My 22 Go To WordPress Plugins

Last Updated November 3, 2016

A while back, I wrote about the WordPress plugins I put on every site I build. There’s another set that I keep in my back pocket for specific use cases.


MemberPress Plugin

There are a bunch of membership plugin options out there. I’ve tried several: Restrict Content Pro, Wishlist Member, Members, I could go on, but my favorite is MemberPress.

I switched based on Chris Lema’s assessment. He reviewed 30 and rated them on a scale of 1 to 5, based on

  • ease of use and speed of configuration
  • the ability to have multiple concurrent accounts
  • payment gateway support
  • dripped content
  • eCommerce support
  • upgrades / downgrades
  • pro-rating and pausing

Then, considered other features that were nice to have:

  • Google indexing posts
  • membership directories
  • pre-renewal emails
  • one-touch upgrades
  • upgrade offers

MemberPress scored a perfect 5.0.

My favorite MemberPress features have been the ability to easily style the login and admin pages and redirect users when they login.

Their Developer tier also integrates with the REST API v2 plugin. — more than I need, but I’m impressed that they offer that kind of support and integration.

Their business edition costs $99/yr and their developer editions costs $199/yr.

MemberPress Pricing



VaultPress handles backup and security. It’s created and maintained by Automattic (the people behind WordPress).

They have two different pricing tiers, $9/mo and $29/mo.

Vaultpress Pricing

I have this running on a couple of sites, including this one. For peace of mind, it’s well worth the monthly charge of $29.99. — and that’s their tagline: “peace of mind comes standard.”


Sucuri Plugin

Sucuri is another WordPress security alternative. If you’re site has been hacked and you’re trying to get it cleaned up quick, this is the way to go.

It can be pricey, but like I said, if you’re trying to clean up a hacked site fast, it’s probably worth that pretty penny.

Sucuri Pricing


If you have something like VaultPress already running on your site, you don’t need Sucuri in addition to. In fact, I’ve run into instances where I’ve had multiple security plugins running on a site and then conflict with each other.

I would only use Sucuri, if my site was hacked. Then, I would couple it with a different backup plugin, like MyBackupBuddy.



I stumbled across Imagify a couple of weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised.

This plugin will compress all the images on your site. The results are impressive and UI is beautiful.

Imagify UI

This is a premium plugin, too, but I’ve found the free or lowest pricing tier gets the job done.

Imagify Pricing

Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder

It seems like page builders are all the rage right now. And why not? They allow you to easily build out a site without knowing code, or even if you know how to write code, you can build a site faster with a little drag and drop.

The only problem is that a lot of the page builders are bloated, making sites slow, and conflict with other plugins.

I’ve experimented with Divi on a few site builds, but have really taken a liking to Beaver Builder. The interface is beautiful and much more intuitive than Divi.

Plus, Beaver Builder will run on top (almost) any theme. It simply integrates with the content area.

If you deactivate the plugin, your content isn’t lost and your site, still functional.

Pippin wrote a great review on his site on page builders and Beaver Builder is one of his top 3 recommended.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is a caching plugin. In the past, I’ve always defaulted to W3. But, the options aren’t always the easiest to navigate and inevitably, I end up breaking my site.

WP Rocket is much easier to control, navigate, and understand.

WP Rocket Settings

Plus, I’ve been very impressed with the speed tests I’ve run before and after installing the plugin.


Page Speed Before WP Rocket


Pingdom after WP Rocket

Ad Sanity

Ad Sanity

I’ve worked on a few sites before, in the past, where the user wants to sell and manage their own ads for the site.

You’ll need:

  • information about how many clicks and impressions you’re receiving
  • the ability to sell space on specific pages, related to the ad, and thereby receive the best click through
  • manage multiple add spaces (banner ads within the header and footer and a syscraper within the sidebar)

Ad Sanity (easily) handles all of that.

AdSanity Screenshot

WP All Import

WP All Import

WP All Import is perfect, if you’re migrating content from one a different content management system.

I’ve worked on a few site migrations where the user was moving the site from a proprietary content management system to WordPress. As long as you can get content out of the original site into a comma delimitated file, you’re golden.

WP All Import Web Screenshot



Working on a multi language site? WPML is perfect. WPML stands for WordPress Multi Language.

You can easily set up a language switcher button on the front end. Then, within the WordPress admin tool, enter content for each translation.

