Top 25 Best Free WordPress Plugins for Every Website. You’ve probably heard the old adage ‘there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch‘. But, as much as I love Heinlein, in the world of WordPress, there actually is!
Best Free WordPress Plugins for Performance, Security, and Maintenance
Back-end site management isn’t sexy, but the free plugins in this section may just be the most important on this list. They’ll help you to speed up your site, make it secure, and just generally keep everything humming along.
14. REALLY SIMPLE SSL
Moving your WordPress site to HTTPS/SSL is a great way to make it more secure for both you and your visitors, and it will also help you to avoid the nasty Not Secure warnings that Google is adding to Chrome for ALL non-HTTPS sites.
With the availability of free SSL certificates, it won’t even cost you a dime — you just need a way to safely migrate your WordPress site to HTTPS.
That’s what Really Simple SSL does. It’s basically a one-click solution to set up redirects, update your old URLs, and handle everything else you need to do to safely migrate your site to HTTPS.
Because of this, Really Simple SSL has quickly amassed a perfect 5-star rating on more than 6,900 votes at WordPress.org, and is already used on more than five million sites.
15. WORDFENCE SECURITY
Active on more than four million sites, Wordfence is the most popular WordPress security plugin. It can implement most of the important WordPress security hardening in an all-in-one package, including:
- a firewall
- malware scans
- login hardening.
While there is a premium version, the free version is still a great option for most sites, which is why Wordfence has a 4.7-star rating on more than 3,600 reviews.
The main difference between the free version and the paid version is that the free version makes you wait 30 days to update the malware and firewall threat rules, while the paid version gets real-time updates.
It’s absolutely essential that you back up your WordPress site, so, if anything ever goes wrong, you have a working copy just in case.
There are some great premium backup services, such as VaultPress, but when it comes to free backup plugins nothing beats UpdraftPlus.
This free plugin has a 4.8-star rating on more than 4,900 reviews, and is active on more than three million sites.
It lets you manually or automatically back up your site with a single click, and you can even automatically have UpdraftPlus store your backup on cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3.
If you ever need to restore your site, UpdraftPlus lets you do it with one click.
There are all kinds of reasons why you may need to move your WordPress site at some point. You may want to:
- move WordPress to a new host
- upload your site from a local development site to your live host
- create your own hosted staging site.
No matter what your reason, the free Duplicator plugin can help. This handy plugin exports your entire WordPress site as two simple files. To move your site, all you need to do is upload those files to the new location, run the automated installer, and call it a day.
That ease of use is why Duplicator has a 4.9-star rating on more than 3,177 reviews at WordPress.org.
Note — I think the free version of Duplicator is great for migrating small WordPress sites. But for migrating very large WordPress sites, I think Migrate Guru is a better free option.
- minification — it removes unnecessary characters from your site’s code (such as white space)
- concatenation — it combines multiple separate files into one.
19. SMUSH IMAGE COMPRESSION AND OPTIMIZATION
Smush is another free plugin that can improve your site’s performance — this time, by automatically compressing and resizing the images you upload to your WordPress site.
Smush uses lossless compression, which means your images won’t lose any quality — they’ll just have a smaller file size!
It lets you optimize unlimited images for free (with a 5 MB file size max per image), and is super easy to use — which is why it has a 4.8-star rating on more than 5,500 reviews, and is active on more than a million sites.
20. LOGIN LOCKDOWN
Beyond using a strong username/password combo, one of the best ways to secure your login page from brute force attacks is by limiting the number of attempts a user can make.
This is why if you enter the wrong information when logging into your online banking, you’ll usually get locked out after three incorrect attempts.
Login Lockdown lets you add that same functionality to your WordPress site — and it even lets you control the exact criteria for how many attempts a user can make and how long they get locked out for.
21. TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
The free Two Factor Authentication plugin lets you lock down your login page even more by adding two-factor authentication via the well-vetted TOTP + HOTP protocols, which lets you use authenticator apps such as Google Authenticator, Authy, and other apps that support these protocols.
It’s free for unlimited users, and it’s also really easy to implement.
For absolute peace of mind when it comes to brute force attacks, this is a great option.
22. ENABLE MEDIA REPLACE
Enable Media Replace solves one problem really well:
It lets you replace any file in your WordPress Media Library by uploading a new file in its place. No more need to go through the annoying process of deleting a file and then making sure you upload a file with the exact same name.
Overall, a simple plugin…but one that’s really handy for managing your site and updating old images.
23. AKISMET ANTI-SPAM
Because of its popularity, an unfortunate side effect of WordPress is that its sites attract a lot of comment spam.
Akismet Anti-Spam helps you to eradicate this by automatically screening all of your incoming comments for spam.
It does a great job, which is why it has a 4.7-star rating on more than 900 reviews. It’s also developed by Automattic, so you can trust its quality and longevity.
24. COOKIE NOTICE & COMPLIANCE FOR GDPR / CCPA
Cookie Notice & Compliance for GDPR / CCPA helps with “security” of a different kind — the “security” of complying with important laws and regulations. Specifically, privacy regulations such as Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA.
This free plugin helps you add a cookie consent notice, as well as features to control cookie usage on your site based on users’ preferences.
Because it solves such an important pain point (legal compliance), it’s quickly become active on over a million sites with a near-perfect 4.9-star rating on more than 2,900 reviews.
25. YOAST DUPLICATE POST
Yoast Duplicate Post is a super handy plugin for working with existing content on your site. It does what the name says — it lets you duplicate any post, page, or custom post type with a single click.
It also includes a neat “merge” feature that’s great for updating content. You can clone a post, update the content in the cloned version, and then automatically overwrite the live version when you’re ready to go live.
That usefulness explains why it’s active on over three million sites with a 4.8-star rating on over 480 reviews.
If you’re looking to make your website content available in multiple languages, then TranslatePress will make this straight forward. Going multilingual is proven to have significant benefits on increasing your multilingual website traffic, as well as conversions.
You can use TranslatePress’ visual translation interface to translate every piece of content on a page, directly from the front-end. To speed things up you can set up the built in automatic translation functionality (using machine translation services like Google Translate or DeepL).
Due to its translation approach, the plugin works out of the box with any theme or plugin, including page builders like Elementor or ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce.
This free WordPress translation plugin powers over 200.000 websites and is growing steadily.