As you can see from the above chart, it is more like the family tree of plugins off the main WordPress core. The explanation and the presentation of it is my interpretation of the WordPress plugin hierarchy. I know some of you may not agree, some of you will, and even more of you will think it is over simplified, but that’s the kind of thing I meant to convey.
The WordPress core itself is extremely secure, and by that I mean as secure as any content management system, CMS out there can be. Since it is written and updated by developers, and has a whole community behind it helping its validity, it is one of the most secure CMS’s out there today. It has checks and balances because if it.
The WordPress core, (red,) is the most secure version of your site. As it moves to the right and you keep adding more and more things, such as plugins, it gets less secure, (white.) Coming off of the green into the blue area denotes a website that is more vulnerable to breaking and/ or getting hacked. My best advice is to make sure security is in place, and research your vanity plugins thoroughly before installing them.
Must have plug-ins: These are the plugins in my book that I feel no WordPress website should be without. This will definitely vary from person to person, and from developer to developer. These are the plugins that I recommend, and I am totally open to this changing as I learn more or hear better arguments. That can happen a lot in this business, and one of the coolest thing about WordPress. In this area I have the following categories: Backups, Updating, Security, and Anti-spam.
Should have WordPress plugins: These are the plugins that you will install after you have finished installing and testing the plugins on the “Must have” list. This section, plus the previous section will give you a fully functioning interactive site, with the bare minimum of headache when you are trying to keep your site secure. I have included the following categories in this area: SEO, Caching, Responsiveness, and Forms. Personally I don’t think you can do without any of the plug-ins from either of the above areas. This, to me, is a full site if you are looking to have a functional, interactive site, that also has the chance to be discovered in the web.
Vanity WordPress plugins: Believe it or not, this is a favourite section of mine. I do like my Vanity plugins, because some of them are really cool, add value, and most are very well supported. I am not one of those developer that will poo-poo you because you want to add vanity plugins to your website. If I am designing your website you just have to abide by my rules when it comes to any plugins in this category. You just have to be careful how you choose a Vanity plugin, and what purpose it is supposed to serve on your site.
I have created a table for you to look at with specific examples of plugins I use that fall into each of the areas. Also when adding a new plugin directly from the list below, I have outlined the procedure below, and this procedure should work most of the time, but otherwise it is very easy to figure out:
- Click the link to the plugin
- Download the plugin to your hard-drive
- Go back into your “Admin” section of your site
- Select “Plugins”
- Select “Add New”
- Select “Upload Plugin” at the top of the page
- Cling the “Choose file” button
- Find the plugin on your heard-drive – highlight file and select Open, (usually in your downloads folder.)
- Click the “Install Now”
- Activate plugin
- Re-read documentation on the plugin to know how it sets itself up on your computer
- Check that plugin is there and configure it
Video coming soon on how to download and install a plugin
|Area||Category||Specific plugin (* = Best in my book)|
|Must Have||Backup||Backup Buddy * No free version
BackWPUp * – Free
|Updating||iThemes Sync * Free – on-line service
JetPack Monitor Free – on-line service
ManageWP * Monthly subscription – on-line service
|Security||iThemes Security * Free and paid version
Sucuri * No free version – on-line
CloudFlare * Free and paid version – on-line service
Really Simple CAPTCHA – Free
|Anti-Spam||Akismet – * Free and comes with WordPress|
|Should Have||SEO||WordPress SEO by Yoast * Free and paid version|
|Caching||W3 Total Cache * – Free and paid version
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) – Free
|Responsiveness||WP Touch * – Paid version
JetPack Mobile theme – Free
|Forms||Gravity Forms * – No free version
Contact Forms 7 * Free
|Vanity||Editor||WPEdit * Free|
|Social buttons||Floating Social Bar * Free
SumoMe – Free and paid version – On-line service with plugin
|Widgets||Display Widgets – Free|
|Media Library||Enhanced Media Library – Free|
|Typogrphy||Google Font Manager – Free
Hide Title – Free
No Page Comment – Free
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Free
There are definitely tons more plugins than this, but this will give you a basic idea of the areas that you will most likely need to fill first. Whatever you are looking for can be found by following the steps above the table for finding a plugin or a type of plugin. Let’s say you have an idea and you want to see if there is a plugin exists that might help, then type it in.
Remember that a bad plugin has the potential of crashing your site. So when you install a plugin, always check that your site is working after EACH install. Don’t install 5 or 6 plugins, and then check your site. If it isn’t working, then there is no way to tell which plugin was responsible. So take your time and test, test, test as much as you can. Try and limit the number of plugins you install, and delete the plugins that you are not using. Also delete any themes that you aren’t using as well. This can help the possible chances that a hacker can get to your website, but all of this is discussed in another article with this site, when I talk about how to tighten up, or lock down your site.