Must-Have Free WordPress Plugins for WordPress

Most “reviews” for WP plugins i see on the Internet, are nothing but copy-paste from or just paid ads, usually from people that have never installed and use them.

This is my ultimate list of really good and totally free plugins for WordPress. Plugins that i have installed and used for a long time in several WP installations. Plugins that work as expected, with no errors and their support is really good.

I have also included some small jewels-plugins that will make your life as a webmaster easier and your WP better.

With no particular order:

1WP Photo Album PlusA complete, highly customizable multimedia content management and display system. NOT for the "faint-hearted" webmaster!
2NinjaFirewall (WP Edition)NinjaFirewall (WP Edition) is a true Web Application Firewall. Although it can be installed and configured just like a plugin, it is a stand-alone firewall that sits in front of WordPress.
3wpForo ForumwpForo Forums is the best WordPress forum plugin. Full-fledged yet easy and light forum solution for your WordPress website. Comes with modern and responsive forum layouts and styles.
4Ad InserterAd management plugin with many advanced advertising features to insert ad codes at optimal positions. Supports all kinds of ads including Google AdSense, Google Ad Manager (DFP – DoubleClick for publishers), contextual Amazon Native Shopping Ads, and rotating banners.
5GD Mail QueueThe plugin adds a mail queue system that can intercept all the emails sent through the wp_mail function, and depending on the predefined rules (number of recipients) sent the email into the queue, with each recipient getting own email. On top of that, the plugin can process all plain text emails and wrap them in the HTML, and send them as HTML, with options to customize the template and various other aspects.
6Fast Velocity MinifyWP speed optimization plugin for developers and advanced users. This plugin reduces HTTP requests by merging CSS & Javascript files into groups of files, while attempting to use the least amount of files as possible. It minifies CSS and JS files with PHP Minify (no extra requirements).
7The SEO FrameworkThe only feature-complete SEO plugin that follows the white-hat guidelines and rules imposed by WordPress and search engines. Start using proven methods to optimize your website for SEO. Simple, dedicated, extensible, unrestricted, ad-free, and no strings attached.
8Advanced ExcerptThis plugin adds several improvements to WordPress’ default way of creating excerpts.
9Related Posts by TaxonomyQuickly increase your readers’ engagement by adding related posts in the sidebar or after post content with a widget or shortcode.

Posts with the most terms in common will display at the top!

This plugin is capable of finding related posts in multiple taxonomies and post types. Include or exclude terms from the search for related posts. Change the look and feel by using your own templates in a (child) theme.
10TablePressTablePress allows you to easily create and manage beautiful tables. You can embed the tables into posts, pages, or text widgets with a simple Shortcode. Table data can be edited in a spreadsheet-like interface, so no coding is necessary.
11Top 10 Popular posts Top 10 is an easy to use, yet, powerful WordPress plugin that will count the number of page views of your posts, pages and any custom post types. You can then display the page view counts as well as display your most popular posts.
12Antispam BeeSay Goodbye to comment spam on your WordPress blog or website. Antispam Bee blocks spam comments and trackbacks effectively, without captchas and without sending personal information to third party services. It is free of charge, ad-free and 100% GDPR compliant.
13WP Log ViewerWP Log viewer makes debugging your WordPress site easy and stress free. Needs Wordpress Debug to a LOG to be enabled.
14External LinksManage all external & internal links on your site. Control icons, nofollow, noopener, ugc (User Generated Content), sponsored and if links open in new window or new tab.
15ARI Fancy LightboxIt uses Fancybox popup to bring lightbox effect to WordPress sites. Use it to show images from native WordPress, NextGEN, FooGallery, Justified Image Grid and Jetpack galleries, photos, videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Vine, Metacafe services, PDF documents, Google Maps links, inline content, external pages into the lightbox.
16Ban HammerBan Hammer helps you do that by preventing unwanted users from registering. On a single install of WordPress, instead of using its own database table, Ban Hammer pulls from your list of prohibited emails from the Comment Blacklist feature, native to WordPress.
17No Cache AJAX WidgetsYou want your site to be fast, so you added caching… but now you have a new challenge that you have content that shouldn’t be caching such as ads, feeds, rotating ads, videos, shopping carts and more.
18Simple CSSNeed to add some custom CSS to your site? Simple CSS gives you an awesome admin editor and a live preview editor in the Customizer so you can easily add your CSS.

Want your CSS to only apply on a specific page or post? Simple CSS adds a metabox which allows you to do just that.

Last Updated: March 2020

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