Top 22 WordPress Plugins – As Chosen By You

WordPress Plugins
Plug & Play - we all love WordPress plugins

I don’t know about you, but I am a complete sucker for plugins. I just can’t help myself. I generally use far too many. And whilst plugins are enormously useful and can make our WordPress sites do all sorts of clever things, we all know that you should generally keep the number of plugins you use to as few a number as possible.

I tend to subscribe to the mantra that “if you can do it without a plugin, don’t use a plugin”. At the end of the day, site speed should be a big priority for any blogger, and keeping the number of plugins you use in check can help that.

With that thought in mind, I recently asked a question over at the WPMU DEV Facebook page. If you haven’t already “liked” us, be sure to head over there and get involved! That question was:

If you could only use one WordPress plugin, which would it be, and why?

And now for your delectation, I present to you (in no particular order) the full list.

1. BuddyPress

BuddyPress Chosen by Rob Vitalsine Kennedy

Where would so many of us be without one of the most popular plugins in WordPress history? BuddyPress allows you to build a social network on your WordPress blog from scratch. Not only that, it is completely free and open source. If you are at all interested in establishing some sort of community-based blog, BuddyPress is your best option, every time.

2. MarketPress

Chosen by Gary Wilmot & Montez Smith

eCommerce for your WordPress blog. ’nuff said. Check out this video for the full scoop:

3. Akismet

SpamChosen by Yatin Mulay and Tom Hermans

Many WordPress experts consider this to be the ultimate in spam protection – so much so, that it comes bundled with WordPress as standard. It attracts its share of controversy (here and here), and there are good alternatives (here and here), but Akismet remains the daddy, and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

4. W3 Total Cache

Chosen by Tomas Wantom

Not a particularly exciting plugin, but no less invaluable for that fact. W3 Total Cache, in a nutshell, makes your WordPress site load faster.

5. Contact Form 7

Chosen by Sean Vosler

The first of two contact form plugins on the list, Contact Form 7 is a completely free, one stop shop solution for your WordPress blog. I liked it enough to feature it alongside one other plugin in a recent post.

6. Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms Chosen by Andrew BrownMarc SaxeMohamed Hamad & Vincent Wondra

If you’re big on contact forms, you can’t do better than Gravity Forms. It’s not free, but once you install it, you’ll understand why.

7. All In One SEO Pack

Chosen by Wayne Latham

I’m not going to get drawn into a debate about which WordPress SEO plugin is the best, but there is no doubting the popularity of All In One SEO Pack. If your theme leaves little to be desired when it comes to SEO functionality, you won’t go wrong with this plugin.

8 – 10. Widget LogicDisplay Widgets & Dynamic Widgets

Chosen by Steve Goerger, Alison Neale & Joanne Libby

In my opinion, the functionality of these plugins is definitely on the “should come bundled with WordPress as standard” list. What Widget LogicDisplay WidgetsDynamic Widgets do is simple yet effective – they allow you to choose on which pages widgets should appear.

11. Shopp

ShoppChosen by Chris Kruse

The second (and last) eCommerce plugin on the list, this is an alternative to MarketPress, should that plugin not take your fancy.

12. Event Espresso

Chosen by Henry Lugo

This one is a little out of left field, but Event Espresso is a fully-featured event registration and ticketing solution for your WordPress blog. If you actually have a need for it, you can’t go wrong.

13 – 14. Shortcode Exec PHP & Exec PHP

Chosen by Timothy Russell & Steve Goerger

I have consolidated these two plugins under one title because I just can’t get that excited about what they do. That does not detract however from their usefulness – both plugins allow you to execute PHP code on your WordPress blog’s posts, pages, widgets, and so on.

For those struggling to choose between the two, Shortcode Exec PHP has less ratings and downloads, but is completely up to date. Exec PHP, despite having excellent ratings and hundreds of thousands of downloads, hasn’t been updated since 2009.

15. Pro Sites

Pro SitesChosen by Mark De Scande

If you are looking into setting up your own blogging network, you can’t go wrong by using Pro Sites.

16. Hello Dolly

Chosen by Adam Broetje

A tongue in cheek suggestion, methinks? Hello Dolly is a completely useless plugin bundled as standard with WordPress, as you no doubt know.

17. Reset WordPress

Chosen by Marc Almedia

One for the developers out there. Reset WordPress, as you would imagine, completely resets your WordPress blog’s database to its default settings.

18. Portfolio Slideshow Pro

Chosen by Andrew Brown

This plugin allows you to add sexy image slideshows to your WordPress blog. If you’re not ready to shell out, do not fret – there is a free version.

19. Ultimate Facebook

Ultimate FacebookChosen by Alex Naula

Comprehensive WordPress + Facebook integration. Check out this video for the lowdown:

20. AVH Extended Categories Widgets

Chosen by Nick Corrieri

Another vote for “should be bundled with WordPress as standard”, this plugin gives you extended customization options for your categories widget (as you might expect).

21. Spectacu.la Page Widget

Chosen by Joanne Libby

This is a good’un. With Spectacu.la Page Widget, you can create a normal WordPress page and then output the content to a widget.

22. WP-Optimize

Chosen by Kamarul Aznam Amir

For those who don’t want to faff around with phpMyAdmin, this plugin allows you to optimize and clean up your WordPress site’s database.

What’s Missing?

Now I can’t take the blame, because you picked the list, not me! But there are definitely some notable plugins missing from the list. So let’s continue the list in the comments section – what are your favorite WordPress plugins?

Creative Commons images courtesy of Joelk75 and Biladay