I recommend plugins on the basis of excellence of design and implementation, and ease of use. I prefer ones that don’t make you write code, CSS, HTML, or (if they can be avoided) shortcodes, but instead use configuration forms and editor buttons.
Plugins to make it easier to maintain your site.
- Easy Updates Manager by Easy Updates Manager Team: Improves security by keeping your themes and plugins up to date at all times. Once a security issue is found in theme or plugin code, the developers will fix it, but meanwhile hackers will update their bots to exploit that specific vulnerability in sites still using the old code. You must update regularly or you will get hacked eventually.
- Add Descendants As Submenu Items by Alex Mills (Viper007Bond): This lets you automatically construct parts of a menu based on parent-child relationships of pages. You create a top-level menu item, and select a page whose children will appear as submenu items.
- Simple Page Ordering by Jake Goldman, 10up: There are situations where you need to be able to control the order of pages in a list — for instance, when you’re using one of the above plugins to automatically display lists of child pages. These automatic lists generally let you control the sorting either by a pattern — alphabetically, or by date — or arbitrarily. Arbitrary sorting is done by assigning each page a numeric “order” value and then sorting by that number. This plugin makes it simple to reorder pages without having to edit each of them and enter a new number value. You can just go to the Pages list of your dashboard and drag them around.
- Search Exclude by Roman Pronskiy: Some themes include the ability to leave selected pages out of search results. If yours doesn’t, this plugin gives you a way to create pages that people can’t find by searching. For instance, if you have a “thanks for donating” page, you only want people to be able to get to it by donating.
Plugins to help you in editing the content of your pages and posts.
- Forget About Shortcode Buttons by By Designs & Code: Simple way to create “link buttons” in a variety of styles. You can see what the button looks like as you’re editing (as opposed to having a “shortcode” that describes the button with text).
- Classic Editor by WordPress Contributors disables the newer “Gutenberg” page editor in favor of the word-processor-like TinyMCE. At the moment, TinyMCE is the default, but that will change, and meanwhile, this plugin suppresses the banner on your dashboard inviting you to try Gutenberg.
- f(x) Editor by David Chandra Purnama: adds tables, columns, list bullet control, and font size/color. Don’t use tables, though.
- TinyMCE Advanced by Andrew Ozz: many additional word processing controls in the content editor.
- Advanced WP Columns plugin by Vladica Savic: if you need more control of columns than f(x) Editor provides.
- Atomic Blocks by atomicblocks: If you use the Gutenberg editor, this is a set of additional “blocks” you can stick into your pages.
- Minimal Share Buttons by Milen Petrinski – Gonzo: Add social media share buttons to your posts and pages, with no tracking cookies or other such nonsense. Just the basics.
- Sassy Social Share by Team Heateor: Adds share buttons to your posts and pages
- Subscribe / Connect / Follow Widget by Srini G: alternative to Sassy’s “Follow” widget.
- Do not use Shareaholic. They’re very popular, but they will modify parts of your site that have nothing to do with share buttons, insert their own affiliate links wherever you have links, and collect data about your visitors.
Bibliography and Book Pages
- Mooberry Book Manager by Mooberry Dreams: preferred.
- MyBookTable Bookstore by Author Media: alternate.
- UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup and Restoration by UpdraftPlus.com et al: automatic site backup.
- All-in-One WP Migration by Yani Iliev et al.: to move your entire site from one server to another, with automatic link conversion if the domain name is different.
- IThemes Security by iThemes: keep the hackers out.
- WPScan by WPScan Team: tells you whether themes and plugins have known security issues.
- Easy Updates Manager (see above).
- Security and Malware Scan by CleanTalk by CleanTalk Security: Scans for and removes known and suspected malware.
- Stop User Enumeration by Fullworks: Prevent hackers from finding out your site administrator username. If you chose a good password, the site will still be secure if they do find it out, but why make it easier for them?
- Username Changer by Daniel J Griffiths: If you believe your username is known to someone trying to break in, this lets you change it.