These are just a few of my favorites that I put on most of my sites. This changes from time to time as new ones come out or old ones get better, and that’s the fun of it. If you have a professional site, do not play with the plugins. Get them working, and leave them alone. Update them when they need to be updated and get familiar with their tech support. Install a localhost web-server on a local computer, easy to do these days, and play around there. Or you can get another domain just for playing and testing your plugins before you deploy them to your regular site. As a developer, that’s what I do. I have a few online sites and a localhost server that I have broken quite a few times with lame plugins. Just have fun!
These are the plugins that I install right off the bat on client websites. Most of them are security plugins, but some will be ones that allow me to do things faster when I am called to update or repair a client site. The plugins below will have “a must install” right after the plugin title
WordPress SEO – By Team Yoast – a must install
Love this plugin and it is a must have, but there is a learning curve with this, and this is where my yerly subscription to lynda.com comes in handy. I can learn from the best in there.
The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.
iThemes Security – by iThemes
Maybe it is because I know the developer, maybe it’s because it’s a great plugin or a combination of both, but I love this plugin. It covers a lot of bases when it comes to WordPress website security, and gives me peace of mind for my website. It isn’t the only thing I have installed but it is a must and a first security install for me on a clients site. In their own words:
iThemes Security shows you a list of things to do to make your site more secure with a simple way to turn options on or off. We’ve simplified these steps and provided descriptions of each action so you know exactly what’s happening on your site. You shouldn’t have to be a security pro to use a security plugin. And isn’t that the point?
iThemes Sync – by iThemes
This is an awesome unobtrusive plugin to help you keep track of all of your theme and plugin updates. Easy to install and configure which is a plus for me. In their own words:
It’s important to keep your WordPress sites updated, both for the security of your site and to take advantage of the latest features and improvements of your themes and plugins.
Updates to WordPress core and any plugins or themes installed on your sites can happen pretty frequently. And if you’re managing multiple WordPress sites, keeping them all updated can take up a lot of your valuable time.
iThemes Sync is an easy way to manage updates for all your WordPress sites from one place. Instead of logging in to each site individually, you have one place to view and install available updates.
NOT Must installs
WP Google Authenticator – By Google
Like the World of Warcraft authenticator from Blizzard. You will need to install the app for you phone so that you can generate the auth code. This might not be a good idea if you are allow user registration because many client smay not have the savvy to be able to use the phone authenticator. There is a lot t it. I locked myself out attempting to set it up on my live test site. As a matter of fact I am locked out as we speak for half hour. Hence i decided to update this article
Dynamic Widgets – By Qurl
Dynamic Widgets gives you full control on which pages a widget will display. It lets you dynamically show or hide widgets on WordPress pages.
No Page Comment – By Seth Alling
Hide Title – By Randall Runnels
Allows authors to hide the title tag on single pages and posts via the edit post screen.
AddThis Follow Widget – By The AddThis Team
Generate followers for your social networks and track what pages are generating the most followers
Share Buttons by AddToAny – By AddToAny
Share buttons for your pages, including AddToAny’s universal sharing button, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, WhatsApp and many more.
Limit Login Attempts – By Johan Eenfeldt – a must install
This plugin will limit the number of login attempts possible both through normal login as well as using auth cookies. By default WordPress allows unlimited login attempts either through the login page or by sending special cookies. This allows passwords (or hashes) to be brute-force cracked with relative ease. Limit Login Attempts blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible.
Editors note: I disabled this plugin. Maybe it was just me, but it was a pain logging in to some of the websites I manage. As soon as I added other security plugins, this became obsolete, believe it or not there is such a thing as too much security.