WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world to build a website with. This gives you the choice of many WordPress plugins to extend or improve your website. But it can be difficult to make the right choice and this can have a big effect on your website.
Surver maintains and manages many WordPress websites and webshops for years. Our experience shows that choosing the right WordPress plugins is very important. That's why we made this list with our favorite plugins. We have divided the plugins in different categories. Are you missing a plugin or a category? Please let us know!
Some plugins work better than others and of course you have free and paid plugins. At Surver we have a list of plugins we like to work with. We will update the list once in a while with new plugins.
Building a website in WordPress can be done in different ways, from programming and developing it yourself to buying a theme and just filling in the content. Many website builders nowadays use a pagebuilder to build the whole site or part of the site.
To build a website with a pagebuilder, you don't need any programming experience and you can often see right away what you are modifying or building. The main advantage is that it is accessible and you spend less time on it. The disadvantage is that a pagebuilder often adds unnecessary code to your website which can slow it down and cause things to go wrong. Despite these disadvantages we at Surver are still fans of one specific pagebuilder and that is Elementor.
Elementor & Elementor Pro
We are fans of Elementor because it is accessible to people without web design experience but comprehensive enough for web developers to get everything out of it. Elementor is a free pluginBut it also has a paid version called Elementor Pro. There are also many extensions available to make your website look great.
Options like a photo gallery, slider, price table, forms, message overview and much more are possible. The advantage of all these built-in options is that you don't need any extra plugins which keeps your website light and clear.
Elementor is so advanced that you can actually build anything in Elementor and not have to change anything in the theme. You can set default colors and fonts, and set a default header and footer, and much more.
In fact, we're so happy with Elementor that we're Elementor hosting where we can help you with all aspects of Elementor.
Once you have built a website you want it to work well and fast for the visitors of your website. Therefore it is important to optimize your website, this can be done in different ways. One important part is to use a caching plugin, another is to remove unnecessary code from your website. Below we have listed 3 plugins we like to use to make every WordPress website a lot faster.
The plugin of LiteSpeed not only works at the WordPress level, but also works with the server your website is running on. If your website is running on a LiteSpeed server (like we do!) it will automatically work with the plugin. If your website is not running on a LiteSpeed server, you can still use the plugin but the speed gain will be less.
LiteSpeed Cache offers the following features, among others:
- js and css minification
- Image optimization
- WebP images
- Browser caching
- Database caching
The plugin perfmatters Optimizes your WordPress site by disabling or modifying certain components. WordPress comes standard with a lot of functionalities that are useful for a blog, but many sites are not a blog at all.
For example, you can disable the default emojis and XML-RPC, making your site a little faster and a little more secure. There are a lot of options you can change with perfmatters. There is only a paid version of the plugin.
Does your website have an international audience? Then it can be useful to offer your website in different languages. If you do this in the right way you can appeal to customers from different countries and it will be very good for your SEO in those languages. Below we discuss 2 plugins that are very useful to translate a WordPress site.
Do you want to easily translate your website without coding and see what you are changing? Then TranslatePress the translation plugin you should use. After installing it, all you have to do is specify which languages you want to use and then you can easily translate any page from the 'front end' of your website. We especially like how TranslatePress works with Elementor.
There is both a free and paid version of the plugin. Are you interested in automatic translation of the texts? That is also possible with this plugin. packages for our existing customers.
The translation plugin for developers. Polylang is useful to use when you want a lot of flexibility. Besides that the plugin is very light so your website won't get overloaded. The plugin is mostly used for custom built websites, if you want to use it for your Elementor website you will need an additional plugin: Polylang Connect for Elementor.
If you want to use the plugin on a WooCommerce website then you need a paid plugin: Polylang for WooCommerce.
Useful plugins for Developers
If you are a web designer or web developer who creates sites in WordPress, then there are plenty of plugins that can help you do certain tasks easier. After all, you want to work as efficiently as possible and deliver the best possible site to your customers. Below you will find a few popular plugins for developers, of course there are many other plugins and every developer works in his own way with his own preference for certain WordPress plugins.
Advanced Custom Fields
A very well known plugin for developing WordPress websites that are easily customizable by the end user. Advanced Custom Fields (ACF for short), allows you to add extra fields to posts, pages and other custom post types. Do you want a field for an image or a piece of text? With ACF, you can add it in no time.
Programmers can easily call the fields in their theme's templates to properly display the data. ACF also works well with many pagebuilders, like Elementor. This allows you to easily build complex sites which can later be updated by the end user.
Advanced Custom Fields has a free version and a more extensive Pro version with more features and more fields. There are also many plugins that work together with ACF.
Many things can be solved with a plugin, but sometimes you want to add a piece of code to your site or to a certain page. For that you have the handy plugin Code Snippets. Do you want to add PHP but not in the funcitons.php file of your theme? Then use this plugin and you will easily keep track of all your pieces of custom code.
