to insert affiliate links into my own blog:

You can simply insert the affiliate links created using a button in the editor and track how often links have been clicked thanks to the tracking function.

Data protection notice: By default, the IP addresses of all users who click on a link created with Pretty Links are saved. However, this can be prevented by changing the Tracking Style to Simple Click Count Tracking in the options under Reporting.

6. Social plugins

A thousand great tools for sharing (not quite a thousand, but only three, but at least!). Of course, in compliance with data protection.

6.1 Shariff wrapper

There are many plugins with which you can integrate social media buttons on your own blog. A very good choice for this is the Shariff wrapper.

The buttons have a nice design and hardly load the loading time because the original share buttons from Facebook, Twitter, and Co. are not displayed.

shariff plugin for social media

In addition, the Shariff buttons are GDPR-compliant due to their 2-click solution.

6.2 Better Click To Tweet

Better Click to Tweet is a simple plugin that tends to share your content on Twitter:

You can use it to insert a quote using a shortcode, which readers can then post with a click on Twitter.

click to tweet plugin

And completely compliant with data protection:

The plugin does not establish a connection to Twitter in the background (Twitter is only opened after readers click the link).

7. Other plugins

Here you will find a few useful WordPress plugins that do not fit into the other categories.

7.1 Satisfy

You just want to see how many pages views your website gets and where visitors come from? And you don’t need detailed statistics or other tracking jokes?

Then Satisfy is for you. It simply shows you the page views and referrers (the URLs through which readers came to your website) in the WordPress dashboard.

statify plugin

Without greatly influencing the loading time. And 100% GDPR-compliant, since no personal data is obtained.

7.2 Boxzilla

With Boxzilla, you can quickly and easily create pop-ups. Determine the design with the editor, enter text, and then define the trigger. Finished!

boxzilla

In contrast to many other pop-up plugins, Boxzilla is lightweight, does not load any external resources, and hardly influences the loading time.

Before I switched from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign, I used Boxzilla in combination with Mailchimp for WordPress here on the blog.

8. FAQ

Here are answers to common questions about WordPress plugins:

8.1 How can I install a plugin?

There are generally three ways to install WordPress plugins:

  • By uploading the ZIP file to WordPress (in the WordPress admin area under Plugins> Install> Upload Plugin)
  • By uploading the unzipped files to your FTP server (in the directory wp-content> plugins)
  • Through direct installation via the WordPress repository

8.2 What is the maximum number of plugins I should install?

This cannot be said in general, because it depends on the plugins and your desired functions.

From my many years of experience as a WordPress service provider, I can tell you:

If you have installed more than 20 plugins, 20% to 30% of them are surely unnecessary.

8.3 How do I avoid security risks from plugins?

WordPress plugins are one of the biggest security risks for WordPress installations.

To reduce this, you should follow the 6 safety rules below:

  1. Install only the plugins you really need
  2. Check regularly whether you still need the plugins that you have already installed
  3. If you no longer need a plugin, delete it completely instead of just deactivating it (deactivated plugins can also pose a security risk)
  4. Only install plugins that are regularly maintained and that come from trustworthy developers
  5. Update your plugins regularly
  6. Keep up to date with security gaps in plugins