Jetpack Hater? The Top 10 Alternatives for Jetpack-Style Functionality
So you’ve got yourself a self-hosted WordPress site. You’re finally in full control and can use plugins at your free will. Ever thought of replacing Jetpack with plugins you will actually use?
Whether you have a .com or .org site, you’re probably not using all of the functionality Jetpack has to offer. Jetpack is great, but it has a lot of features loaded into one meta-plugin. Maybe a ‘mini-Jetpack’ would be the next big thing. But until that happens, why not look at some alternatives for Jetpack-style functionality?
For those who only need one or two Jetpack features, or simply don’t want to install the all-inclusive plugin stack, you’ve come to the right place. In this Weekend WordPress Project, I will tell you what Jetpack is, the pros and cons of using it, and share 10 standalone plugins with you that can replace Jetpack-style functionality.
Jetpack: The Pros and Cons
Chris was definitely on to something in his post Will Jetpack Supercharge Or Superbloat Your WordPress Site?
Let’s go through the main pros and cons he covered in brief:
- Automatic posts to major social media sites through Publicize
- Notification alerts on response failure through Monitor
- Gives you a content delivery network (CDN) through Photon
- Auto-activates over 20 plugins (yikes)
- Includes lots of obscure modules
- Bigger than the WordPress core!
I’m not here to convince you one way or the other, but if you’ve got this far, I’m guessing that you’re interested in seeing what’s on offer outside of Jetpack. So without further ado, let’s get cracking!
The Must Haves
WordPress.com Stats is perhaps the reason you have Jetpack in the first place. Access to analytics in your own WordPress Dashboard is a really cool feature.
That said, our very own Google Analytics+ is an ideal replacement for Jetpack’s WordPress.com Stats.
With Google Analytics+ you can track and view Google Analytics statistics for both individual and multisite networks without leaving your WordPress Dashboard. You get the same (or dare I say better?) functionality without having to sign up for a WordPress.com account.
Here’s what Google Analytics+ has to offer.
- One-click analytics account sync
- Powerful Multisite integration
- One tracking code for an entire network
- Individual post statistics
- Graphs for fast visual reference
- World map with visitors by country
- View bounce rates, track visits and page views
Combine the power of Google Analytics with your WordPress site for the ultimate multisite analytics experience with our very own Google Analytics+.
Make it easier for your visitors to stay up-to-date with your site by having them subscribe to your blog. Jetpack’s Subscriptions lets you do just that at a very basic level. You get to add a widget, customize the content and notify subscribers of new posts. Our Subscribe by Email plugin takes it a step further (a lot of steps further actually).
It enables your site’s visitors to easily subscribe to personalized, clean and regular HTML digest emails. You can control when and how frequently emails are sent. But most importantly, you can customize your feed to only send updates for specific categories or post types. Visitors are able to manage and stop subscriptions any time they want with the double opt-in feature. Features include:
- Include the post’s featured image
- Limit feed to specific categories
- Trigger emails manually
- Email throttling control
- Simple subscriber management
Whatever Jetpack’s Subscriptions can do, Subscribe by Email can do much better – and a lot more.
Jetpack Comments enables your visitors to login with their Facebook, Twitter or WordPress account to leave comments on your site. Jetpack Comments is one of my most favorite Jetpack features and a suitable alternative to this was difficult to decide on.
There are numerous alternatives you can go for to replace Jetpack Comments, although they don’t all offer the same functionality. Our pick is (naturally!) Comments+, which enables readers to comment on your WordPress site using their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or WordPress account.
- Toggle allowed social services
- Pull style from theme hooks
- Subscribe commenters to MailChimp
- Reorder service tabs
With our Comments+ plugin your visitors will be able to login with their Google+ accounts and you’ll be able to maximize their user experience by making use of the extra flexibility and functionality it offers.
Jetpack’s Sharing just may be the best social media sharing tool you’ll find on the internet. Our very own Floating Social plugin is the best alternative to this Jetpack-ed feature.
