Podcast Episode

258 – Top 20 Plugins in the WordPress Repository


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

FakePress is a clean way to generate fake and dummy content to your WordPress, great for developers who need testing.

Top 20 Plugins in the WordPress Repository

TinyMCE Advanced

Enables the advanced features of TinyMCE, the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.

Jetpack by WordPress.com

Your WordPress, Simplified.

NextGEN Gallery

The most popular WordPress gallery plugin and one of the most popular plugins of all time with over 13 million downloads.

All in One SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack is a WordPress SEO plugin to automatically optimize your WordPress blog for Search Engines such as Google.

WordPress Importer

Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags and more from a WordPress export file.

Advanced Custom Fields

Customise WordPress with powerful, professional and intuitive fields


Adds a more advanced paging navigation interface.

Wordfence Security

The Wordfence WordPress security plugin provides free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware.

WooCommerce – excelling eCommerce

WooCommerce is a powerful, extendable eCommerce plugin that helps you sell anything. Beautifully.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.

Google Analytics by Yoast

Track your WordPress site easily with the latest tracking codes and lots added data for search result pages and error pages.

W3 Total Cache

Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.

Yoast SEO

Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.

Contact Form 7

Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.

Regenerate Thumbnails

Allows you to regenerate your thumbnails after changing the thumbnail sizes.

WP Super Cache

A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.

Hello Dolly

This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong.


Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not.

Really Simple CAPTCHA

Really Simple CAPTCHA is a CAPTCHA module intended to be called from other plugins. It is originally created for my Contact Form 7 plugin.

Duplicate Post

Clone posts and pages.

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the top 20 plug-ins in the Word Press repository right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast Episode No. 258. Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin, and this is Episode No. 258. We are just a few short episodes away from the five year anniversary of the Your Website Engineer Podcast. I’m so excited to reach this milestone. It has been a huge honor to bring you news each and every weekend. I need to start my planning cycles to figure out what we can do special for that five year anniversary.

We’ve got some interesting things in the news this week when it comes to Word Press. The first one, and probably the most important thing that came out, is Word Press now powers more than 25 percent or it might be right at the 25 percent mark. But that’s the new statistic. It’s been at that 24 point something for quite some time. And now, it is official that Word Press powers more than 25 percent of the web, or it’s very, very close to 25 percent. It’s interesting that Matt Molimike is interested in saying more than just so that we don’t have to redo all the publications and make sure that we have to reprint things every time it goes up by 1 percent.

If we say more than 25 percent, then that is a good number to be on and to be hitting. And so that is really exciting. It’s been a while, and it’s been a journey to get there. But I think that’s really awesome, and that is something that came out in the Word Press space. So just think about this every time you visit a website online, one out of every four of those websites is probably running Word Press, unless you’re a crazy man like me who helps people with Word Press websites. And so I, obviously, see much more than one out of every four websites are Word Press for the websites that I typically use and browse on my day to day life.

Now, another thing that I wanted to share with you is this was a thing that I found called the Word Press Visual History. It’s kind of like a Word Press vault. And that’s brought to us by 93 Digital.co.uk. And there’s a link to it in the show notes for Episode No. 258. But it’s really, really neat. And it goes all the way back to Word Press Version 1.0, and that was the Miles Davis release. It was released on January 3, 2004. And it’s just a cool, visual representation of what Word Press looked like way back in the day. So if you go to take a look at this back in 2004, it shows an image of both the dashboard and the default theme.
And both are extremely hideous. I say that in the nicest way possible. I mean, this is 2004. This is more than 10 years ago when we first got started with Word Press. But it’s interesting to see that all of the posts, the edit, the categories, all that kind of stuff runs across the top in your Word Press dashboard. And it isn’t for a few versions until it actually comes on the side and actually is displayed on the side. As I’m looking through a really cool interface, it looks like about Version 2.6 maybe. And 2.7 is when the dashboard, the older version of the dashboard with all the menu items, the post, the pages, the media, the comments, appearance, all that kind of stuff turned into the left hand side.

So that was all the way in 2008. So it was four years of menu items across the top. And that, in 2008, had the Cubrik them, with is kind of the standard theme. And then it’s just interesting to see all the different versions. And it goes all the way up to 4.3. It’s cool because it also highlights which jazz musician each release was named after, which is pretty cool. So if you’re interested in seeing just visuals on what Word Press looked way back in 2004 all the way to 2015, be sure to check this out. And there’s a link in the show notes for this episode. So I wanted to highlight that. The next thing I want to share with you is WP Campus.org.

