WordPress: Basic Essential Plugins

After working on a few WordPress based projects, I have come to conclusion that you can’t run a site out-of-box. It only has the basic features. Eventually users will want something more than the built-in’s.

This is where plugins come in.

Since WordPress is so popular, you can find almost anything you want. And because it’s very popular, there can be too many choices. It’s quite a painful process to go through and filter them.

Here are the basic essentials used on most wordpress projects I did. Something to keep a basic site running. The list is based on my research and tests, and suits most project I’ve worked on. I hope you’ll find this article useful too.

Limit Login Attempts

This is a must-have plugin to prevent any unauthorized access to your site.  If you check your site access, you may notice there are unknown IP’s attempting to get into your website, whether your site is built on WordPress or not. This plugin limits the number of login attempts and blocks the IP temporarily.

It’s fully configurable the number of fail attempts and the duration of locks. You will get a report of those lockouts.

Contact Form 7

A very flexible and customizable contact form. Contact is sent via email and the email message can also be customized. There’s a bit of learning curve but everything are well documented.

Supports multiple contact forms. Good for contacts for different purposes.

Really Simple CAPTCHA

To be used with the above contact form to prevent spams. The CAPTCHA generated is quite legible.

TinyMCE Advanced

A better WYSIWYG editor than the basic editor that comes out-of-box to style posts and pages.

I don’t usually need this if I’m the only one updating the site, since I can style contents with html codes. However this is essential if sites are updated by users without or with minimal HTML knowledge.

Google XML Maps

Generates XML sitemaps to submit to search engines. You need this to tell crawlers to discover and index your site. The sitemap is also automatically updated when new contents are updated.

Ninja Page Categories and Tags

It took me a while to find out WordPress pages do not have categories and tags. I’ve been using b2evolution and these are built-in features.

Thanks to this plugin pages can be categorized and tagged, just like posts. Essential for page heavy sites for better grouping of information.

An alternative way is to create different post types to manage different group of pages. This option is a bit more complicated if you’re not a theme developer.

Post Type Switcher

Accidentally entered a post as page or vice versa? This plugin easily switch post type while in post or page edit page. This also applies to different post types defined for the theme. You will notice a new post type field in the publish box.

Enable Media Replace

In WordPress, you cannot replace an image. Physically replacing an image is a tedious process. It’s like adding a new image and requires input of image attributes and re-attaching the file or editing posts and pages with new names. I don’t understand why replacing an image is not a feature.

This plugin simplified the procedure and does exactly how replacing an image should be done. It replaces a file and keeps everything else intact.


Essential for multilingual sites.

Content for the same page / post are edited within the same editor under different tabs to prevent confusions. Takes a bit of time to setup. SEO-friendly URL to easily switching between languages.

Any more?

If there are any useful plugins that are basicly or essentailly required to get a basic site going, please let me know in comments.

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