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 – 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.


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:

7 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.

  1. I tried to use SWIFT Performance, but it did not work very well, I was using WP Rocket, but after reading some things here, I ended up switching to the breezer because I use NGINX. I am a layman on the subject, to use SWIFT Performance I must do some NGINX configuration, because as I infomed it did not work on my site :(, but other than that I loved his tips, delete to Jetpack, he really tied my site, thanks for the tips and continue so if you can give more tips on compatible plugins with NGINX would be great!

  2. Great list of plugins! Thank you for sharing.
    You can also try a more SEO linked WordPress plugin called Trash Duplicate And 301 Redirect. It helps to find and remove duplicates and also protect you from being penalized by Google for duplicate content.

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