And this is something put on by Rachel Carden. And she’s a web developer with a passion for all things Word Press, especially using Word Press to build a world of higher education websites. And so it’s kind of like a cross between a word camp and like a local meet up and other school type events or higher education events. So if you’re interested in getting involved in that community, be sure to check out Word Campus.org. Another thing in the news this week is Jet Pack 3.8 has been released. It’s highlighting Google Plus Badges. So now, Google Plus Badges now look much nicer.

They have badges for your profiles, your pages, and your communities. And the badges look a little bit different for each one of those pages whether it’s a profile, a page, or a community. So that’s interesting. You can see that. There’s also now support for Twitch.tv short code embeds. And they updated the contact form. That’s probably the biggest thing. The contact form within Jet Pack has been kind of dated. And they’ve done a lot of work to make that nicer and better. There are also a lot more filters to allow further customizations of Jet Pack. There is better error messaging in the subscription widget forms. And let’s see, what else?
There are improvements and enhancements to accessibility. And you can see the full change long. You can see everything within your Word Press dashboard. Or if you head on over the Word Press.org repository, you can find all of that information there as well. So those are a few things. Those are the top announcements that I wanted to talk about today. Let’s move into the section of the show where I’d like to call is there a plug-in for that? And the plug-in today is called Faker Press. It’s kind of a unique name. But this is a clean way to generate fake and dummy content to your Word Press site.

It’s great for developers who need testing. We were going to use this at work the other day because we were trying to simulate a website where one of our customers had 8,000 users, and it was trying to use the Sensei plug-in with 8,000 users, and it was running into an error. So we could have very easily created a dev version of his site, but we didn’t want to use his live site, of course, because you don’t want to delete or mess up with 8,000 users. So this is a great way you can add things like posts, pages, metadata, users, tags, categorize comments, and you can just generate tons and tons of dummy data.

So if you need something like that, if you’re trying to like fill up a website real quick so you can – this would have been great for me to use before my webinar last week when we were talking about backups. If I needed to generate a few posts, a dozen posts. So we could see very easily where or not the backup was working. This would have been a great plug-in for that. So if you’re interested, Faker Press. And you can find that in the Word Press repository, or you can find it linked in the show notes for Episode No. 258. So today, we’re going to talk about the top 20 plug-ins. And these are just based on the way that they’re listed in the Word Press repository.

And honestly, I was just kind of digging around trying to figure out what we were going to talk about today, and I was like probably everybody uses all of the most important ones, the ones that are on the most active installs. And I started looking at this list. And I was like wow, there are a lot that – this is going to be kind of an interesting show. So I just wanted to kind of dive in. And, essentially, you can see this if you just go over to Word Press.org, go to the plug-in section, and tap on the popular tab. And it’s going to list them all in chronological order by the ones with the most active installs all the way down to the least active installs on this first page.

And it looks like there are 34 pages in the popular directory. So there’s a lot in here. Now, it’s also interesting to know that 19 of the 20 that we’re going to talk about today have over 1 million active installs. And so what that means is it has at least 1 million or more than 1 million installs, but not quite 2 million. And I’m not sure if they round up, if it had like 1.5 million, does it round up? Or do you have to have 2 million plus to actually say 2 million active installs. I mean, that’s a lot, if you think about it. But all but the last one in the list today has, let’s see, I’m trying to find them here, I think that one has 800,000 installs.

That’s the last one that we’re going to talk about. Everyone else has 1 million plus installs. So they’re being used a lot. So these are very popular. They’re used a lot on a lot of websites, obviously. They have more than 1 million active installs. That’s going to be a very popular plug-in. So what we’re going to do is we’re just going to run through them real quick. I’m going to talk a little bit about what they are and how they work. And then, it’s up to you if you think that you need them on your website, or they’ll add some extra functionality that you’ve been desiring for your website, then this will be a perfect place to start.

So let’s go ahead and just dive right in. The very first one, which kind of surprised me when I took a look at it, is called Tiny MCE Advanced. And this basically just enables the advanced features of Tiny MCE in the Word Press editor. And so if you’re not familiar with Tiny MCE, that’s basically when you go to visual mode, when you’re writing a post or a page, that visual mode is where you can see the bold, italics, you can change things for different paragraph tags or header tags, you can justify your text. All that, that toolbar, that’s called Tiny MCE. And when you install this plug-in, this basically just turns on some different things that you have the ability to do.

So if you install this plug-in, then you have the ability to you can create tables inside of your dashboard. You can do find and replace. You can set font families and font sizes. You can do a lot of things that you can’t do within the Tiny MCE that comes with Word Press. So if you need that extra functionality, if you’re looking for how do I change the font for this, or how do I do this, you can do that. It kind of makes Word Press a little bit more like a Google Docs, or it makes it a little bit closer to a Microsoft Word where you can do a lot of those things. So that’s kind of neat. So that’s some functionality that you need.