WPML Screenshot

Regenerate Thumbnails

Regenerate Thumbnails

If you’ve been working in WordPress for a while, you probably know that you can create custom image sizes for WordPress. Then, when an image gets uploaded, it will automatically resize and save an image based on the dimensions you’ve set.

This is all good and well, but just creating that definition within functions.php, doesn’t resize and save any of your existing images in your media library.

Enter the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin. This plugin, forces WordPress to regenerate any images based on your customizations and configurations.

It’s a simple plugin, that does one thing really well. Then, after you run it once, you should be set. Deactivate and remove it.



The WP Mail SMTP is perfect if you want to override the default WordPress mail settings and explicitly set them.

Occasionally, I’ll run into an issue where I have trouble receiving emails set from WordPress. This plugin has solved my issues 9 times out of 10.

Category Images

Category Images

If you’ve ever wanted to associate specific images with a category or taxonomy, the Category Images plugin will do the job for you.

Category Images Screenshot

Custom Taxonomy Order NE

Custom Taxonomy Order NE

Have you ever wanted to manually change the order that a category or taxonomy is listed in? Custom Taxonomy Sort will allow you to do so.

Duplicate Post

Duplicate Post

Duplicate Post will allow you to duplicate an existing post. (Didn’t see that one coming? grin) Smarter not harder.

Duplicator Post Plugin

Post Expirator

Post Expirator

The Post Expirator plugin is great if you want a post to expire.

Let me give a use case: I designed and developed the site. The camp dates are set up as a custom post type. Each date is a unique post. After that date has passed, you can no longer register or attend. There’s no need to keep it up on the site. Instead of remembering to login to the site and make these updates manually, Expirtaor, will handle the automation for me.

When you publish the post, simply mark when you’d like the post to expire and what should happen when it does (mark as draft? or delete it?).

Clef Two Factor Authentication

Clef Screenshot

Clef creates two factor authentication for logging into your WordPress site. — and let’s be honest, I just feel fancy and high tech when I use it.

Once installed and set up, when you get ready to login to the admin panel of your WordPress site, you’ll see this:


— Very different than than the standard username and password screens.

Clef Workflow

Pull out your phone, launch the Clef app, and point your phone’s camera at your computer screen. Your phone will analyze the pattern and magically, through the inter-webs, log you in.

See what I mean? Fancy smancy!

Google Analytics for Dashboard

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

The Google Analytics for Dashboard plugin makes it easy to view your site’s analytics through WordPress.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP Screenshot Google Analytics Dashboard for WP Screenshot

It’s nice having this information on hand and easily accessible.

Image Widget

Image Widget

The Image Widget is great for giving users the ability to easily add images into the sidebar.

Image Widget Screenshot

Multiple Featured Images

Multiple Featured Images

As the name suggests, the Multiple Featured Images plugin is useful for adding multiple featured images. (I know it hasn’t been updated in 2 years, but it’s still my favorite. If that makes you nervous, you may want to check out Dynamic Featured Image instead.)

I’ve had use cases where you might want the ability to upload a couple of featured images with different dimensions, say a thumbnail and header image. Sure, you could have the code generate the different sizes programmatically, but you wouldn’t have control over how the image gets cropped.

Yet Another Related Posts

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

The Yet Another Related Posts plugin will allow you to link related posts

Resend Welcome Email

Resend Welcome Email

The Resend Welcome Email allows you to resend welcome emails to a user. (Go figure)

I’ve run into a couple of instances where this plugin is incredibly helpful. With some of the new WordPress updates, when you create a new user, WordPress sends an email informing the user how to set up their account. If that email didn’t come through (for whatever reason) or was lost, this plugin makes it easy to resend that initial email.

Resend Welcome Emails Screenshot

Opt In Monster

Opt In Monster

There are several popup plugins out there. But, Opt In Monster is my favorite. There are quite a few configurations available (these are just a few):

  • Trigger a popup for abandonment
  • A/B Testing
  • Create a welcome gate
  • Mobile specific pop ups
  • Control which posts / pages pop ups appear on
  • Control how often a user sees a pop up (For example, once a day / month / week)

Design wise, I can either use one of their existing templates or design my own.

Admin Columns Pro

Admin Columns Pro

Admin Columns Pro allows you to control which columns appear on the WordPress Admin index page.

From this screen, you can also quick edit content.

Admin Columns Pro

I’m all about making it easier for clients to view / edit their content. Admin Columns Pro does that.

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