Best WordPress Plugins – UPDATED 2018

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):

  1. SWIFT Performance – Lite version is best free cache plugin, paid version is the best full-featured cache plugin out there.
  2. WP Rocket – 2nd fastest cache plugin, easy to use, not recommended for NGINX.
  3. Simple Cache – fastest plugin for my VPS with REDIS object cache enabled. This is recommended if you’ve done all manual optimizations possible.
  4. LiteSpeed Cache – incredible free plugin with many features, best for LiteSpeed servers but also works on non-LS servers.
  5. Breeze or Cache Enabler – highly recommended for NGINX servers.
  6. Comet Cache – fast and nice but SWIFT (free) and WP Rocket (paid) are better.
  7. WP Fastest Cache – it’s a nice one, too, but not the fastest from my testing.
  8. 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 – similar to WP Gonzalez but free!


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.
  • 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.


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 it.
  • BackupBuddy – other people like it. I think it’s really annoying with many distracting screens.
  • Migrate Guru – by far, my favorite no-nonsense easy migration plugin. Can move huge sites!
  • Duplicator – works for backups but great for migrating/clone sites. Popular with developers
  • All-in-One WP Migration – popular and works but free version is limited in some scenarios like for big sites.


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.


Shopping Stores:

  • 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.


Email Services:


Server Management:

3 thoughts on “Best WordPress Plugins – UPDATED 2018

    1. Hey thanks for reminding me about this one. I’ve used it before even since my Joomla days! It works, too.

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