Useful WordPress Plugins I Rely On

This is a list of the plugins I currently use to help manage WordPress websites with, which I keep updated as I find new and better options for each function.

AMP

The official plugin from the AMP project maintainers helps to serve AMP pages when compatible helping with Android search rankings.  It comes compatible with Yoast SEO.

Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster

Combine and defer CSS and JavaScript files, disable feeds and xmlrpc.php, optimize font loading and selectively disable plugins on the front-end.

BackUpWordPress

My favorite plugin to use for automatic database and file backups.  I have restored and migrated countless WordPress installations using the backups it creates and install it on every instance of WordPress I set up. The backup produced is a simple .sql file of your database and a .zip file of all of the site’s files. Database and full file backups can be scheduled individually, keeping a rolling set of backups on your host, so that you always have the last 30 days of database backups for example.

GTranslate

This is the closet alternative to Google Translate’s old language drop-down that I could find, providing the same basic look-and-feel of Google’s discontinued language switcher.

Insert Headers and Footers

This does what it says, allows you to insert HTML in to your header, footer or body of the page using three simple textarea boxes.  I love using this plugin for this purpose because it is as simple as it can be, with no bells or whistles it just allows you to do this simple common function, which I use to add analytics code, font or script includes, or one-time verifications that ask me to include a meta tag on the site.

SearchWP Live Ajax Search

Provides you with an AJAX search widget that works right after activation, no complicated settings are needed to set this up it just works as you expect it to.

Swap Google Fonts Display

Another simple plugin that upon activation will apply the “display: swap;” property to all text using a custom font, making page loads faster as the text uses a default system font to display until the font files are fully loaded. This improves page loading time and helps preventing layout shifting during the page load, as the text while still in it’s default style is present to allow the page elements to properly size and position themselves around the text.  This avoids having the text or section of the page “pop” in as it loads, causing users to click the wrong link or other annoyances.

Wordfence Security

A powerful security plugin that uses a drop-in PHP file to firewall all requests to the site, prior to being handled by the WordPress engine.  It will do a malware scan, track file changes and block malicoius visitors, and allows you to set up your own custom rate limiting and firewall rules.

Surge

A very simple caching plugin that works well and has NO configuration options, clear cache buttton or settings to configure.  Detects changes and clears cache automatically.

WPS Hide Login

A simple plugin to hide your admin login URL, changing it from /wp-admin/ to whatever you wish.  Does not rely on .htaccess or file changes so deactivating it completely returns wordpress to the default login URL.

XML Sitemaps

I do not like the sitemaps that come with Yoast SEO so I will install this and disable sitemaps in Yoast.  This plugin seems more efficient and I have had problems with other dynamic sitemaps timing out when being crawled.

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