Better Search Replace
Have you ever moved a site from one domain to another domain but then not all the links converted properly even though you saved the permalinks several times? With Better Search Replace you can search your database and replace certain url's or pieces of text with a new url/piece of text. The advice is always to make a backup of your database in case something goes wrong.
WP Migrate DB
This plugin is from the same creators as Better Search Replace and is widely used by developers. You can easily export and import your database with WP Migrate DB. Besides that the search replace functionality is built into this plugin so your database will be correct at the same time.
Want to do more than just import/export your database? Then buy the Pro version So you can move entire sites easily. Including pushing and pulling data to your live site from your local environment for example.
SEO & Email Marketing
GA Google Analytics
Keeping track of the number of visitors, where they come from and what they do or order on your site is becoming increasingly important. Almost everyone uses Google Analytics. To make this possible on your WordPress website or WooCommerce webshop you should use a good plugin. The plugin we recommend is GA Google Analytics and it's free, too.
Analytics is easy to set up with this plugin by simply filling in the GA Tracking ID and selecting a few options. After that the data will appear in Google Analytics.
To properly set up your SEO and Schema info on your site, it's best to use a plugin. Many WordPress sites use Yoast SEO. Recently, a widely used competitor has been working hard on the road. We now use Rank Math.
The Rank Math plugin is very comprehensive and also has a free version and an extended paid version. It also works seamlessly with pagebuilders like Elementor. What can you do with Rank Math?
- Google Schema Markup + Rich Snippets
- Set focus keywords per post
- Google Search Console integration
- Keeping track of the keyword ranking in Google
- Different SEO test
- 404 Monitor
- Setting up redirects
- and so much more
Do you run a WooCommerce webshop or do you have a site where you want to improve the marketing via email? Klaviyo can be the perfect partner for this. Klaviy is specialized in e-mail marketing for e-commerce. You can easily create marketing emails, abandoned cart emails and for example newsletters to send out to (potential) customers. On top of that they have great analytics which can even predict when a customer might place another order.
Klaviyo is not just a plugin but a whole email marketing platform. The lowest subscription is free and from 100 email recipients you pay a monthly fee. The plugin is free, of course.
If you want to start a webshop with WordPress you almost always end up with WooCommerce. Nowadays WooCommerce even part of WordPress and is well maintained and improved.
WooCommerce offers you the possibility to set up a simple webshop and expand it to the perfect one. Below a list with standard functionalities:
- Create products (with photos and descriptions)
- Maintaining stock
- Payment options
- Shopping basket
- Checkout form
- Tax authorities
- Physical and virtual products
- Shipping options
- Product variations (colours, sizes etc)
Do you need more functionality for your specific webshop? There are numerous extensions for WooCommerce, both free and paid.
Easy Digital Downloads
Do you sell digital products such as e-books or software? Then it is Easy Digital Downloads The plugin to sell your virtual products. The plugin has all the functionalities you are looking for, from a shopping cart to different payment options.
Because WordPress is so popular, many sites get hacked and security is an important issue when you set up a website or webshop in WordPress. There are several plugins to make it more difficult for hackers to hack your website or even clean it up after your website has been hacked.
WPS Hide Login
By default you log in to your WordPress dashboard via www.jouwsite.nl/wp-login.php or www.jouwsite.nl/wp-admin/. Hackers love to make use of this and scan the entire internet to see if they can easily log in via these pages. An easy way to secure your site is to shield those links and replace them by another url like www.jouwsite.nl/geheim. WPS Hide Login makes this possible in no time.
Limit Login Attempts
Another simple way to protect your login page is to limit the number of login attempts. Limit Login Attempts Reloaded is the perfect lightweight plugin for this. You can set how often people can try to log in. If they enter a wrong password too often, they will be blocked temporarily.
Are you looking for an all in one solution for securing your WordPress site? Then we can certainly Wordfence recommend. The free version has a virus scanner, login monitor, firewall, 2FA and various login protections. After installation most things work right away so you don't have to do much setting up.
Still want to set things up? Wordfence has lots of features and a clear dashboard with the current security status of your website. You can also easily upgrade to a premium subscription there.
Extensions for WordPress
Are you looking for an e-learning system to teach or sell online courses? Then we definitely recommend LearnDash. This LMS is simple but comprehensive, works well with WooCommerce and is expandable with many types of plugins. Unfortunately there is no free version, but the paid version is definitely worth it.
You can create courses containing chapters and paragraphs. Furthermore, there are various components such as quizzes, interactive videos and game elements that you can use to make learning fun.
Click here to go to the Learndash site.
Almost every site has a form nowadays, even if it's just a contact form. Gravity Forms has all the capabilities to build most complex forms and connect them to other systems. Besides that, it's used by almost every (serious) WordPress developer.
Gravity Forms is not free, but is well worth the money if you need a comprehensive form.