My favorite WordPress plugins (and also HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by experienced WordPress developers). All these plugins are clean-coded, super-fast, and best in class. I’ve also included thoughts on others that I don’t like…just so you have some context.
WordPress Cache Plugins (detailed review):
- SWIFT Performance – Lite version is best free cache plugin, paid version is the best full-featured cache plugin out there.
- WP Rocket – 2nd fastest cache plugin, easy to use, not recommended for NGINX.
- Simple Cache – fastest plugin for my VPS with REDIS object cache enabled. This is recommended if you’ve done all manual optimizations possible.
- LiteSpeed Cache – incredible free plugin with many features, best for LiteSpeed servers but also works on non-LS servers.
- Breeze or Cache Enabler – highly recommended for NGINX servers.
- Comet Cache – fast and nice but SWIFT (free) and WP Rocket (paid) are better.
- WP Fastest Cache – it’s a nice one, too, but not the fastest from my testing.
- W3TC – I hate it. Way too bloated and technical. Incompatible with many plugins and not the fastest even when it does work!
Read my: Best WordPress Cache Plugins Review
WordPress Speed Plugins:
- Autoptimize – helpful but not necessary if your theme and plugins are optimized already. (This is like a band-aid.)
- WP Gonzalez – amazing, incredibly useful, but paid.
- WordPress Asset CleanUp – supposedly WP Gonzalez but free. Unfortunately, I think it slows down your site even more.
WordPress Image Compression (detailed reviews):
- ShortPixel – SP has best compression and GLOSSY formats.
- WP Compress – another great compression service, perfect for sharp details. Lower price than SP.
- Imagify is 3rd place for me.
- TinyPNG/JPG – can be good sometimes but ShortPixel is definitely better!
- WP Smush/EWWW – horrible compression quality/file-size ratio.
WordPress image plugins:
- Quick Featured Images – best plugin for managing/automating your featured images. Pro version is so worth the price!
- Easy Media Replace – replace media files without having to dig through FTP folders.
- reGenerate Thumbnails advanced – best IMO, easy-to-use with great filtering options.
- Metaslider or Smart Slider 3 – are the best. Soliloquy used to be great/lightweight but has now been surpassed. Whatever you do, avoid Slider Revolution (REV Slider).
WordPress Database Plugins:
- Advanced Database Cleaner – incredible for tidying up your DB. (I like this much better than WP Optimize.)
- editor – great for editing your database from WordPress instead of via cPanel/phpmyadmin (BE CAREFUL!)
- Better Search Replace – my favorite database editor by Delicious Brains. Has a great “test run” feature. I use it to fix URL’s for migration or https purposes.
- Migrate DB Pro –
WordPress BackUp Plugins (detailed reviews):
- BackUpWordPress – my favorite, works well, clean/quiet interface.
- UpDraft – very popular and many people love it; I hate the free version but the pro version is really nice, comprehensive and covers offsite backup feature.
- BackupBuddy – other people like it. I think it’s really annoying with many distracting screens.
WordPress Migration Plugins:
- All-in-One WP Migration – my favorite, popular and works but free version is limited in some scenarios like for big sites. You can get around the size limit by excluding wp-content from the export. (You can manually compress and extract it using cPanel’s “File Manager”).
- Migrate Guru – easy to use, free, and works well…can move huge sites and handle URL rewrite for you. Only issue is it misses non-WP folders. Doesn’t always work. If you’re not a pro and need something that’s ALWAYS 100% reliable, stick to AIO Migration.
- Duplicator – works for backups but great for migrating/clone sites. Popular with developers
WordPress SEO Plugins:
- SEO Framework – my favorite. Clean and bloat-free. Most simple and doesn’t try to do everything for your site. SEO only!
- ALL-IN-ONE SEO (pro version) – my 2nd favorite. High quality, and fast.
- Yoast SEO – they responded to complaints and improved UI, faster, cleaner, and less bloat. Still annoying nag screens and I still prefer the others.
WordPress Redirection Plugins:
- Htaccess – not a plugin but is the most recommended method!
- Safe Redirect Manager – the best one! Enter-prise grade, high quality code, super fast redirects with the least speed impact.
- Redirection – hell no! Drives me crazy that so many people use this. It slows your website down by 1-3 seconds. You’re better off just copying the redirects to your htaccess!
WordPress Membership Plugins:
- MemberPress – best membership plugin out there. I’ve tried many and this one has all the features I needed, easy and fun to use. Also great pricing that doesn’t overcharge you for necessary add-ons.
- Restrict Content Pro (RCP) – also good membership plugin depending on your use case.
- WooMemberships/WooSubscriptions – great if you want to integrate with WooCommerce. Overkill if you don’t.
- Easy Digital Downloads – great plugin and very friendly, but aggressive pricing. Many basic features are add-ons and cost $$$.
- MemberMouse – I hate it. Expensive and hard to work with (design & coding), also loads many scripts and slows down your site.
- DigitalAccessPass (DAP) – outdated in many ways.
- Shopify – works great, looks great. Totally worth the monthly price so you don’t spend thousands developing on WordPress/WooCommerce. Cheapest plan is $9 or $15 if you want to use it with WordPress.