Tiny MCE Advanced is the top spot in the Word Press plug-in directory. The next one is Jet Pack. And this one, I’m not going to go into a lot of detail. We’ve talked about Jet Pack before in the past. And it’s basically your Word Press simplified. It brings the power of Word Press.com to your self posted site. It could do some really cool things. And that is the No. 2 plug-in on the Word Press repository. The next one that I want to talk about is called the Next Gen Gallery. This is the most popular Word Press Gallery plug-in. And it has some really cool things that it can do.

If you need some advanced customizations for your galleries, maybe some slide shows, things like that, Next Gen Gallery is going to be perfect. If you don’t need any of those, then the standard galleries, the slide show that comes with Word Press out of the box would be perfect for you. If you just are trying to manage a lot of images and just really want to customize that experience, then Next Gen Gallery is going to be something that you’ll need to install on your website. The fourth plug-in is called All in One SEO Pack.

And this is an SEO plug-in that allows you to optimize your posts, your pages, your different pieces of media on your website so that it can be optimized in rank as high as possible. It gives you the ability to go in, and it, basically, gives you another section underneath your post. And you can go in, and you can add all kinds of information. You can add your focus key word, and then it can check to make sure is it mentioned enough in your post, how well will it rank, all that kind of stuff. It is one of the plug-ins that is used very regularly, of course, since it is on this list at No. 4. And so if you’re looking for SEO stuff, then you’ll want to check out All in One SEO Pack.

The fifth one also kind of confused me and surprised me. It’s the Word Press Importer, which I wouldn’t think that you would need that very often. But it’s on more than 1 million sites, and it’s actively installed, which is kind of crazy. But, basically, if you’re trying to move a site from one place to another, or if you’re trying to import from another hosting company or whatever or another service not Word Press, then you need the Word Press Importer. You should be able to – maybe I think that once you have it activated, it can’t really be deactivated because it blends in with the rest of your Word Press install. But that is the plug-in No. 5 in the Word Press repository.

Plug-in No. 6 is called Advanced Custom Fields. And this gives us the ability to add custom fields to our website. Custom fields have the ability to add little boxes that come underneath your post or your page. And it helps you to build websites to make it easy to fill in information. I know that a good example is like on the webinar replay page for my website, I have boxes where I just type in the text for this is the PDF. This is the movie file. And this is the audio file. I put those in custom field boxes, and then when I save those, it’s auto populated and put exactly where it needs to in my Word Press display when people are viewing the front end of my site.

I do this because I only do one of these posts per month. And I never remember how I formatted the one before. So I just made them a custom field. And so Advanced Custom Fields is plug-in No. 6. So that’s something cool. Plug-in No. 7 is called WP-Page Navi, and this adds more advanced paging navigation to your Word Press site. And so it depends on what your theme is and how you’re using it. But it, basically, gives you the ability to put numbers at the bottom instead of like older posts or next post. It gives you that pagination style. So it can say Page 1 of 467. And then you can tap on the different buttons, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4.

So that is what that is. It’s a Version 2.8, and it’s got over 1 million active installs, which is pretty cool. It’s rated 4.7 stars out of 5. The next one on the list is called Word Fence Security. And this is a security plug-in for Word Press that you basically turn on. And it protects your websites from hacks. It makes sure that your software isn’t corrupted or have malware on it or have malicious code on it. And it really does some really cool things. So Work Fence is a plug-in that I recommend for security practices to keep your Word Press site safe. Then the next one is called Woo Commerce.

You may have heard of this one before. I’ve referenced this just a little bit. I’m still learning about the Woo Commerce space, but this basically gives you the ability to sell stuff online. And that’s essentially what it does. It’s powerful. It’s extendable. It has lots of additional like plug-ins or extensions to that plug-in. And it works. It’s got more than 1 million active installs. And it’s been recently updated as well. Google XML Site Maps is the next one. I’ve lost count here. I think that’s number 12 is Google XML Site Maps. And this, basically, just generates a special XML site map, which you can send to your search engines to make them better index your blog, which is pretty cool.

The next one is Google analytics by Yost. This one is kind of new. I don’t think I’ve ever played with this one. But it’s made by the same Yost SEO company. But it gives you the ability to do Google analytics inside of your Word Press dashboard. It’s definitely one that I need to check out to do a little bit of digging in to see how it compares to like Google Analyticator and things like that. But with more than 1 million active installs, it’s got to be pretty good. The next one is W3 Total Cache. And this is kind of one of the top caching plug-ins that are out there. And it just gives you the ability to store your data on a local environment.

