Essential WordPress Plug-Ins

Out-of-the-box WordPress is a fine blogging tool & CMS. It is easy to use, full featured and well supported. Yet WordPress can be made so much better with a few choice plug-ins. Since I started using WordPress, I’ve quickly deployed a range of plug-ins to empower by blogging system. I highly recommend everyone of these plug-ins. Go on, give your WordPress installation a little plug-in love.

  • Acronyms: A plug-in to wrap acronyms in posts and comments with appropriate descriptive titles. Allows users to manage lists of acronyms through the administration interface. Acronyms can then be styled with CSS.
  • Admin Drop Down Menu: Replaces administration menus with a CSS dropdown menu bar. Saves lots of clicks and page loads!
  • Akismet: Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and holds for moderation those that look suspicious.
  • Better Blogroll: Pulls a configurable number of links and their categories from the WordPress Link Manager and gives you more control of your blogroll.
  • BM Custom Login: Display custom images on the WordPress login screen. Useful for branding.
  • Broken Link Checker: Checks your posts for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the Dashboard if any are found.
  • Easy Tube: Plugin to easily place YouTube objects in WordPress content.
  • Enhanced WP-ContactFormWP Contact Form is a drop in form for users to contact you. In the message it sends to you it gives the page the user visited before the contact page, as well as the original outside referer. It can be implemented on a page or a post.
  • FD Footnotes: Elegant and easy to use footnotes.
  • flickrRSS: Allows you to integrate the photos from a flickr RSS feed into your site.
  • Highlight Author Comments: Automatically applies a distinctive style to comments by the post’s author.
  • Live Comment Preview: Supply users with a live comment preview.
  • Maintenance Mode: Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Logged in administrators get full access to the blog including the front-end.
  • Microkid’s Related Posts: Manually add related posts with an Ajax locator.
  • Quotes Collection: Quotes Collection plugin with Ajax powered Random Quote sidebar widget helps you collect and display your favourite quotes on your WordPress blog.
  • Redirection: A redirection manager.
  • SABRE: Simple Anti Bot Registration Engine.
  • Search Unleashed: Advanced search engine that provides full text searching across posts, pages, comments, titles, and URLs. Searches take into account any data added by other plug-ins, and all search results are contextually highlighted. You can also highlight incoming searches from popular search engines.
  • Separate Comments & Pings: Displays comments, trackbacks and pings separately.
  • UPDATED 6th July, 2008 - WP Comment Remix: I stopped using “Separate Comments & Pings” (above) because I found that it didn’t quite have the functionality I wanted. WP Comment Remix adds a plethora of new options and features to WordPress’ Comments system - I much prefer this.
  • Sideblog Wordpress Plug-in: A simple aside plug-in.
  • ThickBox: Embed ThickBox into your posts and pages.
  • User Photo: Allows users to associate photos with their accounts by accessing their “Your Profile” page. Uploaded images are resized to fit the dimensions specified on the options page; a thumbnail image is also generated. Uploaded images may be moderated by administrators.
  • WassUp: WordPress plug-in to analyze your visitors traffic with real time stats, chart and a lot of chronological informations. It has sidebar Widget support to show current online visitors and other statistics.
  • WordPress Automatic Upgrade: WordPress Automatic Upgrade allows a user to automatically upgrade the WordPress installation to the latest one provided by using the 5 steps provided in the WordPress upgrade instructions.
  • WP-PostRatings: Adds an Ajax rating system for your WordPress blog’s post/page.
  • WP-RelativeDate: Displays relative date alongside with your post/comments actual date. Like ‘Today’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘2 Days Ago’, ‘2 Weeks Ago’, ‘2 ‘Seconds Ago’, ‘2 Minutes Ago’, ‘2 Hours Ago’.
  • wp-typogrify: Prettify your web typography by preventing ugly quotes and widows and providing CSS hooks for styling.
  • WP Super Cache: Very fast caching module for WordPress.
  • Yawasp - Yet Another WordPress Anti Spam Plug-in: Replaces the names of the default comment form fields every 24 hours with random values, giving spambots no chance to adapt to the comment form.

Of course these are only a handful of the available WordPress plug-ins and it’s almost inevitable that I’ve not yet come across some real gems. Let me know about your favourites in the comments and I’ll try them out here.

UPDATED 7th July, 2008 - Just installed Dashboard Editor: Allows you to customise the dashboard. At last I’ve been able to get rid of those WordPress feeds!

4 Reader Comments for “Essential WordPress Plug-Ins”

  1. Thanks for the mention of FD Footnotes.

  2. FD Footnotes is a nice plug-in John. Great work. :-)

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    thanks for mentioning the ThickBox plugin!

    I read that you’re passionate about photography, so maybe you’re interested in this plugin, too?

    Cheers, Christian

  4. No problem Christian, just send that cheque like you promised!

    I had a look at your SmoothGallery plug-in and I am very impressed. I like it a lot and I’ll definitely use it here on the Urban Mainframe when I start showing off my photographs.

    Thanks for the heads up. Kindest regards.

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