The Floating Social standalone plugin follows you as you scroll through a post and allows you to share content with friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and many more. This one of a kind social media sharing plugin is fully customizable giving you access to limit its presence to specific posts or pages, positioning and re-sizing it.
With Floating Social you can share your site’s content with a bigger audience — the whole world.
The Occasionally Used
Jetpack’s Carousel launches a beautiful, full-screen image browsing experience for all your WordPress galleries. You can customize it to show comments and EXIF metadata while viewing the carousel of images.
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Those of you who’ve used Jetpack know how hard it is to let go of Carousel. Luckily enough, we’ve got an alternative for you: Gallery Carousel without Jetpack.
Gallery Carousel without Jetpack is just that – Jetpack’s Carousel without Jetpack. This essentially means that you no longer have to connect with WordPress.com to use it. ‘Nuff said!
Jetpack’s Spelling and Grammar feature, as the name suggests, checks the spelling and grammar of your content. It uses the After the Deadline service in its back end. Proofreading content to prevent silly spelling and grammar mistakes makes all the difference sometimes.
For those of you who might not be the best of spellers and are looking for non-browser based plugins, then the After the Deadline fork, TinyMCE Spellcheck, is a wonderful alternative.
Security and backups are important to any WordPress site owner and it’s a relief to cross it off your checklist (and keep it off). While Jetpack’s VaultPress offers real-time backup and security services, it’s got heavy competition in the plugins bazaar – our very own Snapshot Pro being one of them.
Snapshot Pro is a WordPress Time Machine (yes, really), with Dropbox and S3 integration that will backup and restore your entire site whenever you so desire without signing up with expensive third party services.
Here’s a list of some other features it has to offer that will grab your attention (if the Time Machine part didn’t already):
- Manage memory usage
- Scheduled backups and set backup interval
- Backup entire site (multisite compatible)
- Simple one-click restore
- Dropbox, S3, FTP/SFTP, Google Drive and GreenQloud integration
The Developers’ Arena
Jetpack’s JSON API provides a mechanism for you to connect services and applications to your websites through WordPress’ OAuth2 (that’s a real mouthful). REST is the future.
WP REST API (WP API) is a standalone plugin that provides a REST API through HTTP. With it you can retrieve data in JSON format and update it as well. Since you’ll be using it through HTTP, retrieving and updating data is just as simple as sending an HTTP request. Boom.
With more and more users accessing websites through their smartphones, you need to optimize your site’s mobile experience and mobile marketing. Jetpack’s Mobile Push Notifications provides a clean and simple way to get this done. All you have to do is install the WordPress app to your smartphone.
The alternative standalone plugin we suggest to replace this dandy Jetpack feature is Pushover Notifications for WordPress. It enables your site to send push notifications straight to the smartphone – which makes it a functional replica of Jetpack’s Mobile Push Notifications.
As a developer, you’re probably familiar with Jetpack’s Custom CSS feature; after all, it’s there to make your life easier. But what if you want a standalone plugin that offers the same functionality? Our suggestion: Simple Custom CSS.
The features I like best about this plugin are the useful code syntax highlighter, simple database queries and the fact that it doesn’t unduly impact site performance.
With Simple Custom CSS you get to add custom CSS to your site that will override Plugin and Theme default styles without any trouble. Super.
Jetpack-style functionality without using Jetpack is entirely possible. So, if Jetpack just isn’t your thing or you’re looking for a way to replace the entire package with one or two features that you need, then you can go for the alternatives we suggested above. Although you will have to install them separately, it’ll pay off in the end when your site isn’t overloaded with features you don’t use.
Our list of Top ten Alternatives for Jetpack-Style Functionality is purely subjective and does not cover all 30+ features that Jetpack has to offer. That said, the alternatives we’ve covered above are, in my humble opinion, some of the best ones out there.
Which standalone plugins do you use to mimic Jetpack functionality? Are there Jetpack features that don’t have suitable alternatives? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.