Not really local, but it gives you the ability to save your data in more of a static content. So when people come to your website, they don’t have to pull information from the database every single time, which would make your website load much, much faster. So that’s W3 Total Cache, Yost SEO. And these two plug-ins by Yost actually got some nice UI updates it looks like recently. But Yost SEO is the SEO plug-in that I use. It gives you the ability to put in your key words.

And then once you put your key words in, then it will go and analyze your site and give you like red, green, or yellow depending on how well your site did, if you followed all the rules and whatnot, and it looks like a good post, you’ll get a green light, if you will. And then if there’s a lot to be desired, then you’ll get a red light. And it gives you some suggestions and hints on how to make your page more optimized for that key word that you picked. Contact Form 7 is the next plug-in on the list here. And that’s just another contact form plug-in. It’s simple. It’s flexible. It’s easy to use. And it’s used by a lot of people.

It’s the one that I recommend if you don’t want to spend any money on a contact form. If you want something simple to just collect a contact form on your website, then Contact Form 7 is perfect for that. Let’s see what else here. So Contact Form 7 is very good. I use it a lot. Or I used to use it a lot until I purchased Gravity Forms. I guess I want to say, too, that this is the most popular free plug-in. There are other plug-ins that are out there, and this list doesn’t include any of the premium plug-ins that are out there. Regenerate Thumbnails is another great plug-in that’s out there.

This one is used a lot when you are changing things around with your theme. Maybe you’ve changed themes entirely. Maybe you are making some custom modifications, you’re doing something. Well, Regenerate Thumbnails, basically, will regenerate thumbnails with the correct size. So this one doesn’t need to be used a whole lot. This one is another one I’m kind of surprised that it has 1 million active installs. But, basically, I use this one when I need to generate new thumbnails. And what that means is when you upload an image to Word Press, it’s going to automatically generate like three or four different versions of an image.

And if maybe your medium sized image changes when you change themes, then you just need to regenerate your thumbnails so that all of your thumbnails will be the right size. So that is that one. The second caching plug-in in the top 20 is called WP Super Cache. And this is a very fast caching engine Word Press plug-in that produces static HTML files. This one is put together by automatic. And it’s just another caching plug-in. It does a lot of the same things that W3 Total Cache does. They’re just a little different. And it’s just whichever one that you choose. All right. There are four more left in the list.

This next one really surprised me as well. But, I mean, it kind of did, but it kind of didn’t. The next one is called Hello Dolly. And it is that plug-in that’s always installed when you initially install Word Press. And so it’s just surprising that it hasn’t been removed more often. And, basically, this is just a plug-in that it says in the description that it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louie Armstrong. So that’s what Hello Dolly is. When you turn it on, it gives you lyrics of the Hello Dolly song right there in the upper corner of your website.

And most people just turn it off and remove it immediately when starting Word Press. That would be the 18th plug-in is called Akizmet. And it checks your comments against filters to make sure that there are no spam comments – or not spam comments. To make sure that only good comments make it through to you. And so that one is made by Automatic as well. And then the 19th one is called Really Simple Captcha. And this is a simple captcha that was initially created to go and work with Contact Form 7. And it just allows a simple, easy way to add a captcha button to those forms so they don’t get as many spam comments.

And the last one is called Duplicate Post. And this was the one that has only 800,000 active installs. But it, basically clones posts and pages when you go to your lists of your posts where it has like edit, view, deletes, things like that. Then it gives you quick edit, all of those choices. When you activate this plug-in, it gives you ability to duplicate posts. So if you’re doing something very regularly that you just need to quick duplicate it, then this would be the plug-in for you. So those are the top 20 plug-ins that are found in the Word Press repository. And I was just interested to see which ones are out there.

I’m just wondering how many of those are you using on your website. And I know I’m using a handful of them. I’m not using them all, of course. I don’t have a need to run two different caching plug-ins. That would be a great idea. I don’t need two SEO plug-ins. Things like that, they’re not necessarily to run all of them. But if you were looking for some of the most popular ones or maybe you need some of this functionality that we talked about today, definitely check the show notes to find out more about each one. And definitely, go ahead and install those on your Word Press website. All right. That’s all I’ve got for you today.

That’s all I really wanted to share. And thanks so much for tuning in and listening to me just talk about these different plug-ins that are out there. If you have a topic for an upcoming show, feel free to send those over my way. You can email them to me at dustin@yourwebsiteengineer.com.And we’ll just continue learning about Word Press and figuring out how we can make better websites, how we can make them faster and just work better for us as we continue to power more than 25 percent of the web. That’s all I’ve got for you this week.

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